Second View

How I Am Inspiring The Next Generation

Written by: developer

by Space Foundation Director – Philanthropy Gina Taranto

I have to admit, it’s a pretty cool feeling to know that I have played a role in inspiring the next Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride, to know I helped provide the spark to someone who will do something so extraordinary that humanity will be forever changed.

Do I know exactly who these future heroes are? No. Am I the teacher who they will later credit as the reason for their inspiration that led them to reach for the stars? No.

That is the best part. Every single one of us can have this impact.

Imagine with me… a third grade class is taking a field trip to the Space Foundation Discovery Center. The students are excited about, yes, being out of the school and getting to climb aboard that big yellow bus, but they also wonder what they will get to see and do. The curiosity fills their little minds during the ride. They arrive. And the very first thing they are greeted with is a real-life NASA astronaut suit. The ooohs and ahhhs fill the air for the first, but certainly not the last, time that day.

I like to imagine the conversation at each child’s dinner table that night. I know when I ask my two sons about school each night, I get the standard response of, “It was good.” I’m pretty sure the parents of the kids who visit the Discovery Center don’t even have to ask about school that day. Those children can’t wait to tell their moms and dads about the cool things they learned, and the amazing things they got to see and do.

Yes, I work at the Space Foundation – and proudly so. But that is not how I have played a role in inspiring the next Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride. I accomplish this in being a donor to the Space Foundation. Through a small deduction out of every payroll check, I give back because I want to help inspire the next generation of STEM leaders. And I like the fact that when my gift is combined with those from others, it quickly adds up and immediately goes to work making an impact on generations to come.

And I am not alone. I am joined by many of you who also want to help the Space Foundation build a pipeline of our future engineers, chemists, scientists, designers, inventors and technology professionals who will change the world in ways we cannot even begin to imagine. Your support comes to us in many ways throughout the year:

  • Many military and federal government workers have included the Space Foundation in their Combined Federal Campaign (CFC #71807) giving.
  • Some have helped us move twice as fast in our efforts by having their gift matched by their employer.
  • Others have had their Amazon purchases do ‘double duty’ by supporting us through AmazonSmile shopping.
  • Those who attended our annual special event, Yuri’s Night, contributed to our education programs.
  • Others have funded scholarships for students and teachers to experience hands-on field trips to our Discovery Center.

All of us at the Space Foundation are so grateful to each and every one of you who contribute in these ways – and more – all year long. It’s not just today’s educators who are on the front lines of engaging students and empowering them with skills and confidence to pursue a STEM field of study, all of us play a role in the future. All of us can have an impact. I know I want to have that impact!

Because you just never know what future hero may be on a field trip to the Discovery Center that YOU made possible when you support the Space Foundation.

Learn more about donating to the Space Foundation here.

This article is part of Space Watch: September 2015 (Volume: 14, Issue: 9).