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Boys & Girls Club of Isabela Fab Lab reopens to foster critical thinking

With the support of Pratt & Whitney, Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico will implement a course to introduce young people to product design.

Nonprofit organization Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico (BGCPR) and aerospace company Pratt & Whitney announced the relaunch of the Boys & Girls Club of Isabela Fab Lab. This space is dedicated to fostering critical thinking, creativity, technological skills and the conceptualization of ideas for young people ages 13 to 18 who participate in the entity’s educational programs.

“At Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico, we’re grateful that Pratt & Whitney supports this new phase of the Fab Lab, as it has done since it opened in 2015 as the first digital fabrication lab for children and youth,” said Olga Ramos-Carrasquillo, president of BGCPR.

“Thanks to this partnership, we have maintained the Fab Lab equipment, remodeled the space and implemented the Zero2Maker course. This was created to introduce participants to the application of science, art, and technology through product design, as part of our innovative and fun program offerings,” she said.

The Fab Lab offers mechanical, electrical and software design expertise and hands-on manufacturing experience using materials and tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, electronic modules and power tools.

“The learning outcomes of this lab course go beyond design skills and technological expertise. It also develops interpersonal skills, enhances self-learning abilities, and fosters the conceptualization of ideas for young people to advance entrepreneurial projects,” Ramos-Carrasquillo said.

“Exposing our participants to high-demand, high-growth careers and experiences that prepare them for entrepreneurship is part of our commitment to mitigating the generational cycle of poverty that affects 89% of our families,” she added.

As part of the renewed partnership between BGCPR and Pratt & Whitney, the company also funded the hiring of the facilitator who will be responsible for sustaining the expectations of the Zero2Maker course and Fab Lab, and their contribution to BGCPR’s mission.

“Thanks to this partnership and the cooperation of all the leaders at Pratt & Whitney and BGCPR who have made this possible, we will be able to continue to open doors and provide opportunities for students in our community,” said Josy Acosta, president of Pratt & Whitney Puerto Rico.

“Our company’s commitment to STEM initiatives is a strong one. Initiatives such as the Fab Lab are very important, as they help us to chart a real path for more young people to discover and develop an interest in STEM,” Acosta said.

“We hope that the projects carried out in the Fab Lab will awaken curiosity and the desire to learn more about industries such as ours, aerospace, so that these young people can become leaders in the fields of science in Puerto Rico and the world,” Acosta added.

Among the goals of the digital fabrication lab are the promotion of professional mentoring opportunities, fostering cooperation, knowledge sharing and networking for collaborative work and the promotion of projects and initiatives for economic development and individual, collective and organizational sustainability, the nonprofit stated.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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