Connecting a Million Minds, including B&GCSCV Club Kids, through the study of math and sciences brought a donation from Time Warner, which is sponsoring the initiative. Shown are (left to right) TWC representatives Stephen D. Sawyer and Katherine McDonald and Club CEO Jan Marholin and Club Directors Andrew J. Gonzalez and Dr. Luis Villegas.

Boys & Girls Club Club Kids are
links in the chain to Connect A Million Minds

July 25, 2014
Santa Paula News

Two special guests from Time Warner Cable were welcomed to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Clara Valley’s Harding Park location for the recent “Kids Day at the Club!” event that featured interactive exhibits that focused on science, technology, engineering and math.

The approximately 300 club members that attended can be considered links in a very long chain: the kids, who take part in Santa Paula and Fillmore based programs, are just a fraction of the links in the ambitious TWC Connect A Million Minds Initiative.

The initiative is a five-year, $100 million cash and in-kind philanthropic initiative to address America’s declining proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which puts children at risk of not competing successfully in a global economy.

At the “Kids Day at the Club!” Stephen D. Sawyer, TWC director of government relations, and Katherine McDonald, TWC community investment manager, presented a check for $2,500 to allow “The Positive Place for Kids” to continue its efforts on promoting STEM and fund its First Lego League team. 

“This is the only club in Ventura County we are funding,” said McDonald, who noted Santa Clara River Valley children live in a low-income area considered “underserved” and needing special attention.

Emphasizing STEM to Connect A Million Minds is proactive, as more and more new jobs will rely on at least some knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math and existing positions held by aging Baby Boomers will soon be opening up. 

McDonald said, “We want to get kids excited about STEM and make sure they have access to programs such as the First Lego League,” robotics program for children ages 9 to 16.

Last year, TWC awarded the B&GCSCV a grant in support of the robotics program designed to get youth excited about science and technology. “We believe one of the most powerful ways to engage children in any kind of learning, especially STEM, is to make it a hands-on fun experience and that’s what we do here,” said Club CEO Jan Marholin.

With the TWC grant, club members from Santa Paula and Fillmore were able to join the First Lego League competition, Nature’s Fury Challenge held in November.

Their team - The Stompers - competed against almost 100 teams, and put their science skills to use and utilized robotics, technology and creativity to discover ways to help during natural disasters.

The Stompers were honored with the Judges Special Recognition Award, an impressive debut. 

“Understanding the importance of hands-on science, technology, engineering and math learning opportunities,” Marholin said the club “is excited to continue and grow the Robotics Program in the coming years.

“Times Warner’s financial contribution made our involvement possible as the materials cost each year can be expensive. Our kids did very well in cooperative learning skills and critical thinking skills, as they have to think quickly to readjust and reprogram the robots.”

“Jan has been a great partner,” said McDonald. “We see such wonderful things she’s doing, her great connections and engagement... and we appreciate that.”

The $2,500 donation given by TWC to the club will be applied towards the STEM and First Lego League programs.

To learn more, visit

The website features “The Connectory” a one-of- a-kind online resource that makes it simple and easy for parents and students to find informal science and technology learning opportunities in their communities.

To view a public service announcement about the program featuring Marholin, visit

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