The modern education system is not organized to ensure equity of resources, opportunities, and contributions for all youths. While many students thrive from receiving the benefits of privilege and foundation, others, often women or those located in communities of poverty and minority demographics, face challenges that limit their opportunities. This disproportion is not due to a lack of competency or potential, but rather the inability of the current system to provide students the resources they need for success. The inequities restricting today’s youth as they strive to be successful leaders and innovators are one of the most pressing issues facing the world today. The Full Metal Beavers aims to combat this by motivating young people to pursue educational and career opportunities in STEAM-related fields, inspiring them to become leaders and innovators, and enhancing their self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. Through the promotion of equity, opportunity, and unity, we can reduce the disparity between the prosperous and the disenfranchised.
It all started from a small idea envisioned by our lead mentor, Dr. Raymond French. He was surprised to see the lack of STEAM representation in Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences, a high school located in Jamaica, Queens. He had the vision to introduce young students to STEAM, and that led to the creation of the Full Metal Beavers, a FIRST robotics team. Although the robotics team was great at generating leaders and enhancing students’ skills, we wanted to have a global impact so that we could extend our mission beyond the FIRST community. In 2017, our robotics team evolved into a nonprofit organization and we have increased our successes every year since. Today our organization is overseen by two mentors and comprises a total of fourteen student leaders of various departments and divisions. Our process is built around our core values of equity, unity, and opportunity; it strives to supply each and every one of our members with the encouraging environment they deserve.
Each of our four departments, Business, Engineering, Competitions, and Operations, has a director in charge followed by two to three managers of their respective subdivisions. These managers have collaborators working with them to accomplish the tasks. The mentors oversee the directors while the directors are in charge of their designated departments. This structure allows members to hold one another accountable and creates a sense of unity. Each year, we look for opportunities to grow and improve our structure. Last year, we were able to introduce a new division under the Business Department, Productions Division. They are in charge of producing quality videos and other forms of art to ensure that our team is being marketed well. Additionally, we were able to introduce new roles such as Executive Director, Film Editor, Film Director, etc. to ensure that our community was able to receive well-rounded content from the team.
Full Metal Beavers promotes equity, opportunity, and unity in various ways. We create pathways for young people to learn about STEAM and some professions such as Engineers, Video Editors, Web Designers, etc. While also building stronger individuals to ensure a brighter future for generations to come. By participating in robotics six days a week, members learn to advocate for themselves and enhance their life skills. The organization creates an equitable community for female students, black students, Latinx students, foreign-born students, low-income students, special education students, underperforming students, English language learners, LGBTQ+ students, as well as other marginalized groups. In addition to this, members are also given the opportunity to be leaders of various divisions and departments of the team. These responsibilities allow members to foster their own growth and develop their leadership skills. We have taken many initiatives such as hosting workshops, recycling plastic bottles, and volunteering to ensure that we are creating a better community for all and building a better future for the people in our community. We believe that it is our duty to enhance the state of our community by volunteering, hosting workshops, and info sessions so that the reach of our mission extends far beyond our members. We hope to transform the youth’s thinking so they can help people beyond our school and the team. Our mission is not limited to these four years of High School and our team. We want to mold their thinking and make them socially aware so they can take these lessons and provide the same services to others.
The first video is a youtube video about our team and how we promote equity, opportunity, and unity throughout our community. The second link is the link to our website in which you can learn more about our projects and our team. The last 5 links are Instagram posts that show how we promote equity, opportunity, and unity. You can feel free to check the rest of our Instagram to see our recent projects.
The recycling project looks like a great way to clean up your school. I wish you all luck in expanding that for the future.