Our staff has decades of experience providing enrichment programs at schools and camps throughout San Diego County. Over the last 10 years, we have taught over 10,000 children, mostly as after-school enrichment programs. We have also organized two FIRST LEGO League Robotics Tournaments per year to continue the student's interest in Robotics. The STEM programs offered throughout the years are extremely rewarding for all involved, especially the children.
Schools and school districts have readily opened their doors to our educational after-school programs because these programs reinforce the school's teachings in a more fun and relaxed atmosphere. Parents love them because they do not have to take their children anywhere after school and they also understand that these programs are an extension of their school's education. Children love them because these programs are way more fun than anything during the school day and they actually get to use their hands and imagination to build and program Robots or make cool science experiments every week. But there is a downside to these programs - They are not cheap to run.
Robotics and Science Lab programs are expensive because of the nature of the equipment needed. In Robotics, there is the robot equipment itself and the programming computers or tablets associated with them. But that is only the beginning because parts get lost or broken and must be replaced, equipment must be charged every day, wireless connections need be tested and instructors must be well versed in Robotics and Programming. Science Labs also need materials and equipment for all students, that gets damaged quite often. Also experiments need be planned and prepared well in advance of every class - not to mention the clean up afterwards. It is these reason why many schools have tried them, but discontinue them soon after.
Because of the lack of these programs at schools and the expense to run them, after school enrichment programs, where parents pay for participation, have flourished in many schools, but certainly not all.
All after school enrichment programs try and have scholarships for underprivileged children to participate, but can only afford a few. Lower income schools will usually not invite after-school programs because of the expense to participate that most families cannot afford.
Those are the reasons we created the STEMDude Foundation as a 501c3. Our main priority is to find funding and offer these enrichment classes for FREE or at a very discounted price. Offering them at no cost to underserved and underrepresented children will allow us to offer our program during school hours and to achieve our goals of giving these children an equal opportunity at a continued STEM education.