Our Hermosa project in Southern Arizona is supporting a program that helps local students become problem solvers.  

The brainchild of local nonprofit, Mat Bevel Company, the ‘Universe Within’ initiative encourages elementary school students to combine science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) skills with a little creative thinking as they work through their projects.  

The curriculum is based on the concept of ‘worldbuilding’ - the use of playful and engaging activities to solve problems. At its heart, the program is designed to encourage imaginative and innovative thinking and problem solving from a different perspective.  

The ‘worldbuilding’ concept comes from Mat Bevel Company's Ned Schaper, a sculptor, poet, and philosopher who builds theatrical works with kinetic art and has performed to audiences across America for more than 30 years. This will be the third year we've supported the Mat Bevel Company, with last year’s funding used to develop a multimedia version of the curriculum, including 40 videos to support the lessons, instructional design that aligns with Arizona's learning standards, and the launch of a new Creative Director’s Club for Youth at the local elementary school.  

The program is proving a hit, with one student saying, "The Universe Within was a creative project that made me feel good about myself by being even more smart. It helped me get more ‘imaginated’! I barely knew geometry and physics, but now I know much more. I didn’t know that I could do so much, but the class helped me with my creativity. The class gave me a chance to experience my life. If you experience your life, you know more about yourself.”