Urban Wings & Aerospace Club is a supplemental education program for middle school and high school youngsters with the “greatest need.” With aviation at its core, the program explores the holistic development of young people through hands-on learning strategies using applied mathematics, related science and technology career studies, and character development.
Distinct from other after-school programs, UWA focuses on the “soft skill” outcomes of character development, leadership, and community health. That means… as much attention is paid to developing “character” and “community” as is devoted to achieving mastery of the several dozen aviation skills and competencies for expanded career opportunities that comprise the curriculum.
UWA does not shy away from the challenge of converting the popular STEM to STEAM and thereby ensuring that the “Arts” are fairly and productively integrated into the studies of these applied sciences. Emphasis is placed on inquiry, problem-solving, note-taking, vocabulary development, history, culture and nurturing “persistence” as a variable in acquiring success and achievement in school.
Although relatively new, UWA is guided by the leadership of Michael “Chappie” Grice, who has directed similar programs in aviation, mentoring, administration, teacher development, and leadership. As a published author, nationally recognized educator and leader, film-maker, professional development specialist, and grandfather, Mr. Grice has devoted recent years of study to engaging inner-city young people, especially males, in goal-setting, conflict resolution, youth leadership, and aviation.
He has, in partnership with PCC, completed 18 consecutive terms of instruction on the Cascade Campus college calendar. He has cultivated promising affiliations with similar programs: Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Compton, Calif., Pacific West Aerospace Academy in Seattle, and the Legacy Flight Academy in Tuskegee, Alabama. Mr. Grice holds an honorary membership with the Atlanta Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen, and has cultivated partnerships with several colleges specializing in applied mathematics, aviation, aeronautics, avionics, aerodynamics, and air traffic control.
Among numerous awards, in 2013 Mr. Grice was given a cash award to start Urban Wings and Aerospace as a new program with enhanced focus on “children with the greatest need.” Small grant “seed money” comes from the prestigious Links, Inc., Western Region, a professional women’s organization, identifying outstanding men from Texas to Alaska for his work in public education. In 2015, the Black United Fund of Oregon awarded the program $1,500. Its annual budget is $28,000.
The program will meet year-round, once or twice weekly, for eight-week sessions. Classes are comprised of 12 -14 youngsters recommended by their respective schools or community organizations. The program is insured by World Arts Foundation, Inc. and fortified by numerous volunteer pilots, aviation professionals, and supporting community organizations.
The need for improved school performance with targeted populations and related indicators of healthy communities is immense and well-documented. The innovation of accessible applied sciences, via visits to colleges and industries, with very attainable career opportunities, Urban Wings & Aerospace Club promises to make the mission a unique and compelling strategy to be… loved by students, appreciated by the schools, and endorsed, by parents and families. We appreciate your support.