Heard of Raspberry Pi?
Sounds delicious, but it’s actually computer technology that’s used to help young people learn coding skills. Birmingham-area students recently put the technology to work at a STEM camp at Regions Center and created their own music – thanks to a collaboration between Regions Bank and CGI.
The two businesses are quite different, but they have a shared mission: to enhance education and workforce development opportunities in our communities. In December 2022, they worked together to host a STEM camp – with a generous helping of financial education on the side. Associates from Regions and CGI, along with around 100 Jefferson County high school students, gathered for a fun, exciting day of learning and discovery.
“It had a good impact on me,” said Cameron Mitchell, a student a Center Point High School. “My favorite thing about it was making my own beats and sounds.”
The students are participants of GEAR UP Jefferson County, a local program that improves access, opportunities and outcomes for students from historically marginalized populations and underserved communities. One of GEAR UP’s program goals is to provide STEM education opportunities to their students. Providing access to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, better prepares young people for careers in these areas and promotes inclusive prosperity – another of Regions’ community engagement priorities.
Pairing STEM camp with practical money basics helps to set these students up for success. “The more you can expose these kids to technology early on, it just gives them a broader perspective and the world is just an exciting place for them as they move forward in their careers,” said Leroy Abrahams, head of Community Affairs at Regions Bank.
Watch this short video to hear from the students about their experience and learn more about the inspiration for the event from Kurt Jachimowski, CGI Program Partner, and Sarah Moss, Regions Community Affairs Community Relations Officer.
See the photos below for a visual snapshot of the day’s activities.
Students from the Jefferson County school system in Birmingham participated in the daylong STEM and financial education camp. The students are part of GEAR UP Jefferson County, a program that increases opportunities for local students. “Without corporate support, many of these students wouldn’t be exposed to STEM education or financial wellness opportunities,” said GEAR UP Project Director Chrystal Abernathy.
CGI volunteers helped the students use Raspberry Pi technology to learn coding skills and create music.
Cecilia Bailey, Community Affairs Financial Education manager (center), along with a team of Regions volunteers, shared courses from Regions Next Step financial wellness program with the students. The Reality Check curriculum is a fun and eye-opening program that helps young people learn real-life money basics, including the importance of budgeting, saving and smart spending.
STEM camps teach young people science, technology, engineering and math, while giving them the opportunity to explore different concepts and enhance their education outside the classroom. At the Regions-CGI camp, students were also exposed to financial education information, which will better equip them to be successful – no matter what career they pursue.
Regions also recently hosted a STEM event for middle and high school girls in Shelby County, Alabama, working closely with the American Heart Association. “Similar to the CGI event, we provided the Reality Check financial wellness curriculum, which will help these girls make good financial decisions in the future,” said Sarah Moss, Community Relations officer at Regions. “Our community partner in the event, American Heart Association, offered valuable health information, including CPR training, which is important for everyone at any age.”