Dave Green is pretty sure the story is slightly exaggerated, but not by much. He has been enamoured with the imagination-stretching, plastic building bricks since he was boy. He's made elaborate creations and eventually taught himself to mix Legos and computer programs to create moving robots.
Green, 48, has been sharing his love of Legos, engineering and science with Granite Falls students for years. Last month, the school district named Green the volunteer of the year, commending the father of three for bringing the Technology Educational Center and Outreach to Granite Falls.
"He is a hard worker and perceives the positive in things. He always goes the extra mile, and we are happy to partner with him," Superintendent Linda Hall said.
Green was touched by the honor.
"I didn't realize you could get an award for having fun with kids," Green said. "It brought tears to my eyes."
Green, a functional testing technician for the Boeing Co., has been volunteering with young people for about seven years. He first became involved with the town's First Lego League robotics team. He later volunteered with the high school's eco car team. His daughter, Dansil, is part of the ShopGirls, the school's all-female team.
It was his daughter's idea to create a place in town where students and community members can learn about science, technology, engineering and math. She had created a business plan as part of a class. Her dad took one look at the plan and thought, "Hey, we could really do this."
Their next stop was in the mayor's office. He encouraged them to talk to school officials, the Boys & Girls Club and others who were working to create a learning center in town.
The Greens along with other volunteers created the Technology Education Center and Outreach. TECO is co-located with the Boys & Girls Club at the Granite Falls Community Learning Center, which opened in last month.
Programs are available for all ages. There are rooms for robotics, race car challenges and 3D printers. Also inside is a room that is full of thousands of Legos, donated by two community members.
"People have been so generous," Green said.
He volunteers up to four days a week, holding classes for the robotics teams and other programs that help students develop math and science skills.
"My wife says it's my second job," he said.
He also gets to spend time with his three kids, who are involved in classes at the center.
Green is encouraged that more people are volunteering. He said he's always looking for more volunteers interested in teaching or designing new programs to expand what is offered at TECO.
"We need our young people to have these skills," he said.
Learn more about TECO
For more information about the Technology Education Center & Outreach (TECO) or to volunteer, go to tecogranitefalls.weebly.com. The center is co-located with the Boys & Girls Club at 307 N. Alder Ave., Granite Falls.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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