DIG, STEM program immersing youth in rural areas
Live 5 News. Princess Ruff. February 24, 2018.

Dreams, Imagination and Gifts (DIG), a nonprofit STEM-based organization, is immersing young people in STEM education and activities all year round and February 24, 2018 they held their annual Hoop For A Dream basketball tournament. Founder, Steven Brown says his passion for STEM began as a child during a trip to a BMW plant.
He eventually recognized the gap between access to STEM opportunities and youth in rural areas. He recently received The Engineer of the Year award at the national Black Engineer of the Year Award STEM Conference. "It was kind of surreal and kind of good to showcase to everyone what comes out of these areas to kind of showcase that they should put more, they should invest more, in the regions that we come from, which is rural South Carolina," says Brown.
They also use their annual Hoop For A Dream basketball tournament as way to tell parents in the community about their program. "And then it also gives us a platform that we can showcase STEM at an event, where people are typically coming for the athletics. But now we have a platform where we can talk about STEM and what it does for the community and the growing industries and our programs so parents can register at these events," says Brown.
Tylan and Jayden both say they have enjoyed their experience with DIG and can't say thank you enough. "He did a good job," says Tylan Parker.
"I like it because it helps me bring my grades up and helps us learn more stuff that we don't learn in school," says Jayden Dash.
Each year, the DIG after school and summer camp has a waiting list and their enrollment has grown 900%. They're hoping this program will continue to open up opportunities for their students and help them to believe a career in STEM is possible. "Because our kids are natural innovators. Because if you're in a rural area, you have to be creative to play, creative to do everything. So, we're natural innovators. So, if we connect them to STEM, we're jewels in the workforce. So, that was the goal behind starting DIG – To showcase that big dreams do come from small places. And that rural communities dig STEM and that there's a talent pool that's untapped," says Brown.
Brown says he hopes to eventually have STEM represented in all rural South Carolina areas and hopefully nationally.

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