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FabNewport: Making a Difference
By Chris Barnett / September 11, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...

Ten-year-old David adjusted the settings on the laser etcher as FabNewport Executive Director Steve Heath leaned in to offer encouraging reminders about every step in the process of using the high-tech machine.

David is one of about two dozen Newport youngsters who spent their summer days at the nonprofit, located in a couple of rooms beneath the Boys and Girls Club in the city’s North End Child Opportunity Zone. The program addressed more than just the normal “summer slide” some students experience while school is out.

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“These kids have a variety of challenges. We work with Newport School Department to identify good kids who are starting to drift. The goal is to engage them in something productive and keep them headed in the right direction,” Heath explains.

Support from our Newport County Fund helped FabNewport offer a full menu of activities. The kids were able to experiment in fields as cutting edge as 3D printing and video game coding and as traditional as soldering and sewing.

“We give children the time and support to follow their ideas and intuition. When the world seems so busy and time is our most precious commodity we give kids a chance to slow down, a chance to play with materials, tools and machines with the support of expert coaching, a chance to learn at their own pace while surrounded with possibility,” he says.

FabNewport uses an open lab format, designed to bring out the inventor in each camper. Campers learned new skills and applied their new knowledge to a project of their choice. While each camp had a particular focus, children were free to choose their own path.

“Campers learned new skills, executed ideas, met professionals, and brought their dreams to life,” Heath explains.

 

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