AF Austin’s July grantee: A Dance to Remember

July 30, 2013

The Austin Chapter of the Awesome Foundation is thrilled to announce our July grantee: CASACA, the Capital Area Social & Activity Coordinators Association, and their project, A Dance to Remember. CASACA, the Capital Area Social & Activity Coordinators Association, supports life enrichment activities for over 60 long-term care facilities in Austin. “‘Play’ may not be most people’s first thought about nursing homes,” says Maggie Gallant, CASACA’s vice president, “but our residents refuse to be limited by their age or their physical impairments.” Gallant says the annual dances put on by CASACA give adult residents in long term care a chance to socialize, reminisce and show off on the dance floor. And, adds Gallant, “They tell these residents that they have not been forgotten about — that they are still part of our community and are still respected.” To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of dances, CASACA is planning “A Dance to Remember” in October 2013. Held at a venue that’s worth dressing up for, there will be dance cards, attentive volunteer dance partners, a live band, and — by popular request, the first-ever dance-off. Gallant expects at least 100 residents to attend, and the $1000 grant from the Austin Awesome Foundation… read more →

AF Austin’s June grantee: Control Moment Gyroscope for Robotics

June 30, 2013

The Austin Awesome Foundation’s June $1000 grant goes to a talented team of Austin high school students, Joshua Stricker and Marek Travnikar. Both Josh and Marek are members of their school’s robotics team, which is how they got the idea for their project: a Control Moment Gyroscope (CMG). We’ll let Josh and Marek explain what that means:   A CMG uses the angular momentum of a high speed flywheel to effect the movement of the object that the gyroscope is mounted to. The most common application of CMGs is in satellites, such as the international space station, where they are used for navigation and maneuvering. Our design is obviously on a much smaller scale. our goal is to be able to perform wheelies, somersaults, rolls and other maneuvers on a 120-pound robot solely using the CMG.   The way we would accomplish this is relatively simple. A 30-pound flywheel is spun up to and kept spinning at 6000rpm by two powerful Cim motors. This assembly is mounted on two gimbals which can each be rotated 360 degrees, applying a torque to the flywheel. This rotation is accomplished with two more Cims, one per gimbal, each with a three stage planetary gearbox… read more →

AF Austin’s March grantee: Have a Ball

March 30, 2013

The Austin chapter of the Awesome Foundation is pleased to award our March $1000 cash grant to Jackie Garrett and her project, Have a Ball. Garrett is a lead crisis counselor with the Austin Police Department’s Victim Services Division, where she has worked for 14 years. The inspiration behind her Have a Ball project came from her work, where she, like many first responders, comes in regular contact with traumatized children who have either been victims of or witnesses to violent crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault, suicide, and homicide. When called to a crime scene, Victim Services counselors often hand out teddy bears to these children, but, Garrett, a former soccer goalie at Baylor University, had a slightly different idea. She wanted to give kids soccer balls. Not only does a shiny new soccer ball bring a smile to a child’s face, Garrett says, it also serves a therapeutic purpose. “Giving children a reason to run and play is a wonderful coping mechanism that we try to teach everyone to do after a disaster,” says Garrett. “Studies have shown that kids that have a physical outlet for their emotions tend to cope better and recover faster.”  Garrett says… read more →