Thanks to a new grant, the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center is getting ready to expand their robotic’s program through community outreach this summer.

Thanks to a new grant, the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center is getting ready to expand their robotic’s program through community outreach this summer.

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, in partnership with Commerce Trust Company, awarded an $18,627.12 grant to Kaleidoscope through the Coover Regional Grantmaking Program.

“We received [the grant] to promote robotics in the community,” said Director Martina Baur. “When we talk about our Big Six…Engineering, Science, Technology, Environment, Arts and Math, Technology is the one that’s taken off. We want to have them all…but we applied for the Coover grant based on the strength of our robotics program.” Martina said the past six years of Kaleidoscope robotics made a strong case for receiving the grant.

Receiving the Coover grant is a second step in Kaleidoscope’s summer robotics plan. The first step was gaining approval for ten Americorps summer associates to join the team this summer. These Americorps members will travel in a 45 mile radius around Rolla to promote robotics in the surrounding communities. The Coover grant will provide them with robotics equipment and funding for travel. The grant will also allow Kaleidoscope to have a full-time supervisor for the associates.

“When the teams go out, they will be at public events that we’ve been invited to, talking to the kids about robotics,” said Martina. “We’ve already been invited to the 4-H Clover Kids camp.” Martina said she also hopes to visit the many summer programs of the local schools.

The Coover grant was put together to work on “poverty, health, education, community development and arts in rural areas.” The grant comes through the late Julia Dorothy Coover, who established the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation in honor of her husband.

“We are so pleased to recognize and assist these organizations that are doing outstanding work to benefit our regional communities,” said Commerce Trust Vice President Jill Reynolds. In addition to Kaleidoscope, 18 other organizations were chosen to receive a grant. Over 122 proposals were submitted to the foundation. Kaleidoscope hopes to use the money to enrich students through STEM activities and increase interest in what robotics can teach them.

“Being able to show kids how to use robots and have hands-on time to understand and appreciate what they can do for you, there’s a value there,” said Martina. The robotics program teaches students about logic, math and science in an interactive and exciting fashion through competition.

Now that their summer project is fully funded, Kaleidoscope is looking towards the bigger picture in the future, as they look for additional grants. With this summer focusing on developing interest and planting STEM related seeds, the staff at Kaleidoscope hopes to find the funds to create robotics programs in each of the communities the Americorps members will be visiting. The goal is to bring what they do to these students and develop local competitions where they live.