By Josh Cohen
July 20, 2017
ORLANDO – There’s a growing emphasis on STEM learning in academic circles throughout the United States. The main purpose of STEM, an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, is to help children become more competent in each of those subjects.
The Orlando Science Center has taken a proactive approach on this form of education. The interdisciplinary methods of STEM are applied at the center’s preschool program. Students expand their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math through innovation, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration.
With some recent financial assistance from the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF), more underserved children will be able to reap the benefits of STEM education and enjoy what the science center has to offer.
The Orlando Science Center received a $50,000 grant this year from OMYF, who has donated $22 million over the past 27 years to those most in need throughout Central Florida. Members from each of the 17 organizations that received assistance from OMYF this year gathered at Amway Center this past February. It was an incredible and rewarding surprise for all of these vital foundations with $1 million being divvied out.
“This is amazing,” Orlando Science Center President and CEO JoAnn Newman said at this event. “This is a very prestigious foundation and to be able to have met the criteria and receive an award is kind of game-changing for us. We’re excited.”
Research shows that 60 percent of future jobs will require STEM skills that only one out of five workers possess and only 20 percent of the college degrees awarded in Central Florida are in the STEM fields (30 percent nationally).
As a result, the Orlando Science Center has adopted STEM academic principles. The mission of the science center is to inspire science learning for life. OMYF’s assistance will now help extend that focus and vision to more youth in Central Florida.
“We’re going to use these funds to reach underserved preschool students in the community and their families,” Newman said. “It’s going to be very impactful for them and the community. For us, it’s a wonderful step for us.”
The Orlando Science Center features many exhibits and seminars that help broaden our knowledge of science and technology. It’s a very popular venue for Orlando visitors and it’s fantastic for school field trips and group outings.
To learn more about the Orlando Science Center, STEM education and how you can get involved, visit https://www.osc.org/. For more information on OMYF, go to http://www.omyf.org/.
2017 OMYF grant recipients: Adult Literacy League ($40,000); Aspire Health Partners – Zebra Coalition ($100,000); Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida ($75,000); Central Florida YMCA ($75,000); Christian Service Center ($20,000); Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida ($50,000); Early Learning Coalition of Orange County ($65,000); ELEVATE Orlando ($60,000); Foundation for Foster Children ($60,000); Foundation for Seminole State College of Florida ($50,000); Hope CommUnity Center ($55,000); IMPOWER ($50,000); Junior Achievement of Central Florida ($100,000); The Nemours Foundation ($50,000); Orlando Science Center ($50,000); University of Central Florida Foundation ($50,000); Valencia College Foundation ($50,000).