Eight Finalists Now Qualify for the $10,000 Grand Prize to be Announced June 18.
Congratulations to the eight ActivityHero Grant finalists who have each won a $500 prize package from ActivityHero, 4imprint and Waiter.com. They now advance to the final round in which the winner will receive the Grand Prize of $10,000 in cash and services. A panel of judges will make the final decision to be announced on June 18, 2019.
Over the past few months, our incredible grant applicants received many votes and reviews from their supporters. Here’s more about each of the finalists and how they would like to use the ActivityHero Grant.
Valkyrie Robotics – Valkyrie is an educational non-profit that serves the South Bay Area through a combination of STEM student groups, community service and public demonstrations, and summer camps in math, science, and engineering, focusing on students in the 6th through 12th grades. Through the efforts of their staff and volunteers, hundreds of students from more than a dozen high schools in their area have developed vital skills in STEM, including programming, machine operation, and computer aided design.
“Our ability to grow our services is limited primarily by our financial needs. Engineering programs have high demands for materials, tools, space, and safety equipment, and with our current budget expansion is steady but slow. This grant would allow our organization to expand our operations to up to 50 more students into our robotics programs and touch hundreds more through our outreach and community service programs, along with a geographical expansion to at least three more schools in the area.”
Seatrek BVI – SeaTrek students participate in a variety of engaging service learning and research projects that center around the exploration of the unique tropical environments that make up the Virgin Islands. These project options afford participants a variety of authentic, hands-on learning experiences designed to enhance both their content knowledge and skill sets related to experiential marine science education and conservation.
“If Sea Trek was awarded the grant, half of the money would be put towards our scholarship funds and half of the money would be used for new equipment. SeaTrek does its part to give back to our communities. SeaTrek’s Pay it Shoreward in the Islands donations range from pantry food items and fleece blankets to brand new dive gear and full program scholarships. We try to give back to the people of the islands as much as we can. Every year SeaTrek donates a full tuition scholarship to the Tortola Surf Classic, which aids in fundraising and allows a Virgin Island teen to participate in a SeaTrek voyage at no charge. For the past several years, SeaTrek has worked hard to provide new and used scuba gear, as well as program scholarships for local Jost Van Dykes students.”
Dikshaa Dance Academy – The academy teaches young kids about the rich Indian culture and mythology through dance. It has helped teach kids to work as teams, help each other and build camaraderie. They also produce unique dance productions and help these kids learn about contemporary issues such as equality etc. through dance. On April 20th, the children are participating in a production celebrating women warriors across various cultures, in their production “veerangana – valiant women’.
“Currently we do not have enough funds to move to a studio, so the school runs out of my garage. I would love to give the kids space to explore and blossom as dancers and come up with creative movements. We cannot do that in the current space restrictions. We could also host artistes from other genres and parts of the world to give lectures and workshops, if we had our own studio.”
RD Equine – They offer horsemanship classes, horseback riding lessons, and therapeutic horsemanship sessions to homeschooled children, as an approved vendor to a number of charter schools. They support FOLAR (Friends of the LA River) and the Rails To Trails Initiative. Additionally, RD Equine is in the process of getting involved with Trails For All and other relevant parties to try to improve the LA River Trail for all local users.
“A grant would also allow us to open up the horsemanship, horseback riding, and therapeutic horsemanship services to a larger section of community – to children at risk, disadvantaged youths, and members of other youth based non-profit organisations, at a heavily discounted rate (perhaps even free).
In addition, we are joining forces with a 501(c)3 non-profit organisation named Off Track Rescue – we plan to create a program whereby we rescue horses off the track, retrain them on the LA river trail, and use them to teach local children’s groups about trail riding, horse care, trail management and conservation. A grant would allow us to get the program jump-started and begin without debt, and therefore able to offer our services to the public and to non-profit organisations much earlier than currently anticipated.”
New England Hemophilia Association (NEHA) – Since 1992, NEHA has proudly offered Family Camp to the New England bleeding disorders community at Geneva Point Center in Moultonborough, NH. They believe that living with a chronic disease doesn’t have to feel so isolating.
New family memories are made at NEHA’s Family Camp where children are encouraged to try new sports and activities. Medical staff is onsite 24/7 to handle any emergencies that may arise. They offer archery, arts and crafts, wood shop, waterfront, infusion classes and sessions for siblings. Everyone comes together as the sun sets to share the events of the day around the campfire with other families from the community.
“We staff our camp with a medical team which is available 24/7 as well as experienced counselors. Funds from this grant will help NEHA expand and enhance our efforts to provide a fun and safe environment for our campers and for their families. Specifically, funds would be used to bring in additional educational opportunities, experts in the field to provide education, more facilitators to encourage continued growth and skill development, and a more robust staff training are three initial opportunities and ways the grant funds could make an immediate impact.”
Sarasota School of Glass – Sarasota School of Glass is a beginners’ school specializing in project based activities for children and adults. Their emphasis is fun, fun, and more fun. SSG offers small classes in the Sarasota area, attracting students worldwide. Family holidays are their biggest draw, catering to family parties and gatherings. They try to take the ‘mystery’ out of creating in glass and believe that they are successful in doing so, since students return again and again bringing friends and family with them.
“The Grant would be a wonderful boost to our business. We are bursting at the seams and would use the Grant to expand our classrooms to accommodate more students. We would also expand our Open Studio area where students can work independently and have a special area just for kids. I would love to have separate a room where children could come to work independently, like the adults, freely expressing themselves without the restrictions of being in a classroom. I would also have private sessions with children that have a desire to do more advanced work and are serious about this art.”
Young Intellects – This after-school and camp provider is the only organization in Bay Area that focuses on collaboration between mainstream kids and kids with special needs. They have been featured in many magazines for our unique work.
“The grant will help us in spreading awareness about Inclusive Education. Our goal is to bring out a well-rounded and an empathetic society.”
Camp Super Duper – This Los Angeles camp is a “safe, magical place for kids from the community to discover, create, connect, laugh, play & grow.” They also host international students, exposing community kids to cultures from all over the world. Additionally the camp provides scholarships & grants to kids in the community (and outside the community in underserved areas) who could otherwise not afford it. The camp welcomes all genders, religions, races, abilities, orientations, family structures.
“We would use the grant to offer even more scholarship spots to kids in the community (and beyond) who could not afford it. Plain and simple. We want to provide a magical, enriching experience to help all kids thrive and shine their brightest possible light, especially the ones who need the most support.”
ActivityHero wishes the best of luck to all the contestants! Each of these organizations is doing incredible work in their communities and we are confident that no matter who wins our grant, it will be put toward a great cause.
Check back on June 18 to find out who the winner is!