Our youth may be poised to shape tomorrow’s world, but we have to let them do it. That’s why at SAP, we’re committed to putting children in position for success now, devoting time, resources, and energy to education that will empower them later.

Today, we are furthering that commitment through a new program with Brooks Crossing Innovation Lab. The Newport News, Va.-based after-school instructional hub is dedicated to learning driven by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and grounded in team building and collaboration. At the lab, students of all ages, abilities, and disciplines learn valuable skills by designing creative solutions to real-world problems.

“SAP’s support for Brooks Crossing Innovation Lab will not only boost a love for learning,” said Mia Joe, the lab’s director, “it will also make a generational impact on workforce development by providing more access to specialized educational resources and more opportunity for children during early and impressionable developmental stages.”

The alliance is yet another logical outgrowth of SAP Young Thinkers, a community for youth all over the world who are passionate about innovation and technology — and who want to influence the way our digital world will take shape. SAP works with colleagues, ambassadors, and a global network of diverse institutions to provide students with the opportunity to learn and practice their skills every day, all around the world.

At Brooks Crossing Innovation Lab — the result of a collaboration among Newport News Shipbuilding, Old Dominion University, and the City of Newport News — SAP’s participation will lead to:

  • Integration of SAP Young Thinkers learning modules that encourage creative learning and social innovation
  • Professionals from all participating organizations teaching workshops for K-12 and adult learners
  • Increased collaboration on curriculum offerings and industry-led design thinking activities

The program officially got rolling with a kick-off event in Newport News last month, highlighting a day in the life of the lab’s students and allowing them to create a game that was presented to SAP executives.

“Meeting the instructor and the kids in this program was a powerful testament to the good that can be accomplished in our community,” said SAP Regulated Industries Chief Operating Officer Scott Thatcher. “The night was energetic and engaging, and it was thrilling to see the kids so locked in.”

This is only the beginning of the relationship between SAP and Brooks Crossing Innovation Lab, but Thatcher is eagerly anticipating the children’s continued growth, whether it be in coding skills or social skills.

“It was incredible getting to meet the people directly involved in this initiative and to see those in the community show up and invest of themselves,” he said. “This is going to have a real lifelong impact on these kids and their confidence, and I can’t wait to watch it happen.”