Digi-Bridge 2021 Reflection and Looking to 2022

The pitter patter of feet entering the classroom. The whoosh of a raised hand in excitement. The evidence of smiles behind masks recognized by the crinkled noses and squinted eyes. Children huddled together, brainstorming over an engineering challenge. An excited teacher, who says with authority, “Who is ready for STEAMLab?!”

These are the sights and sounds we have welcomed back with open arms as we kicked off Digi-Bridge programming for the 2021-2022 academic year in person in 19 schools around Mecklenburg County.

While recognizing that we are not quite back to how it used to be, it feels like our scholars haven’t skipped a beat once they enter the doors to Digi-Bridge’s STEAMLab and robotics programs.

The road to today has not been without adaptation and hard work. Over the last 12 months, Digi-Bridge has provided dedicated and unwavering support to our community through a wide variety of engagements in ways to protect yet engage students during times when STEM education has been reduced to mere minutes of instruction.

While the Digi-Bridge team had to be flexible in offering support to our community this year, we made sure our programming didn’t waver in quality, whether at home or in schools. In January through May of 2021, we offered virtual and at-home experiences, such as the Virtual STEAMLab programs at nine schools and at-home STEAMkits in partnership with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Over the summer, we were able to get back to in-person programming. Our summer experiences included our own 4-week STEAMSummer Camp, provided at no cost to 15 Title 1 students. We also had community partnerships with Camp CMS, ourBridge, UrbanPromise and more as well as updated our metrics of success and evaluation tools in partnership with Deloitte.

When the new school year started, we were able to offer in-person school year experiences for the first time since 2020! We offered in-person STEAMLab programs at 19 partner schools (a year over year growth of 10 schools!). Digi-Bridge also hosted competition robotics programs at 5 schools and launched a virtual STEAMLab program for students not ready to return to in-person learning.

Starting November 30th, we committed to raising 10K by the end of the year so we can expand our STEAM programming even more in 2022. On Giving Tuesday (November 30th), we raised $5,700. Currently, we’re at $7,000 raised and are only $3,000 away from our goal!

The future is bright for Digi-Bridge. Currently, the organization is undergoing a strategic planning process where we are examining our impact and model while setting daring goals for the future.

We are ready to be the catalyst for students, bridging them to opportunities for advancement in STEAM in 2022 and beyond.

A student at Devonshire Elementary says,“Digi-Bridge is the best part of my day. I did it virtually which was fun but hands-on is even better. I love solving problems and building with my friends. I’d like to solve environmental challenges when I grow up and Digi-Bridge gives me the chance to grow as a future engineer!”

If you’d like to support our mission of providing high-quality, hands-on STEAM experiences for students, consider donating and sharing this blog. Your donations help us continue leading critical digital inclusion work for nearly 600 Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools students every semester.

More students are waiting to be tapped to realize their full potential as future STEAM leaders. You can donate online or mail us a check to 1026 Jay Street Suite B 128 Charlotte, NC 28208.

On behalf of Digi-Bridge and its dedicated learners, thank you for considering this request for support.

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