The DeLaSalle Center is an innovative high school serving students in need of an alternative to the traditional school. This school is part of the Operation Breakthrough organization, one of Valorem Gives’ community partners. We are proud to sponsor this incredibly impactful program as it promotes STEM learning in such an important organization that is vital to children in Kansas City. Domnick Parretta, Valorem CEO, and other members of Valorem's leadership team joined teaching staff and administrators in celebrating the opening.
At the dedication ceremony, Mr. Parretta relayed the following: "It's great when you can watch children build their problem-solving skills, explore their creativity and make their ideas tangible. We jumped at the chance to help with the new makerspace, as we believe STEM programs will only increase in importance as our world continues to evolve and jobs become centered around the skills children will begin to learn in programs such as this."
Operation Breakthrough has had great success with their MakerSpace and wanted to replicate this concept for the younger kids who receive services at DeLaSalle. Operation Breakthrough describes their first MakerSpace:
Operation Breakthrough's MakerSpace promotes personalized learning through the use of real materials to tinker, problem solve, collaborate and create. Over 300 children have the opportunity to engage with the MakerSpace's six different zones each week. The six zones include textiles, construction/toy hacking, studio arts, chef's corner, the green screen and code world/robotics. These areas provide a creative outlet as well as opportunities to practice problem solving.
The national average percentage for children living in poverty that are ready for kindergarten is only 50%. For the last two years running, 90% of the Operation Breakthrough kids are ready to take on kindergarten and having access to makerspaces plays a part in gearing up these new, young students for success.
Mary Esselman, CEO of Operation Breakthrough, shares her thoughts and explains more about MakerSpace:
“The resilience and habits of mind that develop with being a Maker are qualities that we want to promote in our young children. The MakerSpace provides the opportunity for innovative, inventive, and creative learning. This space represents a shift away from ready-made activities, or one size fits all projects to exploratory learning. Thank you Valorem, for giving this wonderful new space to our children at our DeLaSalle location.”
Kathy Ramirez, MakerSpace Education Coordinator, speaks to the healthy environment and benefits of MakerSpace:
"Each day, the children bounce with excitement in anticipation of going into their new MakerSpace. This new classroom is full of wondrous materials their little hands can freely explore and allows for open exploration of how stuff works. Each visit to the MakerSpace is guaranteed to help grow their brains, deepen their desire for new knowledge and broaden their natural curiosity. Whether it is making colorful pancakes in the Cooking Zone, building flying machines for the Wind Tunnel, or experimenting with the visible light spectrum in their Light Lab, these children are having a fantastic and amazing time MAKING!! Thank you so much Valorem!"