Local Children in Foster Care Get “Stellar” Experience at STEM Camp

For Immediate Release: December 27, 2012
Contact: Nicole Stookey, Northwest Region Communications Director, (850) 509-2675

Local Children in Foster Care Get “Stellar” Experience at STEM Camp 
Space-related camp sponsored by CenturyLink provides unique, educational experience

TALLAHASSEE – Fourteen children in foster care from Jackson, Leon and Wakulla counties were treated today to an out-of-this-world learning experience. Global telecommunications company CenturyLink teamed up with the Department of Children and Families and Florida’s Foundation to sponsor a daylong camp for K-8 grade students. The camp was designed to promote enthusiasm in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at the Challenger Learning Center. The camp included aerospace-themed activities to foster an interest in math and science, simulated space missions that teach about life in space and encourage team-building and state-of-the-art planetarium shows and 3D IMAX movies.

For the second time this year, CenturyLink provided a fun and educational STEM experience for local foster children through the Department’s “Camps for Champions” initiative. The camp is one of more than a dozen of statewide Camps for Champions (www.campsforchampions.com) providing year-round camp experiences for hundreds of children in foster care. In March, CenturyLink sponsored a multi-day technology camp for 20 foster teens during spring break. 

“Communities all across Florida have stepped up to give our children camp experiences just like any other youth,” said Suzanne Vitale, Deputy Secretary for the Department of Children and Families. “The opportunities provided by CenturyLink encourage these children to reach for the stars.”

CenturyLink supports local communities it serves through philanthropic efforts focused on K-12 education and youth programs, as well as technology-focused initiatives. CenturyLink twice this year put that commitment into practice for our area’s abused and neglected children, helping to create promising futures for our children in foster care. 

The projected growth for STEM careers is 17 percent, compared to less than 10 percent in other professions. STEM careers earn an average of 26 percent more than other fields. However, current predictions indicate that the current number of graduates with STEM degrees will not keep up with demand for STEM careers.

“The CenturyLink STEM camp helps inspire and excite children in our community about science and technology,” said CenturyLink’s Market Development Manager Carmen Butler. “We are pleased to be able to partner with the Department of Children and Families and Florida's Foundation to give these children an innovative educational experience.” 

In addition to the camp experience, gift cards provided to each foster family to help them enjoy some much deserved “me time” while the kids were busy at camp. Each child received an age-appropriate tablet they can use at home to learn STEM fields using high-tech educational games and applications and interactive reading.

CenturyLink is a valued DCF “Partner for Promise.” Since January, the “Partners for Promise” initiative has recognized more than 1,550 Florida businesses that donate their time, talent and resources to enrich the lives of people in their communities. For more information, please visit www.flpartnersforpromise.com .