Carbon County resident Janell Fiack is the founder and program manager of Meaningful Mindz STEAM Hub. The organization was founded in November of 2020 after Fiack worked with local youth and their families in the area for several years and found a need to assist in bridging resources between school and home.
“Meaningful Mindz provides resources and connects our youth with the community in constructive ways,” said Fiack. “We do this by combining community-based programming with safe, fun, educational lessons with real-life applications.”
The program is based around a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) curriculum. It works to combine traditional learning with play, social and emotional learning, relationship-building and more from the trained staff.
The programs utilize STEAM-focused and hands-on activities in order to promote 21st-century skills. However, the programs also promote a growth in literacy, music, art and physical activity.
Meaningful Mindz helps students build a foundation that is forged on self-worth, hard work, intellect and community engagement in the hopes of the children embodying these concepts throughout the course of their lives. Fiack stated that much of the local industry in eastern Utah is driven by STEAM and they wish to help students prepare.
“We educate our students about some of the amazing career opportunities in this area and provide an opportunity for them to experience these careers first-hand with field trips to some of our local businesses,” Fiack explained. “We believe that these exercises benefit not only the students, but also local employers.”
Since its conception, Meaningful Mindz has worked with over 950 members of the community through volunteerism and mentorship. Last summer, the Summer Science Hub had the pleasure of working with over 50 students and families.
Fiack explained that Carbon County has a population of 21,628 and 16% of the youth live in intergenerational poverty (IGP). Of those, 25% will remain in poverty as an adult, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
Continuing, the 2021 Annual Report on Intergenerational Poverty for Utah reports that 17% of Carbon County’s child population are living in IGP. Additionally, 36.8% of the child population in the area are considered at-risk, which means that they are at risk of remaining in poverty as adults.
This means that families often lack funds for extracurricular activities, deepening the opportunity gap that is faced by those in poverty. Fiack stated that it is necessary that children in small, rural communities such as this one have the opportunity to build fulfilled lives. The STEAM education benefits youth of all ages and learning levels while developing and building personalities all-around.
Fiack stated that they ask for financial support in helping the Meaningful Mindz Learning Center 2022 STEAM Hub Program, also stating that the support provides Carbon County children with a healthy snack, fun, hands-on lessons, and a safe, structured place to play and learn.
“Thank you again for taking the time to learn about Meaningful Mindz,” said Fiack. “We are excited to be working in and with the community of Carbon County to help our youth thrive.”