Creating a More Inclusive & Equitable World Through Allyship
Location: Illinois, United States
FIRST has taught our Wolcott College Prep team about Gracious Professionalism® through promoting high-quality work, emphasizing the importance of the value of others, and teaching us how to respect all perspectives within our community. We took this message to heart and are organizing a TEDx event at Wolcott College Prep, located in Chicago, IL, with the motivation of “practicing allyship” to provide a voice for the unheard to live in a more inclusive and equitable world. Our TEDx platform elevates people to create a safe, supportive, gender-equal, and gender-equitable world. The ALLY acronym stands for:
- Always centering the impacts
- Listen and learn from those who live in oppression
- Leverage your privilege
- Yield the floor
When our school, Wolcott College Prep, received a National Science Foundation grant to help create and modify computer science curricula for students with learning differences, some of our students participated in that research. We had an idea to create a cost-effective way to help teach kids how to code without using a computer, so it’s more accessible and hands on. We took color-coded blocks that represent code on the computer screen and 3-D printed those blocks with recycled plastic. We went to different schools to teach children how to code and worked with a Chicago nonprofit that supports visually impaired students. We received the FIRST® Tech Challenge Connect Award for our work, and even received recognition from Fortune 500 companies and news media.
All of our team members have learning differences such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyscalculia, and more. We use these differences as assets to help innovate and push projects along in a creative fashion. We believe life is not about perfection, but about progression.