Saturday, February 16th, 2019

BBBS receives $50,000 from NIPSCO Academy

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2018

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana (BBBSNEI) unveiled at a press conference on Tuesday, December 18, their first ever STEM programming initiative: The NIPSCO Academy: Mentoring Youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The announcement and celebration focused on a $50,000 contribution presented by NIPSCO from the NiSource Charitable Foundation. The grant will allow BBBSNEI to introduce STEM activities to their Bigs and Littles enrolled in the Big Futures mentoring program, which caters specifically to at-risk youth, ages 13 to 22, and focuses on intentional preparation for college, career or military.

Funding will provide for the materials, kits and technology to conduct a series of monthly workshops for one full year, giving youth with the greatest need and least opportunity the ability to foster an interest in STEM programs, and address local issues of developing and retaining qualified graduates within the region.

“We want to provide exposure to STEM in a fun and unique way. STEM is something not often offered to our Littles. More than 33% of our Littles are ages 13 to 22 – a great age to introduce STEM. All of the children we provide services to are full of potential and when placed in a one-to-one learning environment with their Big, they display a unique desire and ability to learn,” said Josette Rider. “There is a strong need to help kids explore career options, and with the help of NIPSCO and the NiSource Charitable Foundation, this initiative will not only provide a head start on educating but also ignite an interest in these fields, uncovering untapped talent within a demographic of children not significantly and purposefully exposed to STEM."

“At NIPSCO, we’re committed to preparing the next generation with the tools they need to succeed,” said Jennifer Montague, NIPSCO vice president of communications and external affairs.  “As such, we are pleased to support the NIPSCO Academy in support of STEM programming taught through one-on-one mentoring, a critical component to education.”

Shown on the front row, from left are Josette Rider, CEO Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana; Little Brother Robert and Jennifer Montague, from NIPSCO. Middle row, from left includes Dana Berkes, Aaron Schaffer, Big Brother Josh, Monica Mendoza, Little Sister Marlena and Laura Kapp-Miller. Back row, from left are Bill Becker, Tony Tranquill, Little Brother Addam, Big Brother Paul, Little Brother Tyson, Big Brother Patrick, Wade Owen, Jerry Wood and John Marshall.