In an example of life imitating art, Disney has pledged to donate $1 million to the Boys and Girls Club of America to help fund a STEM center in Oakland, California, just like the end of Black Panther. Wakanda is the most technologically advanced fictitious country in the world and after being isolated for decades, T'Challa tells his sister Shuri at the end of the movie that Wakanda will be reaching out to the rest of the planet, and that she will be leading a science initiative in Oakland. Now, Disney is helping Oakland and other areas expand their STEM program.
STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, is a curriculum aimed at strengthening US students in the elements of science and math. The four elements are taught in an interdisciplinary manner that sees teachers working with each other on a curriculum that benefits students in job preparation for the real-world. Components of English are taught throughout the four elements, giving students a well-rounded concept on the importance of technology in the world today, which is something that Wakanda and Black Panther helped show off.
Letitia Wright's Shuri character is a technological wizard in Wakanda, inspiring kids in the fictional country as well as in the real-world. After the smash success of Black Panther, Disney is taking that inspiration one step further by donating money to help the Boys and Girls Club of America better their STEM centers in Oakland, California, the very same place that Shuri is sent to lead the Wakandan science initiative. The Boys and Girls Clubs of America will use the one-time grant to help further develop its existing national STEM curriculum, and also establish new STEM Centers of Innovation in Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Harlem, NY; Hartford, CT; Memphis, TN; New Orleans, LA; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Watts, CA, and obviously, Oakland, CA.
President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Jim Clark, spoke out about Disney's generous donation to the STEM programs. He addressed that the money will help students find their technological passions and possibly find their STEM careers. The money will undoubtedly go a long way in helping the areas that the Boys and Girls Club of America have decided to focus on. Jim Clark had this to say.
"From hands-on interactive programs to critical thinking, Boys & Girls Clubs of America is committed to providing thousands of young people with the tools they need to prepare for a great future. Thanks to Disney's support, we can expand our outreach and allow more youth to find their passions and discover STEM careers."
One of the major components of the STEM curriculum is a focus on the hands-on approach to learning. Instead of watching Shuri make something in Black Panther, or reading about somebody making a circuit board, students learn first-hand how to design a circuit board and then wire it, literally making a light bulb turn on. Thanks to Black Panther's intense success, Disney was able to donate some money that could end up helping young students find a career that seemed out of reach in previous years. You can read more about the Disney/Black Panther donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America at Coming Soon.