The YouthQuest Foundation Year in Review: 2016

YouthQuest Director of Instruction Tom Meeks with students in the 3D ThinkLink Creativity Lab

The YouthQuest Foundation reached a milestone in serving at-risk youth as 2016 came to an end.

Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy 3D ThinkLink students graduate December 2016
3D ThinkLink students graduate from Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy, December 2016

“With December’s graduations in Maryland, South Carolina and Washington, DC, 200 Youth ChalleNGe Academy Cadets now have completed our 3D ThinkLink training,” said YouthQuest Co-Founder and President, Lynda Mann. “It’s been a joy to watch this project grow during the past four years.”

The 3D ThinkLink Initiative helps students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, creativity and confidence as they learn about 3D design and printing. The knowledge they gain gives our graduates an advantage in the tech-driven job market where demand for 3D design and printing skills is growing fast. Most important, they learn that failure is not final – a lesson that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

YouthQuest launched the project at Maryland’s Freestate ChalleNGe Academy in early 2013. Later that year, the District of Columbia’s Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy joined, followed by South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy in 2014.

Advanced students assemble JellyBox 3D printer kits in the 3D Thinklink Creativity Lab January 2016
Lab Week January 2016

This year began with eight top graduates participating in a week of advanced training at our 3D ThinkLink Creativity Lab in Chantilly, Virginia. They did hands-on research evaluating 3D scanners and assembling JellyBox 3D printer kits.

Our training for all ChalleNGe Cadets includes a four-hour community service project and a full day of Vocational Orientation visits to businesses and schools where 3D design and printing is used. This year’s destinations included some old favorites such as 3D Systems and the University of Maryland’s Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Lab, as well as new ones such as The Foundery and Under Armour’s Lighthouse innovation center in Baltimore.

“Being involved in 3D ThinkLink makes me think about the different opportunities I have,” said Freestate grad Josh Nembhard. “Being here gives you a better chance of going somewhere, for example, college or getting a job.”

Our new Youth Mentor Program offers graduates the opportunity to continue their 3D ThinkLInk experience by sharing what they’ve learned with their family, friends and neighbors. Beginning with Immersion Lab Week in January 2017, we will provide the equipment and training for our most qualified students to drive positive change in their communities by serving as Youth Mentors. Funding for the program launched this summer is already halfway to the $15,000 goal.

3D ThinkLink students at Vocational Orientation at University of Maryland Biomaterials Lab
Vocational Orientation at University of Maryland Biomaterials Lab

We also encourage our graduates to continue their education by awarding scholarships to those who write the best essays about how our training has affected them personally.  Four students earned $500 scholarships in 2016; Trevon Ahl and Alycia Freeman from South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy, and Brock Jasmann and Aunya’ Jones from Freestate ChalleNGe Academy.

“3D printing has helped guide me into making better decisions and gave me a new life skill along the way. It has really helped me understand my self-worth because now I know I can design my own future,” Aunya’ wrote in her award-winning essay. “I now see the bigger picture to my life’s problems and I’m not afraid to face them.”

PHILLIPS AND HORIZONS

Building on the success of our work with Youth ChalleNGe Academies, YouthQuest expanded the 3D ThinkLink Initiative to reach more youth programs in 2016

The PHILLIPS Programs for Children and Families began semester-long 3D ThinkLink classes for high school students on the autism spectrum as well as those with mental health issues at its school in Annandale, Virginia, in the spring and will launch classes at its Fairfax campus in early 2017. 

“It’s made a big difference to our staff and to our students,” PHILLIPS Career Partners Director Lindsay Harris said. “These are students that have failed often in the classroom and they don’t always have the confidence that they can learn and be successful. This program really gives them that.”

According to the PHILLIPS Program Final Evaluation Report, the spring pilot program was a success, especially in the areas of student engagement, curriculum implementation and staff support. Lynda Mann credited the excellent work done by the PHILLIPS staff, especially teachers Samuel Son, Jim Field and Marcel Baynes.

“Their ability to recognize the innate creativity in these special-needs youth, and to use the 3D ThinkLink curriculum as a valuable way for the students to express themselves creatively while facilitating growth in critical thinking and problem solving, was brilliant,” she said. 

3D ThinkLink also took root and started growing in Virginia’s Tidewater region this year. We trained teachers and provided the curriculum and materials for Horizons Hampton Roads to run 3D classes for sixth graders as part of its six-week summer enrichment program.

This fall, teacher Franklin Baker used what he learned during the summer to create a course for older students. Horizons’ High School Scholars successfully completed their 3D class in December.

A REWARDING YEAR

2016 Step Up Loudoun Youth winning teams
2016 Step Up winning teams

2016 was the fifth straight year YouthQuest sponsored the Step Up Loudoun Youth Competition.  The event organized by Louduon Youth, Inc. challenges middle school and high school students to identify problems in Loudoun County, Virginia, and create solutions. Local business and civic leaders judge the projects and YouthQuest donates most of the prize money.

This year’s Step Up contest drew more entries than ever and we hope for an even larger field of competitors in 2017.

This year’s many accomplishments would not be possible without YouthQuest’s generous supporters.

The Challenge at Trump National Golf Club August 2016
The Challenge at Trump National

The annual golf tournament was our most successful fundraiser. There were more sponsors than ever and more than 100 players took part in the event on August 8 at Trump National Golf Club’s Championship Course in Potomac Falls, Virginia, recently named one of Golf Digest’s best new private courses.  

At the annual VIP Reception a few days before the tournament, we recognized AOC’s Valerie Hightower as our 2016 Volunteer of the Year. The 2016 Community Partner Award went to Duncan-Parnell, Inc. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington received the 2016 Strategic Partner Award.  

Lynda Mann with Volunteer of the Year Valerie Hightower August 2016
Lynda Mann with Volunteer of the Year Valerie Hightower

Donors stepped up during the golf tournament and VIP Reception to get the ball rolling on funding the Youth Mentor Program.

Our participation for the first time in #GivingTuesday, a global celebration of charity on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, also gave our year-end fundraising a boost.

Contributions are welcome at any time of year, of course. Please click here or contact Operations Manager Juan Louro, who joined us on the first workday of 2016, at juan.louro@youthquestfoundation.org or 703-234-6300.

The Year in Pictures

3D ThinkLink Essay Contest Winners Earn Scholarships

3D ThinkLink essay contest scholarship winners Brock Jasmann and Aunya Jones

YouthQuest’s 3D ThinkLink class at Maryland’s Freestate ChalleNGe Academy did more than teach Brock Jasmann and Aunya’ Jones about 3D design and printing.

“3D printing has helped guide me into making better decisions and gave me a new life skill along the way. It has really helped me understand my self-worth because now I know I can design my own future,” Aunya, 17, wrote in her award-winning essay. “I now see the bigger picture to my life’s problems and I’m not afraid to face them.”

“I can make anything if I put my mind to it,” wrote Brock, 17, who described his 3D ThinkLink experience as “awe-inspiring.”

Both Cadets were awarded $500 scholarships for their essays during a ceremony at Freestate on December 9.

3D ThinkLink essay contest scholarship winners Aunya Jones and Brock Jasmann
3D ThinkLink essay contest scholarship winners Aunya’ Jones and Brock Jasmann

Our program “transformed my way of thinking,” said Aunya’, who plans to join the Navy and become a nurse.

“Before 3D printing I did not believe in myself, and I had accepted the opinion that I was not good enough,” she explained.

Like most of at-risk youth we serve, Aunya doubted herself when she started our class this fall.

“Everything seemed so foreign to me. I could barely work the program on the computer,” she recalled.

When she printed her first 3D design and it came out nothing like she had intended, she admitted feeling frustrated and wanting to give up. Instead, she made up her mind to work harder so she could “make things that I could be proud to show off.”

Aunya’ started paying close attention to every instruction, asking questions and testing every new design skill she learned.

“One day my instructor Mrs. Metzger said that my design was the only successful one to print. It brought me so much joy because that meant that I was finally getting it,” she wrote. “Joining 3D printing has taught me to never give up.”

Brock’s essay highlighted the effect his class’s community service project had on his self-esteem.

Aunya Jones and Brock Jasmann try blacksmithing during Vocational Orientation at The Foundery in Baltimore
Aunya’ and Brock try blacksmithing during a Vocational Orientation tour of  The Foundery in Baltimore

The Freestate Cadets went to a library to demonstrate designing and 3d printing small, personalized objects such as ornaments and keychain tags. 

“It was an amazing experience to see how interested and impressed the kids and adults were at the library when we showed them how to make 3D prints,” wrote Brock.

“3D printing is important to me because now I can express myself in a form of art that I’m talented in. Also, I am more able to educate my community through my new learned skill in 3D printing,” added Brock, who wants to become a Marine.

Brock and Aunya’s essays were chosen from among 13 submitted by students from Freestate, DC’s Capital Guardian and South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academies. The semi-annual scholarship competition is judged by bestselling author John Gilstrap, whose novels include the Jonathan Grave thriller series.

CLICK HERE to read the complete essays

Fall 2016 Scholarship-Winning 3D ThinkLink Student Essays

These students from the 2016 fall class cycle earned $500 scholarships for these essays about their 3D ThinkLink experience.

By Aunya’ Jones
Freestate ChalleNGe Academy

The YouthQuest 3D printing program has transformed my way of thinking in a variety of ways. Before 3D printing I did not believe in myself, and I had accepted the opinion that I was not good enough. When I initially signed up for 3D printing I did not expect my mindset to change, but thank God it did. Every part of 3D printing took a part in my change specifically speaking, the vocational training. We learned that 3D printing helps make society so much simpler. The employees at Under Armor and students at the University of Maryland help to make other people’s lives better and that inspired me to improve my outlook on life.

Early on in 3D printing, I did not believe that I would be able to make a successful design. Everything seemed so foreign to me. I could barely work the program on the computer. The very first design I made left me feeling shameful. My design on the screen was nothing like what it printed out in reality. Through that experience I learned that I needed to look at the scale of my work. At times, I became frustrated with myself and wanted to give up because my peers’ designs looked better than mine. The disappointment from my first design forced me to make things that I could be proud to show off in my future designs.

I learned to keep my eyes glued to the screen and pay attention to every instruction given by Mr. Meeks. When I had questions I would ask aloud. Every new noun and verb that we learned I tested it on my designs. I was able to use mathematical conversions to figure out what a millimeter looked like off screen and know how it would be once printed.  One day my instructor Mrs. Metzger said that my design was the only successful one to print. It brought me so much joy because that meant that I was finally getting it.

Joining 3D printing has taught me to never give up because you will not be satisfied or get where you are intended to be. Starting something is for a purpose and that purpose is not to quit. 3D printing showed me that I cannot always do things on my own and I have to learn the right way first. Mr. Meeks said, “Mistakes are a part of the process to success,” and that is a quote that I will never forget. I now see the bigger picture to my life’s problems and I’m not afraid to face them. I understand that it was not the destination that mattered but the journey I had to take to make it there. 3D printing did more than teach me how to use a program. 3D printing has helped guide me into making better decisions and gave me a new life skill along the way. It has really helped me understand my self-worth because now I know I can design my own future.

_________________________________________

By Brock Jasmann
Freestate ChalleNGe Academy

3D printing has been a very awe-inspiring experience to me. I have personally benefited from 3D printing by learning that I can make something complex and visually outstanding by using a couple different tools on Moment of Inspiration. I use the Moment of Inspiration program to make my creative designs, but to me it’s more than just a computer program. I say this because, through the service to the community project, I was given the opportunity to go to a library to teach the community about 3D printing.

It was an amazing experience to see how interested and impressed the kids and adults were at the library when we showed them how to make 3D prints. We printed things such as: books, key chains, arrayed stars with faces, and little Lego shaped men. I taught them about how we use additive manufacturing, which is “a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital model[1]”. The impact that 3D printing has not only on me but the community is enormous, fun, and educational.

While visiting employees at Bustin Boards, Under Armor Light House, and The Foundery in Baltimore, Maryland during our Vocational Orientation, I learned how they used 3D printing in their skateboards, clothing, and shoes. For example, Under Armor takes virtual images from athletes’ bodies to make custom clothing to fit their body type based off of the 3D scan. This showed me that 3D printing was for more than just creating small items, it is used in technology to make clothing and everyday items.

“While 3D printing has been successfully used in the health care sector to make prosthetic limbs, custom hearing aids and dental fixtures, the technology is now being used to create more complex structures — particularly human tissue”-Cadie Thompson.[2] Another phenomenal production of 3D printing is that scientists at University of Maryland are making fake working environments for cells to thrive in to replace burnt flesh and scars with a foreign body fat. The fat is then used to fit the affected area. The scientist surgically place the healthy host cells on the body to make the scar completely disappear. This effect of 3D printing is revolutionary because now wounded warriors will have a normal life by no longer having scars exposed and they can have realistic looking prosthetic limbs.

I am ecstatic to know that I can make anything if I put my mind to it. Moment of Inspiration has inspired me to learn more about 3D printing and helped me to teach it to my community. 3D printing is important to me because now I can express myself in a form of art that I’m talented in. Also, I am more able to educate my community through my new learned skill in 3D printing. In conclusion, all of these examples are reasons why 3D printing is awe-inspiring to me.

[1] http://3dprinting.com/what-is-3d-printing/

[2] http://www.cnbc.com/id/49348354: Quote cited from CNBC “How 3D Printing is Reshaping Medicine”.

Vocational Orientation Opens Young Eyes to Opportunities

Students look at a 3D printed architectural model at 3D Systems in Rock Hill, SC, during 3D ThinkLink Vocational Orientation October 20, 2016

Introducing at-risk youth to 3D design and printing is only one part of YouthQuest’s 3D ThinkLink Initiative. Our larger purpose is to help troubled teens learn to think in new ways and dream big.

One way we do that is through Vocational Orientation events, which are a requirement for completion of the 3D ThinkLink training we provide for National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Programs in South Carolina, Maryland and Washington, DC. Students spend a day touring businesses and universities to see real-world applications for the concepts they’re learning about in class.

During an October 13 Vocational Orientation event, University of Maryland grad student Max Lerner tells 3D ThinkLink students from Maryland and DC about the 3D printers he uses in the Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Lab.
3D printers in the University of Maryland Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Lab

Many of the kids we serve have struggled with academics and their life experience is severely limited. Before they enrolled in a ChalleNGe Academy, few imagined themselves pursuing higher education or a career in a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math)-related field.

That’s why being in a college lab or a high-tech manufacturing facility for the first time can be a life-changing moment for these at-risk teens. In essays they write about how our 3D ThinkLink training affected their lives, students frequently mention being inspired by something they saw during Vocational Orientation.

In October, our Maryland and DC students enjoyed a full day of eye-opening experiences, starting with a visit to the newly opened City Garage in South Baltimore. The former bus garage has been transformed into a wonderland of innovation, anchored by Under Armour’s Lighthouse, a 35,000-square-foot design and manufacturing center. The UA Lighthouse includes a room equipped with more than 50 cameras for 3D scanning of athletes. Designers use the scans to create individually tailored sportswear. The students also learned that UA uses 3D design and printing to prototype footwear and apparel.

Josh Dunn of Bustin Boards tells 3D ThinkLink students from Maryland and DC how the company designs and builds skateboards during a Vocational Orientation tour in Baltimore on October 13, 2016.
Josh Dunn explains how Bustin Boards makes skateboards

Elsewhere in the City Garage complex, the kids had fun at the Bustin Boards skateboard company. Along with trying out the boards, they discovered that the Moment of Inspiration software they’re learning to use in class is the same type of CAD (Computer Aided Design) program the company’s designers use. That led to a discussion about how CAD skills are needed for both 3D printing, or “additive manufacturing,” in which machines build objects by putting material only where it is needed, and traditional “subtractive manufacturing,” in which machines cut away material to form objects.

All kinds of additive and subtractive manufacturing devices were on display next door at The Foundery, a large makerspace. In the midst of all that modern technology, the kids also got some hands-on experience with one of the oldest manufacturing methods – blacksmithing. After heating, pounding and bending red-hot steel, the kids surely gained an appreciation for 3D software that can turn a simple shape into something useful or decorative with just a few clicks of a mouse.

3D ThinkLink students from South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy examine a 3D printed object during a Vocational Orientation visit at Duncan-Parnell's 3D printing shop in Charlotte on October 20, 2016.
Students visit Duncan-Parnell’s 3D printing shop in Charlotte

Students from South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy also saw additive and subtractive manufacturing processes in action as they visited Duncan-Parnell’s 3D printing department in Charlotte, NC, 3D Systems headquarters in Rock Hill, SC and the University of South Carolina Department of Mechanical Engineering in Columbia.

The medical uses for 3D printing often strike a chord with our 3D ThinkLink students.

The kids from Maryland’s Freestate and DC’s Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academies were fascinated to see how 3D printing is used to develop things like bone and vascular replacements in the University of Maryland’s Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Lab.

South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy Cadets look at a display on 3D printing in medicine during Vocational Orientation tour of 3D Systems in Rock Hill, SC, October 20, 2016.
Medical technology display at 3D Systems

At 3D Systems, the South Carolina students learned about the company’s work in the fast-growing specialty of pre-surgery modeling. A 3D Systems team recently worked with doctors at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York who separated baby brothers joined at the head. They were able to plan and practice every step of the complex surgery thanks to precise 3D-printed models made from MRIs and CT scans of the boys’ skulls.

We often remind students that being exposed to new ideas and experiences literally makes their brains grow, as new connections between neurons are formed. Our field trips also open students’ minds and expand their view of what’s possible. Vocational Orientation events make these at-risk teens aware of opportunities they had never imagined. While they may not end up working on the cutting edge of technology, the thinking skills and confidence they develop during their 3D ThinkLink experience will help them make the most of any opportunity they choose to pursue.

YouthQuest Teams Up With Horizons Hampton Roads

YouthQuest Director of Instruction Tom Meeks with 3D ThinkLink students at Horizons Hampton Roads on July 25, 2016

One of the highlights for The YouthQuest Foundation this summer was the success of our 3D ThinkLink pilot project at Horizons Hampton Roads.

YouthQuest provided the equipment, curriculum and training for teachers to introduce at-risk kids to the magic of 3D printing as part of a six-week summer enrichment program at Portsmouth Catholic Regional School.

Jack Lyons talks with 3D ThinkLink student Amadou Abakar at YouthQuest's 10th anniversary celebration
Jack Lyons talks with 3D ThinkLink student Amadou Abakar at YouthQuest’s 10th anniversary celebration

It was the first time we’ve worked with Horizons Hampton Roads, which serves young people in Virginia’s Tidewater region.

We are grateful to FEDAC’s Jack Lyons for connecting us with Horizons. A longtime member of the AOC Solutions family, Jack knew about YouthQuest’s 3D ThinkLink Initiative and met some of our advanced students during the Foundation’s 10th anniversary celebration last October.

When Jack’s sister, Elaine Lyons, became Program Director of Horizons Hampton Roads in December, he recognized the potential for a partnership. He suggested that she talk to YouthQuest Co-Founder and President Lynda Mann.

Within a matter of weeks, they reached an agreement to bring 3D ThinkLink classes to HHR.

The students and staff were excited about the experience.

Classroom aide Breanna Fair, who admitted she wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea during teacher training, had a change of heart soon after classes began.

Classroom aide Breanna Fair, teacher Franklin Baker and intern Eleni Fafoutis with 3D ThinkLink class students at Horizons Hampton Roads July 25, 2016
Breanna Fair, teacher Franklin Baker and intern Eleni Fafoutis with HHR students

“It was priceless,” to see the children’s reactions as they watched 3D printers turn their ideas into reality, she recalled. “You couldn’t ask for better.”

“It keeps them thinking over the summer,” she added. Learning to use Moment of Inspiration 3D design software helped strengthen the students’ math, planning and problem solving skills.

Cassidy Parish, 12, said she learned that it’s OK to make mistakes because you can always change a 3D design to make it better, then print it again. She also enjoyed the hands-on nature of the classes.

“I got to print my own things that I could design and build and use for myself,” explained Cassidy, whose 3D creations included a replica of the Goblet of Fire from Harry Potter and a Star Wars Death Star ID tag for her dog, Leia.

Teacher Franklin Baker gives Cassidy Parish tips for designing a 3D-printed clock at Horizons Hampton Roads on July 25, 2016
Franklin Baker gives Cassidy Parish tips for designing a 3D-printed clock

“If I got the chance, I would like to go help other students learn 3D printing,” Cassidy said.

Eleni Fafoutis, a high school intern who worked with the class, thinks the experience will encourage the kids to consider careers on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

“One student told me he wants to build rovers for NASA,” said Eleni. “I said you can. You’re working with a real CAD (Computer Aided Design) program and those rocket scientists use similar things.”

That aspiring NASA engineer, 12-year-old Corey Wells, said our classes helped him learn to solve problems and be creative.

“I think it was great that they allowed us to do this because many kids don’t get this opportunity and I’m thankful,” he said.

Corey, Cassidy and the other students from our first class at Horizons Hampton Roads entered 7th grade a few weeks ago equipped with new skills and confidence, thanks to YouthQuest’s 3D ThinkLink Initiative.

YouthQuest Backs Character-Building Program for Young Golfers

YouthQuest Co-Founder and President Lynda Mann presented a check to The First Tee of Aiken Chairman of the Board Tony Allman and USC Aiken Vice Chancellor for Advancement Mary Driscoll on August 22., 2016

The YouthQuest Foundation is part of a unique collaboration that uses golf to benefit young people in the Aiken, South Carolina area.

The Foundation has contributed $5,000 to help build a nine-hole golf practice facility on the University of South Carolina Aiken Campus. It will be the permanent home for The First Tee of Aiken, a nonprofit organization that promotes youth development by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and encourage healthy choices through the game of golf. First Tee puts special emphasis on reaching at-risk youth, low- to moderate-income youth, minorities, girls, students with disabilities and others who might not otherwise be exposed to golf and the life lessons it teaches.

The USC Aiken men’s golf team will also use the practice course.

YouthQuest Co-Founder and President Lynda Mann presented a check to The First Tee of Aiken Chairman of the Board Tony Allman and USC Aiken Vice Chancellor for Advancement Mary Driscoll on August 22.

YouthQuest also serves at-risk youth in the Palmetto State through a partnership with the South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Eastover, where high school dropouts get a second chance to fulfill their potential through academic and vocational training. Students selected for YouthQuest’s 3D ThinkLink training at SCYCA develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, explore their creativity and improve their confidence as they learn the basics of 3D design and printing. After completing the 22-week residential program at SCYCA, many of the 3D ThinkLink students go on to Aiken Technical College for an additional 20 weeks of education in their chosen career fields.

YouthQuest Foundation Honors 2016 Award Winners

Co-Founder and President Lynda Mann presents YouthQuest's 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award to AOC's Valerie Hightower in August 4

YouthQuest recognized the Foundation’s leading supporters by presenting awards at our annual VIP Reception on August 4.

Volunteer of the Year

Valerie Hightower from AOC Solutions has been an incredible volunteer supporter of YouthQuest ever since our inception 11 years ago. She has been behind the scenes at every event, providing critical services to make sure administrative and fundraising tasks are executed expertly.

Valerie’s dedication to helping America’s at-risk youth is only surpassed by her devotion to her family, including her daughter Sarah, who also serves as a YouthQuest volunteer.

We are truly grateful for Valerie’s continued support of our efforts and proud to honor her as our 2016 Volunteer of the Year.

Community Partner Award

Duncan-Parnell, a company whose services include 3D printing and prototyping, is the recipient of our 2016 Community Partner Award.

YouthQuest Co-Founder and President Lynda Mann presents the 2016 Community Partner Award to Duncan-Parnell’s Joe Holmberg on August 4.

During our 3D ThinkLink training, students are exposed to both academic and job opportunities in the 3D field. Duncan-Parnell’s 3D specialists make time in their busy schedules to host Vocational Orientation tours of their facility in Charlotte, North Carolina and speak to our students about job opportunities in 3D maintenance and support. This experience provides the students with invaluable insights into potential career paths and allows them to ask specific questions to help them in their decision-making process.

Duncan-Parnell also provides service and technical support for our Z450 powder-bed 3D printer, a key component of the 3D ThinkLink Creativity Lab at our Chantilly, Virginia, headquarters.

Joe Holmberg, product specialist in Duncan-Parnell’s 3D division accepted the award from YouthQuest Co-Founder and President Lynda Mann at our reception.

Strategic Partner Award

YouthQuest Co-Founder and President Lynda Mann presents the 2016 Strategic Partner Award to Bos & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington board member John Ruff (left) and Program Director Patrick Leonard on August 4.YouthQuest began its relationship with The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, winner of our 2016 Strategic Partner Award, when we piloted our 3D ThinkLink Initiative at their Culmore Character Club summer camp last year. The project provided key learnings and positioned us to broaden our partnership.

We plan to expand delivery of our 3D ThinkLink Initiative to more of Boys & Girls Club kids, including the integration of 3D ThinkLink into their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Team initiative, providing more advanced application of our training and technology. We also plan to submit joint grant applications and host a joint fundraising event in the spring of 2017.

Lynda Mann presented the Strategic Partner Award to BGCGW board member John Ruff and Program Director Patrick Leonard.

YouthQuest’s VIP Reception was hosted by Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Tysons Corner, Virginia, and was sponsored by Visa USA.

New Friends, Familiar Faces Make Golf Tournament a Success

Golfers at YouthQuest;s 11th Annual Challenge at Trump National Golf Club, August 8, 2016

The YouthQuest Foundation’s 11th annual golf tournament was our most successful fundraising event, thanks to our generous sponsors, players and volunteers.

Volunteers Una Murphy and Steve Levenson welcome guests to YouthQuest's Challenge at Trump National Golf Club
Volunteers Una Murphy and Steve Levenson welcome guests

Two dozen teams – more than 100 players – competed on August 8 at The Challenge at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Virginia.

The tournament is a major source of funding for the 3D ThinkLink Initiative and our other programs for America’s at-risk youth. This year, we introduced our supporters to the new Youth Mentor Program, which will give our most motivated and capable 3D ThinkLink students the tools and training they need to share their 3D printing skills – as well as their critical thinking and problem solving skills – with their communities.

Several guests at the tournament and our VIP Reception on August 4 made $500 donations to provide a Youth Mentor with a Tech Pack, which includes a 3D printer, laptop computer, design software and training. CLICK TO CONTRIBUTE

Everyone enjoyed a beautiful summer day on Trump National’s recently renovated Championship Course, which will be the site of the 2017 Senior PGA Championship in May. Three teams tied for first place at 56. Matt Owens from the Jones, Lang, LaSalle team and Milena Savich from CrossFit PR Star won prizes for the longest drives.

Players celebrate a putt at YouthQuest's Challenge at Trump National Golf Club on August 8, 2016
Celebrating a putt

Teams were matched up with celebrity and VIP players. As always, Jerry Olsen and other Washington Redskins alumni were on hand, along with current and former military and law enforcement officers.

We had more tournament sponsors this year than ever before. Visa USA sponsored the VIP Reception for the first time. Hewlett-Packard and One on One Financial Group came aboard as new Bronze Sponsors. Insurance Associates and the Poole Foundation stepped up to Silver Sponsorships. The PHILLIPS Programs, our 3D ThinkLink partner, was a first-time hole sponsor.

We’re also grateful to all our returning sponsors:

Platinum – AOC Solutions
Gold – 3Delta Systems
Silver – FEDAC Processing
Photo Sponsor – RE/MAX Gateway
Hole-in-One Car Sponsor – PNC Bank (C300 4Matic provided by Mercedes-Benz of Chantilly)
Bronze – AC Properties; CrossFit PR Star; Experis Technology Group; Iron Bow; Jones, Lang, LaSalle; Ritzert & Leyton; Valley Forge Acquisition Corporation; Wells Fargo Private Bank.

Brad Denton swings his 10-foot driver during a trick shot demonstration before the Challenge at Trump National Golf Club August 8, 2016
Brad Denton swings his 10-foot driver

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Tysons Corner, Virginia, which hosted the VIP Reception, also sponsored Golf Entertainer Brad Denton’s appearance. Brad provided his always-amazing trick shot demonstration before play started, then collected donations by running several promotions as he circulated around on the course.

New York Times bestselling author John Gilstrap, who judges our 3D ThinkLink student essay contests, was back again this year at the VIP Reception and Tournament Reception to meet our guests and sign copies of his latest thriller, Friendly Fire.

Linda Ackerman organizes volunteers ar YouthQuest's golf tournament on August 8, 2016
Linda Ackerman organizes volunteers

We couldn’t stage a major event like this every year without the help of our volunteers, many of whom are AOC Solutions employees. Our deepest thanks to Volunteer Coordinator Linda Ackerman, Bill Ackerman, Sabah Anwar, Carl Brown, Edna Davis (our 2015 Volunteer of the Year), Kelly Eisenhart, Nikki Gombos, Tammy Haug, Sarah Hightower, Valerie Hightower (our 2016 Volunteer of the Year), Gary Hoffman, Dick Knapp, Steve Levenson, Una Murphy, Denise Roberts, Tiesha Robertson, Tony Sanderson, Carol Schick, Bryan Self and Erica Stewart.

General Manager Michael MacDonald, Director of Events Ellen Fatigati and the entire Trump National staff always provide excellent service for our tournament guests, so we’ve already made our reservation for next year. The 12th Annual Challenge at Trump National will take place on Monday, August 7, 2017.

Scholarship Winners Want to Use 3D Printing to Help Others

YouthQuest Co-Founder and President Lynda Mann presents scholarships to 3D ThinkLink essay contest winners Trevon Ahl and Alycia Freeman at South Carolina Youth ChalleNGE Academy

The YouthQuest Foundation has awarded scholarships to two South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy graduates for their essays about how 3D ThinkLink training affected them.

Trevon Ahl and Alycia Freeman, both 17, are among the 16 students who completed the latest cycle of the 3D design and printing course YouthQuest provides at the school for at-risk teens in Eastover, South Carolina.

YouthQuest Co-Founder and President Lynda Mann presented the $500 awards to the essay competition winners during SCYCA’s graduation ceremony on June 8.

Bestselling author John Gilstrap, whose latest novel in the Jonathan Grave thriller series is Friendly Fire, has judged the semi-annual contest since 2014.

“This year’s batch of essays featured two standouts for me, both because they focused not on what the writer got from their introduction to 3D printing, but rather on how they will put their knowledge to work for others,” he said.

3D ThinkLink students from SCYCA attend Vocational Orientation at 3D Systems in Rock Hill, South Carolina on April 21, 2016
SCYCA students at 3D Systems for Vocational Orientation

In his essay, Trevon described the excitement he felt the first time he used Moment of Inspiration design software to transform a flat shape into a 3D digital model that he could print.

He also recalled the Vocational Orientation trip his class took to 3D Systems headquarters in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where he saw high-end printers that go far beyond the simple plastic-extrusion machines he learned to use in class. These professional 3D printers make objects from a variety of materials, including rubber, ceramics and metals.

“When I saw that, I was overall enthusiastic about this new wave of how to use machinery in everyday life that will help others in different ways,” Trevon wrote.

“If I had a 3D titanium printer for my personal use I would make bikes for all the children in my neighborhood,” he added “I’ve seen many kids in my community that walk everywhere and they would be grateful for a bike. I would even have them customize their own bicycle frame and then I`d print it out for them.”

Because he loves to fish, Trevon also said he wanted to 3D print a titanium fishing rod and “catch so many fish I would be able to share with the people in my community so we would all be able to enjoy a good fish fry.”

The $500 scholarship will help Trevon achieve his post-ChalleNGe goal of attending a technical college to earn a welding certificate. His fellow winner Alycia plans to study surgical technology at Savannah Technical College.

South Carolina Youth ChalleNGE Academy 3D ThinkLink students Hailey Key, Asia Grant and Alycia Freeman examine 3D printed objects during Vocational Orientation at 3D Systems in Rock Hill, South Carolina on April 21, 2016
Hailey Key, Asia Grant and Alycia Freeman examine 3D printed objects during Vocational Orientation

“Alycia’s story was quite touching,” John Gilstrap said.

Her dad was doing drugs and her parents divorced when she was 13. She moved five times and skipped school often, spending most days caring for her ailing grandmother instead of going to class.

“I then started to follow in my father’s footsteps,” Alycia wrote. “About a year later, I knew I had to be successful. I didn’t want to be a product of my environment.”

That’s when she decided to enroll in SCYCA. Being in the 3D ThinkLink class helped Alycia get re-engaged in education.

Like Trevon, Alycia said the visit to 3D Systems showed her how she can use the technology she learned about in class for the benefit of others. She was inspired to see the many ways 3D printing is used in health care.

Being that I took care of my grandmother, I want to help others live a better life in every way possible,” she explained. “3D printing encouraged me to become a surgical nurse. … I’m now motivated and determined to go to school and get into the medical field and actually complete it!”

CLICK HERE to read the complete essays

Spring 2016 Scholarship-Winning 3D ThinkLink Student Essays

These students from the 2016 fall class cycle earned $500 scholarships for these essays about their 3D ThinkLink experience.

By Trevon Ahl
South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy

When I entered into the room with the other cadets for class and was seated we were then shown several hands-on videos that we followed along with our individual laptops. Secondly, we learned how to extrude a 3-dimensional object. Extrude means when you have an object that is flat on the plane (Moment of Inspiration). You can extrude the object and basically make it stand up. Just the sight of seeing a shape that was flat, then it stood up made me feel excited! I didn’t think that was going to happen when I began the lesson.

3D printing is important to me in many ways. If you love dogs like I do you can make multiple items for your dogs, such as dog tags, prosthetic legs, prosthetic tails, prosthetic ears, etc. Also, you can make varieties of telephone cases for the different types of phones that are out there.

When Mr. Johnson and Tom Meeks said to us as a class that ‘’3D printing is about turning 2D objects to 3D objects and printing them to a real life situation that can be useful to many people and/or different industries.’’ When our 3D printing class visited 3D Systems in Rock Hill, S.C. we learned that there are many different types of 3D printers. Some 3D printers print in porcelain, titanium, powder and plastic. Yes, I know what you are thinking: powder? The machine hardens the powder; then when you make your shape or objects it dips your shape into the super glue and become hardened into the shape that you are making.

3D is the new type of manufacturing. They even made a car frame that looked like a Lamborghini. The New Balance shoe company now has a pair of tennis shoes that the soles of them are made with 3D printing technology. When I saw that I was overall enthusiastic about this new wave of how to use machinery in everyday life that will help others in different ways!

If I had a 3D titanium printer for my personal use I would make bikes for all the children in my neighborhood. I’ve seen many kids in my community that walk everywhere and they would be grateful for a bike.  I would even have them customize their own bicycle frame and then I`d print it out for them.

I would love to also make a titanium fishing rod because I love to fish. Once I catch so many fish I would be able to share with the people in my community so we would all be able to enjoy a good fish fry.

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By Alycia Freeman
South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy

I’m Cadet Freeman from Beaufort, South Carolina. I grew up on St. Helena Island. My parents got divorced when I was 13 years old because my father was more interested in drugs than he was into having a relationship with my mother.

I got pulled out of school a lot and moved about 5 times. My grades started to plummet and I was told I wouldn’t be able to obtain my high school diploma. This was due to all the days that I had missed.

I began taking care of my grandmother who got sick and she had to have a knee replacement. My grandmother started back walking after surgery but still needed assistance. She passed away a couple months later due to other complications. I was still in school at the time but I only went about twice a week.

I then started to follow in my father’s footsteps. I no longer wanted to be around people. About a year later I knew I had to be successful. I didn’t want to be a product of my environment. I heard about SCYCA through a family member. I asked my mother did she think it was a good way to try and get my G.E.D. Her response was, “Absolutely!” She was very surprised and proud of my decision.

My way of thinking and mindset made a 360 degree turn while attending the program for these five months. I’m now motivated and determined to go to school and get into the medical field and actually complete it!

My favorite part that I thought was most interesting and cool was applying 3D technology to the field that I want to take up at Savannah Tech. I learned many things about 3D printing that I was not aware of. I found it interesting that tests on mice with 3D printed objects showed that there were no signs of cells dying in their tissues. I also learned at 3D Systems people who do additive manufacturing print organs, stem cells, bones and even surgical tools. I feel like every disabled person deserves to enjoy a normal life.

Being that I took care of my grandmother, I want to help others live a better life in every way possible. 3D printing encouraged me to become a surgical nurse. When I become a surgical nurse I will then be able to insert/place replacement bones, organs, etc. in different areas of the human body.

I also want to take my career further so that I can be an additive manufacturer. Not to mention other things I could create such as shoe soles, car parts, skeletal parts, foods, and models with different types and sizes of 3D printers. 3D printing will become even more popular in the future and I would like to advance my experience.

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