ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — A nonprofit called Rosie Riveters introduces girls to STEM at a young age by working with schools, community centers, and affordable housing groups to host lessons and activities. 

Thanks to the help of the Arlington Housing Corporation, Rosie Riveters’ mission isn’t on hold. Both nonprofits have partnered with Amazon to deliver free STEM activity kits to girls aged four to 14. Each kit has six projects with instructions in English in Spanish and an instructional video. The projects are designed for the kids to do independently. The girls present their finished projects over a virtual show-and-tell with other Rosie Riveters participants. 

This is another way for AHC Inc. to support its residents; it has five sites with resident services and educational programs after school and during the summer for kids in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland. Assistant Director of Resident Services Melanie Ficke says the girls’ families and siblings are joining in on the projects.

“We’re going to be working with these same girls in 10 years and being able to support them in the college application process and targeting them to go into STEM things,” said Ficke. “I think they’ll remember the time they had with Rosie Riveters and the pandemic of 2019 and all the support they got and be able to use that to support their future goals.” 

Executive Director and Founder of Rosie Riveters Brittany Greer says women make up only 28 percent of the STEM workforce. Many of them lose interest in STEM by middle school.

“Their faces when they complete these projects is just so wonderful and so we’re constantly trying to cultivate that,” Greer said. “So even if we can’t do that in person we can definitely do that digitally or through a kit. This is a whole new world for kids so giving them something that they have ownership of, and that’s theirs, and that they’re excited about is that much more exciting.”