Support Our Mission
FIRST Prepares Youth for Life and Work
75% of our youth ages 11-17 report loneliness and isolation as the
#1 contributors to their mental health problems during COVID-19.
Mental Health America’s Screening Data Released January 2021
Mental Health America reports this stark loneliness statistic pointing to a growing problem across our country as a fallout of the pandemic. That’s why FIRST and its partners, New England FIRST and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have been working diligently to provide students across Massachusetts, New England, the United States and the world with remote STEM program opportunities to engage with their peers and adult mentors.
New England FIRST, the non-profit organization that manages the FIRST LEGO League Explore (ages 5-9) and FIRST Robotics Competition (grades 9-12) in Massachusetts and the five other New England states.
For three decades, FIRST participants have developed self-confidence in STEM, meaningful friendships, and valuable, real-world skills that open pathways and prepare young people for work and life.
While 120-pound robots will not be competing during the 2021 season, fun and exciting remote challenges have been developed nationally and regionally to engage young minds in game design, problem solving, innovation, technical skills and programming. FIRST @ Home is also a free online resource with opportunities for remote learning/skills development, FIRST-supported activities, and staying engaged remotely.
Study Shows Positive Student Impact
Engaging in the FIRST robotics programs are changing students’ lives for the better through inclusion and community-building. Students learn from each other by sharing ideas and forming long-lasting relationships far beyond high school. In fact, many of our alumni return as team mentors, coaches and volunteers.
Evidence from the ongoing FIRST Longitudinal Study, conducted via a multi-year partnership with Brandeis University, demonstrates that FIRST is meeting our mission and goals to increase the number of young people interested in STEM – and FIRST alumni’s interest extends beyond their participation in the program to their educational and career choices.
- FIRST participants show significant gains in workforce skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving.
- FIRST students are three times more likely to show an increase in STEM interest than comparison group students. Positive impacts are evident for all FIRST students regardless of race, gender, income, or community type.
- Compared to their peers, FIRST female alumni are more likely to take coursework in engineering (3.7x more) and computer science (5.3x more).
- Young women in FIRST have significant gains in all STEM areas including interest, career interest, activity, knowledge, and identity compared to their non-participating peers.
- FIRST female alumni are more likely to declare majors in engineering and computer science than their peers.
- 59% of FIRST female alumni are more likely to declare majors in engineering and computer science than their peers.
Skills Gained By Students
- Project management
- Time management
- Finances and budgeting
- Sales and marketing
- Safety and compliance
- Construction and engineering
- Advanced technology
- Presentation skills
The opportunities for intentional expansion of the FIRST continuum of programs across school districts and community organizations in New England are endless with a proactive and dedicated school engagement plan in place. Collaboration with community-based youth-serving organizations is critical to successfully reach underserved youth with FIRST programs. FIRST mentors and coaches who understand the students they serve and have access to resources for the team are better positioned to build strong teams.
You can help us by supporting the mission of New England FIRST
Please reach out to us if you would like more information about this inspiring and life-changing program for students, teachers, mentors, coaches and volunteers.
New England Corporate & Foundations Manager