Binghamton, N.Y. — Students with a CAN-do attitude and some amazing ingenuity recently won awards in the Broome Leadership Institute (BLI) Alumni Association’s Kids CAN Build competition held the first week of May in Binghamton.
Several area middle and high school teams participated, but in the end, teams from Union-Endicott, Owego-Apalachin, BOCES Tech Academy 10, and Johnson City came away as award winners in the competition formerly known as Canstruction of the Southern Tier. The competition, which previously used adult professionals to build the structures, now places the builds in the hands of student groups while also raising awareness of hunger and providing food and monetary donations to Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW). Students created elaborate structures made entirely of canned food with the help of local engineering and architecture mentors. The structures were then judged and awards handed out.
The “Best Meal Award” was presented to Union-Endicott, the “Structural Integrity Award” went to BOCES Tech Academy 10, the “Best Use of Labels Award” went to Owego-Apalachin, and the “Overall Best Design Award” went to Johnson City. Perhaps the biggest winner in all this, however, is CHOW. All the food cans used in the projects will be delivered to CHOW for distribution to local food pantries, soup kitchens and other community meal programs. Between the value of canned food and monetary donations raised by generous sponsors, the event was able to present CHOW with $30,650.
Kids CAN Build Committee Chairperson Jamie Jacobs was also surprised with a “Volunteer of the Year” award from her committee for her steady leadership during the last several years of this event’s transition. In a press release, Jacobs said, “This initiative has always been centered around raising awareness about food insecurity and supporting local charities that feed the hungry. This year, as we renamed our effort and shifted from teams of adult professionals at the Oakdale Mall to all student groups in their schools, it has an exciting new element of STEM education as well.”
This event’s presenting sponsor was Visions Federal Credit Union. Gold sponsors were BAE Systems, IBI Group, IBM, and Lockheed Martin. Silver sponsors were Empower Federal Credit Union, LeChase Construction, Stantec, Tioga State Bank, and Weis Markets. Supporting sponsors were Chenango Contracting, Chemung Canal Trust Company, Coughlin & Gerhart, Dataflow (in-kind), Day Automation, Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce’s BLI Alumni Association, Levene Gouldin & Thompson, NBT Bank, NBT Insurance Agency, Raymond Corporation, Riger Marketing Communications (in-kind), ServPro of Broome, Taylor Rental of Binghamton (in-kind), United Methodist Homes, and Vestal Rotary.
See additional team photos here: