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Youth Development

At The DeBruce Foundation, we recognize the importance of early experiences in helping young people prepare for bright futures. 

Our country is full of incredible organizations committed to serving youth in many ways. Through mentorship, STEM/STEAM activities, volunteer opportunities, internships, and more. In partnership with organizations, we help youth and their families connect the experiences they’re having now – with the careers they’re building for their future. 

By exploring their interests, gaining skills through real-life experiences, and affirming the value they bring, youth will be better equipped for success when it’s time to plan for and pursue a career. Get to know some of our fantastic partner organizations below and connect with us here to get more details on how those you serve can benefit from a partnership. The DeBruce Foundation seeks to partner with organizations across the country who are looking to build the career literacy and network strength of youth.

How We Partner with Youth Development Organizations

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City leverages The DeBruce Foundation’s career literacy tools to help Bigs and Littles engage in meaningful discussions about career paths. After taking the Agile Work Profiler (AWP), Bigs and Littles are equipped to talk about skills and interests. Littles can use in the workforce one day, explore post-high school options, and set career goals together.

KC STEM Alliance is a collaborative network of educators, businesses, and related organizations working to inspire interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers. KC STEM Alliance incorporates the Agility tools within programs and initiatives including FIRST Robotics, Project Lead The Way (PLTW), Remake Learning Days, Kansas City’s STEM learning ecosystem, and the National STEM Ecosystem to help youth understand how the skills and interests they’re building today can turn into future careers.

The Dan & Cassidy Towriss IDEA Space KC uses science, technology, engineering, arts, and math to spark children’s imaginations. Through collaboration with regional private and public school districts and home school programs, students acquire important 21st-century skills such as creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving. IDEA Space is designed to serve thousands of students from diverse neighborhoods and varying socioeconomic backgrounds through year-round, hands-on educational experiences. Integrating Agilities into experiential programming supports students in connecting STEM activities to skills and interests that they’ll use in their future careers.

Make48 is an invention challenge in which teams of makers from across the nation have 48 hours to vision, develop, and bring a new idea to life. With the belief that “Everyone has a great idea,” Make48 levels the playing field by providing a network of mentors, access to equipment, and the knowledge needed for their invention. Throughout the competition, participants engage in hands-on experiences with innovation, product development, and entrepreneurship. With the AWP and knowledge of the Agilities, participants get to know the transferable work skills they’re developing and exploring throughout the Make48 experience.

ProX, a collaborative effort of community stakeholders, provides connections for students to professional experiences that prepare them for whatever comes after high school. Guaranteeing an educational and professional experience for students who commit 25 hours per week for a stipend, the program coordinates application, placement, and payment while ensuring quality experiences for employers and students. Coaches guide the career literacy and mentoring experiences with an eye toward this being some of the very first experiences youth will have to develop realistic visions through exposure to companies and careers that they likely have not ever seen before. Students participate in internships or project-based work while gaining real-world experience, exploring career options, and earning a stipend plus academic credit. Throughout, they’re expanding their professional networks and using The Foundation’s tools to build their career literacy.

Startland is a community-building nonprofit that seeks to activate vibrant, prosperous communities inspired by its innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs. Their Social Change Internship (SCI) is an eight-week program for grades 9-12. It uses design thinking to activate solution-based learning principles in young people, helping them tackle a social problem they care about. Startland uses the Agilities tools to kick off the internship. Agilities are referenced in weekly classes and reflected upon during discussions. AWP results are also used to help students figure out roles and responsibilities within the smaller teams.

VRoKCs is an organization dedicated to “Bringing Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Learning and Development to K-12 Education and Beyond.” It offers VR/AR coding boot camps to Kansas City metropolitan area high school students with no prior coding experience and sponsors ‘hackathons’ for high school coding teams in nine local school districts. The DeBruce Foundation sponsored one of the VR/AR boot camps during the summer of 2018, which led to a hackathon sponsorship in December 2018. The team challenge was to create a VR/AR solution addressing the lack of visibility and interest in the skilled trades in their age cohort.

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