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Together We Rise | STEM Boxes End Educational Inequality

Together We Rise is a nonprofit organization devoted to improving how children experience the foster care system in America. For over twelve years, Together We Rise (TWR) and their supporters continue to positively impact the lives of those in foster care.

TWR works with hundreds of foster agencies, social workers, CASA advocates, and other partners to bring programs to foster youth across the nation. Their foundation has provided thousands of foster youth across the country with new bicycles, college supplies, and sweet cases so that children do not have to travel from home to home with their belongings in a trash bag.

A few of their programs include; Sweet Cases, Building Bikes, Superhero Boxes, Family Fellowships and STEM Boxes, an expertly created educational box designed to encourage STEM thinking for youth in foster care.

What is a STEM Box?

Less than half of youth who’ve experienced foster care graduate from high school. This shocking statistic inspired the Together We Rise STEM Box. A STEM Box is an interactive kit that allows children in foster care to experience projects centered around science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Each box contains four science experiments that focus on the four elements of STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. They include a fun project for each of these areas: dinosaur dig kit, waddle bot, catapult, and tangram puzzle. Together, the activities demonstrate that STEM learning is exciting, innovative, and that anyone is capable of learning and executing these skills. In addition to the science experiments, each box contains a special lab notebook, lab coat, safety goggles, name badge, and a complete lightbulb cup.

The STEM Boxes were designed for children in foster care between the ages of 5-10 and are sponsored by their supporters. TWR redistributes them to children in foster care through their foster agency partners or directly to foster families requesting them for their children. To help build the next generation of innovators and introduce STEM education to 5,000 children in foster care in 2022 visit this link .

Studies show that underserved communities like children in foster care are 16 times less likely to be ready for credit-bearing STEM coursework in college. With STEM jobs projected to grow 13% in the US between 2017-2027, but only 3% of foster youth graduating college and 50% of foster youth experiencing homelessness after aging out of the foster care system, early introduction to the world of STEM is critical. Early exposure to STEM topics encourages children in foster care to set achievable career and educational goals within the field.

Together We Rise

Together We Rise was founded in 2008 by Danny Mendoza after he discovered that his 9 year-old cousin was living in a car. He wanted to help, but ran into obstacles because he was under the age of 21. Danny became disheartened after he was denied the ability to help his cousin and youth in similar situations.

Instead of giving up, Danny decided there needed to be ways to help children in foster care without becoming a foster parent. After telling others about his vision, he was inspired by encouragement from friends and colleagues to use his ambition to help others and start a new organization. Danny’s vision became a reality as Together We Rise grew, now a nation-wide organization changing the way youth experience foster care.

“Children in foster care are often neglected and overlooked so we are extremely grateful for our supporters who have created a movement to give back to the foster community.

It’s important we come together to give these youth important resources they need to have a childhood they deserve. We collaborate with individuals, companies, and community partners to bring resources to foster youth and use service-learning activities to educate volunteers on issues surrounding the foster care system.”

-Gianna Dahlia, Executive Director of Together We Rise.

With a vision to improve the lives of children in foster care, Together We Rise has collaborated with individuals, companies, and community partners to bring resources to foster youth and use service-learning activities to educate volunteers on issues surrounding the foster care system. To help TWR bring enriching programs to foster youth across the nation visit

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