GrowingGreat Foundation Grant Supports YES Agribusiness

An outstanding supporter of empowering children and parents to make healthy food choices through hands-on STEM and garden education, the GrowingGreat Foundation in partnership with Del Monte Foods, Inc. has awarded generous grant funding to the Science Center’s Youth Exploring Science (YES) Program.

The funds are supporting the YES Program’s Agribusiness component that focuses on agriscience and entrepreneurship. “We are very excited about the opportunity that the GrowingGreat grant has provided for our teens to discover the amazing science behind the food we use to power our minds and bodies. Our teens and I are also excited about the opportunity to create activities and recipes to help inspire children and their families to incorporate healthy food options,” says Lauren Patrick, YES senior educator.

The YES Agribusiness teens have participated in virtual training with a professional chef and nutritionist and have learned about seasonality of fruits and vegetables, nutrition, cooking techniques, and creating a well-balanced meal plan. The YES teens are taking what they learned to create engaging recipes and activities to teach younger children and their parents how to incorporate healthy foods into their diets. Through research and experimentation, the YES teens have created smoothie recipes that use healthy produce that is readily accessible in most areas.

The Agribusiness teens will continue to create videos and additional activities to inspire healthy eating. The YES teen-created recipes and activities are shared through the Science Center’s social media platforms and with YES community partners and families.

Adapting to Change

As we finish out the academic year, the Science Center’s Student and Teacher Program reflects back on the ways in which they had to adapt to the changing learning environment and how to better serve their community. Much like many other education and learning programs around the world, we had to find alternative ways to effectively teach and educate outside of the classroom.

We reached out to new patrons, such as the Washington University Neurofibromatosis Center. With the Wash U. partnership, we used Tinkercad to teach participants how to 3D draw and edit their hands to later be 3D printed into cookie cutters and ornaments. Also, we were able to provide digital programs including awesome science demonstrations, hands-on activities and Storybook Science.

Currently, we are rebuilding and adding more to our catalog of digital programs so that we cater and customize to our community. We look forward to more local partnerships to build up our programs and bring our expertise to the table as we create more robust programming in the coming months.

YES Program Provides Hybrid Education Model

The Youth Exploring Science (YES) teens 2020 summer and fall classes were held virtually to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in 2021, the YES Program moved to a hybrid model to provide YES teens with the ability to choose how they would like to receive their education. 47% of teens chose to continue using the virtual format, while 53% of teens chose to return to in-person sessions. The Saint Louis Science Center worked with Dr. Fredrick Echols, the Director of the city of St. Louis Department of Health, and followed all local and state guidelines, including wearing masks, social distancing and capacity restrictions. The Taylor Community Science Resource Center, where the YES teens meet, has been fitted with signage, cleaning supplies, and directional instructions.