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Innovative Educator: Payette Boys & Girls Club hits the road to reach more kids

A new mobile lab allows the Boys & Girls Club Western Treasure Valley to take STEM education to kids who can't come to them.

PAYETTE, Idaho — Editor's note: This content is sponsored by CapEd Credit Union

The Boys and Girls Club Western Treasure Valley Payette Clubhouse serves 104 young members.

"For me it's a passion to be able to teach as many kids as we possibly can," Club Director Racheal Lopez said.

Now they are reaching hundreds more with a new Mobile STEM lab.

The new 'Think, Make, Create Mobile Lab' is filled with all kinds of art supplies, educational materials and tools for science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM, including Scribblebots.

"The kids had a lot of fun, and when they got to get the motor on and the battery to work, they just really got excited about it," Club STEM Lead Veronica Griffin said.

Lopez says the Payette Clubhouse received the mobile lab last year from Idaho Out of School Network in partnership with the University of Idaho. Now they can take STEAM education to kids who can't come to them, such as at other clubs or schools.

"To teach them the love for science and math and engineering, and teach them that it's ok to fail," Lopez said. "When they're doing an activity, not every activity is going to turn out exactly the way they planned it, and that's ok."

One big project turned out perfectly for the club. They won first place, and a $3,000 prize, in a nationwide Boys and Girls Club contest called the MyFuture Challenge. Lopez said the challenge was to do as many STEM activities as possible in a certain period of time. Club STEM Lead Veronica Griffin headed up the project.

"The kids were right there," Griffin said. "We talked about all the activities, what it took, and they were on board with it and very excited about it."

"She did great and the kids were super excited to know that they had done something and it made a difference in their lives. That's for sure," Lopez said. "That's our main goal is to make a difference in the lives of our members."

Lopez and Griffin say they have a full week of activities planned for the upcoming spring break. They are also planning to take the new mobile lab to different locations this summer for a series of STEM pop-ups for the kids to learn and enjoy.

If you would like to nominate an Innovative Educator who is going above and beyond, send us an email to innovativeeducator@ktvb.com.
Educators, for information on submitting an application for a classroom grant through the Idaho CapEd Foundation, visit 

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