EVERETT, WA. August 8, 2023 – M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, a local philanthropic organization, awarded the YMCA of Snohomish County a multi-year, $277,500 grant to expand its successful Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Discovery Program. Grant funds will allow the program to serve youth at all YMCA School-Age Care (SAC) sites for the 2023-24 school year.
“We are thrilled to be able to serve children in all 26 SAC sites across the county,” said Lauren Hunter, STEM Program Manager, YMCA of Snohomish County. “Up to this point, we’ve been able to bring STEM learning opportunities to about 350 youth. We’ll now be serving over 1,100 kids.”
The grant funds support two new STEM coordinator positions that will help implement STEM Discovery in all school-age programs. With continued expansion in years two and three of the funding, STEM programming will extend into the Y’s Youth Leadership/Teen spaces in the 2024-25 school year and community outreach and engagement in late 2025.
“With the overwhelming success and positive impact of STEM Discovery at our initial locations last year, we are excited to take this opportunity to bring the wonders of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to more youth,” said Megan Proost, Director of Child Care Advancement, YMCA of Snohomish County. “As young minds mature into future leaders, we envision a world where they use their STEM knowledge to address global challenges, create groundbreaking solutions and make a lasting positive impact on society.”
The STEM Discovery Program brings fun, equitable, hands-on learning to youth in the Y’s SAC program. Students receive 23 weeks of curriculum with each STEM lesson including 21st Century Skills and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) elements. Activities range from creating creatures based on traits to learn about environment and habitat to building boats out of scrap craft supplies and more. STEM Discovery activities teach critical concepts in a fun and engaging way.
“There is a big need for high-quality STEM learning opportunities in our area,” said Hunter. “We will be able to impact so many kids by getting out to all of our sites because every child deserves the chance to be a scientist.”
By having a larger STEM Discovery staff team, there will be more focus on program and curriculum development, building community partnerships with local businesses and hosting community events.
“This funding, along with our STEM staff’s culture of innovation, curiosity and collaboration, will propel our organization to the forefront of STEM programming,” said Proost. “We will be better equipped to empower YMCA youth with the skills, knowledge and passion to share a brighter future for our community.”