will.I.am of Black Eyed Peas is Teaming Up With LAUSD for Expanded Robotics Program – NBC Los Angeles

on Jun24
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Most people know him as a successful musician, but will.I.am is also a philanthropist with deep roots in Boyle Heights and a love of robotics.

On Wednesday he talked about how he’s combining the two.

It has the competition of a sporting event and the joy of entertainment, which is why will.i.am sees robotics as the perfect way to get kids engaged in STEM subjects, science, technology, engineering and math.

“If I was 15 right now I’d be in robotics because that is the ultimate level of creativity,” he said.

The lead member of the Black Eyed Peas, the 46 year old started the i.am Angel foundation in 2009. It provides a college track program, scholarships, and FIRST robotics clubs for kids in East LA.

“I was born and raised in Boyle Heights, in the projects Estrada Courts and it was beautiful and the struggle was hard.”

With the goal of easing the struggle for the next generation by providing STEM knowledge and skills, he’s partnering with LA Unified to expand the robotics program from 1,200 kids to 12,000 throughout the entire district.

“Having people like Will that students can see in themselves, someone who grew up in their neighborhood is absolutely critical,” said Austin Beutner, the LAUSD superintendent.

At Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, the superintendent and the super star held a mini competition in a sport will.I.am says is the only one where everyone who competes can turn pro.

“Pro means you’re filling jobs that are infilled at the moment and pro also means you’re creating jobs we can’t even imagine right now.”

The district will provide the funding to get the program going with the i.am.angel foundation providing teacher training, guidance for the teams, and sponsorships for competitions.

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