Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Inclusion Counts

November 22, 2017

As part of The Henry Ford’s Community Outreach Program, VIP Mentoring mentor Patricia Shephard and her mentee Angel Lysher had the opportunity to hear Kimberly
Bryant share insights about the art of computer coding. The presentation by the founder of Black Girls CODE was part of the Innovator Speakers Series and took place in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.

When Patricia Shephard and 14-year-old Angel Lysher visited Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in March 2017, the two were on a mission to learn about the art of coding at a presentation by Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls CODE.

“I was interested in the Black Girls CODE presentation because it was about technology,” said Shephard, who has mentored Angel since 2016 through VIP Mentoring, a Detroit-based organization. "I feel it is important for Angel to experience as many presentations and outings that will give her hope and encourage her to break the ‘glass ceiling.’ It’s also important for her to learn about her culture and successful African- American people.”

After Bryant’s encouraging words, the two walked around the museum, discussing technology, programming and the importance of extracurricular activities.

“Not all girls want to play with Barbies,” said Angel, who added that she learned a great deal from Bryant’s presentation, including, “If you are a girl that likes technology, show it.”

A Privilege to Serve
Shephard and Angel attended the Bryant event as part of The Henry Ford’s Community Outreach Program, which works with direct social service providers to make The Henry Ford’s world-class collections and educational experiences more accessible. VIP Mentoring, which fosters relationships between children in at-risk situations and caring adult volunteers, has been a Community Outreach Program partner since 2016.

Said Pamela Smith, a VIP Mentoring match specialist, “When The Henry Ford opens its doors to our families, it is creating a cultural and educational opportunity that most would never get to experience.”

The Henry Ford partners with more than 100 organizations in metro Detroit through its Community Outreach Program. Funded through the general operating budget, the 11 year-old program works through partner organizations to offer no-cost access to the museum, Greenfield Village and Ford Rouge Factory Tour to those in need, whether it’s resource-challenged families, at-risk youth, kids fighting cancer or young victims of violence. The intent is to offer inspiration from stories of American ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation.

“We feel responsible for providing expanded community access to the unique learning
opportunities The Henry Ford provides,” said Stacey Simmons, Community Outreach Program manager. “We’re privileged to offer engaging and inspiring experiences that prompt new perspectives and reveal new opportunities. And we’re honored to work with other organizations committed to helping shape a better future.”

Did You Know?

You can support programs like the Community Outreach Program on #GivingTuesday by making a donation to The Henry Ford's Annual Fund. 

philanthropy, #GivingTuesday, African American history, technology

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