After our first year in 2005, the team learned that continued community assistance is a key part to the FIRST tradition. FIRST thrives on community involvement, and with this in mind, we have planned community events in each subsequent season. Our overall goal is to raise awareness and interest about FIRST and to start a second FRC team in the region.
Some of these events include:
- American Legion/Adopt a Platoon: In an effort to expand the project, "Postcards for Soldiers", the Pi-Oneers have collaborated with the American Legion in Hillsdale, N.J., collecting goods essential for the soldiers, including snacks and toiletries. In November, the Pi-Oneers asked teams attending their FIRST Lego League Tournament to donate to the troops as well. With the Help of the American Legion, the items, along with the postcards, were sent to Afghanistan. In addition, the team has recently adopted a platoon and has committed to sending weekly pen-pal letters to these soldiers as well.
- Angels Among Us: Angels Among Us is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with Down’s Syndrome and their families. For several years the Pi-oneers have supported AAU, due to the involvement of one of our team mentors. Every December, the organization hosts a holiday party for the children and their families. They have a wonderful time and their families really appreciate the support. This year, the Pi-oneers donated trays of food to help make the night a success.
- FIRST Lego League: For the past four years, the Pi-oneers have mentored FIRST Lego League teams from the middle schools in the high school district’s sending towns- River Vale, Woodcliff Lake, Montvale, and Hillsdale. This year, they became even more involved, and had 23 high school mentors helping their six FLL teams. All of the teams did exceptionally well, and Team 4220, the Cyber Hawks of Holdrum Middle School in River Vale, were invited to travel to St. Louis for the Lego League World Festival. In addition, the Pi-oneers established and mentored a Jr. FIRST Lego League team last spring, and are in the process of helping three more Jr. FLL teams get started in the coming months. The Pi-oneers have benefited from the team members who participated in the middle school teams, as they bring their experience to the high school team. In turn, the FIRST Lego League teams will benefit from the JFLL team member’s experience. The Pi-oneers are close to realizing their goal of having a FIRST Robotics team in every school in the high school district. They do their best to mentor, inspire and teach the middle and elementary school students about FIRST.
- Eighth Grade Orientation: The Pi-oneers are comprised of students from Pascack Valley High School and Pascack Hills High School. Every year during Eighth Grade Orientation, the team hosts a booth at each school to speak to the incoming students about FIRST Robotics. Many veteran team members participate and are there to answer questions from the students and their parents. They provide the opportunity to see the robot, pointing out the different systems and explaining how members are able to learn the different types of engineering and more. Appearing at the Eighth Grade Orientations gives the new students a better understanding of what a FIRST Robotics Team is all about.
- Italian Exchange Students: This year, Italian exchange students from a Science and Technology high school in Treviso, Italy, came to live with Pascack Valley High School students for 10 days. The students visited with the Pi-oneers to see the robot, and to learn how FIRST Robotics teams can supplement a traditional technology and engineering curriculum. The students got to direct, control, and play with the robot. Although there was a verbal language barrier, the language of engineering proved to be universal. The students were excited to learn all about the robot and the team. The Pioneers hope to assist them in bringing FIRST to Italy in the future.
- Octoberfest: a community festival in which the team held a demonstration of the robot; gave out information on our team and FIRST and provided postcards for soldiers
- Postcards for Soldiers: Provided the community with an opportunity to send a message to a soldier serving overseas
- Angels Among Us: Team members assisted a holiday outreach program for children with Down's Syndrome and autism
- ISA (International Society of Automation): The team presented out robot, Weeble, and explained our team
- Sponsor Night: The team invites the benefactors of the team to be thanked for their generosity and support, visit with the team and parents, and learn to drive the robot, along with other activities.
- Memorial Day Parade: Team members and robot participated in the parades in both Hillsdale and River Vale, NJ.
- Helping Hands Food Pantry: Donated and organized food for the food pantry in Hillsdale, NJ.
- Winter Wonderland: A holiday party for underprivileged children
- A day at the park in both Montvale, New Jersey and Hillsdale, New Jersey
- Robot demonstrations at local middle schools
- Starting four FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams at the River Vale Middle School, "River Vale robotics", at the Hillsdale Middle School, "George White Robotics", the Montvale Middle School, "Lego Storm", and at the Woodcliff Lake Middle School in Woodcliff Lake, "The Lego Techs."
- A presentation to the Chamber of Commerce
- Mentoring and Mechanical assistance to Newark, NJ teams
- Mentoring and Mechanical assistance to Rookie team 2596, Ferris High School, in Jersey City
- Girl Scout Council of Bergen County: Assisting to start a 20 hour “Intro to Robotics” program in the summer of 2006, to teach female team members to participate, thus spreading FIRST.
- River Vale, NJ clean-up after severe flooding after Hurricane immediately following the 2007 FIRST Championship
- Storm Drain Managment Program in Montvale, NJ during which Pi-oneers labeled storm drains with environmental markers in order to let the community know that storm drains are not for trash or pollution because they drain directly to our local watershed.
- Sponsored and ran an official FLL Tournament at the Cavellini School in Upper Saddle River, NJ.
- Computer Outreach: This organization receives donated computers which their volunteers refurbish to donate to underprivileged children.