The Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club welcomed Wellington Village Council members and special guest Katie Jacobs Robinson on Wednesday, Nov. 20 to celebrate the receipt of a $35,000 grant from the Jacobs Family Foundation in support of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) programs at the club.
The guests toured the facility and had the opportunity to see the results of the funding first-hand.
“We’re very fortunate to have funding from the Jacobs Family Foundation to support our STEAM programs,” Director of Programming Lotus Holem said. “Exposing the kids to learning how to code through Code Combat [software], learning how to program robots and drones, and also expose them to our space, where they can learn CAD, sewing and really be exposed to creative ways to learn.”
After touring the music room, passing by exercise classes and walking outside to the garden, the visitors had the chance to see the kids in action as they programmed and flew small drones in the gym.
“I think the diversity of programming is particularly unique,” Councilman Michael Drahos said. “You can have kids playing dodgeball on one side of the court and doing science and technology on the other. So, in addition to having physical activity, we have mental activity. That’s really a unique part of this club, and a benefit to the kids as a whole.”
If learning the language of coding and working with Python doesn’t catch a child’s interest, there are other creative programs available to them, like sewing.
“You can serve kids of any interests — from sports to computers and music. The music room was fantastic,” Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone said.
The Jacobs Family Foundation has provided grants to the Boys & Girls Club in the past, but this larger “Great Futures with STEAM” grant allowed the club to expand its offerings.
“This is the first time we’ve elevated it to this level,” said Jaene Miranda, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. “Typically, we do $25,000, but with the extra $10,000, we were able to do more — like with the drones and buying more software.”
Jacobs Robinson was excited to take the tour and see the results of her family’s grant funding with her own eyes.
“I think it’s really important to go out and see this, and I’m really happy I did it. My brothers are all working, so I get the luxury of being able to see all of this,” she said. “I was a teacher in my former life, so this is right up my alley. It’s really important to support these programs for kids.”
It is through the continued support of families and the community that the Boys & Girls Club can continue to offer kids new opportunities in a safe environment.
“A lot of what you see here is because of the donations of many families who have come and given to the community, so we recognize the fact that we are very fortunate in Wellington to have families that step up and want to benefit the club,” Drahos said.
The Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club is located at 1080 Wellington Trace in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 790-0343 or visit www.bgcpbc.org.