2022 Grants Challenge

STEAM in Public Housing

The Boys & Girls Cub of West San Gabriel Valley and Eastside presents STEAM in Public Housing. This program brings experiential, project-based STEAM activities to youth in the public housing sites of Ramona Gardens, Estrada Courts, and William Mead Homes. By exposing youth to STEAM ideas and principals at a young age, we hope to dispel misconceptions about STEAM careers and build confidence in youth that they can be successful in STEAM fields.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

It is well established that there is a market need for a STEM-educated workforce. Getting and keeping low-income students on a STEM path in college is a challenge given that they often come tremendously under-prepared in math. The Club currently serves youth at three public housing sites - Ramona Gardens, Estrada Courts, and William Mead Homes. Youth and families living in these areas struggle with failure in education. Schools in the communities we serve have high percentages of youth testing below standard on the 2019 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) system. On-average below-standard test results for the schools served by our public housing sites: • Elementary—language arts 77%, math 84% • Middle School — language arts 64%, math 72% • High School —language arts 55%, math 77% At one high school, 69% did not meet standards at all. These numbers all increase for Hispanic youth, English learners and those from economically disadvantaged homes.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Recognizing the STEM gap in our community, we made STEM programming a priority. We partnered with East Los Angeles College (ELAC) who developed STEM curriculum for us. The primary goal of the program is to encourage participating students to explore STEM as a career path. Outcomes to reaching this goal include: generating interest among students in STEM subjects; dispelling preconceptions of STEM topics of study; creating identifiable role models who have an interest in STEM subjects through staff and student relationship; building confidence among students so they feel that they can succeed in STEM subjects. Our STEM content is an inquiry-based, experiential curriculum where trained, professional instructors and their students work together as active learners. Students’ diversity, individuality and uniqueness are recognized and respected. The projects are fun and use real world applications to generate an interest in STEM topics. Participants are given the space to explore ideas, ask questions, look for solutions, and most importantly have the courage to fail and try again in a supportive environment. STEM is made more powerful by including the A - art. Our Arts programs are strong and complement the STEM curriculum by developing creativity and teaching youth to think about solving problems in different ways. Our programs include music, dance, and visual art. Many of our youth have created work that has been nationally recognized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Our program will be considered successful if our youth emerge as confident, curious, creative thinkers who are unafraid to tackle the most difficult, challenging issues of our community.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Evaluating the effectiveness of this program will be measured through attendance and through pre- and post testing. Participants will be surveyed in a pretest to measure their perceptions of and interest in STEM subjects and fields. Often our participants find STEM subjects to be valuable, but they also find them challenging and state that they do not perform well in them and that they are less likely to achieve a STEM-related career. Proposed activities will introduce beginners to STEM while providing opportunities for those who have previously participated to elevate to the next level. Post testing will evaluate progress in STEM curricula, and increases in confidence and interest in STEM ideas, concepts and fields.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 310

Indirect Impact: 935