The Clubhouse Network (TCN), Boston Museum of Science
The Presidential Award pays tribute not to any one individual, but rather to the thousands of young people and mentors who have come together over the past 25 years to explore their own ideas, develop skills, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology. The award shines a light on the unique Clubhouse learning approach that empowers teens from underrepresented populations to work with mentors who serve as role models. And, most importantly, it celebrates the youth themselves.
The official biography below was current at the time of the award.
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Drawing on constructivist learning theory, clubhouses engage young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning in ways that are relevant and meaningful to them. Rather than assigning a specific mentor to each young person, the Museum utilizes a group mentoring model in which Clubhouse youth are supported by multiple adults, depending on shared interests, life experience, and the organic evolution of personal relationships. The mentor role is an integral part of the Learning Model, comprised of 4 guiding principles: Learning by designing, following your interest, building a community, and fostering respect and trust.
The Clubhouse Network (TCN) has a long history of reaching at-risk youth in underserved communities, serving 10,000 youth in 53 after-school Clubhouses in community centers, youth agencies, and social service organizations. Though technology has changed greatly since the first Clubhouse opened in 1993, the mission remains the same: To provide a safe, creative after-school learning environment where young people (ages 10-18) from underserved communities work with adult mentors to explore their own ideas, develop skills, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology. Proprietary assessment along with independent, third-party youth impact evaluation on a regular basis reveals that the mentoring relationships Clubhouse members develop with adult mentors are overwhelmingly positive and supportive.
According to a 2015 survey, nearly 90 percent of TCN youth feel that mentors accept them, are trustworthy, and help them explore interesting technology. Clubhouse members also care more about doing well in school and try harder as a result of their experience at the Clubhouse. More than 75 percent report an interest in pursuing a STEM career. The Clubhouse Network is able to support a variety of programs, including Project IMPACTS (Increasing Mentor Participation and Commitment to Success), funded by the Department of Justice to support Clubhouse mentors and youth, and C2C (Clubhouse to College/Career), designed to support Clubhouse youth to explore professional jobs and academic opportunities.
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