What’s the name of your organization?
Building Blocks 2 Success
What’s your name and title?
Antonio Jackson, Co-Founder & Executive Director
In which city (or cities) is your organization located?
Portland Metropolitan area (primarily N/NE Portland)
What are the ages and demographics of youth you work with?
We work with youth from 4-16 years old specifically targeting underrepresented and underserved youth. We are intentional in providing access to Black and Latino(a) youth and girls.
Describe your organization and its mission.
Our mission is to get ethnically and gender-diverse underrepresented youth from the Portland Metropolitan area excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) through exposure and participation in STEM-related programs and activities. We create spaces for youth to feel accepted and welcomed as future STEM professionals, but we focus on developing skillsets (problem-solving, critical thinking, analytical thinking, collaborating with others) to help youth be successful in any career field they may end up going into.
What are the short and long-term goals for your organization?
- Our short-term goals are to continue to grow our current program offerings by expanding into new site locations in East County where our target demographics have continued to grow. Our goal is to continue to build our capacity so that we can offer our programs in more schools and communities and reach more youth. Our main programs consist of LEGO Robotics, Construction & Design, and Medical/Healthcare career pathways for youth. We want to continue to impact more youth in our community through our programs
- Our long-term goals are to develop into a highly engaged STEM Careers Pathway organization across the state connecting underrepresented youth to STEM careers fields and providing resources to help them reach their goals. Our goal is to provide opportunities for our youth to see a pathway to college and ultimately a career in a job tied to STEM.
How can TAO and community members support your work?
We have a number of needs that could help support the work we are doing. We welcome monetary and non-monetary support to allow us to continue to provide fun and engaging STEM-focused programs for youth in our community. We look to partner with local businesses and organizations to provide career exposure field trips for youth to get a real-world experience of the jobs and careers we talk about in our classes and build connections to individuals with those companies as possible mentors. We encourage those who are interested in volunteering to join our team and inspire our youth. We are currently looking for office space or a building in the Portland area to conduct classes, store our equipment, and conduct meetings for our staff.
This blog post is part of an awareness campaign about organizations working to advance STEM education opportunities for Oregon youth. A big thank you to Oregon Community Foundation for supporting STEM education!