Students from Palmer Pillans Middle School and employees from Airbus Americas Engineering in Mobile launched the 2017 Airbus Flying Challenge at a special event at Camp Beckwith on Friday, January 13, 2016. This fun-filled morning featured several outdoor activities designed to promote team work and good communication between the students and Airbus mentors.
United Way of Southwest Alabama (UWSWA), Airbus Engineering, the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center (Exploreum), the Mobile Area Education Foundation (MAEF), and the Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS) are once again working together on the Flying Challenge program in Mobile. This program is one of two U.S. Flying Challenge sites and one of eight around the globe.
The Airbus Flying Challenge is a mentoring program focused on character development and STEM activities for children attending Palmer Pillans Middle School. The program presents the opportunity for Airbus employees to provide career exploration, life skills discussions, educational activities, and academic enrichment to middle school students. The goal is to enhance students’ life options by improving their grades, inspiring them to finish high school, and stimulating their interest in an aviation-related career.
Currently, fewer Americans are likely to earn a diploma than their parents, a distinction not shared by any other industrialized country. Students participating in similar programs have improved attitudes, beliefs and behavioral intentions about school, academics, and careers.
“The Flying Challenge presents the opportunity for Airbus to partner with local organizations who are instrumental in helping prepare students for a successful transition into high school,” said David Trent, Airbus Mobile Engineering Site Director. “Airbus shapes the future of air transportation on a daily basis, but through this program, Airbus employees are able to inspire students to better shape their future. The students are able to see that good habits, hard work, and the right attitude today matter for their tomorrow.”
In addition to making children more confident in their schoolwork, research has shown that mentoring makes students less likely to skip class or school and less likely to begin using illegal drugs or alcohol.
“It takes an entire community to make a difference and we have to do our part. Our children deserve a strong start in life,” said Clifford Grimes, UWSWA President and CEO. “Through the Airbus Flying Challenge, we have an opportunity to encourage students, giving them the hope and the inspiration needed to pursue a great life.”
The Airbus Foundation also sponsors Flying Challenge programs in Wichita, Kansas; France; Germany; Spain; and the United Kingdom. The Foundation is donating approximately $82,000 in program funding for the Mobile program.