Community outreach is about giving, contributing, and helping those who cannot help themselves. Community outreach also allows us to influence younger generations to step outside of their comfort zone, develop new skills, and learn to give back to their community. The PSI Gives initiative is dedicated to enhancing the field of technology by educating youth, spreading awareness, and growing our community.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, nonprofits and community members struggled with societal restrictions and economic setbacks. The need for community service and giving by those who were able was extensive.
Like many, COSI [Center of Science and Industry], an admired local nonprofit dedicated to inspiring and transforming lives through science, technology, and industry learning, shut its doors in conjunction with COVID-19 regulations. As a hands-on science center, COSI struggled with how to continue providing valuable services to patrons in a remote digital age.
One of the ways the COSI team – limited as a result of pandemic cutbacks – combatted the challenge was through COSI Connects. This program launches audiences of all ages into a universe of science through online videos and activities, plus a free mobile app that enables science exploration even when offline. COSI Connects is helping to bridge the digital divide, promote digital literacy, and address critical science education needs simultaneously.
Another way is through the creation of educational lunch boxes. The COSI “Learning Lunchbox” is a resource kit filled with hands-on science activities provided to children in need. The lunchbox was designed to feed young minds in Columbus during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
“These boxes can go to a variety of places,” said Kevin Seymour, Manager of Curbside COSI. “Some can be purchased online, some will go to schools that are in need of the free curriculum, and some will go in the Curbside COSI van. Our team is significantly smaller than pre-pandemic, so we are working off of a fraction of the manpower that we had before. We just can’t do them on our own, so having community partners come in to help build these and help construct part of them significantly helps in how many we can get out to the community.”
Community responsibility is a continuing commitment by PSI as a way to enhance the field of technology by providing education for youth to learn and grow through STEM. It is our goal to bring awareness to the vast number of opportunities in the technology field and improve the quality of life of our workforce and our local community through the PSI Gives initiative. Assisting the local science center as they worked with limited resources to positively impact children in need throughout the course of the pandemic was a no-brainer for PSI.
“Most of these lunchboxes are science lessons that are coordinated with the state department of education so that they fall right in line with lesson plans, which is really relevant for young kids that are just trying to stay interested, and going to school remote right now,” said Monty Ragland, PSI Vice President, Client Delivery. “And one of the things that we have to be involved in – that all companies have to be involved in, is making sure that we’re helping to educate young people and get them interested in science, technology, engineering, and math.”
With the help of community partners like PSI Gives, COSI has helped thousands of children stay involved and learn despite the challenges of the last year. As more organizations get involved, The Lunch Box program has the potential to reach children nationwide.
Through community service we are connected to the community we live in and have the unique opportunity to make it a better place for all. It is our hope that we can make an impact, however big or small, and improve the lives of those around us by providing opportunities for youth to learn, and talent to grow.
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King