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National 4-H Council and Philips Make STEM Learning Fun for Local Youth Through "Magic of Electricity" Events

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SOURCE National 4-H Council

Youth in four U.S. markets to develop technical and scientific literacy, important life skills

CHEVY CHASE, Md., Aug. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National 4-H Council and Philips, a diversified health and well-being company focused on improving people's lives through meaningful innovation, today announced they have partnered to "light up" youth interest in science and technology. The partnership includes a new program based on 4-H's Magic of Electricity curriculum to help 800 youth develop technical and scientific literacy, as well as important life skills like creative thinking, problem solving and decision making. Philips employee volunteers will join 4-H leaders to offer the program at select Philips locations and community centers in parts of Texas, Kansas, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The Magic of Electricity program consists of four challenges designed primarily for elementary school-aged youth. The challenges lead to a culmination point, with young people designing, wiring and lighting a cardboard, three-dimensional house using everyday materials.

  1. In the first challenge, youth will learn about simple circuits by creating a working light fixture using a battery, a small light bulb and a strip of aluminum foil;
  2. In the second challenge, youth will construct a two-battery holder using cardboard and brass tabs in order to learn about power sources;
  3. Youth will learn about open and closed circuits while building a switch in the third challenge, using the battery holder created in the second challenge, along with cardboard, electrical wire, paper clips and other materials.
  4. In the final challenge, youth will wire and light a cardboard, three-dimensional house. For those who complete this challenge early, they have the opportunity to design and build a ceiling fan using a motor and paper.

Experts believe nearly all of the 30 fastest-growing occupations in the next decade will require at least some background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). However, an ASQ study of youth in grades 6-12 found that half received poor grades in STEM subjects or perceived that STEM careers required more work and study compared to careers in other fields. Another study found that only 45 percent of U.S. high school graduates in 2011 were ready for college work in math, and only 30 percent were ready in science.

Magic of Electricity helps address this situation by educating and empowering young people and making STEM learning hands-on and entertaining. It is part of 4-H's ongoing commitment to teach young people about STEM. Philips will host a series of events at select facilities around the U.S., and one hundred employees will contribute to their communities and serve as role models to the young students, representing the real-world STEM profession.

"In order to fill the STEM jobs of tomorrow, we need to expand STEM education today," said Jennifer Sirangelo, president & CEO, National 4-H Council. "Through the Magic of Electricity, 4-H, Philips and its employees will help these young people see that STEM education can be fun, exciting and rewarding."

The focus on STEM education is an important part of the Philips Cares community outreach program which helps to improve people's lives by creating healthy, sustainable communities that contribute to the success and well-being of future generations. 

"As a technology company focused on innovation, Philips is continually looking for ways to cultivate tomorrow's innovators," said Brent Shafer, CEO of Philips North America. "We are excited to partner with 4-H on the Magic of Electricity program, which brings Philips employees close to our communities and allows us to work alongside young students, representing the real-world STEM profession."

The Magic of Electricity program will take place at a variety of settings throughout this summer and fall, including 4-H Clubs and Philips facilities. The curriculum was developed by the University of Kentucky.

About 4-H:
4-H, the world's largest youth development and empowerment organization, cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities right now. In the United States, 4-H programs empower six million young people through the 109 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension in more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the United States, independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower one million young people in more than 50 countries. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4-H and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/4H.

About Royal Philips:
Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people's lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2013 sales of EUR 23.3 billion and employs approximately 113,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at www.philips.com/newscenter.

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