Donation to Support Unleashing Potential’s Track Record of Academic and Socio-emotional Success and Expand STEAM Programming

Students participating in an Unleashing Potential program

Unleashing Potential, based in St. Louis, recently received a $6,000 Neighbors in Need (NIN) grant from the UCC’s Justice and Local Church Ministries. The funds will be used to support Unleashing Potential’s track record of academic and socio-emotional success, as well as expand Science, Technology, Engineering, Cultural Arts, and Math (STEAM) programming. NIN grants support ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States and fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice.

STEAM Program

Through Unleashing Potential’s STEAM programming, more than 600 youth from economically disadvantaged communities in the St. Louis metropolitan area will explore key STEAM concepts in before- and after-school, as well as summer enrichment, programs.

By instilling the belief that STEAM is for everyone and emphasizing the “4 C’s” of Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creative Play, Unleashing Potential endeavors to increase student and family awareness and knowledge of STEAM education and career opportunities.

“Inequities in STEAM education start early,” said Darlene Sowell, president and CEO of Unleashing Potential. “This is particularly true in the communities of color where Unleashing Potential’s programs operate. The Neighbors in Need grant will help us make an impact, by starting early with STEAM evidence-based curricula that focus on the youth’s strengths, including their curiosity about the world to pose questions, predict outcomes and test ideas, and hopefully initiating an interest in future STEAM careers.”

Partnership with the United Church of Christ

Since 2018, Neighbors in Need has made awards to 194 organizations. This year, they awarded grants to more than 30 organizations doing impactful missional work.

“The work that Unleashing Potential is doing to ensure that no at-risk youth of color has to struggle with tuition as they pursue STEAM education is phenomenal,” said the Rev. Dr. Aaron Wade, the UCC’s minister for congregational granting. “Because of their stellar approach, they are a recipient yet again of the competitive Neighbors in Need grant award. We are grateful for each of our local churches and covenanted ministers that partner in covenant with the national setting of the United Church of Christ to bring about a just world for all!”

Unleashing Potential has a long history as a CHHSM agency with the United Church of Christ. It was founded in 1913 by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. Today, Immanuel United Church of Christ, located in Ferguson, Mo., St. Paul United Church of Christ, located in St. Louis, and Church of the Master United Church of Christ, located in Florissant, Mo., are partners and serve as host sites for our summer educational programs and staff professional development trainings.

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