By Kathy Chouteau
Richmond Police Activities League (RPAL) is on the lookout for local school-age youth interested in diving into some STEM learning and exploration via its Lego Robotics program. The organization—which serves low-income, at-risk youth through recreational, educational, cultural and social activities—additionally seeks mentors to help support their young participants and activities.
As part of its Lego Robotics offering, RPAL guides students through STEM learning via different age-appropriate tracks: Discover (ages 4-6), Explore (ages 6-10) and Challenge (ages 9-16) that each include engaging, fun challenges and competitions (virtually starting in April) using Lego education materials.
“Students gain real-world problem-solving experiences that inspire them to experiment and grow their critical thinking, coding and design skills while building confidence, growing their knowledge, and developing habits of learning,” according to Brandon Evans, RPAL mentor program coordinator.
For their part, mentors at RPAL have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of school-age children, many of which are living with extended family members and qualify for reduced lunch programs. Mentors participate in both one-one-one and small group mentoring.
RPAL mentors meet virtually with their mentees for an hour each week through RPAL’s “Be a Mentor” platform or as part of activities like coaching sports, fishing, dirt bike riding, community service events and outings to sporting events and performances—including during the pandemic—according to Evans.
An orientation and training are offered toward helping youth develop a “Life Map” by using curriculum developed by The Life Plan Institute and they also have monthly check-ins with the mentor coordinator.
RPAL is located at 2200 MacDonald Ave. in Richmond. To enroll youth on a rolling basis in the Lego Robotics program, or to sign them up to be mentored, contact Brandon Evans at 510-621-1290 or Bevans@rpal.org. Those interested in becoming mentors to RAL youth should click here to apply. Learn more about RPAL here.