With the growing role of technology in the U.S. economy, many jobs increasingly require skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). These skills open the door to better paying jobs—improving the lives of disadvantaged students.
Moreover, the opportunity to pursue the American Dream is not the same for everyone. In fact, for children residing in urban neighborhoods, the "American Dream" has become the "American Nightmare" because their hopes are being crushed by multi-generational exposure to a failing school system that: (1) Picks winners and losers; (2) Opposes change; (3) Labels students as "lazy", "unmotivated", "slow learners"—increasing the probability a student will continue to fail in school and eventually dropout; (4) Limits student access to educational opportunities; (5) Hires teachers with limited math and science skills; (6) Suffers from teacher low-expectations for disadvantaged students; and (7) Lacks parent and community involvement.
In 2015, 4SIGHT, Inc. and The Douglass Initiative formed a strategic alliance called the Advocacy, Education, Science and Innovation Program or AESI Program. Together, we are inspiring and mentoring the next generation of scientists and innovators, by introducing the scientific method and the Life-Empowering Values™ of Frederick Douglass: e.g. personal responsibility, economic prosperity, and a winner’s attitude.
AESI’s mission is to provide science education and advocacy for disadvantaged youth—high-poverty, low-income schools, with a targeted focus given to children with special needs and children of an incarcerated parent (Pre-K-PhD education).
- TDI is closing the technical skills and academic achievement gaps of disadvantaged youth through robotics competition.
- TDI saves the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars each year by helping people become functionable members of society—a viable alternative to incarceration and government dependency.
- Students learn to become critical thinkers—applying the Scientific Method across multiple academic fields and in their personal life.
- TDI changes hearts, minds and lives as evidenced by numerous testimonials from students, parents and teachers.
- TDI is striving to make AESI a state-wide program for improving low-performing, Title 1 schools. Fundraising is primarily for capital improvements and program expansion.
Fueling Innovation and Discovery
For the past three years, 4Sight organized and led a group of volunteers to establish STEM-integrated robotics education curriculum in Huntsville’s Title 1 schools. Students learn to build and program robots to perform specific functions, as they prepare to participate in various robotics competitions throughout the academic year. Robotics Clubs were formed at Mae Jemison High School (Title 1) and at the following Title 1 feeder schools:
- James I. Dawson Elementary
- Lakewood Elementary
- Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary
- Rolling Hills Elementary School
- Ronald E. McNair Junior High School
Campus Tours . . .
So far, our students have toured the following colleges:
Continuing to expand . . .
A team of technical volunteers has been organized to mentor and provide training for students during and after school:
- Science professors from Alabama A&M University, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and J.F. Drake Technical College;
- STEM professionals and retires from NASA, TVA, Northrop Grumman and Siemens
- Engineering students from Alabama A&M University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville;
NOTE: Are you interested in becoming a volunteer with AEIS? Please contact our Program Director at AESI@thedouglassinitiative.org or 256-797-0398 with your contact information, availability and STEM expertise. There are lots of different ways to volunteer with AEIS.
Imagine a world where low-performing schools are no longer a issue in the United States. Your gift to TDI can play an important part in helping us turn around low-performing, high-poverty schools and make this vision a reality.
If you are considering TDI as a recipient of a major gift that will propel our efforts forward, here are some thoughts: