Volunteering for the New Orleans Mini Maker Faire is a great experience where you can encounter some amazing makers and projects. But the real satisfaction I find with volunteering is that feeling you get when you when see a child’s eyes light up, introduce an adult to a new hobby, or see the satisfaction of someone who just completed a soldering project an hour after the first time they ever touched an iron.
Giving back to the community has always been one of the core values of the New Orleans Mini Maker Faire. Through the efforts of many of our featured makers, historically underserved groups and neighborhoods in the New Orleans area can find access to previously unavailable educational resources and tools.
Founded by New Orleans native, Dr. Calvin Mackie, the purpose of STEM NOLA is to expose New Orleans residents to STEM opportunities and inspire them to discover, learn, and grow. STEM NOLA continues to be a staple of our Maker Faire and has found great success in the community with their After School Programs and STEM Saturdays. You can always expect the STEM NOLA tables to be surrounded by kids of all ages.
NOLA_CODE believes that every child should have the opportunity to explore technology. They produce programs that introduce kids to computer programming, development, and electronics to make technology accessible, inspire confidence, and ensure students aren’t behind the curve. NOLA_CODE has supported the New Orleans Mini Maker Faire since its founding five years ago and continues to bring computer and electronic projects to share with the attendees of our event.
Young Maker Highlights
Between the schools, colleges, and community programs, 50% of the makers that present at the New Orleans Mini Maker Faire are focused on young makers. Whether it’s programming on microcontrollers, learning the science behind bubble making, or shooting paper rockets into the sky, our young makers will find something that inspires them for life. Some notable presenters for 2018 are the Lusher Charter School STEM Students, the MakerSpace at the Mildred Osborne Charter School, New Orleans Public Library, Tulane MakerSpace, the University of New Orleans Robotics Club, the Electric Girls, the FabLab at Delgado Community College, plus many more!
Reach One New Maker at a Time
It can be easy to focus on the number of visitors that come to the Faire or the number of snowballs sold (it’s a New Orleans thing), but real change happens when we connect one-on-one and turn someone into a maker for life. One of the unique aspects of the New Orleans Mini Maker Faire is our VIP badges. Not only do our VIP Badges grant the holder special access to the event and presentations, but each is a kit containing different parts and a microcontroller that turns the badge into a project itself. For the last few years we’ve held Badge Build Meetups to help people without access to the necessary tools build their badges and learn a little bit of Arduino along the way. Each time we have one of these meetups, it seems that at least one person has never soldered in their life. I’m proud to say in the two hour timespan, that person walks out with a working badge that they soldered and assembled themselves. And the real benefit is that person is now invested in the event, usually signs up to be a volunteer, and will go out and advocate for the event and the maker movement in our community.
Attending the New Orleans Mini Maker Faire is always fun. There are always so many interesting ideas and projects together in one place. But when you stop to think about what kind of impact we’re making in the community and what kind of opportunities we’re introducing to people, it just makes those feelings that much better.
New Orleans Mini Maker Faire – April 21st 10am to 3pm at Delgado Community College, City Park Campus