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Sheffield’s Rescue Me Project gets assist from Ripken Foundation, TVA

SHEFFIELD – The Rescue Me Project was tossed a lifeline of its own for an educational program resulting from a million-dollar partnership between the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation.

Rescue Me Project founder and President Dewayne Malone (Rescue Me Project contributed)

Parts of seven states under the umbrella of TVA – Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia – will open centers at 27 locations to give young students access to modern, state of the art curriculum and tools for education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

A $1.1 million grant will provide each center with six Chromebooks, a Tech Tub to safely store computers, a 3D printer, educational STEM products, a custom-designed curriculum tied to Next Generation Science Standards and other equipment.

Sheffield is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to open the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation STEM Center at The Rescue Me Project (RMP) Mega Center, 1300 Southwest 8th Street. That’s the site of the old Southwest Elementary School that was donated by the Sheffield Board of Education to the nonprofit RMP in 2020.

RMP’s campus is available to elementary and middle school students. In addition to classroom and physical education, a barber shop and nail salon are among the amenities available to the students. A Fitness Lab was recently added at RMP, which is available to Shoals area residents.

“Because we’re a nonprofit, we’re hoping to obtain more funding to be able to open every day because of the size of the facility,” Dewayne Malone, founder and president of RMP, told 256 Today. “But as of now, we’re opening on Tuesdays and Thursday evening, which is for our after school program. So in this program, we offer counseling, tutors, one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring and the list goes on.”

RMP is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-7 p.m. Food is provided.

The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2001 to honor the legend of the late MLB coach and father of Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. According to its website, this program is designed to help at-risk youth to engage in age-appropriate STEM learning in a structured environment with trained teachers and mentors who make science, technology, engineering, and math compelling and fun.

Elementary and middle school-aged youth participating in well-implemented, high quality out-of-school programs reap a range of positive benefits, including higher reading and math scores, increased self-esteem, higher school attendance, and decreased dropout rates. The Ripken Foundation’s STEM program is turnkey and can be implemented easily in any community and requires no set space, giving underserved kids in disadvantaged neighborhoods the opportunity to participate.

Each Ripken Foundation STEM Center includes:

  • Educational Products: A specialized selection of lessons, diverse activity kits, and materials that introduce STEM principles through circuitry, engineering, coding, and more.
  • Technology and Storage: laptops; 3D printers; drones; several spools of printing filament; and mobile STEM activity organizers/workbenches.
  • The STEM Curriculum Guidebook is a hands-on learning guide that helps teachers introduce STEM concepts that are based on Next Generation Science Standards. The curriculum provided through the portal accompanies the Ripken Foundation STEM Center products, providing guidance on use of the products provided, as well as offering lessons to use with the kids and products.
  • Training by the Ripken Foundation STEM program staff and STEM professional consultants will provide ongoing program and technical support for all STEM Center partners.
  • STEM Challenge, a competition hosted by Ripken Foundation which uses real-world problems to encourage students to apply STEM skills and knowledge to develop innovative solutions. Teams from our STEM Centers across the country present their solutions to a panel of judges. Fill out the Challenge Proposal Form to participate!
  • Additional online resources for educational products will give teachers and mentors access to digital copies of curriculum and other resources that will enhance the STEM program through the Ripken Online Resource Portal at www.ripkenfoundation.org/resource-portal

To find out more about RMP, visit www.therescuemeproject.com.

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