Youth Making Change

A group of young makers building switches at a long table

Makers Making Change is a program of Neil Squire, a non-profit organization that empowers people with disabilities through technology. Funded by the Government of Canada, the Youth Making Change project supports STEM programming for youth under 30 in Canada.

Makers will improve their awareness and understanding of people with disabilities while serving their local community. This project can be integrated into STEM programs or extra-curricular activities including robotics clubs, holiday clubs, hack clubs, and university societies.

Students will create and donate assistive devices for people with disabilities while incorporating the principles of design thinking, using 3D modeling (CAD) software, and 3D printing for social good.

Success Story

“When we do events like this, it really creates a greater appreciation, or sense of empathy, of adults, or other peers and classmates in our district, that have diverse abilities and challenges,” says district principal Keith MacGillivray.

At Peace River North School District in Fort St John, BC, students, principals, and teachers have been making big strides in their community. In their first build event, teachers and Physics 12 students from North Peace Secondary came together to build three assistive devices. Many of the devices built went back into the local community, going to organizations like Community Living BC, and working with the school district’s occupational therapist, many were rolled out throughout the school district — one notable example being a student who uses one such switch to turn a blender on and off as part of their foods program.

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Who We Are

According to Statistics Canada, 80% of people living with a disability use an assistive device to increase, their independence, and 27% need at least one more. Cost is often cited as the main barrier. DIY assistive technology — and learning STEM skills and Makers Making Change — can help bridge the gap.

Makers Making Change is committed to creating a network of volunteer makers who support people with disabilities within their communities by creating accessible solutions. We stand by the idea of social inclusion and a productive society that includes people with disabilities and gives them equal opportunity to contribute and participate.

Our online platform features a library of various open-source assistive technology design with build instructions and reviews to support makers and device users.

STEM Education is the Future

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education is an essential part of education:

  • STEM activities foster new ideas and creative exploration. Students are encouraged to be curious and use their critical thinking skills to tackle real-world challenges.
  • Hands-on experience with engineering, design, robotics, coding, and manufacturing.
  • STEM teaches people how to work with others through collaborative learning. Students are encouraged to empathize with others and share insights they’ve learned.
Acadia Students

Success Story

Around 60 engineering students from Acadia University in Wolfville, NS participated in building LipSyncs, mouth-operated sip & puff joysticks. Of them, over 30 volunteered their time to help others build, including mentoring 25 Wolfville School students from Grades 7 and 8. Acadia University’s engineering department incorporated the LipSync Buildathon into their classes, using the device to teach students about soldering, 3D printing, electrical components, and accessibility.

All the Lipsync built were delivered to rehab hospitals like Stan Cassidy Centre For Rehabilitation and disability organizations across Atlantic Canada.

STEM Workshops

There are a variety of STEM workshops available for Canadian youth under 30. These are opened to classrooms, robotics club, after-school organizations, and any youth or university groups. STEM Workshop training is paid by the Government of Canada. Workshop supplies are separate but may be covered depending on your region. Reach out to [email protected] to learn more.

Types of Workshops

Circuits and Electronics
Design for 3D Printing
3D Printing 101
Build Assistive Technology
Make:able Design Challenge

Success Story

As a previous camp professional and current STEM educator, I loved to see campers getting hands on experience with new skills. I thought it was a fantastic activity that should be utilized in more youth programs to provide a safe place for kids to explore as well as provide good for the community,” Ethan Pullan, math teacher in the Calgary School District and previous D-Camps head counsellor.

Over the course of 3 days in Water Valley, AB, young individuals in Alberta attended D-Camps, a program for kids to enjoy the camping experience in a diabetes-free environment. Part of their experience was learning about electronics by building the Raindrop and Light Touch Switches.

D-camps Build

Get Involved

Whether you’re a teacher looking for class activities, STEM group leader, or just someone passionate about STEM development for youths, contact one of our offices to learn more or email [email protected].


Logos of the Youth Making Change program