Northwest Pasadena Youth Organization Hosts Its First Robotics Competition, Calling It Ultimate Sport for the Mind

Published : Tuesday, January 1, 2019 | 1:08 PM

Image courtesy FIRST website

Neighbors Empowering Youth, a youth-oriented organization based in Northwest Pasadena, will be hosting a free Kickoff program for the upcoming FIRST Robotics Competition season, an annual event where teams of students nationwide are challenged to raise funds, design a team ‘brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors.

The Kickoff, on Saturday, January 5, marks the beginning of the design and build season. Local robotics teams taking part in the FIRST Robotics Competition will have the opportunity to compare notes, get ideas, make friends, find mentoring teams, learn the game, pick up the Kickoff Kit, and get geared up for the competition season.

Neighbors Empowering Youth will host the January 5 Kickoff at their location at 2011 Lincoln Avenue in Pasadena, from 1 to 4 p.m. The program for teens at NEY’s Make IT Space will show how participants can utilize technology to create physical and digital projects. Make IT Space is a hands-on learning environment where collaboration, creativity and problem-solving happens. At the site, NEY puts technology in the hands of students and enables them to create, explore and empower.

FIRST, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, was founded in 1989 in Manchester, New Hampshire to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. The 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs to encourage young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

The inaugural FIRST Robotics Competition was held in 1992 with 28 teams competing in a New Hampshire high school gym.

Today, FIRST conducts three other nationwide programs, aside from the FIRST Robotics Competition or FRC: the FIRST Tech Challenge, FIRST LEGO League, and FIRST LEGO League Jr. These four programs combined reach over 400,000 young people annually.

FRC is described as “as close to real-world engineering as a student can get.” During the competition season, volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST Championship.

Neighbors Empowering Youth in Northwest Pasadena, established in 1998, is a 501c3 service organization that implements technology service programs for Pasadena-area youth.

NEY’s mission is to help youth become more fluent in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, subjects. NEY also hosts after-school programs focused on the EDGE project, for “Educated, Dedicated, Gifted and Empowered,” at its new Make IT Space at Lincoln Avenue.

The organization offers a balance of academic support, technology enrichment workshops, project-based learning programs, community service events and activities, college scholarship and internship opportunities.

In 2008, NEY formed its first youth team, Team NEY Techs or TNT 2404, to take part in that year’s FIRST Robotics Competition.

For more information about the Kickoff event on January 5, visit the NEY website,, or visit

To learn more about FIRST and the FIRST Robotics Competition, visit

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