Meaningful Mindz was formed by Janell Fiack in 2020. Fiack is a lifelong resident of Carbon County and after working with local youth and their families in the area for several years, Fiack and close friend Melanie Archibeque saw the need to help families bridge resource gaps between schools, homes and the community.
Meaningful Mindz was created to provide resources and connect youth with the community in constructive ways, according to Fiack. This is accomplished by combining community-based programming with fun and safe education lessons and real-life applications.
The program uses the S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) curriculum and combines it with active play, social/emotional learning, relationship-building and community engagement from the trained staff. Most of the local economy/industry is directly related to S.T.E.A.M.
“We intend to work with employers to educate youth about potential careers in the area,” stated Fiack. “We believe this will benefit youth and employers by providing a robust and engaged workforce for the future of Carbon County.”
Meaningful Mindz hosts meetings at a local community-sponsored location, facilitated by sponsors and the trained program staff. This year’s summer science program was hosted at the USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum in Price.
Fiack explained that youth in grades from kindergarten to fifth went through the Science of Superpowers curriculum provided by PCS Edventure, which promoted exciting and hands-on learning that aimed to develop the foundations of scientific inquiry, engineering design principles and spatial mathematical awareness. The program also exercised problem-solving, communications, reflection and collaborative skills.
“Our content is designed to integrate instructional goals into application-based learning experiences,” said Fiack.
Youth in grades from sixth to 12th explored local anthropology that was taught by Dr. Tim Riley. The program provided students instruction across a variety of sub-specialties, such as forensic anthropology and environmental anthropology with special emphasis on the archaeological record of eastern Utah.
In July, local paleontology was explored and taught by Dr. Joshua Lively. This challenged the students to see the broader picture and apply the lessons learned to the modern world.
Fiack stated that Meaningful Mindz also offers a weekly reading and homework hub that provides reading assistance, homework help, academic coaching and connections to other resources.
“Children in small rural communities like Carbon County must have opportunities to dream and build an empowering and fulfilled life,” concluded Fiack. “S.T.E.A.M education benefits youth of all ages and learning levels. S.T.E.A.M develops and builds the personality all-around.”