JCPenney Sponsors High School Robotics Teams Nationwide
PLANO, Texas--As the leading corporate advocate for positive afterschool programs, J. C. Penney Company, Inc. is expanding its support of FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) by sponsoring 60 high school teams nationwide as they compete in FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC®) regional events this spring.
“FIRST is an extracurricular activity that aligns with JCPenney’s philanthropic mission of supporting youth development through positive afterschool opportunities”
FIRST is a charitable organization whose mission is to inspire young students, schools and communities to appreciate and celebrate the limitless potential of science and technology. Through fast-paced, high-energy, “March Madness” style robotics competitions, FRC is a growing varsity sport that immerses high school students in robotics education through competitions to design, build and program robots using engineering principles and a sports model of competition and teamwork.
“FIRST is an extracurricular activity that aligns with JCPenney’s philanthropic mission of supporting youth development through positive afterschool opportunities,” said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, chairman and chief executive officer of JCPenney. “While students improve their academic capacity for science, technology, engineering and math, they also develop valuable inherent traits such as leadership and teamwork that will help them aspire to greater positions in life. As a retailer whose operations rely on technological advancements in order to deliver a seamless shopping experience, JCPenney is committed to securing a steady pipeline of highly skilled innovators.”
JCPenney’s sponsorship of 60 FRC teams across the country marks the beginning of the Company’s goal to expand FIRST to over 1,100 JCPenney communities within the next few years and encourage participation by “rookie” teams as well as minority and female students. Each sponsored team is linked to a local JCPenney store or distribution center to offer support and assistance as students prepare for their regional competitions.
Working with professional and technical mentors, these young inventors have six weeks to develop and test their robots to meet this year’s FIRST challenge: BREAKAWAY™. In alliances of three teams each, six robots maneuver through a bumpy playing field while attempting to earn points by kicking or rolling soccer balls through designated goals. The challenge not only measures the effectiveness of each robot but also the successful collaboration and Gracious Professionalism™ demonstrated by the team alliances.
According to a national study commissioned by JCPenney Afterschool and the Afterschool Alliance to explore how America’s children are spending their afternoons, the America After 3PM report reveals that a vast majority of parents in America want their kids to be involved in an afterschool activity that not only keeps them safe, but helps further their potential in life – both socially and academically. Increasing these educational opportunities through FIRST is integral to motivating American youth to excel in science and math thereby strengthening the country’s future role in technological innovation.
“FIRST is about giving kids the opportunity to build skill sets to one day become a scientist, engineer, or inventor,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST Founder. “Ten years from today, one of these students is going to be out in the world having done something extraordinary for a major, global problem.”
About JCPenney’s Commitment to Afterschool
As the leading corporate advocate for the afterschool issue, JCPenney works to increase opportunities offered by afterschool programs in order to empower our nation’s children with the tools they need to succeed in life. Through its legacy of supporting youth and charitable organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, YMCA of the USA, National 4-H, United Way and FIRST, JCPenney formalized its commitment to the afterschool issue by making it the Company’s signature cause in 1999. Since its inception, more than $80 million has been distributed to afterschool programs in every JCPenney community thereby making it possible for more kids to participate in life-enriching programs that inspire them to be smart, strong and socially responsible. For more information, visit www.jcpenneyafterschool.org. To access the full America After 3PM report, visit www.afterschoolalliance.org.
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and nearly $12 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC®) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC®) for high-school students, the FIRST LEGO® League (FLL®) for children 9-14 years old (9 to 16 years old outside the U.S. and Canada), and the Junior FIRST LEGO® League (Jr. FLL) for 6 to 9 year-olds. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.