Updated: Mar 24, 2022
Blackstone Valley Education Foundation proudly offers two unique programs that provide opportunities through experiences and project-based education. Both programs teach the skills necessary for youth to become leaders in their schools, communities, and future workforce.
Blackstone Valley Youth Leadership Academy
The Blackstone Valley Education Foundation's Youth Leadership Academy is a comprehensive leadership course that provides students with the unique opportunity to engage with business and community leaders. Participants learn about leadership skills such as time management, public speaking, leadership styles, and financial literacy. By gathering at different locations across the Blackstone Valley, students learn about the history and culture of the Valley and how as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, it maintains its strong manufacturing focus today. Some of this year's favorite activities have been visits to the Sutton Police Station, Blackstone Public Library, Willard Clock Museum, and Mendon Town Hall. For a culminating activity, students design and execute individual community service projects to benefit Blackstone Valley communities.
Women in STEM Leadership Academy
Thirty 7th and 8th grade female and non-binary students from towns in the Blackstone Valley took part in the Women in STEM Leadership Academy (WISLA) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. This program included 5 Saturday sessions at WPI’s campus (one session was virtual due to COVID restrictions), totaling 15 hours of curriculum.
WISLA provides students with an opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as offers training and skills that will benefit them throughout their academic and professional careers. The program is facilitated by two WPI graduate students, and STEM curriculum is presented by WPI Engineering Ambassadors. Among other things, the participants learn about the importance of failure and the engineering design process. They put what they learn into action through different hands-on activities including designing prosthetics for a stuffed animal and coding. Participants attend a robotics completion, take a campus tour, learn about the college experience and pathways from WPI undergraduate students. A career panel of women in STEM sparks new interests and lively conversations, and an interactive financial literacy workshop provides greater understanding to budgeting and spending.