A chorus of oohs and ahhs went up in the cafeteria of Martin Luther King Elementary School on Pittsburgh’s Northside when visitor Richard Bell poured water into three containers of dry ice, dish detergent and food coloring, creating colorful clouds that spilled over the top of each glass jar and onto the floor.
It’s one of the science experiments Bell loves to perform when he visits schools around the country, making sure that families have enough to eat, and kids are inspired to pursue STEM careers by studying science, technology, engineering and math. “We’re lighting that spark in our young people,” said Bell, who points out to the kids that there are more well-paying jobs in these disciplines than there are people to fill them. “Our young people are excited about STEM and STEAM, they can’t get enough of it,” said Bell.
Pittsburgh was near the end of Bell’s 11 city holiday tour for the Kids First Initiative, a Pontiac, MI-based nonprofit organization that helps disadvantaged kids and their families. While most of Kids First’s outreach, like their summer science camps, is based near their suburban Detroit headquarters, each holiday Bell hits the road, parntering with local groups all over the country to provide the welcome of a warm meal, a turkey and fixings to take home, and the draw of the on-the-spot science show Bell has become well-known for. Check it out:
On the Pittsburgh stop, Bell partnered with a group called the Parent Community Volunteer Network. It’s their 5th year working together. The parent group invited needy families from Pittsburgh King Elementary, and 5 other nearby elementary and charter schools. “To bring them all together to have the opportunity to fellowship to me is a beautiful thing,” said PCVN founder Dwayne Barker. “They leave feeling extremely grateful and blessed.”
To find out more about Kids First Initiative and how to invite them to your school, click here to go to their website.