The Difference Maker and his Metal Mission

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The Facts

Problem-based Learning (PBL) models strive to inspire students to solve real-world problems creatively, collaboratively and constructively. In a third grade classroom at STEM Launch, one PBL project did more than just inspire a solution, it started an entire movement.

Kylan Bain is the mastermind behind the Difference Maker Movement. At nine-years-old, he was inspired to help his Ugandan penpal, Haruna, and his community. He took the methods he learned from PBL projects and approached the school to support his endeavour.

The Methods

The then third grader had been collecting scrap metal from surrounding neighborhoods to raise funds for Haruna with help from World Vision. Seeing an opportunity to bring his community together to broaden support to touch an entire Ugandan village, Kylan scheduled an appointment to speak with his school principal to discuss his business idea for “Mission Metal.”

For two hours, Kylan laid out his entrepreneurial plans and hopes for Metal Mission. He asked Principal Kellie Lauth for support in spreading awareness for Metal Mission. Enthusiastically, Kellie invited Kylan to pitch Mission Metal to the PTO. He was met with unwavering support and encouragement. Kylan developed a drop-off site at STEM Launch for scrap metal, where he coordinated its transport to the junkyard.

mindSpark Learning leader, Carrie Mortgridge got wind of Kylan’s mission and met with him to discuss his philanthropic goals and passion for making a difference. Touched by his empathy and drive, she gifted Kylan and his family with a trip to Uganda to meet Haruna and see how his business was impacting the Ugandan community. Additionally, Carrie’s donation also funded a trailer for Mission Metal, complete with Kylan’s logo, to haul scrap metal more efficiently.

The Solution

Motivated to make a difference in Uganda and beyond, Kylan was the first STEM Launch student to start and run a club, which he named The Difference Makers. This club strives to take what Klyan learned on a global scale and bring it to Denver communities. The Difference Makers have hosted a number of initiatives including Penny Wars and PBL projects to tackle homelessness in Denver.

He created a website, to support his mission, collect donations and sell merchandise, and offer guidance for others looking to start a Difference Maker Club in their communities. One hundred percent of the proceeds from his projects are donated to causes Kylan believes in strongly, both locally and globally.

Real-world Results

Kylan’s dedication to The Difference Makers has touched communities around the world. He has raised funds to provide:

  1. Agricultural programs, food aid and medical supplies in Africa

  2. Financial support for a student through college and medical school

  3. Career training for girls and women

  4. School supplies for students in need

His movement was recognized by Gov. Hickenlooper, who declared May 8 Make a Difference Day.

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