The Tetra Society-School Clubs
Looking for that community connection, or a way to enhance your ICE and STEM training and community participation, The Tetra Society of North America may be the answer.
The Tetra Society of North America is an independent non-profit organization that provides customized assistive devices to people with disabilities. Tetra is the brainchild of Sam Sullivan; mayor of Vancouver B.C. Sam became a quadriplegic due to a skiing accident in 1979. The society was formed in 1987 after an engineer volunteered to devise gizmos to meet his day-to-day needs. Since then, the society has completed more than 4000 projects. As mayor of Vancouver, Sam hoisted the Olympic and Paralympic flags at the winter games in Turin, Italy using a Tetra designed flag holder.
How it Works
Volunteers work one on one with people who have a specific need that cannot be met by commercial assistive devices. The client covers the cost of the materials and volunteers design and fabricate the project. As a result, every Tetra Project is unique as it is tailor made to each person’s particular circumstance. All concerns such as liability, standards, and safety are discussed in detail during the application process. Agreements and waivers are signed before any project begins. Volunteers are typically engineers, technologists/technicians, technical educators and general tinkerers who have an interest in technology and a desire to help. You do not have to be associated with a specific business or industry. To see the type of projects they have been involved in, watch the video gallery at
Tetra clubs schools and programs (especially technological education), provide an opportunity to use those critical thinking skills and connect with the community by working on and providing solutions to real world problems that affect a vulnerable sector of society, the disabled.
Tetra volunteers traditionally come from industry; however, Tetra clubs are open to students from all academic backgrounds and thus the club makeup can be quite diverse. As the projects are technical, clubs traditionally involve students in engineering and technical programs, although all students are welcome, the club provides an opportunity for collaboration with non-technical students (e.g., cross-curricular: business- marketing, budgets), along with the opportunity to promote technological education and explore career pathways.
How It Works
When a decision has been made to establish a club, Tetra will match up to $500 to whatever the school provides to support the club (e.g., the school/community provides $500 and Tetra matches that to provide a start up budget of $1000.00).
Once a club has been established, they work in-conjunction with a regional Tetra manager (who acts as an advisor and liaison between Tetra, the community and potential clients). Project opportunities will come from this manager (this process varies depending upon the club and the regional manager).
When a project has been accepted, Tetra will provide up to $500.00 for materials (the client is responsible for any material costs above $500.00. It should be noted that Tetra will work with the client to cover the additional material cost if needed. Clubs will not be held responsible for additional costs).
As the projects may require working with the public (stake holder), each student would have to fill out a registration form and have a Vulnerable Police Check, which Tetra would re-imburse.
There are chapters throughout North America (many in the GTA). For more information, visit the website at http://www.tetrasociety.org/ or contact Sylvia Baliko
Tetra Society of North America l www.tetrasociety.org
289.208.2315 l SBaliko@Tetrasociety.org
DEVICES BREAKING BARRIERS!