July 13, 2024 4:13 pm

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YMCA partners with Techbridge Girls for STEM Enrichment Program

EVERETT, WA. February 20, 2023 – The YMCA of Snohomish County is partnering with Techbridge Girls to bring STEM ChangeMakers, an innovative, out-of-school enrichment program, to three YMCA locations. STEM ChangeMakers is a place for girls and gender-expansive youth in grades 6-8 to explore topics like environmental engineering, computer science and coding in a supportive, inclusive environment. This program is free, but spots are limited.

“We are excited to create a safe space to deliver incredible STEM curriculum to youth in our community,” said Lauren Hunter, STEM Discovery Program Coordinator, YMCA of Snohomish County. “Our goal is to remove barriers so anyone who wants to be a part of STEM can experience it.”

STEM ChangeMakers is a series of 12 sessions focusing on a specific aspect of STEM. Each 90-minute session is designed to build STEM joy, excitement, and belonging through culturally-relevant story-based learning that challenges gender, racial, and class bias. The program culminates with a Community Impact Project to showcase what participants have created throughout the course to resolve a problem in their community.

The Y selected TechBridge Girls’ curriculum because of its focus on creating opportunities and advocating specifically for girls and gender-expansive youth who may not resonate with traditional educational opportunities. Lessons are aligned with National Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and draw on girls’ interests and lived experiences.

“When someone’s identity isn’t automatically accepted or represented, their brain isn’t completely devoted to higher learning,” said Hunter. “By creating a safe environment to learn, our participants can devote 100 percent of their brainpower to STEM, allowing them to learn the most and make the biggest impact. Women, particularly BIPOC women, are underrepresented in STEM and our goal is to make it more accessible to these communities.”

The program is launching at Everett Family YMCA, Stanwood-Camano YMCA, and Mill Creek Family YMCA. Classes will be taught by YMCA Youth Development Directors and Coordinators who have completed educator training emphasizing equity, social-emotional learning, and best practices.

“We hope to expand the program to all six Snohomish County Y locations in the future,” said Hunter. “This is a much-needed program; everyone belongs in STEM and we have an opportunity to reach and inspire youth across the county.”

To learn more about STEM ChangeMakers or to register for the program, please contact Lauren Hunter at lhunter@ymca-snoco.org.

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