Celebrating those who give back
Name: Sarah Macintyre
Title: Manager, Ottawa Public Library
We reached out to monthly donor and past volunteer Board Chair, Sarah Macintyre to find out why she chooses to support the STEAM Education Centre and how you can too!
When did you get involved with STEAM?
"I was involved at the very beginning when the idea first came up as a possibility. It was just a few folks in a room with a little bit of seed funding. We felt as though St Thomas had a good energy but there was a gap - there was no tech hub. The STEAM Centre started as a way to help youth maximize their potential in St Thomas... At the time, I managed the technology department at St. Thomas Public Library, so it was a natural fit."
During the time you were on the board what was your favourite memory?
"For me what was most rewarding, was getting to work with such great people. When I look back to all the positive things, watching the folks, stakeholders and other board members show up to the meetings and really giving it their all. Getting to know the team. It's special when you have a variety of people with different backgrounds come together because of something that they all believe in."
You’ve been a regular monthly donor. What made you decide to give first donation?
"I guess the very first donation I gave was the gift of time. It's where I started. I was attending the meetings, participating in Doors Open St Thomas and getting involved with the STEAM Centre. When you are in the role of the Board Chair, especially for a non profit organization, a fair bit of that role is fund development. You cannot approach community organizations about giving money if you are not actually doing it yourself. Early on I said I have to put my money where my mouth is so I became a monthly donor."
What keeps you donating even though you moved away?
"It's an easy way to support the Centre, and it has just become a regular part of my budget. I don't have to think about it because it's automatically set up. At the end of the year I get the full year tax receipt, and it’s easy to manage. For me, it may be a small gesture, but for the STEAM Centre I know that monthly donations are a great place to start, and that they are an important part of ongoing fund development. Just because I moved away doesn't mean that the STEAM Centre stops existing! All of the great reasons I got involved in the first place are still there, and I want to continue to support the community, this project, and the program. There is no reason to stop; I believed in it then and I believe in it now."
There are so many charities. Why consider the STEAM Centre to donate to?
"When we have opportunities in our lives to give back I think it is vitally important. What is really great about the Steam Centre is that when you do give your money you are able to see the impact of that. You are able to see in your community the difference that dollar has made. You see the programs that they are running, you see the teens and people being positively impacted by their services. I know that the outcomes are not just kids playing with technology - the outcome of supporting a program like this is supporting things like university readiness, and career development in kids and teens.
Having an innovation mindset is key for our students to really grasp what that means, especially as our society starts to deal with tremendous problems like climate change. I think the kind of curiosity that an organization like the STEAM Centre fosters in our community cannot be understated. You give money to an organization and you really see the kind of good that it is doing. I really think it can't be beat."
In your opinion what is the most important thing the organization does?
"I think that it is connecting with the youth. I think that the STEAM Centre's strength and value they bring to the community is that they offer a unique service, a unique experience. They are connecting the teens and the students to a new way of thinking, a new way of problem solving, which is so important. It’s making sure that the students and participants leave their programs feeling inspired and feeling as though this is something that they could get involved in in the future."
Join Sarah and become a monthly donor today at:
Student volunteer, Katie Franklin is featured as the STEAM Student of the Month at
Supported by MYFM 94.1 and Williams Funeral Home Limited
Katie is volunteering with our STEAM Community Studio project, Reducing Waste: Finding reuse for items in a cluttered world. Katie and her fellow Western University Community Engaged Learning student's had a goal of helping to create more reuse options for the City of St Thomas. Stay tuned for news on this project soon and how you can help the environment on your next house clean-out!
Student volunteer, Shukri Matan is featured as the STEAM Student of the Month at
Supported by MYFM 94.1 and Williams Funeral Home Limited
Shukri is volunteering with our STEAM Community Studio Virtual Marketplace project with the goal of helping downtown St Thomas businesses get more online presence and recognition. Stay tuned for a downtown wide instagram event coming soon!
The STEAM Community Studio project helps create student engaged learning by providing them with proposals from the community on local issues. After selecting the initial four community impact projects for STEAM Community Studio, next came the process of connecting students with these ideas to create an experiential learning opportunity. Our STEAM team worked with learning coordinators from TVDSB and Western to help perfectly pair students with a challenge that would grow their curriculum experience. The STEAM Community Studio then spends time connecting with industry experts that can help further the educational experience and help the students research their projects.
The students are able to work through the processes of brainstorming, Design Thinking and developing ideas for creating a prototype that could receive funds up to $2000 towards proof of concept. These funds were generously donated by the Estate of Donna Bushell and facilitated through Andrew Gunn Consulting. The process will also have another level of student involvement in the role of Young & Free Press reporter, Sophie Mutch who will join in to report on the progress of the projects.
We have now selected the student groups and are pleased to announce them and their industry partners for each project. Welcome to the Western University environmental health sciences, Eagle Heights elementary Excellerators group, Ivey Business School volunteers, Oakridge Secondary, St Joseph’s High school volunteers and students from Arthur Voaden and H.B. Beal SHSM classes!
1) Reducing Waste: Finding reuse for items in a cluttered world
We would like to welcome Kalin Forgie, Katie Franklin, and Lauren McNair from Environmental Health Sciences: Environmental Health Promotions 3rd year program 3rd at Western University! These students are working to tackle building a prototype plan for a Reuse model at the St Thomas Community Recycling Centre (CRC). The plan was suggested to the STEAM Centre by the City of St Thomas. The students have worked on learning the Design Thinking process with Director of Education Fred Cahill, Research Methodology with St Thomas Library Fundraising & Outreach Coordinator, Amelia Bainbridge and have been able to meet with industry expert Michelle Shannon, Waste Management Coordinator of the CRC and City of St Thomas engineer Justin Lawrence. Using the information and training provided they are busy developing a plan for a waste reuse model that will have a positive environmental impact in the St Thomas area. The students are compiling a report to be presented to City Council for review.
2) Creating Sensory Spaces
This proposal, brought to us by Wellkin Child & Youth engagement council, sees an interesting collaboration between the Eagle Heights Elementary School Excellerator’s group, made up of students from grades 5-7, with three Grade 12 students (pictured above) from St Joseph’s Catholic High School. Students Monica Paul, Kaylee Simoes and Madison Stacey are acting as mentors while simultaneously going through the learning process themselves.
The objective for this group was to learn about the role that empathy plays in the Design thinking process so that discoveries can be made to create modular sensory panels that would suit a variety of Wellkin’s guests. Director of Education, Fred Cahill took them on a journey to learn the brainstorming process using a Crazy Eights workshop and Melissa Petkau of Jason’s Wheelhouse discussed sensory needs that may be encountered during the project. These are sensory aspects that she has seen in her role with the centre and as a member of the Complex Behaviour Intervention team as part of the Grand Erie Board of Education.
Students also learned from the STEAM team how to create their prototypes by using Tinkercad software and created a foam core prototype using a bag of sensory supplies. They will be able to present their creations and their findings to members of Wellkin’s Student Engagement group and to the Youth Engagement Facilitator, Jessica Ross. From there the prototypes will be given to the Arthur Voaden Manufacturing and Design SHSM class to work on constructing next level modules based on their designs.
3) Virtual Marketplace for Small Businesses
Shurki Matan from the Ivey Business school is the lead mentor of SHSM students from H.B. Beal for supporting the Downtown Development Board’s proposal of creating a virtual marketplace presence for downtown businesses. Shukri and two other Western Students, Rohan Noronha and Behdokht Mazahari worked to study the downtown core's existing online presence, assess their needs and to find possible solutions for increasing this presence with the goal of helping to generate revenue and awareness of local businesses. They have received great support from local businesses including; Canden Tech, Streamliners Espresso Bar, Aline's Fine Lingerie and Your Fish and Chips to help build their knowledge of local business needs.
4) Audio/Video Production Studio for Youth Skill Building
Students from Oakridge Secondary School's Visual Arts/ Video/ Design grade classes are working through the Design Thinking process with Fred Cahill, Director of Education at STEAM Education Centre and learning from industry experts including podcaster, Trudy Chapman of Meanderings with Trudy and Derrick Beckford, Production Manager and Technical Director in the Broadcast and Live Industry with the goal of designing an AV Production space for the Ignite Youth Centre. This project will help connect with local youth and student leaders at the Ignite Youth Centre and give them a chance to create podcasts and videos to get their voices heard.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this process of helping to make real community impact in Elgin- St Thomas! Stay tuned as our next project and student partners will be announced soon.
If you have an idea for a possible project/issue you'd like resolved email us today at email@example.com!
$31,700 OTF grant enriches lives and gives community members a voice by funding artistic tools and the creation of an audio/video production studio at STEAM Education Centre
We are delighted to be the recipient of an Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) $31,700 Capital Grant. This grant will allow the Centre to build an audio/video/production technology based studio that will enrich the lives of the local community by providing a space where further art and technology education can be explored. Students from the Ignite Youth Centre, other youth groups and members of the community will be able to access the space, once in person visits are safe to do so, and use it to create videos and podcasts as well as to explore other digital technologies. This provides an opportunity for sharing voices that might not otherwise be heard and teaches fundamental arts and technology skills.
“Students love to make and create to demonstrate what they're learning. The creative process is also about giving students tools to construct a variety of emerging technologies to learn through experience. This Capital grant from OTF will give students an opportunity to create their own expressions, build meaning, work through problems, and acquire new knowledge and skills in context,” says Jessica Gransaull, Executive Director STEAM Centre.
The OTF grant will allow for the acquisition of:
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded $108 million to 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.
STEAM Community Studio
“It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
The STEAM Centre welcomes further submissions and academic partnering applications.
STEAM Education Centre and Antler River elementary school from the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation have joined forces to inspire digital literacy among elementary communities through the newly created iSTEAM program. Thanks to generous donations from Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) and the Ontario Trillium Foundation the multi-week year long program has the Centre provide weekly sessions where the students get to build on S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art design ,Math) based skills and combine its relevance with indigenous storytelling and teachings and curriculum ties.
In the first session students were taught about the concept of the how and the why of the sky and that hidden in plain sight is all the wonder of the world. The idea of exploring that we are in this amazing, invisible fluid all day that sustains us and we ignore it but it is what we breathe and what allows all flying things to have a chance to fly, float and soar in this graceful interaction with gravity and energy. The first challenge when discussing flight dynamics was to create an object out of paper that would stay afloat in a built air tube. This could be a paper airplane modified in various ways or a helicopter using a pattern provided to the students. They could also test to see how throwing the paper flight objects by hand would vary in glide time and distance so that they can alter their design as needed.
The overarching theme of the how and why of the sky was further set to engage the students through the celebration of the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation's story of the Thunderbird. The students were also provided with bird flyer kits that were designed at the STEAM Centre on Corel Draw software and moi3D. After repeated flight tests of the various designs these bird flyer kits were then laser cut out of foam core and added metal washers to aid in the balancing. Students were encouraged to assemble and use art design to make their bird unique .Many took them home to complete and reported working on the designs with their family members. "The school partnership with STEAM is "bringing families together. Empowering students and engaging adults." -Jeff Clark, Antler River Elementary School teacher