While many people have hobbies they enjoy, there are some who feel so passionate about what they do that their hobby becomes their business. In Slayde Kerner’s case, his love for Minecraft drove him to create a non-profit organization.
Kerner, a high school sophomore, is the founder/CEO of CraftingEducation Academy, a non-profit charitable educational organization with a mission to empower youth in Brevard County through technology, and to create future entrepreneurs. Using various digital media, students enroll in the Academy’s tuition-based programs and learn creative thinking, collaboration and leadership skills that are critical for a successful future in any career path.
It started in 2012, when Kerner’s attention was drawn to a MinecraftEdu booth at a convention he attended. After speaking with the owners, Kerner learned that some teachers edited the Minecraft game to make it applicable for use in a classroom environment. He was intrigued that his favorite game was being used as an educational tool and knew he wanted to have this program implemented in his middle school.
Kerner proposed using the MinecraftEdu program in an after-school club. Kerner ran the club for three years, sparking student excitement through word of mouth. After three years, the wait list had grown to 130 with only 20 available spots. This is when Kerner decided it was time to expand.
Producing STEM Leaders
In October 2015, CraftingEducation Academy was formed, and in March 2016 doors officially opened. The Academy currently runs programs at its main Melbourne location, as well as in after school programs at five public schools around the county. So far this year, 580 students have enrolled.
Kerner has expanded the offerings beyond MinecraftEdu to include 3D Printing, and 3D Printing/MinecraftEdu Combo. The Academy has numerous additional programs that will be implemented including Photoshop, Illustrator, Web Design, Virtual Reality Design, Robotics, and 3D Jewelry Design.
CraftingEducation also has a fabulous Leadership Academy where select students develop the skills to become group leaders by assisting in instruction and designing programs with adult supervision. The Academy grants one partial scholarship each year to a student in the Leadership Program and is partnering with companies to sponsor students for college, as well as future employment opportunities.
As a charitable educational organization, the Academy also feels strongly about having programs available to underprivileged children who cannot afford them. Since opening in March, 20 students have been internally sponsored. Kerner is working to increase the number of sponsored students by offering corporate sponsorships. Most recently, a partnership with the Brevard County Police Athletic League will help enroll service-disadvantaged children in various centers throughout the county.
Kerner has certainly fulfilled some big dreams already, but this ambitious sophomore has more impressive plans for the future. The Academy’s goal for next year is to expand into 12 schools. And looking down the road a bit, Kerner’s top goal is for CraftingEducation to be completely franchised before he graduates high school.
Want to To Learn More?
For more information, please visit:
3270 Suntree Blvd., Suite 1130 B Melbourne