University City makerspace Department of Making + Doing to close in November

More than two years after it opened, the workshop's partners say it is “no longer sustainable” to stay open in the 3711 Market Street location.

IT students at St. George's Technical High School in Middletown hope to donate at least one gaming "GOKart" to a local hospital.

Students at St. George's Technical High School hold an annual Freshmen Community Service Day near the end of each school year — a project that convenes students on similar career paths for the sake of team building and giving back to their community. This year, freshmen in the Middletown votech's IT Academy decided to hold a game-a-thon fundraiser on May 30, with proceeds going toward Gamers Outreach Foundation, a Michigan-based nonprofit that provides equipment and technology that allows hospitalized kids access to video games. It may sound less than vital to provide sick kids with video games, but for children who are confined to a hospital bed for a period of time, gaming has improved the quality of life of some hospitalized children to the point that some doctors actually prescribe video game time to reduce anxiety and even pain. Most hospitals have video games in a common playroom area. But for kids who aren't able to leave their beds, Gamers' Outreach provides what they call "GOKarts" — movable game systems that can be brought to the bedside. The IT Academy hopes to raise enough money to donate at least one GOKart to a local hospital. James Sekcienski, an IT/programming and design instructor at St. George's Tech, first got the idea to do a game-a-thon for children's hospital at the Young Innovator's Fair at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. "I had an interest in organizing an event like this, since it allows students to use their interest in gaming to give back to their community," he said to "I was researching to see if there were community organizations that would allow us to support a local hospital in Delaware when I came across the Gamers Outreach Foundation." When he shared it with his students, they agreed — sometimes from personal experience — that providing hospitalized kids with access to gaming was a worthy cause. "With this being the first year, our game-a-thon is more social with friendly competition to allow the students to get to know each other," said Sekcienski. "In the future, I would love to expand the event to include more students and to include gaming tournaments to help raise more money to be able to donate more GOKarts." Interested in helping them reach their goal? You can make a donation here.

The Department of Making + Doing, a youth-oriented makerspace in University City, will close in November, the organization announced late yesterday.
“While our efforts have been incredibly productive and fruitful, we believe that it is no longer sustainable to continue at the current location,” the email read.
The space opened nearly two-and-a-half years ago in NextFab’s former space on Market Street, with more than $360,000 in backing from the Knight Foundation, the Barra Foundation, Cognizant and ArtPlace America. The space, which became a meeting place for artists and youth, was behind fantastical projects like a mobile maker cart built by teens, an enormous spirograph and the weirdest karaoke machine ever.
Last winter, the group held its first holiday exhibit and sale, featuring items built by DMD members, many of which are young people.
The workshop’s partners — The Hacktory, NextFab, Public Workshop and the University City Science Center’s STEM program — will all continue offering programming, just no longer at 3711 Market Street. The Hacktory plans to find a new location in West Philly, director Georgia Guthrie said in the email announcement. It’s not clear what will become of the equipment in the space.
“The DM+D Partnership built a space where all of the partners could explore and grow their organizations, their impact and their capacity,” said program manager Michael Darfler in a statement. “In that regard it was wildly successful.”


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