If you build it, they will come -alongside- to help build with you. While the fabrication of a STEAM Machine van is not the iconic “Field of Dreams”, the parallels of community support remain evident. 

Less than a year ago, Beaverton School District showcased their Future Bus in our Dallas neighborhood. The mobile makerspace inspired our students and as such, inspired our Innovate Dallas visionaries to pursue a path in acquiring a van of our own. Not long after, our local heroes stepped forward in huge ways. A van was donated and our community generously provided services, materials, labor, and financial support for the rebirth of a retired bus to our Dallas STEAM Machine. 

And yet, as we were to soon find out, this was just the beginning.

On November 16, 2019, Innovate Dallas held its inaugural Sparks Event. The evening provided a TEDTalk-like experience with community leaders, business owners, industry experts, and school district staff sharing their perspectives about our dynamic digital economy and how LaCreole Middle School is pivoting their approach to align with these changes. In addition, student ambassadors demonstrated their passion, leadership, and expertise in presenting their learning in hands-on activities welcoming guest participation. It was also at this time that the STEAM Machine, and the tremendous potential for the local mobile makerspace, was unveiled. In this venue, over 70 parents, neighbors, city leaders, and business owners were invited to be courageous changemakers in creating authentic, engaging, and innovative learning experiences for our students. And as such, construct a platform from which our students can enthusiastically and successfully soar in a future of infinite possibilities.

The event was aptly named; the evening sparked curiosity, focus, and action. And again, our community stepped forward in generous giving. Individuals and businesses such as Sparkfun Electronics partnered with Innovate Dallas and the STEAM Machine vision in their financial support. It could also be said that this event sparked an even greater zeal in the pursuit of untapped yet applicable resources elsewhere. Hours were spent drafting a grant application through Polk County Business Development to support the STEAM Machine project. 

We are pleased to announce that Innovate Dallas was recently awarded the Polk County Business Development grant of $30,000 with the goal that the STEAM Machine would create a beacon of innovation and hope for the future of education. And once more, like the “Field of Dreams”, we have confidence that in building and transforming this van, we will invite our students to build, transform, and embrace their own future of instruction, invention, and inspiration… with full STEAM ahead.

More chapters to come…

In the meantime, we can not thank our sponsors enough for their generous donation of time, labor, materials, expertise and financial support. 

  • Squirell’s Taxi
  • The Car Doctor
  • Avery Dennison
  • Service Graphics
  • Les Schwab Tires
  • SparkFun Electronics
  • Lee Shenkler
  • Dale and Lois Derouin
  • Joe and Julie Janssen
  • Bob and Lori Brannigan
  • Mark and Liz Weisensee
  • Dallas Rotary
  • Dallas Community Foundation
  • Mike’s Hot Rod Interiors & Upholstery
  • Kliever’s Flooring
  • White’s Collision
  • Forest River
  • Dallas Education Foundation