LETS GO was founded in Annapolis when Dr. Clark “Corky” Graham held the first robotics activity at Bates Boys and Girls Club in Annapolis. He had a long-term vision to increase the number of diverse candidates in the STEM employment pool and break the systemic cycle of poverty.
LETS GO has served over 600 elementary and middle school students per year from underserved communities. “We were very pleased that students exhibited interest in our hands-on, minds-on STEM activities offered in an informal, out of school environment,” explained Dr. Graham, “Students developed a STEM identity whereby they internalized: “I like STEM, I can do STEM, and STEM is important to me.” Developing a STEM identity places a student on pathway toward achieving academic success and workforce development leading to a STEM careers and out of systemic poverty.
LETS GO delivered its program at four sites of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, then expanded to multiple elementary schools and middle schools in Anne Arundel County. Four years ago, the program slowed down in Annapolis due to lack of funding; however, we pivoted and expanded our program in Baltimore and Washington, DC,” stated Graham.
Over the past ten years, LETS GO’s has established sustainable and replicable STEM educational programs through its partnering schools and youth organizations in Baltimore and Washington (DC) and has shared its program and materials with several youth organizations throughout the US and internationally. This year, LETS GO returned to Annapolis with the goal to reach the same level of programming as during their peak years.
Over the past several months, LETS GO Regional Director Jacqueline Baldini has been busy launch several new initiatives to serve underserved youth in Annapolis. Starting with this past summer, we have trained members of the Annapolis Police Department’s to deliver a STEM summer camp featuring LEGO™ Simple Machines sets for a fun, hands-on, minds-on STEM educational experience with in a social distanced outdoor setting to children in underserved communities in the City of Annapolis. Materials and support were provided by LETS GO team members.
Additionally, LETS GO began piloting its next program in collaboration with the Stanton Center serving the Clay Street community, Chesapeake Children’s Museum, and Calvary Methodist Church.
On October 17, LETS GO partnered again with Northrop Grumman to offer the first virtual STEM Pop-Up event for STEM Scholars in Anne Arundel County. The Annapolis STEM Pop-Up event is LETS GO’s flagship and longest running event in Anne Arundel County.