LightHouse Program Teams Up with the Cyber Innovation Center
Volunteers of America North Louisiana’s program, the LightHouse, is the first after-school provider to team up with The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), the academic division of the Cyber Innovation Center.
Last month, NICERC trained the Lighthouse staff in integrating STEM, Liberal Arts, and Cyber projects into their after-school curriculum.
“We believe that education should be engaging, relevant, and inspire curiosity and excitement for learning at all ages”, says Kevin Nolten, Director of Academic Outreach for the Cyber Innovation Center. “This approach allows students to connect STEM and Liberal Arts fundamentals to real world applications and future job opportunities for our students, not only in our community, but across the country.”
This training provides the Lighthouse staff the confidence to begin building upon the fundamentals that students are learning each day in the classroom and it ultimately introduces students at an early age to the STEM and Cyber job opportunities in our community.
“Within our LightHouse program, it is our desire to provide the students we serve with quality programming which focuses on academic enrichment. We understand that knowledge in the areas of STEM are of utmost importance and vital for our students who will contribute to the 21st Century workforce. Therefore, we want our after-school staff to have the ‘STEM tools’ necessary to build the minds of our kids in an engaging way,” said Toccara Huckaby, Program Director for School-Based LightHouse Sites.
“The curriculum and professional development offered by NICERC and the Cyber Innovation team aligns perfectly with our goals, and we look forward to the growth of this partnership.”
Together, the two organizations have organized Cyber Day during the after-school program at Forest Hill Elementary on Thursday, Feb. 23rd at 4 pm. Kids will have the opportunity to participate in STEM activities and expand their imaginations.
In the 2015-16 academic year, 100% of the 741 LightHouse kids stayed in school, 2.87 was their average GPA, and 100% of LightHouse children avoided the juvenile justice system and teen pregnancy. The LightHouse is funded in part by grants from The Community Foundation of North Louisiana, The Grayson Foundation and the United Way of Northwest Louisiana. For more information about Volunteers of America North Louisiana, visit www.voanorthla.org.