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STEM and Health K-12 Mentoring Program

In 2023 the Bethune-Cookman University’s WIN-HP (We Invest in Your Needs-Health Projects), formerly Pandemic Win Initiative, in collaboration with DOH, the Links, Mathparty Inc, and the City of Daytona Beach, Parks and Recreation hosted the 2nd Annual STEM and Health Camp. This was the 2nd year working with the City of Daytona Beach and developing the 5-week Summer STEM Camp.  Being physically active can improve brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscle and improve everyday activities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, between 2017-2020, over 14 million children ages 2-19 suffered from childhood obesity.  Obesity-related conditions include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems such as asthma and sleep apnea, and joint problems.  The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this reality and only increased the numbers. According to Florida Health Charts, in 2021, over 32% of Florida public middle and high school students reported being overweight or obese. Behaviors that influence excess weight gain include eating high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages, medication use, sleep routines, and lack of physical activity. Therefore, an intervention that decreases the cardiovascular risk in school-aged children is needed.  

The STEM-Education Experience is a K-12 summer Camp that the Midtown Cultural Center and the City of Daytona Beach created intending to address educational disparities of our local populations, which were negatively impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. We partnered with the YSG center in the summer of 2023 to expose summer campers to the Common Core Standards of biology, engineering, anatomy, and chemistry. This education experience is led by the Assistant Director PWI’s Dr. Butts, who prepared two groups of students for STEM careers during the summer camp: 4-5 graders and 6-9th graders. Objectives included modeling the digestive system, engineering aspects of tower constructions, measurement and determinants of cardiovascular health, physical design and construction of rocket launchers, and creation of visual representation geared towards Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics careers.

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