Robin Petgrave wrote -
This month, I am turning 51, and my challenge is to raise $51,000 so that TAM can increase its impact in the community with the launch of a Commercial Space Prep Summer Camp. Here's why my birthday wish this year is "Beyond Earth for TAM", and I hope that you will join me:
In 1992, I landed a helicopter at 92nd Street Elementary School for a career day visit. We called this program Postive Vibrations to help motivate youth through my story. I grew up a poor boy in Jamaica, but today I’m a helicopter stunt pilot with my own business.
In 1998, inspired by the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, I founded a non profit called Torrance Aeronautical Museum which sponsors Aviation Explorer Post 409. We help kids learn more about aviation and encourage the next generation of history makers; hence TAM's motto: Tomorrow's History Today.
In 2001, we organized our first Youth Air Fair. Mayor Perrodin from the city of Compton attended the community event, and invited me to relocate the organization to the Compton Airport. With more hangar space and more youth to serve, it was an easy invitation to accept. Our name changed to Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum, and the Aviation Explorer Post continued to grow by providing flight simulator classes, tutoring and homework help, as well as a Youth Leadership Council.
More Aviation Explorers were flying, and some of them (Jimmy Haywood, Kenny Roy, Jonathan Strickland, Kelly and Kimberly Anyadike) even set world records. We have partnered with Compton Unified School District and AmeriCorps*VISTA to fight poverty through education.
On the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the U.S. ranked 24 in math and 17th in science out of 34 developed countries. Knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can be the key to a successful future. 75% of all college students are woman and students of color, but they represent only 45% STEM degrees earned each year. Over the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs was 3X greater than that of non-STEM jobs, and workers who hold STEM degrees enjoy higher earnings regardless of occupation. (Edutopia) Other stats show minorities are struggling in math and reading proficiency at rates for below Whites and Asians. With the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the Nation’s Report Card, showing support for hands-on science activities, I wanted to implement more than just flight training at TAM. The NAEP, President Obama, and many others believe future prosperity is tied to innovation spurred on by all students’ engagement in STEM.
Once I learned these statistics, I began to understand how incredibly important it is for TAM to spread its mission and help the community understand the link between aviation and STEM. This summer, the TAM VISTA’s staff, volunteers, and I will launch a Commercial Space Prep summer camp and afterschool program with more hands-on STEM activities, flight training and ground instruction, guest speakers on careers in aviation and aerospace, field trips, and healthy meals. The Commercial Space Prep Summer Camp will be targeted to low-income students to help close the achievement gap that has been attributed in part, to cumulative learning loss during the summer. That loss is steeper for low-income students than for others, according to the National Summer Learning Association. The camp will offer the following courses:
High School Fundamentals of Aviation
Elementary School Mission Prep STEM Enrichment & literacy (8-week course 4 hours Monday through Friday)
Middle School Fly to Success Pre-Launch STEM Enrichment featuring the X-Plane fly-to-learn curriculum.
Join me in this effort with your generous donation or volunteering, and I hope to see you at TAM on May 4th for Arts & Aviation Career Expo.
Let's help kids take off and fly high!
Yours in service,