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  • Writer's pictureJason Hillman

SWIFT and Children of Fallen Heroes

My children grew up with a strong foundation of respect, compassion and integrity, it has proven to be successful in their lives. Now that they are leading their own lives, I wanted to pass those same values on to the next generation. Earlier this year I discovered a non-profit youth robotics club called SWIFT, I was immediately impressed by their innovation and drive. Their engineering minds were far sharper and more creative than mine but I knew I could use my leadership background to help them become future leaders in STEM. This is so important when you think about the future of our national security and the growing need for intelligent, dynamic leaders when we are faced with a limitless adversary.

Swift has partnered with Children of Fallen Heroes a 501(c)( 3) nonprofit that provides education and retreat programs across the nation.

STEM Robotics Classes

We make STEM education rigorous, fun, and accessible through mentor-based robotics leagues and high-quality programs and resources in STEM Centers open to children and surviving family members of fallen Military and First Responders across the United States.

Through our growing network of STEM Robotics, we give robotics teams and all young people the space to learn, create and work with expert teachers and advanced equipment.

We offer workshops, summer programs, and credit-bearing courses to students whose high schools often don’t have the capacity to provide high-quality STEM education.

We connect students to career opportunities in STEM through our corporate partnerships and alumni network.

How we do it

We combine the energy and teamwork of tournament competition with formal learning and advanced technology resources. Our expert teachers and adult mentors encourage young people to build on their strengths and challenge them to push the envelope of what’s possible.

Our work builds on the CFH model, which sparks students’ interest in STEM through mentor-based robotics competitions while they build self-confidence and life skills.

Young people compete from an early age into their high school years, making for sustained experiences in STEM that continue into college and their careers. They help each other and collaborate across boroughs, working together graciously to share knowledge.

Most of our teams are guided by mentors and all have equal access to the equipment and resources they need to compete.‍

Our Impact

We provide the spark that leads to a lifetime love of STEM. Every student who walks through our doors is instilled with the building blocks of confidence and character necessary to succeed in any field and career they choose.

Children of Fallen Heroes students across gender, race, and income are three times more likely to be interested in STEM activities, careers, identity, and knowledge.

Our programs have embraced our model and participate in our programs thrive.

Why we need you

All young children deserve access to inspiring STEM education and the opportunities that come with it. Mentors, volunteers, and supporters like you drive the work we do every day to create a future where STEM leaders reflect the diversity—and excellence—of our city.

Donate to Children of Fallen Heroes. Your gift will directly fund programs that make fun and rigorous STEM education accessible to young children.

Become a volunteer. Your time, energy, and creativity bring Children of Fallen Heroes programs to life—and make everything we do possible.

Start a team. Change your students’ lives and inspire the next generation of STEM leaders by joining our robotics competition community.

Mentor a team. Are you a STEM professional? People like you mentor our robotics teams, guiding young people on the path to learn, grow and succeed.

About Children of Fallen Heroes

Mission Statement

Children of Fallen Heroes provides retreats, education, and special programs to children and families of fallen military and first responders designed to create an escape from grief, helping them to survive and thrive in spite of their loss.

Vision Statement

Children of Fallen Heroes seeks to increase public awareness and appreciation of the sacrifice of fallen military and first responder heroes as well as the sacrifice and needs of their loved ones, through an increasing range of healing educational and recreational activities.

Statement of Need

Child survivors of fallen military and first responders experience complicated grief, involving not merely the loss of a parent, but also the loss of a hero, and the loss of their familiar sense of belonging within a community. Participation in skill-building activities with others who have experienced similar losses is imperative in the healing process. Research shows that children of fallen heroes who participate in peer support activities experience an increased sense of hope, positive role-modeling, and greater trust, understanding, and empathy. In order to continue this mission of healing, Children of Fallen Heroes will one day build regional camps across the United States and will continue to fundraise to facilitate these critical programs. Children of Fallen Heroes is based in Holden Beach, North Carolina, and currently serves several states across the United States with a vision of having complete coverage across all 50 states by 2024.

Program Description

Children of Fallen Heroes is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, founded in 2015 by Kenneth Wasley. We provide various types of retreats, education opportunities, community outreach, and special activities for children and families of fallen military and first responders. All activities are designed to provide a respite from grief as well as a new learning experience in an atmosphere in which their hero parents are remembered and honored for their service. These activities have included but are not limited to: STEM Flights for Heroes Day Camp, Equine Retreat for Heroes, Golf Day Camp, Fishing Day Camp for Heroes, Canine Rescue Class, and Wildlife Rescue Class, Photography Class, STEM Robotics, Wedding, and Special Occasions including Skydiving Angels Program.

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