PCO Supports the Next Generation of Robotics Engineers

EHTP logoSince 2012, Phillips Charitable Organizations (PCO) has been a proud supporter of the East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP). Founded in 1958 as a volunteer-run children’s reading group, EHTP has grown over the years to become a comprehensive after-school program with the mission of helping students from the East Harlem area to develop the academic, social, and emotional skills they need to succeed in higher education and in their future lives.

Due to the support of PCO, EHTP has made great strides with one of its most cutting-edge programs: an in-house robotics team. The high-level program is one of the most intensive that EHTP offers. Over the course of a six-week period, the team builds a fully functioning robot completely from scratch, which is then sent to compete in the prestigious FIRST Robotics Competition. Over the course of the program, students not only learn essential hard skills such as robotics engineering and coding, but they also have an opportunity to develop their collaborative and communication skills, as well as to work with dedicated mentors from companies such as Bloomberg who provide hands-on support throughout the program and can help program graduates to secure internships in the future.

Since 2012, PCO has given EHTP more than $300,000, which has greatly benefited the robotics program, according to Andrea Wenner, EHTP’s managing director of development and external affairs.

“The generous donations from the Phillips Charitable Organizations have been critical in expanding the program and allowing the kids to experience something that is making a difference in their lives,” Wenner said.

The donations have allowed EHTP to hire a dedicated staff for the program, as well as to double the size of the program from approximately 10 to 20 students, mainly African American and Latino children from communities with low incomes. Furthermore, PCO’s support has enabled EHTP to participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition. PCO is particularly proud given the fact that EHTP is one of the only after-school programs in the country to compete at this level against teams from full-time high school programs.