Connecticut takes innovation and the education of our youth seriously. Here are four programs going above and beyond to nurture the innovative spirit in Connecticut’s youth.
The Connecticut Youth Forum
The Connecticut Youth Forum is a community outreach program that helps diverse high school students from rural, suburban, and urban high schools throughout Greater Hartford engage with others of different racial, social, economic, and geographic backgrounds. Since its founding in 1993, the forum has given teens a place where they can be encouraged, validated, and accepted. Through exploration, growth, action, and discussion, members shape the future.
Read Innovation Destination Hartford’s feature story about The Connecticut Youth Forum
Connecticut Science Center
Each summer, the Connecticut Science Center hosts its Teen Innovation Program. This program offers youth from under-funded communities in the state the chance to explore science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) college and career pathways, gain confidence, and develop problem-solving skills. The Ambassadors, the title for participants, spend six weeks in the summer creating original exhibits and programs that teach others about the STEM disciplines. The Connecticut Science Center runs the program in Hartford as well as in Danbury.
Connecticut Opportunity Project
The Connecticut Opportunity Project brings together young people, mayors, mentors, youth counselors, nonprofit leaders, and educators to develop innovative solutions to improve the futures and lives of the state’s youth. The goal is to unleash the untapped potential of students who feel disconnected or disengaged from their high schools. They estimate that more than 20% of youth feel disengaged. The program seeks to invest in the future of today’s children by empowering nearly 10,000 young people in the next two years and engaging with dozens of public schools, nonprofit leaders, and youth counselors.
Women of Innovation
The Connecticut Technology Council started the Women of Innovation program to recognize and create a network of women doing great things in the STEM areas. Among the 2017 finalists, were technicians, entrepreneurs, drafters, student leaders, manufacturers, academics, researchers, and scientists. Also among the finalists were graduate, undergraduate, and high school students. These women have demonstrated unique and extraordinary achievements in their disciplines. A $4,000 scholarship is awarded to the winner in the Youth Innovation and Leadership category.
Youths with an interest in innovation and adults hoping to help, are encouraged to contact these programs.
About the Author
Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.