The Information Technology Empowerment Center Awarded $10K Grant to Support iMath Afterschool Learning Program

February 5, 2014

The Information Technology Empowerment Center (ITEC) today announced it was awarded a $10,000 grant from the R. E. Olds Foundation to support and expand its innovative afterschool mathematics learning program, iMath.

“ITEC is committed to providing top-quality supplemental STEM education for students in Lansing – a mission we could not accomplish without the help of generous funders like the R. E. Olds Foundation,” said Kirk Riley, executive director of ITEC. “This grant will allow us to expand the reach of our iMath program, and provide additional students with the opportunity to strengthen their math skills in a fun and supportive environment.”

The program, now in its second year, seeks to improve both enthusiasm and aptitude in math. Offering afterschool math tutoring to fourth to sixth grade students in Lansing’s upper elementary schools, ITEC’s iMath program uses a web-based, adaptive tool to help students learn and practice math concepts.  Students from Michigan State University serve as tutors and mentors, guiding students and challenging them to excel.

“We know that many kids lose interest in math and science at too young of an age,” said Riley. “Especially students in at-risk environment. If we want our youth to be successful in college and beyond, we need to keep them engaged, help them to succeed and make sure they find math fun. And yes, math can be fun!”

Last year, students who had 80 percent attendance showed a grade level increase of 0.84 with some as high as 1.15. Surveys of the kids before and after their time in iMath showed improvements in attitude, too.

“Part of the mission of the R. E. Olds Foundation is devoted to youth and education and programs involving STEM to allow children to experience learning in a more hands-on way,” said Diana Tarpoff, program director for the R.E. Olds Foundation. “This kind of experience can motivate and create the passion for a student’s future focus in the area of the sciences. We are excited to be a part of this educational vision.”

Founded in 1914, the R. E. Olds Foundation is the oldest family/private foundation in the state of Michigan. It began as the Ransom Fidelity Company by R. E. Olds, the automotive  pioneer who founded Olds Motor Works and REO Motorcar Company, for his growing philanthropic endeavors in his home of Lansing, Michigan as well as globally. In 2004, it was renamed the R. E. Olds Foundation, by the fourth generation of family members. The foundation continues to reflect the philanthropic ideals of Ransom Eli Olds and maintain the family name for the tri-county region in Michigan. The R. E. Olds Foundation is committed to the Greater Lansing community through the support of community-based education programs, focusing on youth and families, access to health care, animal welfare, and environment issues.

ITEC is a nonprofit, collaborative partnership of community, education, business, and government working with students and families in the capital region to build excitement for coursework and careers in science, technology, engineering and math. ITEC’s vision is to enable Lansing area residents to acquire flexible, transferable technological skills that will allow them to participate in a fast-paced global economy.

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