Who is LETS GO?
LETS GO Boys and Girls, Inc., Leadership, Engineering, Technology, Science Generating Opportunities, is an afterschool and summer school program that currently partners with three BCP schools. This partnership spans more than eight years and started with Govans Elementary. It’s since expanded to Wolfe Street Academy and this past year, City Springs Elementary and Middle School.
LETS GO works with schools, youth organizations, and other nonprofits in historically under-resourced communities to provide science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences for youth from elementary school to post-secondary school.
The program, which has been in existence since 2009, is committed to unlocking the potential of students, particularly those from underrepresented groups. They do this through programs that introduce STEM concepts while developing critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and other essential skills.
LETS GO provides BCP program administrators and educators with ongoing professional development, customized on-site support, evidence-based curricula and relevant and engaging STEM materials. Their customized support and resources provide program leaders what they need to run programs and help youth build both their interest in and skills for the careers of the future, while increasing educators’ confidence, interest and ability to lead STEM activities.
It is through collaborative efforts that we create lasting change. When I envision a more equitable world, I see a place where everyone has an equal opportunity to unlock their potential and contribute their unique abilities to society.
The STEM activities LETS GO runs with the three BCP schools differ between sites. Programs are chosen based on factors ranging from the goals of the school, student interest, and age of the students, to available funding and the time available for STEM. BCP staff and instructors run these programs after attending training workshops. They also receive ongoing coaching and support to effectively run their STEM program.
In the years that LETS GO and BCP have been working together, students have benefitted from programs including LEGO Education Engineering and Coding with Spike and BricQ, FIRST LEGO League Robotics, and LETS GO Simple Science and Everyday Engineering.
The Partnership Between LETS GO and Wolfe Street Academy
The LETS GO partnership with Wolfe Street Academy is an excellent example of the nonprofit’s custom programs at BCP. LETS GO works with Wolfe Street Academy during the school year, and they also run fun, interesting programs with them during the summer. Over the past two summers, LETS GO and Wolfe Street have implemented and run a whole-school STEM program, where every grade participates in the same activity. .
In the first summer, students participated in EiE Hop to It: Safe Removal of Invasive Species, where they learned about the harm that invasive species can do to the environment and local wildlife. Armed with that information, they built humane traps to catch the invading species, testing their traps using mechanical toys as stand ins for real animals. As the students tried different solutions to STEM challenges, they developed their collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills.
This past summer, students and staff became magicians in the unit Magic? No, It’s Science! Students learned about the chemistry and physics behind magic tricks, and in the last week of the program, they put on a magic show, teaching their guests about chemistry. Guests were amazed to watch it snow inside of Wolfe Street, but more amazed to hear the students explain that the ‘snow’ was really the polymer, sodium polyacrylate.
LETS GO looks forward to continuing their partnership and increasing access and opportunity to what they call “hands-on minds-on” STEM education for our BCP students.
“It is through collaborative efforts that we create lasting change,” says David Chiles, LETS GO CEO. “Through an environment of partnerships, we bring together diverse perspectives, igniting a synergy that makes our shared vision for equity in education a reality. When I envision a more equitable world, I see a place where everyone has an equal opportunity to unlock their potential and contribute their unique abilities to society.”
Read about LETS GO’s expanded afterschool programs at Govans and City Springs through a recent MSDE grant.
Meet Govans’ 2023 First LEGO League Championship Robotics Team, a Govans’ afterschool program run in partnership with LETS GO.
For more information on LETS GO, visit letsgoboysandgirls.com.
Bill Mojica, Chief Development & Communications Officer, 410-428-7279
Debbie Dininno, Chief Program Officer & Baltimore Regional Director, email@example.com