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STEM program helps build prosthetics for kids

Students had a special guest Thursday
Posted: 5:59 PM, Aug 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-15 17:59:43-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — For the past two weeks, dozens of middle and high schoolers have spent their summer break in a classroom.

"It's a big deal, in 2 weeks they get a lot done," said Lead Teacher Ed Hawkins.

They've been working on building prosthetic arms for local children with the Hand in Hand program sponsored by WNY STEM Hub.

"I saw the program last year and I thought, this is a good program to do, it feels like you're actually contributing something," said incoming high school senior Chudy Ilozue, 16.

The program is in its third year. Ilozue and dozens of other students use the program as an opportunity to improve their skills in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

"Prior to this program, I didn't know anything about STEM, 3D printing or coding I was oblivious to it all because my school didn't have it," said Felice Masumbko, 17.

It's also a way for them to help people.

"[It] doesn't really matter how small the impact you're making, it's an impact, it's something you're doing to make a better change," said Ian Hawkins, 15.

Prosthetics made in years past have already been put to use.

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With the projects almost finished, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul paid a visit to see their progress.

"It's good to know that right in my hometown there are children who are spending summer learning how to code," said Hochul.

Students are also making prosthetics for two children in Ghana. A select few will get to hand deliver those projects next year.

"I'm really excited about that. My parents are from Africa and they want me to go there to help," said Masumbuko.

"My favorite part would have to be knowing that a young adult like me can make a difference in a family, a child, a community," said incoming senior at Sweet Home High School Chloe Tullius.

The program ends August 16th, but students will continue to work on the prosthetics until October, when they present them at Roswell Park.