MakerKids is in business to make a difference. We are all about making kids feel great about themselves, and we want as many kids as possible to be able to access our programs. We have run free or reduced-fee programs for many organizations such as Camp Ooch (camp for cancer patients). We look for staff and customers who are aligned with our core values and are interested in making a difference through their involvement with MakerKids.
Currently 80% of people are dissatisfied with their careers (Deloitte Shift Index). If you’re not satisfied in your career, you aren’t able to make as big of an impact on the world’s most pressing challenges as you could if you were satisfied. We investigated a number of different ways to move the needle on this stat, and happened upon MakerKids. Why? Childhood is the most formative stage of life. It’s like a golf swing, where if you make a small millimeter change at the outset of your swing, it can have a vast impact on the trajectory of your shot. If you can convince a child that they’re a leader, they’ll carry that with them for the rest of their life. What do luminaries like Steve Jobs and the founders of Google have in common in their educational background? No, they didn’t all go to Ivy League universities – but they all attended technology camps or after-school programs. Our goal is to equip kids with the skills and mindsets to be innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs. We use technology as a medium to teach confidence, social skills, and how to become a changemaker – helping smart kids learn to harness their talents and use them for good. We believe that this will set them up for better lives and better careers – and the ability to make a big positive impact on the world.
MakerKids has had many success stories, including participants starting businesses, presenting their projects on TV, being published in magazines, starting clubs at their schools, and more. To read about these amazing individuals, check out our Success Stories page. You can also check out some of our testimonials here.
In recent surveys, parents reported the following outcomes after their child participated in a MakerKids program:
- 100% liked coming to MakerKids
- 100% benefited from coming to MakerKids
- 100% saw an increase in self-confidence
- 85% had a positive experience in fostering interpersonal relationships at MakerKids
- 75% saw an improvement in social skills (getting along with others, joining in, assertiveness, ability to resolve conflicts more appropriately) or a reduction of anti-social behaviour
- 72% saw an increase in creativity (ideation, visual, new ways of thinking etc.)
- 72% saw an increase in in computer skills (typing, using a mouse, knowledge of programs etc.)
Mental Health Outcomes
Many children that sign up for our programs have various mental health diagnoses, learning disabilities, or developmental delays, such as autism, ADHD, apraxia, anxiety, and more. We are proud that many families and kids have reported improved behavior, mood, and academic performance following our programs. Also, children’s mental health institutions have begun referring kids to us. We are working with CAMH to perform an academic study of the outcomes of our programs.
Quality of Programs
MakerKids engaged a third party do a study on the quality of its offerings. Through surveys and focus groups with customers, they found that parents ranked each of the characteristics (out of 5) as follows:
Ranking out of 5
|Care and dedication||4.62/5 (92.4%)|
|Staff training and qualifications||4.43/5 (88.6%)|
|Sanitation and sanitary procedures||4.45/5 (89%)|
|Program content||4.3/5 (86%)|
|Teaching methods||4.4/5 (88%)|
|Environment (happy, nurturing, inclusive and relaxed)||4.52/5 (90.4%)|
|Child’s experience in fostering interpersonal relationships||4.1/5 (82%)|
Over the 7 years of our existence, thousands of children have participated in MakerKids programs at our locations and at schools. Tens of thousands have experienced our activities at events such as fairs. Our programs have expanded across the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa, and we are rapidly growing to new areas. We have run activities at events across Ontario and in California, New York, England, Norway, Italy and more.
MakerKids has been invited to give talks about its work at key industry conferences such as MakerCon New York, California, Rome and Norway (keynote speech); Maker Faire Bay Area and New York; Innovation Day, and more. CEO Jennifer Turliuk was awarded an Honorary Degree from Humber College for her contributions to society via MakerKids. MakerKids’ work has been featured in major media including Wired, CTV, CBC, Breakfast TV, Forbes, Globe and Mail, and many more. MakerKids has written curriculum for Intel and 3D Systems, provided educator training for school boards (e.g. the Toronto Catholic District School Board, private schools, and more), helped with the creation and implementation of makerspace strategies for companies and organizations (e.g. the Toronto Public Library, schools, etc), and authored articles on its work for MAKE Magazine and more. MakerKids has created a category – kids don’t just go to music, art, dance and sport activities after school or during the summers anymore – they also go to programs on coding, robotics, and Minecraft and learn emotional and interpersonal skills that help vastly improve their lives. Many businesses around the world look to MakerKids as an inspiration. MakerKids is the original makerspace for kids. And we are growing and expanding our impact and thought leadership everyday.
MakerKids has run free or reduced-fee programs for the following organizations, among others:
B Corp: Doing Business to Do Good
MakerKids Inc became a Certified B Corporation in 2015. B Corps are a new type of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corp certification is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.
MakerKids Inc was certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. We’ve evaluated how our practices impact our employees, our community, the environment, and our customers.
Today, there are over 1,300 Certified B Corps around the globe, including Etsy, Patagonia, and Ben and Jerry’s. We are proud to join them in redefining success in business, so that one day everyone uses business as a force for good. To learn more about our certification, check out our B Corp profile.