Creating enrichment for children

STEAM organizer promotes new opportunities for kids

Submitted Photo Allison Auch is the creator of MASK Theater and Full STEAM Ahead. She is shown with daughters Madi and Braya, and husband Dustin.

Children are an important part of the Minot and surrounding area communities. Giving them safe, unique, educational and fun activities is something that has always been a big goal for parents and child caregivers alike. One parent took the goal and started an entire non-profit organization with it.

Allison Auch is the executive director of Full STEAM Ahead, which is described as a “high energy youth organization” on the group’s Facebook page. Her organization’s mission is to give kids in the area an enjoyable, exciting and creative experience that provides cultural enrichment through the STEAM fields.

STEAM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

Auch started the whole endeavor with Make A Scene Kids (MASK) Theater around three and a half years ago. She started it after realizing there weren’t very many options for kids to partake in theater before they reached high school.

“My older daughter was interested in theater,” she explained. “And after she took part in the Minot State Summer Theater, I decided to try and start a kids theater. It started as a personal interest and grew from there.”

A mother of two, Auch was born and raised in Minot and is a nurse practitioner. At the time she decided to start MASK Theater, she was on maternity leave for her second daughter and saw it as the perfect time. With no prior experience with all she does with the theater and now Full STEAM Ahead, she’s been learning as she goes and experiencing all the new things along with the kids.

As MASK Theater grew, Auch decided to start offering more activities for kids to do, deciding to start doing anything that came her way that she thought would be enjoyed. Then in 2017, she officially started Full STEAM Ahead as a non-profit offering a wide range of activities.

MASK Theater was placed under the non-profit, alongside new activities such as Minot Robotics, a Minot Youth Kickball League, Kid’s Clay and Minot 3-6-year-old T-Ball, something she had noticed the community didn’t have.

The non-profit has a focus on children from pre-kindergarten through age 16. In 2018, the group had around 2,100 kids who went through its various programs.

“I love getting to see the kids grow. Every experience gives them a new home and a new interest,” Auch said.

Auch says she’s very thankful for all the community has done to help the organization and all the groups and people they have worked and collaborated with.

“We couldn’t do any of this without the support of the community,” Auch said.

Auch works hard to offer a large variety of activities geared towards children because, for her, offering these things is extremely important, and she plans to continue offering all she can.

For more information on Full STEAM Ahead, MASK Theater, or any of the other programs offered, go to steamnd.org.

(Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Editor Mike Sasser at 857-1959 or Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send email suggestions to msasser@minotdailynews.com.)

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