Walking down Harrison Street in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood on Friday, August 17th provided an inspiring and uplifting vision. Community members gathered together for BUILD’s Summer of Opportunity Community Celebration. This year, the Summer of Opportunity event connected thousands of youth and families to community opportunities– including employment, workforce training, park district programs, and health & wellness. The event also proved an opportunity to celebrate the many success of the summer.  

BUILD was the leading organizer in planning the Summer of Opportunity.  In its 50 years, BUILD has helped thousands of youth transform their lives by meeting them where they are. Serving as a community organizer BUILD drew on the leadership of dozens of partners including Project Exploration for the successful implementation of the 2nd annual Summer of Opportunity Community Celebration.

Engaging with the STEM Station

Project Exploration played a leading role in the successful implementation of the Summer of Opportunity by leading the STEM Station.  This area included engaging tabling activities from our own Project Exploration facilitators, Apple Education, Lego Education, Manufacturing Connect, Argonne National Laboratory, and Chicago Sinfonietta. Youth and families were welcome to build, play, make, create, design, test, and code.

They also learned of the Back to School STEM Fest and how to register as well as the program opportunities for the West Side STEM Learning Center this Fall.

The Hostess With the Most-est

If you were looking for Project Exploration’s inspirational Executive Director, Natasha Smith-Walker, during the Summer of Opportunity celebration, you’d find her on stage leading the show as the Emcee. Natasha ran the show and introduced many local talents to share their passions with the community.

The Summer of Science Showcase

This summer Project Exploration hosted an 8-week day camp which engaged over 60 students, grades K-8, in hands-on, experiential learning experiences. Students opted-in to showcase each of the four main curriculums they participated this summer.  Presenters shared their favorite days with the community from the main sage while explaining the posters they created to showcase and demonstrate their work.

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