WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), in partnership with Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), is establishing four new Centers of Innovation at Boys & Girls Clubs that support military families. Located in California, Colorado, Florida and Texas the clubs are:
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego
- Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region
- Eglin AFB Youth Center
- Boys & Girls Club of San Antonio
The centers will provide military youth access to advanced technologies that stimulate creative approaches to STEM exploration, including 3-D printers, robotics, high-definition video production and conferencing equipment. A fully dedicated STEM expert will offer individual and group support, using real-world applications to help youth program participants develop their STEM skills and critical thinking. In the U.S., STEM jobs are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as those in any other field by 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Centers of Innovation are funded through Raytheon's $5 million, multi-year commitment to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, part of Raytheon's recent $10 million pledge to support military families and veterans.
"Military families go where and when they are needed, managing through social and academic transitions with each new post. The Centers of Innovation are designed to ensure that the excitement of STEM creativity and problem solving provides a constant source of inspiration," said Thomas A. Kennedy, Raytheon Chairman and CEO. "Ensuring that our military children have easy access to a stimulating learning environment is our collective responsibility."
The life of a military family is unique. On average, military families move six to nine times before their children graduate high school – about three times more often than civilian families (see infographic). Boys & Girls Clubs of America aim to bring consistency and continuity to their lives; the club atmosphere provides continuity for military children, whether living on or off a military base.
"Boys & Girls Clubs in local communities and in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on military installations offer a safe and engaging place for military kids and teens to help address the unique circumstances that they navigate during formative years," said Jim Clark, president and CEO of BGCA. "With Raytheon's support, we'll be able to impact more of our military heroes' kids to help them achieve great futures in areas of science, math or wherever their interests take them."
To date, six Centers of Innovation locations in the United States and one abroad have been opened:
- Joint Base Andrews Youth Center, Md.
- Ramstein Air Base Youth Programs, Germany
- Boys & Girls Clubs of South County, Chula Vista, Calif., serving the families of Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas, Killeen, Texas, serving the families of Fort Hood
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntsville, Ala., serving the families of Redstone Arsenal
- Harford County Boys & Girls Clubs, Aberdeen, Md., serving the families of the Aberdeen Proving Ground
Image Courtesy of The Boys & Girls Clubs of America's Twitter Account