Clorox Science Education Team Expands its Reach During Pandemic

By Danielle Freeman

We talk a lot at Clorox about reimagining how we work.

It’s part of our IGNITE Strategy, and how we want to operate every day. This has been on overdrive since we all started to shelter-in-place and work remotely. We have had to reimagine how we do all kinds of things, including how we volunteer, support our communities and collaborate across Clorox.

Take the Clorox Southeast Science Education Team. Our mission is to inspire enthusiasm and develop a proficiency for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics among underserved and underrepresented youth in Metro Atlanta. In fact, our amazing team of volunteers has inspired roughly 222,000 future scientists since we launched in May 2014, all while doing our normal day jobs. 

As you’d expect, we had lots of hands-on demos, career panels and other similar, in-person activities with local youth scheduled from March through the end of the 2020 school year.

And of course COVID-19 changed our plans. Schools moved online and our events were canceled. Our mission, however, was not canceled. In fact, our commitment to science, youth and education may be stronger than ever.

So we adapted.

Within Clorox, we connected first with the brand-new employee resource group for parents. Its leaders wanted to know if we had any online science demonstrations to help Clorox employees with children at home. That simple question inspired us to reimagine how we bring science education to youth.

We started with Clorox kids, scheduling a virtual science demonstration and emailing out a supply list of common household items. That test got us thinking: What if we offered Metro Atlanta public school teachers online science demos similar to the ones we did for our employees’ children?

We’ve now created videos of science experiments and science-career discussions to help local teachers engage their students. Teachers tell us their students have been more engaged during these events than with their online, distance learning as a whole.  We see these online sessions as a way to reach even more local youth once shelter-in-place and the pandemic are over.  Here are some pictures of 8th graders falling in love with simple, at-home science experiments. 

Another unexpected outcome from the turn to remote science education is that our South East science education team has partnered more closely with the Clorox Bay Area Science Education team. Together, we’ve created weekly at-home experiments for employees to do with their kids (scroll down for some of our favorites!) and launched a new Science Education website for Clorox employee so they can continue to enrich their kids’ lives with easy, fun, at-home science experiments.

One of the great lessons of this pandemic has been that we can make a difference in the lives of youth and remind them that they can be anything they set their minds to, even when they’re stuck at home.  They just need someone to start the FIRE in them.  After all, we need to prepare the next generation to take on roles as our future co-workers and mentees for Clorox’s next 100 years and beyond. 

Check out some videos from the Clorox Science Education team: