Volvo Penta of the Americas mixes football with technology at student event

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The Volvo Penta team and its table at the Reach Foundation’s 2019 STEAM Day.

The Volvo Penta team and its table at the Reach Foundation’s 2019 STEAM Day.

Volvo Penta of the Americas recently spoke with students about the engineering behind its marine and industrial power sources at the REECH Foundation’s 2019 STEAM Day Youth Football Camp in Norfolk, Va.

The nonprofit organization Reaching Education and Empowering Children, which was founded by former NFL player Don Carey and his wife Lakeisha Carey, provides disadvantaged youth with opportunities to explore academics through hands-on programming.

The Foundation’s flagship event, the STEAM Day Youth Football Camp, merges athletics with activities involving science, technology, engineering, art and math.

“Our desire is to engage with young people in our community, and we get an opportunity to do that with our annual STEAM Day Youth Football Camp,” said Carey, a current Chesapeake resident and former defensive back with the Detroit Lions, in a statement. “In working with partners like Volvo Penta, our hope is to introduce young students to careers they may not know exist and inspire them to take advantage of opportunities in our local area.”

The REECH Foundation hosts the event in different locations each year; the Norfolk event attracted 400 youth ages 6-17, who attended the day’s activities at Norfolk State University. Participants participated in football drills with Carey and his teammates during part of the day — the rest of the day, students were inside Echols Gymnasium engaging in hands-on STEAM tasks led by local companies.

Volvo Penta, which is headquartered in Chesapeake, provided students with insights about the technology behind the company’s solutions, and discussed what it’s like to work in manufacturing and engineering today.

The company also discussed its ocean plastics initiative with students, explaining why single-use plastic is so detrimental to marine life and asking for ideas for how to address the problem facing the world’s waterways today.

“Research shows the strong, positive impact that early exposure to areas such as engineering and manufacturing can have on the development of a youth, and these skills help them transition into a workforce that is hungry for talent,” said Ron Huibers, president and CEO of Volvo Penta of the Americas. “The STEAM Day event, along with our summer internship program for college students and vocational training programs, aligns with our company’s desire to reach out to the next wave of technical talent.” 

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