HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The base library here hosted a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) event Feb. 15 for children with special needs and their siblings.
The event, coordinated by the library and Exceptional Family Member Program-Family Support Specialist, featured visual- and texture-based activities which included stations for making rain clouds out of shaving cream, homemade snow and anti-gravity galaxies in bottles.
The library setting provided a stress-free environment for the children and their families to have new experiences, just like those enjoyed by typical children.
“The library came to me and really wanted to connect and have a special needs event so that the EFMP families would get in the library and see everything they have to offer,” said Tammy Custer, EFMP- Family Support Specialist. “I think that anytime I can connect with any agency on base and allow my families to see that they’re welcome everywhere is always beneficial.”
Custer said the event allowed kids the opportunity to exceed their own expectations.
“My goal is for kids with special needs to see that they can do things that maybe they didn’t think they could do,” she said, “and for the siblings to get to see that their special needs siblings are able to do things that maybe they never have done before.”
The library conducts STEM events most months of the year, generally every third Wednesday.
“We want to encourage boys and girls to show interest in STEM,” said Ahllam Braxton, 75th Force Support Squadron library technician. “Many libraries are going in this direction. Programs outside of school can help children to see that STEM is more than a class to finish. Having activities that show real-life implication of STEM can pull together the ideas presented in school and help to show how they benefit our society and even our world as a whole.”
Braxton continued, “Parents also must encourage their children to pursue STEM activities and increase awareness and interest at home and in extracurricular activities of the merits of STEM education.”
For information on library programs, call 801-777-2533; for information on the EFMP-Family Support Program, call 801-586-2611.