S.O.L.O. Robotics brings STEAM to inner-city schools

LOS ANGELES - South Los Angeles Robotics (SOLO) is on a mission to bridge the technology divide between inner-city youth and their more affluent counterparts.

       The brainchild of Jennifer Lashley, who got the idea for the organization while taking her daughters to attend robotic classes in more affluent neighborhoods, SOLO was created to ensure that youth of color have the opportunity to engage in STEAM (science, math, English and mathematics) programs when she was taking her daughters to attend robotics classes in their own communities.  

       For the past several years Lashley, who is a teacher, has worked to even the playing field for inner-city youths, providing access to technology for kids in underrepresented areas by making sure that they have the resources and training they need to learn basic computer programming, coding, website building and robotics. She has taught robotics in schools and began hosting booths at various events that has reached thousands of youth throughout the Los Angeles area.

     “Society is getting more and more technology forward every second of everyday and our children cannot afford to be left behind,” said Lashley. “From navigating a tablet or needing to interface with a computer for homework, testing, research, etc., we do our kids a disservice, and limit their option for the future, if we do not give them the skills they need to compete in an ever changing world.”

      Lashley believes that Los Angeles is the perfect place to build a strong technological community youth. She points to the fact that Silicon Valley is the home of 500 tech companies, and youth have the opportunity to connect with huge companies such as Google and Yahoo.