In programs past, I often received requests to bring shop-based projects into schools, community organizations, and private homes. Although we weren't designed to take our workshop on the road, the consistent requests told me that there was an unserved market - young people as well as adults - that wanted a shop-based "maker" experience. Inspired by a growing number of pop-up makerspace programs, and an equal amount of established mobile youth arts programs across the country, I laid out the skeleton of project on wheels that catered to folks seeking out-of-school-time STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) services for K-8 kids. Over the course of several years, I worked with other makers and educators and tried out workshop concepts with students, and found a mix that worked. FutureMakers was ready to test in the real world.
In order to get FutureMakers off the ground, the leadership at Maya Angelou Academy graciously accepted my request to shift to a purely instructional role, and for the summer off. I carefully planned my mini sabbatical carefully - enrolled in a marketing class, banked cash to cover leave without pay, and set out to document all aspects of a mobile makerspace for kids. After a great experience with the Anne Arundel Community College's Entrepreneurial Studies Institute, I was referred to Maggie Harris, the leader of the Continuing Education department's Kids in College Program. Maggie took FutureMakers under her wing, and introduced us to the robust network of MD community college youth programs. We received invitations to present services at five college sites, hired a crackerjack team of Maryland maker-educators, and FutureMakers was out of the blocks, sprinting!
We ignite curiosity and build skills among young makers - hands-on problem solvers who tinker, build and thoughtfully play - using traditional tools, visual arts, fine craft techniques, and cutting-edge technology. We bring our mobile makerspace to schools, community colleges, libraries, homeschool groups, organizations, special events, and private homes. We believe kids need tools, not just toys. Starting as a team of 5 makers in 2012, we're expanding to 18 part- and full-time staff members in 2013, serving seven Maryland and Virginia counties, the city of Baltimore and the District of Columbia..
Learn more about the awesomeness that kids create with FutureMakers: www.kidsmakethingsbetter.com