iSTEAM launched in 2020 with generous and visionary support from Canadian Internet Regulatory Authority (CIRA), and Ontario Trillium Foundation. After a hugely successful school year with students and teachers at Antler River Elementary School (Chippewa of the Thames First Nation), we're thrilled to share the final project report. We look forward to growing the program in 2021-2022 to include more students, schools and communities in this awesome program.
Celebrating those who give back
Name: Terry Carroll, Elgin – St. Thomas Community Foundation
Title: Executive director
We reached out to Terry to find out why the Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation chooses to support the STEAM Education Centre and our programs and how you can too! The Community Foundation helps people and families give back to charities they care about to help address local, community needs.
When did you get involved with STEAM?
Our first involvement was in late 2016 when STEAM hosted an open house at the former Wellington Street Public School. At that time, it was important to begin to understand the Centre and where we might play a role.
How has the Community Foundation played a role in this involvement?
Our role has largely been as a funder. We have also played a small role in helping spread the word about STEAM.
How have you given back to the STEAM Education Centre?
In addition to our role as a funder, we did one thing so small it sounds almost silly to mention. We had a spare computer monitor and donated it to STEAM earlier this year. But I suppose if everybody thinks like that, it has an impact.
What was your favourite contribution and why?
The grants to the Centre from the Community Foundation through the Bushell Estate last year, totaling over $278,000 including a major gift to the STEAM Community Studio, have to top the list. It was a great experience working with Andrew Gunn and Jessica Gransaull on the way to delivering the grant.
What does the idea of STEAM Education mean to you?
It’s an innovative approach to teaching and learning coupled with some very practical work like the refurbishing and donating of computer equipment to people who can’t otherwise afford it. We also respect the integrity of the people involved at the Centre.
What made you decide to give your first donation?
In our case, it was part of our application process. In 2018, STEAM made a successful grant application to what we now call our Great-EST Needs Fund.
There are so many charities. Why should people in the community consider the STEAM Education Centre to donate to?
There’s the youth aspect which is important, the partnerships including the one with the Ignite Youth Centre, the innovation in a responsible manner, exciting programs, and, frankly, impressive staff people and Board Members. We are also fans of the Facebook group for non-profits Jessica has recently launched!
How do you think students benefit from our programs?
The hands-on aspect has always been important for students. Your commitment to inclusivity is second to none. And the areas STEAM is focusing on should really benefit students in their job searches later.
Why do you think it is important that people support community programs?
It’s as important for the person doing the supporting as it is for the person or program being supported. Want to feel better about yourself? Do something for someone else.
Learn more about the Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation at https://escf.ca/ and if you would like to support STEAM’s education initiatives click here to donate
August 31, 2021
For Immediate Release:
STEAM Centre’s re//BUILD.IT Community program gives its 250th computer donation
St Thomas, ON: The STEAM Education Centre’s award winning re//BUILD.IT Community computer donation program today marks their 250th computer donation. This program provides free refurbished computers to students, Indigenous communities and people with limited means, ensuring our most vulnerable can stay connected and achieve their potential. With more people being forced to learn and work from home due to the pandemic the community requests have been great since the pandemic’s inception and requests continue to come in daily.
“We launched the computer donation program when local social workers and literacy organizations reached out for help. One year later, with HUGE thanks to generous supporters and technology donors, we celebrate donating our 250th computer!”, said Jessica Gransaull, Executive Director of the STEAM Centre.
The program truly is a community effort with many local donors and organizations helping to ensure the program’s success including the Government of Canada/United Way, Green Lane Trust, Elgin Business Resource Centre, Kinsmen Club of St Thomas, MASCO, Diply, Century Sound and dmac Automation. The program was recognized in November 2020 by Future of Good’s digital summit (https://www.futureofgoodsummit.org/) as a Top 100 recovery project in Canada. Future of Good recognizes local projects that help communities bounce back from the pandemic’s social and economic impacts.
"The opportunities that Steam Education has provided our clients is beyond amazing."
- RSSW, Transition to Employment, Mental Health Worker
“I just wish to extend my deepest thanks to all of you for the work you do. I just recently received a computer through your program and I must say it is beyond anything I could have expected, let alone afford. The ability to reconnect with my family in London and British Columbia has been such a gift that I really cannot express it enough, and the hardware itself is amazing.”
- Christopher, re//BUILD.IT Community computer recipient
The success of this program is dependent upon public and corporate computer donations, with the greatest current need being laptops. The need for access to equipment has not stopped and the Centre faces a regular 20-30 person waiting list for those in need. To support this program and to discover further details visit the program web page at: https://www.steameducation.ca/rebuildit.html#/
About STEAM Education Centre:
The mission of STEAM Centre is to educate and empower learners to imagine and create the future through play, ingenuity, and innovation using science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). This is achieved through comprehensive hands-on school programs, leadership programs engaging students at all levels in prototyping solutions, and essential skill building programs featuring coding and creating using traditional tools and emerging technologies.
Community and Communications Coordinator
Each July, the STEAM Education Centre completes a fiscal year and the STEAM Team comes together to discuss all of the 'wins', 'lessons' and BIG ideas for the future of the organization. All of this comes together in the STEAM Education Centre's annual report! Download the annual report and celebrate the amazing impacts and opportunities we created for students this year. It really was an awesome one for innovating learning and the ways that kids connect to the skills they will need most.
Signed, Your STEAM Team
Community Spotlight: Natalie Tyson awarded $5000 grant for STEAM Family Camp idea
St. Thomas, ON, Canada / 94.1 St.ThomasToday.ca
94.1 myFM News staff
Jul 23, 2021 | 6:00 AM
The STEAM Education Centre in St. Thomas has received an Ontario Community Changemakers grant thanks to the work of summer student Natalie Tyson.
Tyson, who started with STEAM back in May is no stranger to the work they do, having first hand experience working with them as a robotics team member at Parkside.
With Tyson now in her final year of her Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership Program at Fanshawe College, she brought her love of STEAM and education together to come up with a new STEAM Family Camps idea.
Tyson took that idea and applied for the 8 80 Cities microgrant of $5,000, and was awarded 1 of just 20.
Read whole story here: /www.stthomastoday.ca/2021/07/23/48279/
Celebrating those who give back
Name: Matthew Tyson
Title: Owner Century Sound Sales & Service
We reached out to area business owner Matthew Tyson of Century Sound to find out why he chooses to support the STEAM Education Centre and how you can too! Matthew has helped the STEAM Centre since the beginning through lending speaker equipment to allow the Centre to host various events and has since created an onsite e-waste bin to help our re//BUIILD.IT Community Computer Donation program connect more people in our community.
When did you get involved with STEAM?
I am going to have to give that credit to my daughter. When you were located on Wellington Street we were there for the open house because of her involvement with robotics. Everyone involved was very engaged and truly supported the kids curiosity and willingness to learn.
Thank you for creating an onsite bin to help our re//BUILD.IT Community Computer Donation program. Tell me why you created the onsite bin and who you hope that it will help?
We are a consumer electronics store and our customers want to get rid of replacement equipment responsibly. We made ourselves a STEAM repurpose centre to accommodate our customers and allow them to help the STEAM Centre with providing repurposed computers, speakers, keyboards, monitors and mice.
How many computers do you think you have donated?
Already there have been over 20 computer devices and accessories donated to the re//BUILD.IT Community program.
What made you decide to give your first donation to the STEAM Centre?
My team and I are big supporters of supporting our community. To provide kids with the opportunity to take equipment apart, learn all the components and their functions, then come up with solutions and that's what experimenting is all about... Whether they prevail or fail - the process of the steps makes everyone a winner.
How do you think local businesses can support charities like the STEAM Centre in other ways?
Awareness. It’s all about helping to raise awareness. Approach local businesses. Build awareness and keep it out there. Support your community!
We recently did a campaign to help local downtown businesses pivot during the pandemic to online options. How does raising awareness online help everyone- businesses and charities alike?
If you are part of the downtown or a part of the group and you generate excitement then people get excited. I can tell the difference that when I am on social media it generates a lot of excitement for downtown. Raising awareness is up to people like you or me to do that extra shout out and tell family and friends and that word will spread. It works.
Your daughter is now a summer student leader at STEAM. What do you hope she gets out of the experience?
The cool thing about that is that she gets to interact with people and experience structure and see all of the processes that she would not experience in a classroom environment. The STEAM Centre provides hands- on education that not only benefits my daughter but all the kids who get involved.
Join Matthew and help donate used computer equipment to our re//BUIILD.IT community computer donation program by emailing email@example.com or phone 226-212-0048 or donate financially at: www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/steam-education-centres-incorporated/?sm=1
MYFM 94.1 and Williams Funeral Home Ltd present STEAM Students of the Month for July
STEAM Centre Students of the Month July 2021
Name: Subhadra Nair and Shintu John
School: Fanshawe College – Public Relations-Corporate Communications
Time with STEAM Centre: 2 months
As a part of Fanshawe College’s Public Relations and Communications Program, Shintu and Subhadra came to STEAM Education Centre to support the social media marketing team for promoting our STEAM@Home summer camps, video editing and also assisting with our STEAM Community Studio community impact events. These students assisted with the Virtual Marketplace #RailwayCitySocial event to help support local businesses pivot online during a pandemic and are currently working on a project for the St Thomas Fire Department in an effort to help raise awareness about the importance of smoke detector installations and upkeep for seniors in the community. Subhadra has even spent much of her internship connecting with us virtually directly from her home in India despite the 9.5-hour time difference! Both students are extremely talented and dedicated. We are thrilled to introduce Shintu and Subhadra, and the next generation of teachers, innovators and problem solvers. Learn more about STEAM Education Centre’s school and community programs for student engagement and experiential learning at www.steameducation.ca.
Hi, we are Shintu John and Subhadra Nair and we are doing Public Relations-Corporate Communications at Fanshawe College. The Virtual Marketplace #RailwayCitySocial project that we worked on through STEAM Community Studio, is intended to encourage local businesses to participate in an Instagram Clinic to help them to do business online. During the pandemic it was hard for local businesses to pivot to an online format so we have designed posters to invite businesses to join a learning Instagram clinic and win prizes. The event also invited the public to join the contest and to engage online with local downtown businesses. We got a chance to come up with different designs for the project. We also worked for Bold Biology Camp and Super Steam Camp by making posters and editing videos. Currently, we are working on a Smoke Detector Campaign to make the seniors aware of the importance of smoke detectors.
I am doing my Postgraduate course in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Fanshawe College. As a part of my studies, I got a chance to work with STEAM as a placement. The experience I am getting from working with the team is really great and will be very helpful for my future professional life. I was able to use most of my theoretical knowledge from college and understood how it is to be done in a real scenario.
I completed Advanced Communications for Professionals from Fanshawe College last year. As part of my PR course, I got a chance to work with STEAM as an intern. It is a great experience to work with STEAM Education Centre and I have learned a lot from this time being with them. I think the experience and knowledge I am getting from the team will be helpful for my career. It is helping me to understand how to apply things in a workspace scenario which we have studied in our course.
What difference do you think the project you are working on will have?
The Virtual Marketplace is helpful for local businesses to learn about the role of Instagram to attract more customers and how to use it and the Summer Camps will provide the students with a chance to have fun and learn at their home with their parents. It is an interesting theme to do a camp with family. Finally, the Smoke Detector project is worthwhile in the present scenario in that it helps the seniors to be aware of the need for detectors and their usage. We consider this as a great opportunity to also help the fire department to reduce fire fatalities.
Celebrating those who give back
Name: Allan Hughson
Title: Owner/Manager Williams Funeral Home Ltd.
We were so grateful that Allan Hughson decided to reach out to MYFM and sponsor a STEAM Student to be showcased each month. The Student’s are really appreciating the recognition. We thought it was such a unique way to give back to a charity that we wanted to talk to Allan to find out what inspires him to get involved.
What prompted you to make the decision to support in this way?
I think it is important to recognize leaders that are people who think outside the box. STEAM allows them to develop who they are rather than a set formula. The fact that these students go to the STEAM Centre shows that they can think outside the box. They are the leaders and designers and mathematicians of the future. STEAM builds students up rather than tearing them down. I’m a strong supporter of the arts and theatre and thinking outside the box. I think it is so important to think differently. Be who you are. Don’t worry what the rest of the world thinks.
Why do you think it is important to celebrate students in STEAM?
It’s great to see the joy in the eyes of the students that are able to accomplish something. As a society we are now more open to so many things. It’s a good time to be born! Girls for a while were told that they weren’t any good at math and yet some of the best mathematicians are women. If you tell someone enough that they aren’t going to be good at something then they won’t try. My brother was taught special ed by a teacher who said “you’re not stupid, you just have to think differently”. It changed his perspective. When you are smart you know that you don’t fit in. You’re not sitting down playing euchre with your friends. You are sitting down and talking about the Pythagorean theorem. The worst thing in the world is to feel like you don’t fit in. When they go to the STEAM Centre you can see their joy and a place where they fit in. If I were young I would have wanted to be involved in these programs.
What STEAM skills would students need to do your job?
To do my job you need to
Why do you think STEAM is important?
STEAM teaches leaders not followers. I always told my kids failure is not about trying something that doesn’t work, failure is not doing anything. That person that developed the vaccine had to keep trying. Thomas Edison had many versions of the lightbulb before it was the final version. They were not failures, they were prototypes. STEAM teaches those skills.
Why should more local businesses connect with and donate to local charities like STEAM
Because we need to support our local community. We have the brains and the children out there and they just need an assist. Bringing those people out that want to contribute will end up helping the community as a whole. As a community we try to promote the citizens involved. You feel good about it . You can see the results as opposed to sending a donation away. When you give locally, your children, your grandchildren and friends will see the results and the community will benefit as a whole. STEAM helps you channel a new path or way.
Giving back can be creative! Let us know how you would like to get involved.
You can also donate to our educational programs at https://www.steameducation.ca/donate.html#/
On May 17th, the City of St Thomas council unanimously approved the Model trial of our STEAM Community Studio Reuse proposal. Students from Western's Environmental Sciences Health Promotion Community Engaged Learning class spent time with the STEAM Education Centre learning skills like Design Thinking and Research Methodology. The proposal was originally provided by Director of Environmental Services/City Engineer Justin Lawrence for the purposes of diverting waste from the landfill and increasing reuse options for the City. The students partnered with Habitat for Humanity's St. Thomas Restore manager, Dana Erickson to create a proposal where once launched, items dropped by the public for reuse will be picked up and brought to be sold at the restore which will ultimately benefit the future building of homes for those in need.
Please enjoy reading the students' prepared proposal that will now enter the first phase of the trial which will be the addition of a C-Can to the City Recycling Centre site. Stay tuned for further updates!
MYFM 94.1 and Williams Funeral Home Ltd present STEAM Student of the Month for June
Meet the STEAM Student of the Month - June 2021
Name: Thomas Papp-Simon
School: Western University – Honours Specialization Graduate 2021
Time with STEAM: 3 months
As a part of Western University’s Community Engaged Learning Seminar in Biology course, Thomas came to us to support the creation of the Bold Biology Summer Camp@Home experience. As a student group lead, Thomas helped to develop multiple engaging projects that we are excited to unveil for this summer’s camp that will provide fun learning experiments for the entire family. These ideas led to his becoming a Western University “Share Your Experience” essay winner making our summer camp now award winning! We are thrilled to introduce Thomas, and the next generation of teachers, innovators and problem solvers. Learn more about STEAM Education Centre’s school and community programs for student engagement and experiential learning at www.steameducation.ca.
Hi, my name is Thomas Papp-Simon, and I just graduated from Western University with an Honours Specialization in Biology. As a part of the Community Engaged Learning program at Western, I worked on developing a biology summer camp along with two of my classmates, Alice and Brian. This biology summer program was designed to introduce different aspects of biology in a fun and interactive manner in a week-long summer camp. Each day of the week has its own theme and is composed of a few experiments where the students can explore different areas of the diverse field of biology!
I’ve just finished the last year of my biology degree, where one of the courses I had to take was a seminar course. This course gave my colleagues and I the opportunity to partner with the STEAM Education Centre with the goal of interactively teaching young students about biology! I used to make educational videos on YouTube when I was younger, so that experience helped me in making the educational videos for this biology summer program, where I explained how to do each experiment step-by-step.
What difference do you think the project you are working on will have?
It is important to realize that not every student has the same privileges when it comes to learning and education. Developing this project will give the opportunity and the resources needed for those students to learn more about biology and science. Programs like this one can be developed for different subjects related to science, technology, engineering, art, and math, which can encourage more and more students to become interested in being our next generation of scientists!