• Rotary Year: 2018-2019
  • Application Date: 5/29/2018
  • Club Name: Rockingham County
  • Project Name: Big Brothers Big Sisters STEM Initiative
  • Project Total Expenditures: $13,170.00
  • Grant Amount Requested: $4,000.00
  • Describe the Project, its location and its objectives: Our partner organization for this project is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County. As the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliate in the state of Virginia, they provide over 500 local children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better. Through community based and school/site based mentoring programs serve local children and youth between the ages of 5 and 18. Children are referred to the mentoring programs by their school, parents or community service providers and face challenges including an absent or incarcerated parent, difficulty in school, parents with an addiction to drugs or alcohol or social isolation. Of the children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County 73% live at 125% of the poverty level or below, 45% live in single parent homes, and 7% have an incarcerated parent (or two)

    The objective is simple – provide “littles” with additional exposure to structured activities focused around STEM education, while enhancing the current match event opportunities which allow “bigs” and “littles” to spend quality time together, positively impacting the lives of everyone involved.

    This program start is just that, a start. Additional STEM activities will be added once the structure is in place, and BBBS will work with local Rotarians that have expertise in STEM areas to help develop new events and projects and introduce youth to local STEM career opportunities.

    Monthly events will include:
    - 3-4 projects to learn about STEM topics related to the designing, building, and decorating of ‘mini’ weighted soap box cars, as well as the completion of these pieces.
    - 1 event where children can race the cars they have built. The winner will be awarded the opportunity to race a full size BBBS / Rotary branded Soap Box Derby car in the annual local race.
    - 6 STEM projects as designed through Kiwi Crates (kits). These kits include all the parts and pieces a student will need to finish a “challenge” which promotes STEM learning, creativity, and fun. This grant will provide 120 kits to be used by local matches.
  • This is the Club’s: Primary Project Application
  • Expected Start Date: 7/1/2018
  • Expected End Date: 5/7/2019
  • Expected Number of Beneficiaries: 150
  • Describe how the project will benefit the community and/or improve the lives of the less fortunate: Youth are facing many challenges today including high-stakes testing, cyber-bullying, drugs, gang activity, and teen pregnancy. When coupled with environmental risks such as an absent or incarcerated parent, limited English proficiency or living at or below poverty level, the challenges can be overwhelming. Children may be 1 or 2 risky decisions away from changing the course of their lives. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides critical support at a time when children are most vulnerable to keep them on a positive path. Mentors provide guidance and support to help children make the best choices and reach their full potential. Local evaluation data shows that children matched with a mentor get better grades, avoid risky behaviors, have higher self-confidence, form more positive relationships, and set higher goals for themselves.

    The BBBS STEM initiative creates a series of match events where “bigs” and “littles” come together to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics projects. This initiative provides additional STEM exposure for children who would not otherwise have the opportunity for activities like this, and does so in an environment with individualized support, from their “big” to work through and accomplish each project piece. These events will be held in central locations, allowing for the greatest attendance and the engagement of Rotary members as volunteers in leading these events.

    This STEM initiative has the potential to reach over 150 matches in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. As was shared previously in this application, the majority of the children and youth served are facing many challenges, and would not have the opportunity to participate in activities like this without partnerships like this one. An investment in these children and youth, and in their academic growth and exploration of STEM, is an investment in our future workforce and community. This initiative will impact hundreds of local lives and allow Rotarians the opportunity to volunteer across many events and projects. The organization is also committed to finding additional partners to continue this STEM initiative moving forward.
  • Estimated Total Project Volunteer Hours: 300
  • Describe the Rotarian hands-on activities in the project (i.e. non-financial participation): Big Brothers Big Sisters Harrisonburg-Rockingham is an organization that depends on volunteer support. For this BBBS STEM initiative Rotarians will be asked to volunteer on project days to offer support for “bigs” and “littles” as they build and decorate weighted soap box cars, race cars, and build Kiwi Crate kits. These project days will culminate in an actual Soap Box Derby Car racing in the Harrisonburg Soap Box Derby. The monthly projects will require 4 Rotarians to provide 1-2 hours of service. On race day for the mini cars Rotarians will provide up to 10 volunteers for 3-4 hours. On the Harrisonburg Soap Box Derby Race day we expect to have more than 30 Rotarians for 12+ hours.

    The Harrisonburg Soap Box Derby is a signature event made possible by volunteers of the Rockingham Rotary Club that is going into the 13th year. It is an ‘all hands-on deck’ event for our club. The local race will have more than 30 Rotarians participating along with their families, and is a wonderful opportunity to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters to provide a fun, unique experience for their matches.

    This initiative will also require additional fundraising to support the grant. The annual car raffle includes a component that supports the Rockingham Rotary Foundation. This raffle raises money for two other non-profits as well. The entire club is expected to sell raffle tickets and a majority of the club attends the event.
  • Describe the publicity plan to inform the general public that this is a Rotary sponsored project: As with all of our local initiatives, these efforts will be promoted locally through newspaper, radio, and television. We are building alliances in all formats, but coverage still depends on the editor’s final call. Our main avenue for promotion will be through Big Brothers Big Sisters outreach including newsletters and social media platforms. We plan to include Interact information for each child participating to promote membership to them. We also plan to purchase t-shirts for participants and volunteers, and a banner, that will promote this initiative and partnership through the inclusion of both the BBBS and Rockingham County Rotary logos.
  • Cooperating Organizations – Please list each cooperating organization, if any: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County
  • Letter(s) of Participation: Letter of Participation.pdf
  • Project Expenditure Budget – list detail uses of funds for the project, or use the Budget UploadSee Budget Upload
  • Project Funding Budget – list detail sources of funds for the project, or use the Budget UploadSee Budget Upload
  • Budget Upload:rotary BBBS grant_budget.xls
  • Primary Contact Name: Charles Hendricks
  • Primary Contact Rotary Position: Rockingham Rotary 2017-2018 President
  • Primary Contact Email: charles@thegainesgroup.com
  • Primary Contact Phone: 540-437-0012
  • Financial Contact Name: Ed Yoder
  • Financial Contact Rotary Position: Rockingham Rotary Club Treasurer
  • Financial Contact Address: 
    P.O. Box 952
    Harrisonburg, VA 22803
    United States View on Map
  • Financial Contact Email: eyoder@pdgh.com
  • Financial Contact Phone: 540.421.7372
  • District Grant Project Authorization LetterRock Co Grant Authorization.pdf
  • Project Supporting Uploads:Adult size Rotary Soap Box Cars used for celebrity race.jpg, borrowed track for small cars.jpg, small weighted cars.jpg, Soap Box Derby Cars ready for STEM Race.jpg, STEM day building small weighted cars.jpg
  • Grant Number: 1819-24
  • Grant Award: $4,000.00