King City businessman donates $25K to FIRST Lego League Canada, ventureLAB

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King Connection

The Kingsbridge Conference Centre has stepped up to donate $25,000 to help young people learn more about robotics.

The beneficiaries are FIRST Lego League Canada and ventureLAB, who made the announcement Wednesday.

FIRST Lego League of Canada runs innovative robotics competitions for kids in grades 4 to 8, including in York Region.

The  Kingsbridge Conference Centre is owned by John Abele, founder of Boston Scientific. A visionary, entrepreneur and innovator, Abele is a member of the US FIRST Robotics Board, and is a supporter of engaging youth in collaborative learning and innovation.

“Kingsbridge Centre, itself, is a model location for how collaborative thinking can generate new ideas. Getting participants into the mind-set ‘zone’ that produces collective intelligence is challenging and is strongly influenced by place and environment. It is the reason why organizations hold off-sites and it is the reason why I was inspired to purchase the Kingsbridge Centre,” said Abele.

Founded in 1998, FIRST Lego League Canada promotes collaborative problem-solving and innovation for students in grades 4 to 8 using robotic Lego. Teams work on researching problems, creating solutions and presenting them at regional, national and international competitions.

“We are pleased to receive the Kingsbridge donation as it will greatly assist in making the program available to more students and will directly help with the events, inspiring students to pursue further studies in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) said Mark Breadner, Executive Director of FIRST Robotics Canada. “This year, approximately 750 youth teams are enjoying FIRST programs.”

FIRST Lego League [FLL] Canada is part of an international movement to inspire kids to pursue science and engineering, and to celebrate collaborative team work. With more than 25,000 teams in about 80 countries, FIRST Lego League is constantly expanding. FLL region-wide competitions took place in more than 10 schools in York Region last fall. Local companies and organizations, including ventureLAB, are actively engaged in supporting the FLL initiative through sponsorship, mentors for the teams and judges for the competitions.

“ventureLAB is proud to partner with FIRST Lego League of Canada and the Kingsbridge Conference Centre and Institute, to provide incredible opportunities for young people to learn essential skills in collaborative problem-solving and innovation,” said Karen Dubeau, director of partner engagement for ventureLAB. “As a regional innovation centre, we work closely with creative entrepreneurs who are developing great companies and products. The experiences that young people receive through the FLL program provide a significant foundation for successful entrepreneurs in the future. The leadership and support of Kingsbridge will help FIRST to expand their programming.”

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