New STEM based learning platform comes to the Gem State

BOISE — LIFT (Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow), a Detroit-based national manufacturing innovation institute, and the Idaho STEM Action Center launched the MakerMinded program in Idaho.

MakerMinded will expand students’ and schools’ access to world-class advanced manufacturing and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning experiences through a digital platform that highlights student competition.

“Idaho is pleased to provide teachers and students throughout our state with access to an innovative program like MakerMinded,” then-Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said. “Our state’s partnership with LIFT aligns perfectly with our mission to seek education and work-based learning opportunities that allow Idaho to build the workforce to fill STEM-related jobs and attract new business.”

Originally designed by LIFT and Tennessee Tech University’s iCUBE and launched in 2016, MakerMinded directly links middle and high school students to a diverse range of national and local STEM and advanced manufacturing programs, including manufacturing facility tours, gaming activities and project-based learning.

MakerMinded also has a competition element, as students and schools receive points for each completed activity that are tallied on a real-time online leader board. The top schools are celebrated at year-end recognition events.

“Manufacturing is an important part of Idaho’s economy, with over 1,600 manufacturing firms employing 10.2 percent of the workforce,” said STEM Action Center Executive Director Angela Hemingway. “The nearly 70,000 manufacturing employees in Idaho have an average annual compensation of $64,280.”

Idaho will become part of a national MakerMinded initiative that includes campaigns in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia, where LIFT works with local partners to onboard schools and activate students’ participation. To date, more than 5,000 students and teachers from over 400 middle and high schools are active on the platform. The program’s expansion into Idaho is made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Defense Education Program to help fulfill the mission to attract, inspire and develop exceptional STEM talent across the education continuum.

“I’m excited to see MakerMinded come to Idaho,” John McFarlane, Idaho’s MakerMinded coordinator at the STEM Action Center, said. “Advanced manufacturing is a rapidly expanding sector in Idaho’s economy and this program will help students see employment possibilities they might not have considered otherwise.”

The Idaho MakerMinded goal is to sign up at least 50 schools and 1,000 users across the state by the end of this school year. Awards will be presented to the top performing schools in May. Students, schools, employers and others interested in joining the Idaho MakerMinded campaign can visit

Trauma Intervention Program seeks


BOISE — The Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) of the Treasure Valley is currently recruiting volunteers who are willing to reach out and help their neighbors when tragedy strikes.

The Volunteer Training Academy is 55 hours long and prepares individuals to assist someone during a time of tragedy. Once trained, a volunteer will be on call for three 12-hour shifts per month.

The academy will begin Jan. 17 at the Boise City Hall West Police and Fire Department Facility.

TIP is a national nonprofit organization that has affiliates serving over 250 cities across the nation. The TIP Chapter in the Treasure Valley are called by emergency responders to tragic scenes to provide support for those who have been affected.

TIP volunteers are often called to support family members after a sudden death or to help those who have experienced an unexpected crisis in their lives.

Kymber Jenkins, director of the TIP program for the Treasure Valley, said most of their calls are death-related, but also include fires and car accidents.

“When we come in and offer a calming presence to people experiencing some of the worst days of their lives, it helps them to avoid secondary trauma. Our volunteers come alongside people and they’re just there. That caring presence makes all the difference in the world.”

She said their volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and a wide variety of ages. “They are very compassionate and they really care about this community.”

To learn more or to register, go to

Stevens-Henager College collecting books for kids in Ghana this month

BOISE — Stevens-Henager College has partnered with the African Library Project to open a library in Ghana, Africa and is collecting books to send there.

The college is hoping to collect 1,000 gently used or new preschool to sixth-grade books. Donations can be dropped off at Stevens-Henager College, 1444 South Entertainment Ave., Boise. The drive will take place until Jan. 31.

The African Library Project partners with African schools and villages to start small libraries in African countries. To start these libraries, the ALP coordinates book drives in the United States and Canada. This project supports both children and adults to read and write in English, a language that is critical to their education.

Because of poor access to reading materials, literacy tops out, even for teachers, at about the 8th grade U.S. level in the rural areas in which the African Library Project works.

Kiwanis Club hosts Justice Center rep

NAMPA — The Kiwanis Club of Nampa hosted Jeannine Strohmeyer, representative of the Nampa Family Justice Center (NFJC), at their Dec. 27 meeting.

Strohmeyer described the types of abuse they encounter at NFJC, including physical, sexual, psychological/emotional, economic, legal and spiritual. She discussed some of the reasons a person may stay in an abusive relationship, such as fear of retaliation, isolation, lack of resources, lack of support and one’s feelings and beliefs.

Strohmeyer also touched on recognizing warning signs of domestic abuse as well as what to do if you suspect someone is being abused. The NFJC service facility, one of the first in the country like it, provides an array of services to the community.

The Kiwanis Club has provided support to the NFJC in the past. Anyone interested in the NFJC can call 208-475-5700 for more information.

Boise Hawks give tickets in exchange for new winter gloves donation

BOISE — The Boise Hawks baseball team are hosting their fifth annual Glove Drive, benefiting the Salvation Army Boise Corps. For each new pair of winter gloves donated, fans will receive a complimentary reserved seat ticket for their opening game against Everett on June 17.

“The Hawks are proud to continue this program for a fifth straight year,” said the Hawks’ General Manager Bob Flannery. “Through the combined efforts of our fan base, we hope to help those in need stay warm this winter.”

Donations of new winter gloves can be made at the Hawks Front Office, located at Memorial Stadium. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Donations can be made through Feb. 1.