Wednesday, March 22, 2017

3D ThinkLink Intiative Recognized for Public Service

We are honored to be among the nominees for Public Service Innovator of the Year in the Greater Washington Innovation Awards. It’s exciting to have such an opportunity to tell regional leaders about the success of our 3D ThinkLink Initiative.

In a Q&A with the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce blog, YouthQuest Co-Founder and President Lynda Mann explained:

“Our innovation is not that we introduce kids to 3D design and printing, it’s how we use this technology as a vehicle to teach the important life skills at-risk youth lack, such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and the confidence to fail. 3D printing is perfectly suited for showing kids who’ve failed in school that mistakes are part of the learning process – they are the beginning of something good, not the end of something bad.”

Another innovative element of the project is that our methodology for teaching the CAD (computer-aided design) program Moment of Inspiration is based on the way we learn languages. We present 3D design concepts as nouns (2D shapes) and verbs (actions applied to shapes that make them 3D).

In addition, the 3D ThinkLink Initiative is innovative because, instead of serving the high-achieving “Science Club” kids who would likely have access to 3D printing anyway, we target at-risk kids to get them re-engaged with education.

Asked what innovation means to her, Lynda told the NOVA Chamber blog:

“The YouthQuest Foundation team believes innovation is the enlightened consequence of a creative, synergistic process that leads to thinking in new ways about solving problems … We wanted to create a truly innovative approach that would lead to solutions that make life better for these young people, and improve organizations and entire communities where they can grow, learn and work.”

Our presentation to the judges at the Innovation Awards Showcase on March 3 included this video of students talking about how the 3D ThinkLink experience affected them.
A week before the Innovation Awards Showcase, we had another great opportunity to raise our profile among Northern Virginia leaders. We were featured at a Corporate Information Event in McLean, along with our partners from the PHILLIPS Programs for Children and Families.
YouthQuest Director of Instruction Tom Meeks and Operations Manager Juan Louro speak with guests at Corporate Information Night on February 21 in McLean, Virginia.

The winners of the Greater Washington Innovation Awards will be announced April 27 at the Hamilton Live in DC. Click here for details and ticket information.

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