155 Bronx Students Get Hands-On STEAM Program Training

Phipps Neighborhoods’ STEAM Club launched during the spring of 2021 to combat the digital divide
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Photos: Phipps Neighborhoods

BRONX, NY– (April 18, 2022) Phipps Neighborhoods, a non-profit social service provider in New York City, announced today that 118 Bronx 2nd to 8th-grade students from P.S. 68X, P.S. 110X, and Phipps Community Beacon Program at I.S. 192, as well as 37 returning students from the Soundview Cornerstone and Sotomayor Cornerstone community centers, have started the STEAM Club program this semester.

STEAM Club is a free, 10-week after-school digital inclusion program in the Bronx for elementary and middle school students designed to help them hone their digital literacy skills. Students will participate in hands-on engineering projects, game design projects with Block Coding using MIT’s SCRATCH software, and LEGO 3D design activities using TinkerCAD software.

“This program has helped dozens of young Bronx residents learn valuable skills and become familiar with the tools they might need to enter the workforce of the future and build a career,” said Allison Jeffrey, Director of Digital Access. “The STEAM Club has grown into one of our most popular programs, and that growth would not have been possible without our strong partnership with Verizon. We look forward to building on the success of our STEAM Club and building this important program with Verizon for many years to come.”

As part of a two-year grant provided by Verizon, Phipps Neighborhoods’ STEAM Club launched during the spring of 2021 to combat the digital divide by providing Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) programming to students at five different sites across the Soundview, West Farms and Melrose sections of the Bronx. This grant is a part of Verizon’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental, and societal advancement, Citizen Verizon.

A 2020 report from the Mayor's Office of the Chief Technology Officer found that nearly one in five New York teens cannot finish their homework because of the digital divide; the opportunity gap created when families do not have equal access to technology and the internet. The report also found nearly 29 percent of New York City residents do not have at-home broadband, and the Bronx has the greatest percentage at almost 38 percent. To address the gap in digital access that youth in the Bronx experience, the STEAM Club developed engaging in-person activities and exposure to online applications to improve students’ technology proficiency, develop their social-emotional and problem-solving skills, and increase their interest in STEAM-related fields and future careers.

To date, more than 452 students from across the Bronx have completed the STEAM Club program since it launched in Spring 2021. In its first year, the STEAM Club proved to be a valuable resource for students and families by equipping young Bronxites with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in future careers. The STEAM Club’s goal is to develop emotionally intelligent thinkers, problem solvers, and makers. STEAM Club scholars develop their maker skills in unique ways.

In addition to empowering young people, caregivers of program scholars are offered workshops by the Verizon-supported Digital Access Team in various digital literacy topics. During the Spring 2021 semester, caregivers participated in a cyber and digital security workshop. In Spring 2022 caregivers will participate in a hybrid maker event across Phipps Neighborhoods’ program sites.

Phipps Neighborhoods helps children, youth, and families in low-income communities rise above poverty. We work in South Bronx neighborhoods where we can address the greatest barriers to lasting success through workforce and education programs, and access to community and economic empowerment resources.

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