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Nonprofit For A Better Tomorrow hosts first STEAM Olympics with Illinois Wesleyan University

A man in a red hoodie and a woman in a black and white dress sit next to each other and smile towards the camera.
Sambasivarao Gurijala, left, and Dakesa Piña stop by the WGLT studio to talk about the first STEAM Olympics.

The nonprofit For A Better Tomorrow [FBT] will host its first STEAM Olympics on Friday and Saturday in partnership with Illinois Wesleyan University.

FBT is dedicated to providing philanthropy support to causes locally and globally and have active for more than a decade.

IWU Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Dakesa Piña and FBT board member Sambasivarao Gurijala said their respective institutions share common goals.

“The goal of this event is two-fold — to form a community partnership that advances STEAM education in Mclean County and to raise funds to advance FBT and IWU’s shared commitment to social justice and diversity,” Piña said.

FBT also will donate part of the funds raised to a needs-based scholarship for IWU students involved in social justice initiatives that promote fairness and equity in Bloomington.

Piña said she found out about FBT when she took her daughters to one of the organization's kite festivals, and said their involvement in the community sparked the idea for a partnership when she came to IWU.

“As an institution, everything FBT does really aligns with our values at Illinois Wesleyan University,” Piña said.

The event also will be partnering with some of IWU’s student organizations, including IWU Maker Girls, Students of Color in STEM and Women in Mathematics. Additionally, faculty members from IWU will help facilitate this event and grade the tests.

The event will include educational games, spelling bees, capture the flag, 3D printing workshops and a hack-a-thon. The workshops are targeted toward elementary, junior high and high school kids.

The event will take place from 5-8 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday on IWU’s campus.

In addition to the STEAM Olympics, FBT hosts many youth development programs and an annual kite festival that runs between June and July.

“There are lots of volunteering opportunities for the youth. FBT provides support for other organizations who do good work in their community, domestic and international,” Gurijala said.

Farah Bassyouni was a student reporter at WGLT during the spring 2024 semester.