Everett teen Evelyn Gayhart organized three summer STEM programs at Eliot’s Family Resource Center (FRC) this summer. The June program documented the growth of praying mantises; the July program detailed the lifecycle of butterflies; and the August program followed the growth of ladybugs. Students of all ages could learn from the weekly social media posts, photos and educational tools. At the end of documenting the insects’ life cycles, she then hosted release parties for families. Adults and children were able to touch the praying mantis egg pod and see mantids emerge. They could hold, admire and let fly each butterfly that they had watched evolve. They also felt the ladybugs climbing over their hands and arms. Families participated in educational activities and crafts and took home snacks and mementos.
Evelyn has been a volunteer at FRC for more than three years, and the FRC was happy to fund these programs and guide her through the project management. The FRC is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families and connects people to local resources.