Helping LEGO teams in developing countries

Team Sparky wants to thank the Virginia/DC teams for generously donating LEGOs, field set-up kits and LEGO Mindstorm kits! What began as a project providing Jr.FLL kits to 28 City of Richmond Schools, grew to an inspiring global outreach project. We want to share this story so teams can see the impact their donations have had on so many children worldwide. The impact is immeasurable—thank you all—we couldn’t have done it without you!!

Thanks to the donations, Team Sparky has provided over $25,000 worth of LEGOs and Mindstorm kits, but the number of requests for new teams continues to grow. We still need used LEGOs, field set-up kits, LEGO Mindstorm/EV3 kits, Jr.FLL Kits and plastic bins for packaging kits!

The story…

Sparky 384, an FRC team from J.R. Tucker High School in Richmond, is using LEGOS as the basis for an inspirational STEM curriculum providing opportunities to children in third world, developing countries. Beginning with six schools in Cap Haitien, Haiti the program has rapidly expanded to numerous villages/cities in Haiti, Uganda, Ghana and a Syrian refugee school with plans for expansion to Niger and Kenya. We target students who otherwise wouldn’t have this opportunity—children who have never seen a LEGO!

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Flag of Haiti

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Flag of Uganda

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Flag of Ghana

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Flag of Syria






FIRST is not currently expanding Jr.FLL to these countries, so Sparky developed The Lil Sparks LEGO Program, a themed STEM curriculum for Jr.FLL aged children. We provide “team-in-a-box” kits which include LEGOs, a coach’s manual, hands-on engineering activities, teamwork activities, school supplies and medals for a celebration event!

I will not stop thanking you for all your enthusiasm and devotion for all the children of Haiti. – Our Haitian FLL partner

102_0964-01Through donations, we assembled 10 LEGO Mindstorm kits to help bring FLL back to the children of Haiti for the World Class Challenge. The season was such a success, the FLL partner held a grand celebration! Smiles led the way as FLL teams paraded through the streets of Cap Haitien, spreading FIRST and STEM!! After the parade the teams, coaches, judges, invited guests, school delegates and local crowds moved into a Cap Haitien gym for the FLL Tournament/Lil Sparks Celebration.

 

 

 

Words cannot explain the emotions and the joy that I feel in my heart because of your passion for the program and your friendship towards Haiti. Thank you is the least I could say thank you 1 billion times”.  “…the fun the children had was exceptional, immeasurable.” – FLL Founder in Haiti

The FLL partner has plans to dramatically grow FLL for the Trash Trek season, but FLL kits are needed!

Haiti Trip 143-01Sparky partnered with a Richmond mission team and showcased LEGOs at a summer camp in a small Haitian village. Speaking the same language isn’t necessary with LEGOs, and each day more children arrived to eagerly engage in this new activity. Our LEGO drives provided 100 children with a tennis ball can of LEGOs at the end of the week. Huge smiles lit up their faces as they clutched their LEGOs! It was like handing them gold! “This is the best summer of my life” one child exclaimed!

In a school in Bawku, Ghana, neither the students nor the teachers had ever seen a LEGO!  Sparky produced a video on basic LEGO construction, and the school’s four Lil Sparks teams had an incredible season! The impact was so great that the school has requested 35 Lil Sparks kits this year!

Children at a small school in Accra, Ghana now have a school library thanks to the generous donations we received during our book drives—650+ pounds of books were provided. The school is so inspired by the Lil Sparks LEGO Program, they are inviting local children from the community to participate—children not even enrolled in school. The teacher’s dream of exposing children to technology through computers is now being fulfilled, as Sparky provided three used laptops. We hope to provide more this year!

Inspired by a news broadcast, team members Skyped with the headmistress of a Syrian refugee school and heard the inspiring story of providing hope, compassion, trust and education! The children now participate in the Lil Sparks LEGO Program, helping develop their teamwork and self-confidence, not to mention having fun with STEM. Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces and hearing their laughter on the videos is incredibly powerful!

These are just a few of the stories, there are many more and the number of stories continues to grow.

Thanks again Virginia/DC teams for your generosity—keep your donations coming! If your organization or company would also like to get involved, consider hosting a “Wear Jeans to Work Day” (donated $ used for specialized LEGOs and shipping).

We believe that together we can make a difference in the world one LEGO at a time!

If you’d like to get involved or make a donation, please contact Sparky Tucker at 384sparky@gmail.com.

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This is really awesome…Way to go everybody!!

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