Monday, March 18. 2013
In the fall we hosted our 2nd annual Mega Drive with FIRST Team 340 on Make a Difference Day (MADD), in conjunction with the Rah Cha Cha Ruckus. It was held at the Dome Arena in Henrietta. After that day we submitted our project description and results to the MADD web site for consideration for a national award hosted by USA Weekend Magazine and the Points of Light Foundation.
A few weeks later we got call telling us that our project was being considered and asked to provide more information.
A few weeks after that we got a call that our project was a finalist and asked to provide lots more information including phone interviews with students, mentors and benefiting organizations.
A few weeks after that we received the news that we were selected as a National Honoree. This means we have been awarded $10,000 by Newman’s Own – a charitable foundation. We are designating it to go to Rochester Community Robotics to be used to start new FIRST teams!
And a few weeks after that we have been approved to put out press releases and tell the world! So here it is!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FIRST Robotics Team 340 and Team 1511 are National Make A Difference Day Honorees
FIRST Robotics Competition Teams 340 and 1511 win big for their joint Make A Difference Day project called FIRST MEGA Drive. This national honor bestows them $10,000 for charity.
Rochester, NY – 6 March 2013 – Three million Americans joined together in service on Saturday, Oct. 22, as part of Make A Difference Day, the nation’s largest day of community service sponsored by USA WEEKEND Magazine and Points of Light. Each April, projects from across the country are honored for their outstanding volunteer work on Make A Difference Day. Honorees are recognized in an April issue coinciding with National Volunteer Week, led by Points of Light. Awards will be presented at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 25. The FIRST MEGA Drive was chosen as one of the 10 National Honorees to receive a $10,000 charitable donation from Newman’s Own.
Sixty-six volunteers converged at The Dome Arena, Henrietta NY for the FIRST Mega Drive sponsored by high school FIRST Robotic Competition Teams 340 and 1511 and the FIRST Finger Lakes Region during the annual Rah Cha Cha Ruckus FIRST Robotics Competition. The teams organized a blood, food, book and electronics recycling drive and called it FIRST Mega Drive. The blood drive in conjunction with the American Red Cross met the goal of 25 units of blood, which included first time blood donors. The drive netted 468 food items and $112 for the Rochester FoodLink. Also collected were 1052 children’s books that were donated to three inner city pediatric offices through the National Reach Out and Read program. Over 3000 pounds of electronics were collected and recycled through Maven Technologies and Imagine It Fundraising Through Recycling and $400 of the recycled electronics proceeds were donated to fund additional books through National Reach Out and Read. To ramp up the competition among the teams at the Ruckus robotics competition there was a FIRST Mega Drive Competition as well. The teams that donated the most books, food and electronics won prizes that were sponsored by USFIRST, AndyMark, Two Pencil Design, Home Depot and Wegmans.
The FIRST MEGA Drive was created to put into action the gratitude felt by the teams for the support of their communities. FIRST Team 340 has participated in Make A Difference Day for four years and starting in 2011 worked with FIRST Team 1511 to collaborate in developing the FIRST Mega Drive. What is unique about this alliance is that both are Chairman’s Award winning teams and competition rivals, but in the spirit of gracious professionalism, they joined forces and encouraged other teams to join in the event. The high school students brainstormed various ideas and determined which ideas would have the most impact on the community while still keeping in mind the amount of planning and the probability of success. The FIRST MEGA Drive was born: a Blood drive with the Red Cross to help people on a personal level in a time of medical crisis, a Food drive to help people in our community through FoodLink, a Book drive to help promote literacy for children through the National Reach Out and Read program and an Electronics recycling drive to help protect the environment by preventing electronics from being sent to the landfill. The 2011 FIRST MEGA Drive held at a local shopping mall was a great success. This year to make the FIRST MEGA Drive even bigger it was held during the 7th annual Rah Cha Cha Ruckus robotics competition that included 38 teams from four states and Canada.
The success of the event was made possible by a huge marketing promotion. The event was promoted on local news stations, ABC Channel 13’s T-shirt of the Week, Radio, Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, Messenger Post Newspapers, Penny Saver Newspaper, Community Calendars, and Poster Campaigns. A Facebook page, Linked-in posts, and events on the Teams’ websites were created. The Event was posted on the Rah Cha Cha Ruckus’ website, the Make A Difference Day website and promoted on Maven Technology’s website. E-mail invitations were sent to all FIRST Teams in the Finger Lakes Region. The Rah Cha Cha Ruckus event was televised throughout the day on YNN with repeated call outs to join the FIRST MEGA Drive. A local TV news report was aired on ABC Channel 13 Make A Difference Day and highlighted the FIRST MEGA Drive event.
FIRST Team 340, sponsored by Churchville-Chili High School, Bausch + Lomb and GE Volunteers and FIRST Team 1511, sponsored by Penfield High School and by Harris Corporation are planning on using these funds to help start new FIRST teams through the Rochester Community Robotics Organization (RCR). RCR is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 with the goal of exposing interested students to engineering and related technology careers through robotics programs. RCR aims to inspire and motivate young people to pursue science and technology careers and become confident, self-reliant, responsible citizens poised to make a real difference in our world using a fun, creative, and unique environment that extends learning beyond the classroom.
FIRST is an acronym meaning For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology was developed by the inventor Dean Kamen and has spread internationally in the past 22 years.
Information about the FIRST MEGA Drive can be found on Facebook and Team websites:
Information about Rochester Community Robotics: