#IStandWithAhmed: Celebrate And Support Young Makers

September 17, 2015 | Ab. Velasco

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American teen Ahmed Mohamed made international headlines after he was arrested earlier this week for bringing a homemade clock to school. The 14-year-old Texan brought his creation to show his teacher, who mistook it for a bomb.

The incident generated a social media firestorm – with many people throwing their support behind Mohamed, even starting an #IStandWithAhmed hashtag.

Some of Mohamed’s high profile supporters included US President Barack Obama, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – who invited Mohamed to the White House, Toronto, and Facebook headquarters respectively.



Mohamed and his family were touched by the outpouring of support and positive feedback – as displayed by the teen’s comments during a media scrum.



Mohamed’s creativity and ingenuity provide a great reason of why it is important to support young makers by providing them with encouragement and access to technology resources and training.

Toronto is one of many cities around the world with a thriving maker movement, including maker spaces that are child and family friendly, such as Maker Kids and STEAMLabs; the latter is hosting a clock making hackathon on Sept 24, 2015, in celebration of Mohamed. Organizations such as Get Your Bot On, Girls Learning Code, Logics Academy and Mozilla Hive provide fantastic technology programs.

Toronto Public Library’s (TPL) Digital Innovation Hubs and maker spaces at other North American libraries, such as Innisfil, Edmonton, and Chicago, are welcoming a new audience of young makers who are getting exposure to technology such as 3D printers, Arduino micro controllers, and digital media tools.

At TPL, we have seen young makers create wonderful projects, such as: young Jacob, who 3D designed a prosthetic limb; kids at Maker Festival who created wood-crafted boats; Barbara Frum Branch's Lego and K'Nex Club's fun architecture builds; and other cool creations at Fort York Branch, After School Clubs and Northern District Branch's robotics club for teens.

The philosophy at a maker space is simple: This is a safe space to let your imagination run wild.