Our team has been constantly increasing our presence in our community and across larger stages, which includes expanding our outreach. Our program’s outreach focuses on two aspects: community and sponsor outreach. Our mission statement is to foster a generation of leaders and innovators with an emphasis on equal opportunity for all. Our sponsors have also introduced us to new outreach opportunities.
Starting in April 2018, our club established the outreach team, a group of members from FRC who organize and lead all outreach opportunities and events. By running outreach through a team of students instead of one individual, we have the opportunity to increase our impact on the community.
In 2022, we expanded our program to actively mentor 7 teams in all aspects of FIRST ranging from gracious professionalism to how to build a shaft and pinion with lego bricks. This FLL mentorship program also acts as a feeder into our middle school robotics program, and eventually, our high school robotics teams. In 2023, we expanded our program to Saratoga Elementary, the third elementary school in our district and are now actively mentoring 17 FLL teams.
Every year, our program displays our FRC robots at the Saratoga Rotary Art Show, an event that many parents and children attend. This is one of the main ways our program notifies the local community of what we’ve built and how we have improved over the years.
Our team regularly visits our sponsors (mainly Festo, Intuitive Surgical, Apple, and KLA’s Robonanza) to thank them for their support and to update them on our progress for the current competition season through robot demonstrations.
During the off-season, our teams visit local elementary and middle schools to give robot demonstrations. Our purpose is two-folded: to introduce STEM early to young students and to recruit members for future years. In fact, many of our current members developed an interest in robotics due to these robot demonstrations when they were in middle school.
Hosting back-to-back FTC and FLL tournaments is a critical part of our community outreach. While the event benefits FIRST, this effort also promotes STEM to students and the community by introducing them to the exciting and valuable experiences of robotics.
From July 30th to August 3rd we worked with City Team at their Mayfair, San Jose location to teach small groups of middle and high school students. A 3-D printed car project and a Mini-Robot build workshop were taught. Students in the 3-D printing workshop learned how to use a very basic CAD software called Tinkercad. They used Tinkercad to design a car that was then printed and presented on the last day of the workshop. We are currently working with City Team to start a virtual tutoring program and a FIRST Lego League or FIRST Tech Challenge Team.
As the co-founder of the NorCal GoBabyGo chapter, since 2018 we have collaborated with AbilityPath, a physical therapy organization in Burlingame. We are modifying rideable toy cars for mobility-impaired children to help them take control of their mobility. So far, we have modified 19 cars and had 4 build sessions, impacting almost 20 children. We have also expanded this initiative to work with a local Sub-Acute Care Facility for children who are dependent upon oxygen tanks and feeding tubes and are working on adapting the cars to their individual needs. We are currently working on an app to improve mobility virtually for physiotherapy sessions.
Working with Vikalp Sansthan, an organization that works to reduce child marriage in rural India through education, we have created 60 educational videos in math and English. Since the start of this initiative, we have expanded to other like-minded NGOs, including Shadika, an organization that provides resources for college-aged students, and the WeEducate Foundation, which supports victims of sex trafficking. More recently, we have expanded to the One Billion Literates Program by modifying our videos for teachers in rural Bangalore.
We worked with 7 other California Teams to co-found the California Association of STEM Advocacy with the goal of advocating for spreading STEM and allocating increased funding for STEM programs at the state level. In 2023, CASA held its second annual in-person advocacy conference for Californian robotics teams invested in making STEM more accessible, abbreviated as CALC (california advocacy leadership conference.)
At the 2022 Houston World Championships, we met the Tigres team and they were interested in our Vikalp initiative. We kept in touch and discussed how we could collaborate to teach English to students in Mexico who do not have access to a high-quality English education. So far, we have around 15 completed videos that teach conversational English.
In 2021, we worked with Blackford Elementary school, a Title 1 school, where children from low-income families make up at least 40 percent of enrollment, and Santa Teresa Library to hold a series of virtual workshops to teach kids, ages 5-11 about science with materials they could find at home during the pandemic. In 2022, we expanded this curriculum by rebranding the initiative to “Library Science”: the in-person version of “Home Science Experiments”, and mentoring 7 workshops at Cambrian Library, Saratoga Library, and Morgan Hill library, affecting about 200 children.
Through our sponsor, Saratoga Rotary, we were connected to Latimer Middle School, a Title I school, to develop a curriculum to introduce the students to STEM. We also reached out to Breakthrough Silicon Valley, a non-profit organization focused on empowering underserved youth, and taught the students there with the same curriculum. Our Arduino curriculum, incorporating the basics of engineering and the assembly of a custom-designed arm, has reached over 40 students and inspired them to pursue STEM opportunities in the future.
Saratoga Library (2019-present)
We worked with our local library to organize STEM classes every month, creating curriculum focused on Arduino to challenge children and teach them about Digital Electronics.
Farmer’s Market (2019-present)
At our farmer’s market, we explained how Manta worked to all customers, described our club and robotics opportunities in FIRST, and explained engineering classes at our high school, raising awareness about STEM and robotics in the community and garnering more interest in robotics from young minds.
LGS Recreation Summer Program (July 2019)
At this summer program, we created a mini-challenge using FTC parts for 4th and 5th graders to accomplish, and had members lead lessons helping the children draw and build new parts for their push bots. This resulted in the students gaining hands on experience and learning the basic engineering process: define a problem, imagine a solution, build the idea, test, and redefine problems. Furthermore, by presenting an FRC robot for the children to see and engage with, we exposed over 50 children to FIRST and STEM programs in our community.
FLL Global Innovation (July 2019)
Our primary role was as volunteers working closely with event managers to maintain a timely schedule, and we got the added opportunity of watching all the teams present their products and learning a lot about innovative solutions to problems during space travel.
Gang Impacted Teens (June 2019)
Through this event, we taught high schoolers how to build a robot with FTC parts for use in a race to test the robots. Ultimately, the purpose of this was to expose students from underprivileged communities to FIRST and STEM programs while encouraging students to participate in robotics.
Saratoga Library Dot & Dash (2018-2019)
Working with young children, we taught them basic programming principles using the robots Dot & Dash. We ran this class at the Saratoga Library and each session, 15 students attended.
Sunday Friends (2018-2019)
In 2018, we demonstrated our robot at the Sunday Friends STEAM Fair and ran the STEM project station. Working with a group of 10 kids, we built contraptions out of everyday items.In 2019, we went to the annual Sunday Friends charity event to demo our robot to various children and adult, letting them drive the robot around to explain different parts of FIRST to interested community members.
Programming and Robotics Merit Badge (2020-2021)
We hosted a program to help Scouts BSA troops 581 and 582 get their Robotics Merit Badge. Through our arduino curriculum, we have designed an affordable means to receive their badge, furthering our mission. Additionally, we created a curriculum to help other local Boy Scout troops receive their Programming Merit Badge.