Since opening its doors as a single afterschool program operating out of an apartment building 25 years ago, Think Together has impacted two million students with afterschool programs and enrichment outside the regular school day. Annually, Think Together serves nearly 200,000 students at 600 school sites throughout California.
With most students qualifying for free or reduced lunch, Think Together students generally do not have access to the same education resources, sports programs, and enrichment activities after school as their more affluent peers might have. Think Together partners with schools to serve these students and their families with no-cost programs throughout the state.
Once the bell rings the end of the school day, students enrolled in Think Together’s afterschool program check in with their program leader and receive a healthy snack in a friendly and supportive environment.
They socialize with their friends while engaging in art and science activities. They participate in fun physical activities or competitive sports programs. To round out their day, students receive academic support and work with caring mentors to complete their homework.
MEET ETHAN, FIFTH GRADE STUDENT, FUTURE ARCHITECT AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEER
One particularly inspiring student, Ethan, wants to be a structural engineer or an architect. He is especially interested in designing houses from the outside in.
Ethan is a fifth grader and has been enrolled in Think Together’s afterschool program for two years. His favorite subject is math.
“I like math because I just like to add up all the numbers, and sometimes it can be really easy and sometimes really challenging,” said Ethan.
Fortunately for Ethan, Think Together recently refreshed its expanded learning program design to provide students with the most innovative curriculum in arts, enrichment, physical activity and STEM.
Expanded learning opportunities like coding and robotics provide robust experiences to students from Los Angeles County to the Bay Area, Orange County to the Coachella Valley, who have traditionally not always been encouraged to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Plus, with volunteer support from donors like The Boeing Company, Broadcom Inc., Cisco, Southern California Edison, PayPal, and Western Digital, students are able to connect with professionals that often represent the very communities they live in. These STEM programs often instill in kids new skills and career awareness as well as confidence, perseverance, creativity, and grit.
As Ethan moves on to middle school, he will be equipped with a firm foundation for the next stages of his academic journey. And Ethan is ambitious with his future; he’s hoping to be part of Stanford’s freshman class of 2029.
INVESTING IN TOMORROW’S ENGINEERS, CODERS AND PROBLEM SOLVERS
Ethan needs the support of today’s leaders to forge his path toward achieving his ambitious goals. He will need corporate executives to invest in research and innovation and he will need caring adults who know the importance of helping students like Ethan build a strong work ethic and opportunity to gain experience.
Think Together works with corporate foundations to provide students from traditionally under-resourced communities like Compton, Lynwood and Bellflower with real-world coding and engineering experience to fuel a love of math, engineering, and architecture, with STEM activities.
Computer science drives job growth and innovation throughout our economy. Computing occupations are now the number one source of all new wages in the US In California, the average salary for a computing occupation is twice that of the overall state average.
Think Together’s coding initiative incorporates computer science curriculum into its expanded learning programs – an intentional effort to prepare kids with the knowledge they’ll need to thrive in the digital age.
But there is a gap in education. Most students in California do not have access to coding or computer science instruction in K-12 classrooms.
Investing in today’s future engineers now means a vibrant and diverse pool of candidates tomorrow. It’s an invaluable asset with an incalculable return on investment.
Think Together is uniquely positioned to create college-ready students and career pathways with its corporate partners through programs it offers in Los Angeles County and beyond.
“Together, we can change the odds.”
Learn more at thinktogether.org.
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