Neblett Center director creating diverse programming to provide STEM, technology based activities for students

March 21, 2022 | 12:10 am

Updated March 20, 2022 | 10:34 pm

The H.L. Neblett Community Center is partnering with Art Lab Owensboro to provide students with a chance to learn about how STEM education intersects with art. The Neblett Center will also be doing some in-house renovations to allow different unique learning opportunities at their facility.

The partnership sprung from a desire by Neblett Executive Director Keith Cottoner to offer a learning opportunity to some students who are staying home for spring break.

“I think it’d be fun for kids, but also a great promotion for Art Lab as well. I know I want our kids involved in STEM activities and to just make learning exciting,” Cottoner said. “I love to see the excitement when they do something different that they haven’t done.”

Art Lab strives to focus on the intersection of art and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) allowing students to see the commonalities between the two worlds.

Cottoner hopes that providing this opportunity will make school learning more interesting for the students. If the event is successful, there is a chance they continue the partnership in the future.

Amy Burgan, owner of Art Lab, said that she is excited to have her facility in use the first week of being open. She is looking forward to having children come to the facility and would be open to more opportunities from the Center.

“We have to do something the first time to see if the kids like it. If the activities are challenging enough or engaging enough, I would love to continue,” Burgan said.

Additionally, Cottoner is planning to bring the Clubhouse Network to the Center, which will provide the students with several different opportunities to explore.

He said that roughly 95% of Neblett Center students come from low-income families. The Clubhouse Network provides technology and mentors to teach robotics, computer coding, create and edit music, make videos and more opportunities.

Through the Clubhouse, he hopes to provide the students with a variety of activities as well as offer a place to hang out, finish school homework and provide a chance to connect with other students in the Network with their same interests.

“My main goal is to expand our kid’s minds and let them know that there’s more to the world,” Cottoner said.

Cottoner hopes to open it up to the public after students utilize it, and hopefully expand the program to the summertime as well to try to further prepare the students for the next school year.

While Cottoner is looking to put in these programs and continue the services, he said that they are always looking for people to help with their programming and serving within the center.

“If anybody would love to be a part of changing the future, I would love to speak with them,” he said. “I think investing in our kids now saves us from having invested in them later.”

March 21, 2022 | 12:10 am

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