The second annual Crane Community Christmas invited area Headstarts and day cares to take part in some festive Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities.
Kimberly Frazier, organizer for the event and Director of Strategic Development and Engagement for STIMULUS Engineering, said the idea originated from her personal love for Christmas and a desire to give young children an opportunity to experience STEM.
“Having the event at WestGate is ideal for us to gather the necessary resources while being close enough for the kids to come to us, rather than the locations having to try and get them individually,” Frazier said. “We also focus on Headstart kids because they may not have the chance to experience these activities.”
Activities for the children included writing letters to Santa, making marshmallow catapults, learning about animals and animal tracks, working with representatives from WonderLab to learn basic engineering and chemical reactions, seeing unmanned drones up close and learning about magnets, among others.
Among those teaching a station was Greene County Economic Development (GCED) Executive Director Brianne Jerrels, who stated GCED was a sponsor and she had been asked to volunteer. Jerrels said her station involved building Christmas trees out of a variety of materials provided.
“We helped the kids get a real ‘hands-on’ experience,” she said.
Jerrels stated she feels the Crane Community Christmas is something the kids will never forget.
“I’m sure some of them will take this experience with them in their future and I hope to see them get involved in STEM fields,” she said.
Jerrels also added she enjoyed getting to take part in the event this year, particularly with getting involved in the community and providing fun and educational activities for future scholars.
GCED has already agreed to take part in the Crane Community Christmas next year and plans on sending additional help for further educational purposes.
Frazier stated the activities were selected for the appropriate age group in order to raise additional interest at a young age.
“We chose this demographic because research shows early STEM exposure helps get them interested in going into STEM fields, and we need those kinds of people,” Frazier said. “We hope the community learns that we care about these kids, and I hope that we cause a spark in them and they take something away from this.”
Among the invited parties included Pace agencies out of Knox County, two locations from Linton, Loogootee, North Daviess, Mitchell, Bedford and a day care from Bloomfield.
“I hope that the kids see Christmas is more than just getting gifts,” Frazier said. “I want to be instilling hope in them.”