Newly Launched Not-For-Profit Charitable Organization Enriches the Lives of Underprivileged Youth by Using Soap Box Derby Racing to Support STEM Learning
NEW YORK, NY May 14, 2015 – 1000 Feet Project (1000feetproject.org) is a not-for-profit charitable organization newly launched by director, producer and documentarian Chris Gale, dedicated to enriching the lives of underprivileged youth through soap box derby races. One thousand feet is the length of the race course and, according to founder Chris Gale, “serves both as an inspiration and metaphor for the distance participants must go to become successful competitors.” 1000 Feet Project is working under the auspices of the International Soap Box Derby Association and the All American Soap Box Derby Association. The charity’s first effort is to mount a Soap Box Derby race June 27-28 in NYC, which would be a first-ever event in Manhattan. Gale has created a Kickstarter campaign to achieve this goal (http://kck.st/1Jia1jl) that runs through June 14.
The building and racing of these cars by NYC children will incorporate STEM curriculum (as defined by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education) and every phase of the event will be filmed by Director Chris Gale and Executive Producer Tom Neff, to produce an uplifting “1000 Feet Project” documentary that will serve to spread the word about the program and expand it to other major metropolitan areas. Key STEM elements such as collection and analysis of data, gravity, friction, speed, geometry, ratio and proportion will be incorporated through designing cars, developing racing strategies and the competition itself.
Patricia Lockhart of Staten Island’s PS 57, one of the schools participating in 1000 Feet Project, says “1000 Feet Project brings STEM education to life. This program will provide children throughout the city with an amazing challenge to utilize team building skills.” The film’s executive producer, Tom Neff, an Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker, supports the project because it “has heart, inspires hope, teaches our youth to work on something from start to finish and releases the inner child in all of us.” Approximately 50-60 New York area schoolchildren will race 30 cars in the ground-breaking NYC competition on June 27-28. The winners of that race will continue on to the All American Soap Box Derby national finals in Akron, Ohio, July 19 – 25. The “1000 Feet Project” documentary will follow the New York children through the process from building, designing and racing the cars in NYC all the way to the finals in Akron. The film will then make the festival circuit in late 2015 into 2016, and help expand the program to other cities across the nation.
In addition to Chris Gale and Tom Neff, the 1000 Feet Project team consists of Maggie McDermott in charge of philanthropy and media; Mark Scuderi, Soap Box Derby expert and Regional Director for the All American Soap Box Derby; Emmy winning Director of Photography Steve Smith and Bob Aubrey handling operations.
NYC event venue and sponsorships will be announced shortly.
“Our mission,” says Gale, “is to build knowledge and character, and to create meaningful experiences through collaboration and fair and honest competition.”