For the fifth straight year, Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) of Reading is partnering with Performance Toyota to bring the annual YVC Canstructure Contest, a structure-building competition to fight hunger, to Berks County this spring. Teams of youth throughout Berks County will compete in a contest to build incredible designs made entirely from cans of food that will be collected during food drives over the next several weeks. The structures will be built at each team’s location, and video submissions will be posted online on Sunday, March 27 (www.yvc-canstructure.org). Following the competition, all canned food will be donated to the local food bank. The previous four years’ contests have engaged hundreds of youth participants and resulted in over 30 tons of food being donated to Helping Harvest Food Bank.
In addition to the partnership with Performance Toyota, the Canstructure Contest will also be supported by Penn State Berks Engineering Department. Engineering Ahead, a summer bridge program for incoming freshmen, will spearhead the first PSU Canstructure Open House taking place on Saturday, February 26 from 12 to 2 PM. The Open House will follow Penn State’s Engineer’s Week, which celebrates all engineering disciplines for all ages, and will allow first-year engineering students the chance to mentor youth Canstructure teams for the competition. During the Open House, Engineering Ahead students will lead breakout rooms, guiding youth participants through various activities that will benefit their own Canstructure builds. Activities will focus on structure-building, communication, and creativity. Engineering Ahead students have also built their own Canstructure on campus, which will serve as the focal point for the Open House. The event is currently closed for registration.
Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading is a program of VOiCEup Berks, a local nonprofit dedicated to connecting people with meaningful volunteer opportunities in Berks County. “Performance Toyota has been a fantastic partner for this event, supporting the contest with a company-wide food drive to help teams in underserved areas.” said Christi Terefenko, Executive Director for VOiCEup Berks. “The additional collaboration with Penn State Berks engineers has raised this youth STEM event to a new level. We are excited to partner with such civic minded organizations.”