2017 Queens SOUP winner Tinker Lab awarded $1,000

2017 Queens SOUP winner Tinker Lab awarded $1,000
Photo by Michael Shain
By Gina Martinez

The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce awarded $1,000 to the Lewis H. Latimer House Museum for its Tinker Lab, a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math education program for local children ,

The chamber’s 2017 Queens SOUP initiative raised funds for the award.

State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D- Flushing) and representatives from Green Earth Urban Gardens and the Latimer Gardens Child Center attended the event last week at Latimer House in Flushing. The museum won the 2017 Queens SOUP with votes from neighborhood residents who participated in the crowd-funded, micro-granting community dinner on Earth Day.

The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce held its second Queens SOUP event at the Flushing Meeting House in April.

Attendees gave a $5 donation at the door and were able to have a potluck dinner with food donated from Dosa Hutt, New Asian Food and Danny’s Steakhouse & Oyster Bar. After a presentation by each project, ballots were counted and all the money collected at the door was awarded to Tinker Lab at Latimer House.

John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, said Queens SOUP is a unique networking event. He said regardless of whether a project wins or not, owners and their associates can connect with potential community partners and volunteers, raising their profile. He hopes the event will be an annual undertaking, depending on the amount of support from the community.

Tinker Lab is a key educational program at Lewis H. Latimer House Museum that seeks to provide high-quality, hands-on activities that integrate science and technology with humanities. In Tinker Lab, participants use an array of technologies, including Scratch, Ev3, and Wedo, to build micro-controllers, proto boards, and software programs from scratch.

According to the museum, as of spring 2017, 28 percent of Tinker Lab participants are African American, 50 percent Asian, and 17 percent Hispanic.

Kim thanked the chamber and its community partners for organizing the event.

“Advancing community engagement and civic participation in our neighborhoods is a worthy cause, and I am pleased to join everyone in celebrating the successful launch of the 2017 Queens SOUP,” he said “The money raised this year through crowd-funded micro-grants represents a priceless investment by residents in the future of our community. I congratulate the Tinker Lab at Latimer House, winner of the 2017 Queens Soup, and look forward to the successful expansion of its innovative STEAM youth program this summer.”

Ran Yan, program director at Latimer House Museum, said the recognition coming from Queens SOUP was gratifying.

“Queens SOUP is a great opportunity for Latimer House to connect with our community and build relationships through a unique grass-root crowd funding philosophy,” she said. “The recognition coming from Queens SOUP motivates us to continue advancing our mission and expand access to Tinker Lab’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math (STEAM) education to the low-income kids.”

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.