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Transforming the Way We Inspire Young Talent

by Jessica Palm | Jun 23, 2015

Last week CreativeMornings, a breakfast series operating in 43+ countries, hosted its first briefing in Kansas City at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
With more than 100 attendees, the group of mostly 20- and 30-somethings heard from Steve Rees, founder and CEO of MINDDRIVE.  

MINDDRIVE, an out-of-school educational program in the KC region, inspires students to learn through mentoring and project-based learning.  

“Kids have a hard time relating to geometry problems, but a real-life problem is easy to relate to. It’s not too late to get students in middle school and high school interested in STEM,” says Rees.  

He describes the program as “bridging-the-gap between the 1.2 GPA and 4.0 GPA student.” 

MINDDRIVE has a 99 percent success rate of its students receiving a high school diploma, and 80 percent of its students go on to college.

“Technology is a tool we need to embrace in order to teach and prepare our kids,” says Rees, and he credits the mentorship within MINDDRIVE as a critical piece to a student’s success both academically and in developing life skills.  Through experiential learning and professional development, MINDDRIVE students are offered two programs to choose from, the Automotive Design Studio and Contemporary Communications.   

MINDDRIVE CarIn the Automotive Design Studio program, students recently took an old indie car and transformed it into an electric v

ehicle. The students used social media to power the car from Kansas City to Washington D. C., calling the journey the Social Fuel Tour.  

“Thirty million tweets followed our trip to Washington D.C. The students were rock stars,” says Rees. “Suddenly these kids had confidence, and they wanted to go to school."

When recent MINDDRIVE graduate Sandra Perez was asked by the audience, “what was the most important thing you learned?” she replied: 

“It’s not necessarily what I learned, but more that someone believed in me. You can do so many things in life, and MINDDRIVE believed in me.”  

Perez is working towards her associate’s degree, and is planning to study journalism at the University of Missouri.  

To learn more about MINDDRIVE’s programs and ways to get involved click here.

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