Program Spotlight: The Dream Lab

I am very excited to share an update about the Dream Lab. A group of EPAA students has been dedicated to using technology to help others. All year, they have been working with a particular community member who struggles with mobility. Too often, drivers will leave their cars in the loading zone next to her parking spot, so she is unable to use her van's wheelchair ramp until they return. In response, our students designed a car-mounted, motion-activated sign that alerts people not to encroach on accessible parking spots. 

In May, these students presented at the Design for Social Good Showcase at Stanford. Eleven teams from all over the country presented in front of Silicon Valley venture capitalists and competed to receive funding to develop their product.

Our students were absolutely amazing! They were poised, humorous, and completely blew away the audience with their compassion and ingenuity. In the end, they won the Design for America award, which is a $1000 prize from Wieden Kennedy, Nike's leading ad agency—our second win in a row. They also impressed a Stanford Law school professor who offered to obtain a patent for their device for free! What them in action below:

In the words of Aaron, their proud project coach:

"This definitely shows that we belong in the same rooms as the rest of the world's influencers and innovators. Thank you for helping our students believe in themselves and realize the potential we all see in them!" 

I, too, am deeply grateful for our communities' support of the Dream Lab. You have had a powerful impact on our students, and we can't wait to see what is coming next for them.

Update: Four EPAA peer leaders were funded by the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund to increase participation in the Dream Lab. They are currently very busy at EPAA's Summer Bridge program for rising 9th graders, helping these younger students get involved in design-thinking and critical problem-solving projects!