YETI aspires to consistently deliver Chairmans'-worthy performances. Our mission of sharing the win includes bridging the gap between the empowered and the powerless. We champion our cause to bring unique and tailored STEM experiences to youth across borders and barriers. As Charlotte’s (CLT) inaugural FRC team, we empower the academically left-behind and neglected groups i.e. girls, refugees, homeless, impoverished, ESL students, and most recently, thousands of students from India.
FIRST teams are like family for YETI and we realize that sustainability is an important challenge. YETI rises to this challenge by nurturing our teams every step of the way. In 2018 we started team 6894, Iced Java, and along with mentoring them, we also shared our knowledge and workspace in hopes that they would emulate us. Given our history of helping teams and our recently released informational YouTube series, YETI Tips, that supports and guides new FRC teams to a sustainable future, YETI was selected for the TEAMS Grant to mentor FRC team 7815. To date, we have spent $100,000+ helping other FIRST teams cover registration expenses, food at competitions, rent expenses, and by hosting off-season and official tournaments for FIRST teams of all levels.
Expanding on the YETI Global initiative, our co-captain created PREPARE, a 501(c)3 that focuses on providing public school students in rural Indian villages access to quality STEM education. In India, only the poorest attend public schools which lack funds to provide adequate pre-college STEM education. When these kids attend college with private-schooled peers, they fall behind due to technological disadvantages. In a country that produces more graduates with STEM majors than STEM jobs, class rank is vital to getting a job. PREPARE, as the name suggests, better prepares these public schoolers to compete with their private school peers in college. PREPARE trains and hires teachers to teach a carefully curated 4-year STEM curriculum developed by YETI students and has provided over $60,000 worth of salaries and materials (like laptops, KNEX kits, and EV3 sets) with the help of YETI. Over the last 2 years, PREPARE has inducted 7 schools totaling 2,810 students. This year, the Government of Andhra Pradesh, India agreed to provide 70% of the costs and requested the induction of 1,300 schools. The self-sustaining nature of this program will allow nearly 100 new schools to be inducted by the end of this year. Through PREPARE, YETI wishes to break the rampant cycle of poverty in these farming villages where the public education system fails to teach 21st-century skills vital to present-day employability.
YETI addresses the absence of female presence by encouraging girls to overcome gender bias and strive for their passions by seizing opportunities. Our first year, YETI was 97% male, so we created and maintain the Pink Pipeline, a series of all-girl Jr. FLL, FLL, and FTC teams designed to involve girls in engineering by providing a streamlined, enriching pathway to pursue STEM in higher education and beyond. Our Pink Pipeline consistently provides young women with a solid base of engineering skills. The Pink Pipeline’s success increased the female YETI population by 700%, attracting the attention of Ashley Maria, director of Pioneers in Skirts, a recently released documentary. Pioneers in Skirts focuses on our former team captains’ journeys as women in STEM and the struggles women face when entering the workforce.
To further overcome the gender barrier, this year, YETI partnered with the Girl Scouts of America at a regional level. We hosted EV3 workshops for 200 girls, teaching them to build and program EV3 robots in order to earn their Robotics badges. We were asked to extend our Pink Pipeline and form several FLL and FTC teams for the CLT Mecklenburg Girl Scouts chapter.