“If your parents miss X amount of bills, you can fall into homelessness, too.”
High School students growing in the Los Angeles suburb of San Fernando and attending San Fernando High School see an increasing number of people experiencing homelessness living outside. Mashable recently reported “How 12 teens invented a solar-powered tent for the homeless.”
“People live on a main thoroughfare near the school, at a nearby park, and below the off-ramps and bridges in her hometown of San Fernando, which is about 20 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. In the San Fernando Valley, homelessness increased 36% to 7,094 people last year, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency‘s annual count. Daniela (Orozco) and her friends wanted to help, but giving money wasn’t an option.”
The girls themselves are part of low-income families without the means to give or donate money to those experiencing homelessness and in need. Instead, the girls invented a solar-powered tent that rolls up into a backpack.
What is probably most impressive is that “The girls and 10 others from their high school had never done any hands-on engineering work before, but with the help of YouTube, Google, and trial-and-error, they got it done.”
Next June, the girls will be honored for their inventing and “do it yourself” skills and have the opportunity to share the tent” at MIT as part of a young inventors conference.
The teens, none of whom had coded, soldered, sewn, or 3D-printed before they joined forces, won a $10,000 grant from the Lemelson-MIT Program to develop the invention.”
DIY Girls, a nonprofit that teaches girls from low-income communities about engineering, math, and science, to go after the grant recruited the female students.
The girls came together to not only invent the tent but also to create close friendships among themselves. Some among the 12 girls will be the first in their families to go to college.
“I knew I wanted to apply for it, but I needed a team,” says Evelyn Gomez, 29, the executive director of DIY Girls. “I went back to my calculus teacher at my high school and did a hands-on recruitment activity.”
Coming from low-income families, the girls know all too well, how fine the line between having a home and becoming homeless can be.
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