When the nice people at Dyson Ltd. invited me and fellow Chicago Parent writer, Kari Hoban, to come and get the royal treatment at their Chicago offices, I felt a little bit like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman," when she tells Richard Gere:
"Listen, I appreciate this whole 'seduction scene' you've got going here, but let me give you a tip. I'm a sure thing, OK?"
I love my cordless Dyson. It has changed my life. And for the first time ever, those breakfast crumbs under the kitchen table aren't feeding an entire family of ants for a year. Come to think of it, I haven't seen a single ant in months.
I think my Dyson ate them.
Regardless, Kari and I happily headed over to the beautiful offices and were allowed to make out with the vacuums:
My first big take-away was learning that the British guy on the Dyson commercials wasn't a paid actor hired to sound all clever and scientific. He is actually Sir James Dyson who founded the innovative company in 1993.
My second, and perhaps more important, take-away was learning about the Dyson Foundation from my new BFF Zac Connelly:
In an effort to help expose more school-aged children to engineering, The Dyson Foundation has put together free kits for any school or teacher interested in helping kids think outside the box. These kits can be requested as a supplement to their current science curriculum, or can be used as an after-school activity so long as there is a volunteer to assist the children.
I am told the guide and materials provide everything needed to run the program. Zac promised me that even an English major such as myself could manage it. I don't know if I truly believe him, but Zac seems like a pretty honest guy. I mean, look at him. He's practically Richie Cunningham.
Once the lessons are completed, the Dyson Foundation pays for return shipping so other schools and teachers have access to this phenomenal program.
Second-sixth grade boxes and requests can be accessed HERE
Seventh-12th grade kits and requests can be accessed HERE
With engineering being one of the few careers out there demanding more and more qualified applicants (according to the Dyson Foundation, the U.S. will need more than 1.65 million engineers in the next 10-15 years), instilling an early love and interest appears critical. Sadly, it is also an area where schools are clearly lacking in resources and aid.
If you have any questions about this initiative, feel free to email my young friend Zac at Zachary.Connelly@dyson.com. He is super-duper excited to get the word out on these kits and will happily work with schools on any questions they may have.
And if you want to see the amazing things kids can do with an early exposure to engineering, be sure to check out the gang from the University of Pennsylvania who put together the winning entry for the 2013 James Dyson Award by clicking HERE (link to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwPbxWSv1aw).
After my impressive visit, I felt a whole lot better about all those Legos, Tinker Toys, and K'Nex I've been buying my boys for years.
I also felt pretty good about my awesome Dyson that sucks everything left on the floor each night.
Dyson, as I mentioned, had me from "hello."
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.