The Big-Brained Superheroes Club (The BBSC) at Yesler Community Center is on a mission to tap into the hidden strengths that all young people have through the interdisciplinary exploration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM). In short, we’re a scrappy bunch of community-minded innovators and barrier-breakers, leveraging our real-life superpowers (such as our Leadership, Teamwork, and Sense of Adventure) to invent and make our way to a better world.
Join any one of our afterschool meetings, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5pm to 7pm, and you’ll probably encounter around 12 young Big-Brained Superheroes and a few sidekicks ready to lead you in the Big-Brained Superhero club oath, help you build an electric circuit, learn about digital logic and computers, or maybe even just hang out while doing homework.
* The BBSC is fiscally sponsored by Somali Community Services of Seattle, a 501(c)3 organization, EIN: 91-1746056.
Tendimus. Discimus. Facimus.
We strive. We learn. We make.
We in The Big-Brained Superheroes Club confront the arts and sciences from the standpoint that learning about the world is just one small step toward remaking it. And toward remaking ourselves in the process.
Always a work in progress, the story of Yesler Community Center’s Big-Brained Superheroes Club is best told in terms of adventure and misadventure.
Adventure: A couple of us started The Big-Brained Superheroes Club—formerly known simply as “Homework Help”—back in September of 2011 prepared to help underserved kids with their homework after school.
Misadventure: Homework itself presents a variety of motivational challenges that we had yet to address.
Adventure: After consulting a variety of books, behaviorists, and professional tutors, we developed a positive reinforcement program that succeeded not only in inspiring kids who were already showing up but also in gradually, yet substantially, increasing their numbers.
Misadventure: With greater numbers, we began to encounter increasing disharmony both between kids and between kids and volunteers. We needed to stick together as a community while still making enough room for a bunch of big personalities.
Adventure: During the summer of 2012, we worked to develop a language for and an awareness of our superpowers (aka “soft skills”) that we can readily access in times of stress and anxiety. Long-time Big-Brained Superheroes have since become aware enough of their superpowers to periodically assess their own superpower usage: “That was great Teamwork!”, or “I need to exercise my Willpower more”. More than anything, this language enables us to talk more about what to do instead of what not to do.
Misadventure: Much of the time, Big-Brained Superheroes would show up at our door lacking homework and wanting something to do. Simultaneously, learning was considered something one did only in school and rarely by choice.
Adventure: Because our volunteers are all fun-loving nerds, STE(A)M programming became an obvious solution to fill the void and provide an engaging, inventive, hands-on way for us all to tap into our hidden strengths. Now, instead of, “School’s out, so I don’t have to do math,” we’re more likely to hear, “Can I do mathketball?”.
See our collection of origin stories to learn more about us!