Beam Center

Organization Description

At Beam Center, young people learn to collaborate and create while honing skills in fabrication, prototyping, metalwork, physical computing, construction, and design. Beam Center uses traditional and advanced tools, technologies, and craft to honor the individual voice, celebrate the joy of producing something larger than ourselves, and inspire a lasting sense of wonder and accomplishment.

Impact of SCE Support

To support a vision of digital public health for everyone, Beam Center’s project is training and empowering two diverse cohorts of young people to conduct their own research on Healthy Digital Futures. Using the Intergenerational Change Initiative’s AmplifyApp as the primary data collection tool, youth will perform research fieldwork among peer high school students at Beam Center’s summer program sites across NYC, reaching over 500 youth in total.

The project’s goals are twofold: 1) to teach youth to conduct their own research, ask their own questions, and understand digital habits through participatory action research, and 2) provide a platform where youth can share their findings with peers, young-serving organizations and other city and national stakeholders in a medium that is meaningful to them. Listen to their podcast, which examines issues around digital spaces and the way youth interact with them, here.

Beam Center is a member of SCE’s Youth Voice Challenge cohort. This group of exemplary organizations seeks answers to the question: How can young people inspire their peers to use technology in healthy ways and make digital spaces better for everyone? Learn more about the Challenge here.

Why We Funded

We were intrigued by the Beam Center’s use of a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) model to address the lack of genuine youth voice in the research space. We appreciate this project’s multiple layers of impact: on the youth researchers, on the other young people who participate in the research, and on the organization’s own practices.

Beam Center brings together youth, artists, engineers, and educators to produce ambitious, collaborative projects that support youth to take bold steps towards meaningful futures and foster conditions for educational equity.
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