GREAT BARRINGTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- While Great Barrington is, on occassion, overcast, one group has been bringing sunny skies to students for the last 34 years: the Flying Cloud Institute.

"It's a non-profit educational organization and our mission is to bring young people and educators of the community dynamic science experiences that inspire their own creativity," said Maria Rundle with the Flying Cloud Institute.

From Great Barrington, the Flying Cloud Institute is able to reach educators throughout the area.

"We are very lucky, throughout the Berkshires, to have amazing cultural resources, so bringing that local, authentic, artist culture into our school programs is very important and easy to do from Great Barrington," Rundle noted,

The non-profit tries to change the way kids look at science and engineering.

"One of the things we feel is very important is creating transformational experiences over time. That doesn't mean just having a high bar for the quality of work and the authenticity of work we bring into the schools, but it's also developing real relationships with the students, educators, and their families," Rundle explained.

Flying Cloud has many success stories over the years.

"One woman we worked with, she was really into robotics and engineering, but she didn't have an outlet for her excitement, so a robotics program was started by Flying Cloud at her school.  She went on to become a robotics engineer at Google," Rundle said.

Rundle continued, "Some of the most important success stories to me are the young people we work with who start to see themselves in a whole new light.  To see themselves as capable, whether or not they become a STEM professional or an artist, they've tapped into something in themselves they never knew was there before."

We wanted to help, so on behalf of Western Mass News and Diamond RV, Jacob presented a check for $500 to keep up the great work they do.

"We are lucky to have lots of wonderful people willing to invest in the future of young people," Rundle said.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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