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wormwarriorsEDWARDSVILLE – It’s not every day that Edwardsville Community Foundation Board members get to drive a robot when they present a donation.

The Edwardsville Community Foundation recently presented the Worm Gear Warriors Team with a check for $500. The Worm Gear Warriors are funded through a newly formed nonprofit agency, Metro Area Robotics Society (MARS), which was created in order to ensure the Worm Gear Warriors team would continue to exist after they lost their previous funding source.

The Worm Gear Warriors robotics team consists of middle school through high school students. The team helps provide children with hands-on teaching in the fields of coding, engineering, management skills, in addition to how to work together as a team. The team competes in First Tech Challenge competitions throughout the state and, if they qualify, National and World competitions.

Worm Gear Warriors Lead Coach and Director Craig Watson says that this donation will help provide necessary funding to enroll the team in competitions across the country and pay for the necessary parts to build the robots. “Because this is the first year for the MARS organization, our funds are very low. We just wanted to ensure that the Worm Gear Warriors program was able to continue on because we believe so strongly in the important skills it is teaching these kids. We appreciate the fact that the Edwardsville Community Foundation recognized that need and is willing to support us,” said Watson.

High School Senior Gillian Murphey said this donation will help her team bring their ideas to life. “I’m really grateful that we received this donation, because we do have a lot of very grand ideas sometimes and it’s not always possible to do unless we have the parts. So the fact that we were given this donation is amazing because we’re going to be able to innovate without limits,” said Murphey.

Edwardsville Community Foundation Executive Director Pam Farrar said that the ECF Board of Directors was excited to support this organization.

“MARS is a great example of a wonderful nonprofit in ourcommunity that really gives kids a unique and exciting opportunity to learn and grow through Worm Gear Warriors. We wanted to not only provide additional funding for this nonprofit, but also let them know that our community appreciates the effort they are taking to make this program thrive,” said Farrar.

The Edwardsville Community Foundation was founded to create an organization where people could donate money that would directly impact the quality of life in the local communities. The ECF operates as a charitable trust that receives, manages, and distributes tax-deductible charitable contributions for the benefit of the residents living in the local communities, as defined by the Edwardsville School District 7. Since its inception in 1997, the ECF has distributed more than $5.4 million to charitable causes.

For more information about the Worm Gear Warriors, or to make a donation, please visit ftc8620.org/donate/ or contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information about the Edwardsville Community Foundation, visit EdwardsvilleCommunityFoundation.org or call Pam Farrar at (618) 520-8099.

Photo from left to right: Reece Watson, Craig Watson BACK, Darien Durell, Gillian Murphey, Jop Gielingh, Caleb Blair, Lieke Gielingh, Alex Wernex, Sloan Watson, Lynette Watson, Jackson McRae, Pam Farrar and Chad Abernathy. The robots are Indie on the left and Vector on the right