Why Carver: Breaking down barriers for underrepresented kids could quadruple America’s pool of inventors

What could the future hold for this Carver student? Can we offer her enough opportunity to match her ability? What is society missing by limiting her chances at fulfilling her promise? 

What could the future hold for this Carver student? Can we offer her enough opportunity to match her ability? What is society missing by limiting her chances at fulfilling her promise? 

See the study here: Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation 

See a good summary of the study by Vox here

Traditional sources of data on innovation — mostly patents — don’t offer any meaningful information on who is doing the inventing, not even including cursory information about the inventor’s age and gender. But by linking patent application data from 1996 through 2014 to federal income tax returns, the team was able to track inventors’ lives from birth through adulthood to understand who is inventing things and where they come from. And by focusing on the geography of innovation, they show that direct exposure to a culture of invention and to role models appears to be playing a key role. 

  • Among affluent families, young kids who perform highly on math tests are much more likely to make successful inventions than low-ability kids. 
  • But this isn't true among low-income families. There, high-scoring and low-scoring kids alike are about equally unlikely to become inventors — suggesting that it isn’t a lack of aptitude that’s holding back poor kids; it’s that aptitude alone isn’t enough.
  • Kids are more likely to grow up to be inventors when they grow up in cities with other inventors, which means where you’re born has a lot to do with whether you’ll innovate.
  • This holds up even when we look into specific categories of invention. If you grow up in a city full of antenna innovators, you are more likely to innovate regarding antennas — suggesting that early life exposure to relevant networks is important. 
  • Fascinatingly, the effect is gender-specific — girls are likely to grow up to be innovators only if their city includes an existing stockpile of female innovators (and similarly, male role models for boys), underscoring the importance of role models and self-image. 

Particularly fascinating: The geographical aspects hold regardless of where you live as an adult. The Boston area has thriving industrial clusters in both information technology and medical devices. But Boston-area patent-holders who grew up in Silicon Valley are very likely to have computer-related patents, whereas those who grew up in Minneapolis where there’s a robust medical device industry are likely to have medical device patents. In other words, it’s not just that people are likely to work in locally thriving industries — the specifics of childhood experience seem to matter.

The moral of the story seems to be that a reasonably large number of children who have the capacity to grow up to be inventors end up not doing so. Through some mix of their parents’ socioeconomic status, the city where they grew up, and oftentimes their gender, they are prevented from obtaining access to the networks that would have facilitated that life choice.

 

Janine Smith honored for her volunteerism at Carver

See the entire article at New Canaan News

Janine Smith honored for her service

By Erin Kayata

2017 Volunteer Recognition Awards Honorees

Hands-On Community Service Award: Jeff Holland, New Canaan Pop-Up Park

Hands-On Hall of Fame: Janine Smith, Carver Foundation of Norwalk

Hands-On Rookie of the Year: Gerald Katz, Family & Children’s Agency

Hands-On MVP: Lissette Caldero, Family ReEntry

Hands-On Inspiration Award: Paul Reinhardt, New Canaan Parent Support Group

Hands-On Unsung Hero: Dale Carbonier, New Canaan Chamber of Commerce

Hands-On Lifetime Achievement: Joyce Gould, Person-to-Person

Outstanding Group: New Canaan YMCA’s Togetherhood Commitee

Team Hall of Fame: Debbie Eagan and Nancy Roath, Future 5

Youth MVP: Logan Diliberto, The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling & Education Center

Community Champions: C.E.R.T. New Canaan

Board Rising Star: Eden Breed, Pivot Ministries

Board Rookie of the Year: Lindsay Burn Grimes, Family Centers

Board MVP: Emily Warren, Arts for Healing

Board Hall of Fame: Janice Luddy, New Canaan Historical Society

The 15 honorees were chosen by a committee who presented the awards throughout the night. Each volunteer was given a small, glass-encased clock to represent the time they’ve given to their community.

ekayata@hearstmediact.com; @erin_kayata

West Rocks Robotics Team Rocks Again!

The Carver YDP after school program at West Rocks fielded a robotics team like we did last May (see the article here) to Greenwich Academy for another round of friendly competition in STEM education. Here are a few images from that good experience that our students will remember fondly for a lifetime! 

New England Dance Theater's production of The Nutcracker Balletto benefit Carver

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New England Dance Theater's production of The Nutcracker Ballet has become a holiday tradition in Fairfield County. Three full-length performances will be staged in the New Canaan High School Auditorium on Friday, December 8th at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, December 9th at 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 10th at 4:00 p.m. There will be an interactive children's performance of Act II on Saturday, December 9th at 11:00 a.m. and, in the spirit of giving, there will also be a special benefit performance for members of local social organizations such as the Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Person to Person in Darien, and The Boys & Girls Club of Stamford.

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For the first time ever, the ballerinas will be accompanied by a live performance of Tchaikovsky's masterpiece by the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Jonathan Yates. The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra will perform the individual pieces of music that bring each scene to life. For over 77 years, Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, a passionate group of musicians, has offered towns throughout Fairfield County the opportunity to explore and discover the joys of professional orchestral music.

Seating for NEDT's annual Nutcracker is reserved and tickets are now available online. For ticket sales, please visit our website at www.neadance.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door at New Canaan High School. Prices for the full performance are $40 for Adults and $30 for Seniors and Children; prices for the Children's performance are $25 for all guests.

Carver Students Tour Connecticut Colleges

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Each election day, as they did this past Tuesday, some 30 Carver students visit and experience life at several prominent colleges in Connecticut. This year, students visited Albertus Magnus College and Eastern Connecticut State University.

For many students, the process of figuring out which school best fits their needs is an overwhelming and confusing task. Carver's fall College Tour transforms this experience into an enriching and adventure, in which students take campus tours, have meetings with admissions representatives and receive materials to help evaluate each school. Tour participants are shown how to get the most out of their future college visits. For example, students learn what questions they should be asking of campus officials, how to compare schools to one another, and what factors are most important for their personal college selection process. Many tours are led by the admissions office staff, depending on the campus and tour dates. 

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Carver's 10-day Spring and one-day Fall College Tours offer a wonderful opportunity for students to tour numerous college campuses and evaluate their college options. Students visit a wide variety of campuses, including private and public schools in both urban and rural areas. Participants are able to determine if a large or small school is appropriate for them, and, with the comparison materials we give them, they will be able to review their opinions once they’ve returned home. Students also have the opportunity to experience great American cities. 

Carver's annual Thanksgiving food basket appeal

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For many in our community with stressed budgets and financial challenges, an ample Thanksgiving dinner just isn’t possible. Please help Carver provide 100 families with food baskets that include a turkey and all the trimmings. This annual Thanksgiving food basket program is conducted at the Carver Community Center at 7 Academy Street, Norwalk starting next Wednesday and ends on Wednesday, November 22. Thanksgiving reminds us, with food and friends, how blessed we are. For decades, Carver has provided food baskets for many hundreds of local families. Shopping for the food, filling the baskets and offering them to our neighbors allows us to share ourselves as well as our food. This annual offering truly puts community into the George Washington Carver Community Center.

How you can Help:

Make a monetary donation to Carver. Donations allow us to purchase exactly what is needed at discounted prices and provide each family with the same basket of food. Donate gift cards to local Supermarkets. We can use them to purchase needed items. You can also donate the following items and deliver them to the Carver Community Center: A turkey; Cans of vegetables; Macaroni and cheese; Cans cranberry sauce; Cans of soups; Boxes of stuffing; Boxes of mash potatoes; Gravy; Cornbread Mix; Cake mix w/ Icing; 1 lb bag of rice; Can of sweet potatoes.

New Canaan High School newsletter features a student initiative for Carver

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See the article here at the New Canaan High School Courant.

See the Carver blog post here about the NCHS students visiting with Carver kids.

Joelle Anselmo, Story Editor
Katie Jahns, Reporter

@janselmocourant @kmjahns

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To most kids, a birthday is a celebration filled with presents and cake. However, NCHS student Kiera Russo took a different approach to her celebration. “For my 16th birthday, instead of getting presents, I decided it would be a good idea to gather donations and gifts for a charity,” said Kiera. After doing some research, Kiera and her mom discovered a local charity only 20 minutes away, called the Carver Center.

After her birthday, Kiera and her mother went to the center to drop off the donations that she had received. “They were so appreciative of it, it was really nice to see,” Kiera said. She didn’t know it at the time, but this experience would quickly spark a new journey in philanthropy for Keira and many other students.

Kiera’s mother, Jeanne Russo, has always been an inspiration and role model figure to Keira. She also strongly believes in charity work. “I’ve always taught my kids to be grateful for what they have, and it’s almost our duty as a community to give back to those in need,” Ms. Russo said.

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The Carver Center is an afterschool and summer program located in Norwalk, Connecticut. “It’s an facility for kids who don’t have a stable home life, or whose parents work, so they can’t go home after school right away,” Kiera said.

According to the Carver Center Website, the program is the largest provider of afterschool and summer programs in Norwalk , helping over 800 children become better students and make life long friends. “They can go there to feel safe and secure,” Kiera said.

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Jim Schaffer, coordinator of the Carver Center, partnered with Kiera to establish a volunteer program where NCHS students can go to the center once a month to help out. “It’s like a trial run. It’s to see if the Carver kids are comfortable as well as the NCHS kids, and if the atmosphere is friendly and nice,” Kiera said. Modeled after this program, Kiera is starting the Carver Club at NCHS, which students that are interested in volunteering can join.

The Carver Center has recently opened up a technology room where students can use computers for their studies. They can enjoy many activities such as journal-time, basketball, or homework help. “Reading different testimonies and praises of the center, a lot of the principles of Norwalk schools said that this helped kids become better students and make more friends,” Kiera said.

Kiera has been working to make this program a monthly occurrence, where high school students can help younger kids with their homework or just play kickball in the gym. “ Kiera’s support and the support she rallies among her colleagues for Carver kids at NCHS will bring fellowship and opportunities to Carver kids,” Jim said.

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One of Kiera’s main goals is to help students become more aware of what’s around them and how they can assist. She hopes to make people more attentive to the needs of others through her program. “Knowledge is power, and if you know something, you can do something about it,” Kiera said.

Kiera has been working to make this program a monthly occurrence, where high school students can help younger kids with their homework or just play kickball in the gym. “ Kiera’s support and the support she rallies among her colleagues for Carver kids at NCHS will bring fellowship and opportunities to Carver kids,” Jim said.

One of Kiera’s main goals is to help students become more aware of what’s around them and how they can assist. She hopes to make people more attentive to the needs of others through her program. “Knowledge is power, and if you know something, you can do something about it,” Kiera said.

Thanks to the hard work and devotion of Keira and her support team, the first group of volunteers from NCHS will send ten students on a trip to the Carver Center on October 13th. “It should be a fun program for both the kids and the volunteers, and will make a big difference in the community,” Mr. Schaffer said. “This was 100% the inspiration of Kiera and for that we are deeply grateful.”