June 2, 2023
Pickering, ON – On Friday, the non-profit group, Scientists in School, met with several Durham Region MPPs to speak to the impact that a $150,000 Resilient Communities Fund grant has had on its operations since receiving it from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) in 2022. MPPs Peter Bethlenfalvy, Patrice Barnes, Lorne Coe and Todd McCarthy were on the call as representatives from Scientists in School spoke about how the grant supported the relaunch of its engaging, on-site STEM enrichment programming across Durham Region and other parts of the province after a hiatus due to COVID-19.
“The work that Scientists in the School has done, and continues to do, is critical to building a strong foundation in science education and inspiring future generations to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math,” said the Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge. “The work that has been done through the use of the Ontario Trillium Foundation will have long-lasting, positive impacts on the young scientists across Ontario.”
“Organizations like Scientists in School play a vital role introducing children and youth to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts from the Ontario curriculum,” commented Patrice Barnes, MPP for Ajax. “Ontario Trillium Foundation grants allows programs like Scientists in School to expand their workshops to be more inclusive (rural, remote and Indigenous communities), giving more children and youth valuable skills they will use in high school and beyond.”
Funds from the year-long grant were used to hire and train a team of highly passionate scientist-presenters for Eastern and South-Central Ontario to address challenges in workshop availability coming out of the pandemic. It has also helped with marketing costs and fundraising training for staff, as well as hosting workshops, replacing and replenishing supplies for STEM classroom kits full of scientific equipment and resources, and helping with key administrative costs.
“This funding used to help Scientists in School offset the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, has assisted the organization in continuing the delivery of critical programming and resources for students throughout the Region of Durham,” said Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby, and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier.
“Since 1989, the Scientists in the School program has offered curriculum-based, hands-on workshops for Ontario elementary school students, in the areas of math, science, and engineering – subjects that have seen a decline in enrollment as students move on to secondary and post-secondary levels,” said Todd McCarthy, MPP for Durham. “Like many other charitable organizations negatively impacted by COVID, this funding will help the Scientists in the School program support students with in-person workshops and provide them with the skills they will need to succeed in science and technology as the future leaders in these necessary fields.”
Part of the group’s ambitious recovery plan focused on two delivery models (virtual and on-site), and the $150,000 grant was pivotal in helping Scientists in School reimagine its on-site programming for children ages 3-14. This included supporting programmatic growth, creating new curriculum-aligned topics and helping Scientists in School’s focus on proportional participation of youth from under-resourced communities, through complimentary workshops.
“In our 34-year history there has always been so much to be proud of, including reaching close to 11 million young scientists. COVID-19 has and continues to deeply strain our organization as it has for many other charities,” said Cindy Adams, Executive Director at Scientists in School, “but despite continued successive waves of challenges, our team has risen to the challenges with creativity, innovation, determination to ensure that all children across Ontario can engage in joyful, rich experiences through their K to Grade 8 years. On behalf of Scientists in School, I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to OTF. This grant has truly helped us to chart the path forward and to keep our mission and meaningful youth STEM outcomes flourishing. Today Scientists in School is available to eager young scientists in schools and community settings in every corner of our province.”
Scientists in School’s mission is to ignite scientific curiosity in children so that they question intelligently, learn through discovery, and connect scientific knowledge to their world. If you wish to learn more about their charitable organization across Canada, please visit their website at www.scientistsinschool.ca
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grant-making in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested over $110M into 1,022 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Visit otf.ca to learn more.
Amy Schindler, Director, Fund Development and Communications
Scientists in School