Local student launches STEM to Success
A local high school student donated $2,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of America through an initiative called STEM for Success that she started about two years ago.
Yufei Zhang, 17, a senior at Westview High School said she got the idea for a coding camp last year, during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I felt pretty helpless at home,” she said, recalling the cancellation of school, including her favorite computer science class.
Charging $10 per student for the virtual event, Yufei saw a way to give back to the Boys & Girls Clubs, where she spent a lot of time during her early childhood in Boston.
“The purpose of the camp was really not for money, it was so I could kill two birds with one stone,” she said. “To provide education while also giving back to the Boys & Girls Clubs.”
Yufei typically spent a lot of time at the organization’s facilities after school when no one else was home yet because her parents both worked full time.
“If I can make this successful, I can end up giving back to the place I used to go,” she said of the planning that went into it.
The event was geared toward younger students, and “it was a really great opportunity for a lot of students,” Yufei added.
The event, which took place over a few days in June 2020, ended up attracting about 200 students. Four college students helped with the instruction.
Yufei said things changed for her family after her dad got a new job and everyone relocated to San Diego. STEM to Success was her way of making sure children could have the opportunities she lacked earlier in her youth.
After doing a little online research and starting an Instagram page, STEM to Success was born.
“I dove straight in and started advertising,” Yufei said.
Next year, Yufei will be studying computer science in college. She’s going through the application process and still has to decide where she wants to go. But she said she’s open to welcoming new leaders to STEM to Success to make sure the organization and its mission continue.
“I’d love to allow another set of students to take over this organization,” Yufei said.
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