The HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Denise Cleveland-Leggett recently joined Abraham Williams, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Bowling Green, Dr. Pam Petty, Western Kentucky University(WKU), Faith Linton, Esq. 360 Cradle to Careers and local area dignitaries and community leaders in announcing Housing Authority of Bowling Green EnVision Center kickoff of an innovative STEM program and Aviation initiative for housing authority residents.
"We want to get kids interested in STEM careers," Williams said. "The whole idea is to get them better educated. We want to expose them to aviation so they can realize what the opportunities are."
"This can be a life-changer for these children," Cleveland-Leggett said. "There are a multitude of careers that can be generated from this. It can catapult these children into a different life."
Zipporah Ngoy, a middle school resident, easily took to the controls of the aircraft simulator making a final approach to the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport as part of the demonstration.
"My ambition is to be a pilot," she said. "I've attended aviation camp the last two years, and I'm taking advanced math and science classes."
The Forgotten Heroes Foundation donated a Redbird TD2 Flight Simulator to be used by residents as part of the EnVision Center program. The flight simulator will used by middle and high school students and serves as a valuable resource for the youth in terms of learning to fly and to seek out and work towards learning more about the aviation industry and job opportunities. The Aviation initiative goes hand in hand with the STEM program partnership being developed with WKU along with the curriculum.
"At 360 Cradle to Careers, we have partnered with other centers in this HUD region," Linton said. "This flight simulator is a first in this region in a public housing space. We would like to bring the same idea to other EnVision Centers."
One of the nation's first 18 EnVision Centers established in 2018 by HUD Secretary Ben Carson, the Bowling Green center is now breaking ground as the first center in HUD's southern-based Region IV to utilize a flight simulator as part of its program of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for middle and high school students.
The EnVision Center offers HUD-assisted families access to support services that can help them achieve self-sufficiency, thereby making scarce federal resources more readily available to a greater number of households currently waiting to receive HUD assistance.
The EnVision Centers are premised on the notion that financial support alone is insufficient to solve the problem of poverty. Intentional and collective efforts across a diverse set of organizations are needed to implement a holistic approach to foster long-lasting self-sufficiency.