The afternoon sun shines into a big gymnasium filled with children and parents. Along one wall, kids drive robots through mazes using block coding. In another area, little ones play with giant foam Imagination Playground blocks. Kids run from station to station, many with curious parents in tow. This event is called Maker Night en Español, and it was conceived of by Jennifer Torres in the Fall of 2016. On Thursday, June 1, The Ravenswood Maker VISTAs, along with the East Palo Alto Library, the Ravenswood City School District staff, and Los Robles After School staff brought that idea to life. The goal of the event was to give parents an opportunity to see what their kids can do in makerspaces, and we wanted that opportunity to be fully accessible for Spanish-speaking families.
In preparation for this event, students in the after school program helped the VISTAs make over two hundred tamales. The EPA Library brought their button-makers and everyone got a button that said “Soy maker” with their name when they came in. We put together a free raffle, which every student was entered into when they showed us their “passport.” This was a piece of paper with a map showing each station, and kids received a stamp when they tried out each activity. When they got all the stamps (or at least a few), they entered the raffle. One student went home with a Dash robot and launcher, thanks to Wonder Workshop. Two more students received Makey Makeys courtesy of the team at JoyLabz. And ten students received free family day passes to the Computer History museum in Mountain View. Several students also received EPA Library “goodie bags.”
This event was a huge success, and we hope that we’ll be able to hold similar events in the coming years. Big thank you to Jenn for spearheading this event, to the EPA Library and librarians Kelly and Kenny for their hard work and coordination efforts on this project, Kyle Tana for your instrumental support, and to all of the Ravenswood staff, students, and parents who made this event possible.