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Why Give | Impact stories

On Giving Day, donors make the future inclusive

Thanks to donors, Geering Up’s innovative programs open the door to STEM for all young learners.

For one 13-year-old participant, UBC’s Geering Up program gave her the confidence to take high school science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses. “I really like electronics and robotics—it’s a lot like Geering Up!” she says.

Started in 1995, UBC Geering Up has blossomed into an array of inspiring initiatives to excite and educate youth in STEM. Donor funding has been fundamental to Geering Up’s success. This was especially true on UBC Giving Day last April 5, when nearly 200 donors came together to give more than $43,000 to the program—which supported bursaries for participants facing financial barriers to attend.

With a commitment to inclusivity and diversity, Geering Up strives to break down barriers by encouraging girls, Indigenous communities, new Canadians, and black youth to explore the possibilities within STEM fields.

One parent of a Geering Up participant knows that perceived barriers to STEM can start young.

“I’ve often encouraged my daughter to pursue and explore areas in STEM. I can tell she’s hesitant because she has this notion that stereotypically, it’s for boys,” she says. “Geering Up has allowed her to see things outside of the box—it’s really sparked her natural ability and talent in those areas.”

Andrew Jamison, senior manager of Geering Up, confirms the program’s mandate to open doors. ” We place an emphasis on underrepresented groups,” says Andrew. “We do a lot of focused delivery with girls to dispel some of the systemic and traditional biases for girls to engage with STEM.”

A parent of a young participant also praised the program’s inclusivity. “Geering Up is one of the only summer camps in the Lower Mainland that provides a welcoming environment for a child with autism to attend,” she says. “We’ve also been able to take advantage of the bursaries through Geering Up—so we’re really grateful for the support that donors have provided.”

As the next Giving Day approaches this April, Andrew Jamison looks forward to providing more opportunities to aspiring young learners in the STEM fields. “If youth are given the opportunity, they’re going to excel in STEM,” says Andrew.

“Giving Day is crucial for us to include youth that would not otherwise have an opportunity to attend our programs.”

The excitement Giving Day creates within Geering Up’s community is palpable. As a testament to the program’s enduring influence, former staff, volunteers—as well as friends and family of past participants of Geering Up participants who have witnessed the program’s transformative impact on their children—choose to give back.

From humble beginnings—to becoming a powerhouse in STEM education—Geering Up’s journey has been remarkable. With a laser focus on inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility, it continues to inspire and empower youth to pursue their dreams in STEM—with donors being fundamental to its success, as Andrew stresses.

“Giving Day is essential—Geering Up is so thankful for the generosity and impact from all the donors.”

What’s your cause? Help move the world forward on UBC Giving Day.