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AFCEA Rocky Mountain Chapter donates $45,000 to buy books for kids

AFCEA Rocky Mountain Chapter donates $45,000 to buy books for kids
Posted at 11:08 PM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-28 01:08:06-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — During the “If You Give A Child A Book Campaign,” several organizations have partnered with KOAA to help get books in the hands of children. One of them is the AFCEA Rocky Mountain Chapter.

The organization has a passion for education and a passion for learning. On Monday, they donated $45,000 to make sure local kids have books to read.

“We saw the benefit and the joy the kids had in getting these books, and we said we have to double down and we are,” said Russ Fellers, with AFCEA.

Last year, the chapter donated $30,000 in their first year being part of the effort. This year their donation of $45,000 covers ten books per child at six Title One schools.

“The joy for us, is to see the passion and the happiness that they have. They can't wait to read these books. What we hope is they develop a love of learning,” said Fellers.

The organization not only helps provide funding for books, but it also helps students pursue STEM learning. This year, the chapter also provided more than $450,000 dollars to support local STEM learning from elementary schools up to college.

Some of the funding has gone to the cybersecurity program at UCCS and providing $50,000 in scholarship money to UCCS and Pikes Peak State College.

“Our teachers are pretty limited in how much they can teach us for a given semester, but organizations like AFCEA helps us to network and get hands on experiences outside of the classroom,” said Katrina Roseman, a computer science student at UCCS.

Funding goes toward scholarships and grant money, and hosting STEM competitions and seminars.

For Roseman, it's also helped in pursuing her career.

“AFCEA hosts a cyber competition in December for us students to get more hands on practice in the field of cyber security, and then the spring they also host a conference that allows us to network with other cybersecurity professionals in the area,” said Roseman.

A $10,000 donation was also provided for the Cyber Range in the UCCS Cybersecurity building.

“Not only do they support the students with scholarship money, but they also help us in building our infrastructure, help us build our programs, help us get our students into the workforce, and help us get connections for faculty even in research,” said Gretchen Bliss, the director of cybersecurity programs at UCCS. “They also provide job opportunities, they review resumes, and they give us lots of feedback and input. They're really committed to the workforce when it comes to cybersecurity and UCCS students.”

AFCEA has been working with many organizations in the community for more than 20 years. Whether it's getting a book in the hands of young kids or providing scholarships for college students, they want to make sure local student succeed.

Another program AFCEA supports is the El Pomar Boys & Girls Club Drone Soccer Program. The club got in contact with AFCEA about a year ago when they wanted to implement the program.

Aphten Goldman, the Vice President of development for the Boys & Girls Club said one of the five core areas they focus on is STEM learning.

“It’s a quickly growing career field, and so we want to get our kids exposed to STEM at an early age so that all those opportunities for their futures are open. And drone soccer is kind of the latest greatest STEM activity,” said Goldman.

Goldman also mentioned the club primarily served at risk and under served youth in the community.

“Typically those youth are not exposed to opportunities to succeed. They’re living in really difficult circumstances and so through our partnership with AFCEA, we’re able to provide STEM programming like drone soccer,” said Goldman.

AFCEA also supports the Pikes Peak Robotics Program which puts robotic kits into local schools, the Goodwill LIFT program which funds 25 scholarships for adults seeking transition to higher paying IT jobs, and the Cyberprep Internship where they sponsored 20 high school cyber interns.

“Education is a passion for AFCEA the chapter, we see the need for more STEM education in our community and growing stem professionals,” said Fellers.

The chapter has also provided $130,000 in STEM grants to teachers at 42 schools, from elementary to high school. That money helps them improve their STEM learning and curriculum at those schools.

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