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HWLG_HEPH_Q4 2021!*


Contact, Title  Kathy Cole, Program Coordinator

Phone 203-246-4022  Email

Quarter reporting 4Q21

Q4 2021: BUILD


Thanks to your generous contribution the HEPH FOUNDATION had an eventful Q4 2021.

Our primary goal was to build capacity through research and development in accordance with The HOW WE LEARN GROUP principles. We focused on learner research, onboarding of new staff, development planning with an acute focus on Out Into The World (OITW) activities, fundraising strategy, and technology acquisition. We are happy to report that we met and exceeded our milestones.

Highlights for this quarter include new learner insights, new funding relationships, increased communications with OITW facilities, and new connections with parents and educators within Illinois, Florida, Missouri, and Connecticut based on the early implementation of our communications plan.

Our research this quarter revealed two very important insights.

1- SOCIAL SKILLS UP! An independent study revealed that Black and Brown learners in disenfranchised communities have seen an increase in social skills as they gain access to digital tools and resources that have historically been denied. These are the key soft skills needed for the 21st-century workforce not to mention just remaining employed right now.

2- NEW NORMAL? Education continues to struggle with Covid-related issues. The line between school and homeschooling is even more blurred as learners go in and out of remote learning due to unexpected outbreaks and COVID variants. These realities make learners anxious about their future overall and more specifically about not being with their friends on a regular basis.

What we’ve found is, learners, especially young learners, are considering “blended education” the new normal.

The above insights are powerful calls to action for HEPH as our current development will allow learners to choose seamless educational experiences at home, school, or anywhere in between – with all of their TEAMmates in tow.


Research and development is no small task and will continue into the next quarter. Q122 will also see the activation of our communications plan via social media, public relations, and advertising – all to set up donations and sales in the following quarters.

B. Please summarize major achievements of the work supported by the grant in this reporting period. Refer to Exhibits D, E, F, G:

1: Describe any organizational and programmatic growth which may include, but is not limited to board development, new hires/staffing, contracts or connections made with potential grantors or donors, customer purchase orders or commitments, technology purchases, and other major acquisitions.


Research and development is no small task and will continue into the next quarter. The next quarter will also see activation of our communications plan via social media, public relations and advertising – all to set up the donations and sales in the following quarters. 

– Steve

the stem kioks

We hold Artsplosion at Oak Park Art League. Typically we occupy the second floor and have traditional and digital art shows at the end of each session. This film chronicles a year of exciting experiences. We accessed the YES fund at the Oak Park Community Foundation to assist some of our hometown homeless learners.

flashpoint GAME LAB

Building a video game is a blend of artistry and technology. Our classes travels to many different specialized spaces to work with seasoned professionals and near-peer experts. One of our favorite stops is Flashpoint academy in downtown Chicago. This film shows a session with a talented stunt actor. The students captured the movement and then applied it to characters in a game.


The Thatcher Woods exploration is part of the AUTOROBO middle school curriculum.  Students hunt to find clues and activity kits. The students work in teams that use maps, geo-locators to find their way.  Part of the program features students getting “lost” where they can investigate and report what they’ve found. there are even helpful park rangers to aid in the exploration. 


We have a string relationship with UIC society of engineers. One of our first classes included spending time with UIC society of engineers. They are noted for building miniature formula one race cars and Baja dune buggies. This film captures one of many visits as well as a welding session. We have plans to return with larger classes after COVID.


The future of medicine is right in our backyard. Dr. Macio Iwashima opens his lab to HEPH ED learners. The learners get a virtual tour and get to practice some of the techniques they learned in the safety their homes and at school. We are also developing a video game that teaches immunology to middle and high schoolers. Students are involved with some of the development offering their expert idea about gaming.


Sometimes we bring the class to the students! This film captures some of our initial research as well an onsite engagement with traumatized communities. The class depicted took place at Precious Blood a Ministry of Reconciliation that practices restorative justice and peace circles. We are anxious to return to these engagements after the COVID all clear. We have a solid history of guiding students to life-altering careers.


HEPH ED started in high schools and by popular demand are now working in middle and grade schools. It’s always a good time, as learners and most teachers are excited to break from routine. It’s kind of like a project-based circus coming to town. Classes last from 3 weeks to 13 week engagements. We push for longer engagemnents. The reason being, with longer time we can achieve new learning mindsets for the learners, teachers and school staff. To follow are a few examples of takeovers from various curriculums.

SParks - Flight lab

Drones, quadcopters, unmanned flight, personal flying vehicles, these technologies figure strongly into the future of work. Our classes with OP&RF are a combination of flight school, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, design, and measurement.


Just before COVID Steve introduced two classes to digital/virtual design and branding. The classes spilled over into the school’s maker space with 3D printing and marketing design classes. This was a perfect cross-discipline effort. In the future, we plan on introducing history and entrepreneurialism into the mix! The students loved it.

gauntlet - middle school math

Teamwork and speed is the key to the gauntlet. This film captures some of the many activities that the students master and measure. For middle schoolers, we wanted to make sure they were in charge. The rooms and the field were set at all times and the students got to choose whatever they wanted. It was our chaos and curiosity.

gauntlet - HIGH school math

What if you could step right into a real-life video game. That’s what the high school version of the gauntlet is. This film captures some of the exciting activities that transform an ordinary school into an extraordinary learning experience. The teams apply their skills to the school hallways, then to the football field for a game of moon ball game, and then back to the classroom with fresh data that they spin into a leaderboard. Fun and unforgettable learning!

AUTOROBO - Middle School engineering/ reading

This class is a mystery wrapped in an adventure. Students literally asked for more summer school after this outing. Imagine a group of messengers from another planet coming to visit you at school. Then imagine they ask you to find a missing colleague with tools that are scattered across your community. Break out your magnifying glass, the geolocator on your phone, and your best engineering and design skills to save the day.

AUTOROBO - Speer acadamy

This film catches up with HEPH at Speer Academy, an engineering school on the west side of Chicago. We spoke of creating a robotic concierge with students in a 4 week class. Some weeks after our first meeting we brought back our solution – our version of R2 D2. We call him Sam. Post COVID we will resume talks and plan something incredible.

day in the life

HEPH ED programs last from 2 to 13 weeks and between 45 minutes to 4 hr a day.  It’s a bit difficult to feel the power of the experience in small clips. Below are a series of raw films that play minute by minute.  This class, CAMPING IN, took place at the end of the summer of 2020.  COVID was in full swing.  We used to zoom, and each student participated from home. What’s important to note is – we’ve used zoom-like technology for over 3 years to ensure that every learner, no matter where they lived, would have access to quality classes. That being said, our programs run smoothly, live or remote.  Learning is engaging and memorable.  

camping in - 1

This clip chronicles Day two of CAMPIN IN! Learners meet their mentor and are magically given tools to complete their journey. 

camping in - 2

This clip shows how the team works easily and playfully together as they construct a wind power kit.

camping in - 3

In this clip, the team is working with each other to build solar-powered cars.  They share, laugh, explore and even take the occasional detour.  


The efforts on this page represent the tireless work of dedicated HEPH ED staff and well-wishers.  


To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner. I am not a teacher, only a fellow student.

  • Soren Kierkegaard