February 3, 2017--SD's robotics team had amazing service learning going on Tuesday the 28th of January. We had 21 Senegalese public high school students on campus to learn from our robotics team about building and programming a robot. Our students did an awesome job and even conducted some impromptu courses. From giving speeches about the importance of STEAM to taking over the projector and giving programming lessons, our kids did great. Kudos to Brittney and Denrol, who gave up some of their weekend time to help (and teach) this. And a special kudos to Ibrahima Thioub (IT) for his role as mentor along with Mamadou Gacke (not ISD). Not only will these teams compete with ours in our local competition, but they will also be building a robot and sending a representative team to Washington, DC in July to compete in the first ever International Robot Olympics. These are the things that remind me why I chose teaching as a profession: seeing ones that I have helped now helping others.
Now is where I get to the help we need. We need sponsors. Ideally, we would like to get some businesses, governmental organizations, or other groups to help us with our needs. First, we will need to raise money for the passport costs and visa application fees for the travelling Senegalese team. These students have few resources and would likely be unable to complete the process without our help. The actual travel and lodging costs will be covered by the sponsoring organization, FIRST Robotics. Second, we will need support help during the build season. Specifically, we are working every Saturday 9-3 and I would like to provide lunch to the working team. These kids come from a background where it would be highly unlikely that they would be able to buy lunch. I could ask them to bring something, but I can't guarantee that a few of them wouldn't end up not eating. If we could get a different restaurant, individual, family, or group to each sponsor one weekend, that would be a great start to fueling these students education.