Chiefs’ Travis Kelce announces plans to build STEM lab with Operation Breakthrough

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his 87&Running Foundation have announced plans to build a STEM lab for teens at Operation Breakthrough.

The lab will be called “Ignition Lab: Powered by 87&Running” and will focus on serving high school students.

Kelce has been working with kids at Operation Breakthrough for several years now, and he already sponsors the nonprofit’s robotics program.

And during pandemic in March, he donated all the food and supplies Breakthrough would need for the next 15 weeks “to keep it business as usual for the kids.”

But now, just after signing a contract extension that will keep him with the Chiefs for six more years, Kelce said he’s also recommitting himself his work off the field.

He announced the plans for the STEM lab in a social media post Friday night. It reads:

Dear Kansas City,

Six more years, baby.

I couldn’t begin to tell you how much this city means to me. You took me in seven years ago and made all my dreams come true!

I can’t wait to give you another six seasons of everything I got when I take the field with my brothers.

But I’m also recommitting myself to the work I have left to do off the field. The amazing kids I’ve seen grow up the last seven years in the inner-city of KC are now teenagers navigating the world that doesn’t always have their back.

The vision is to give these teens in KC’s undeserved neighborhoods a safe heaven. A place where they’re exposed to interests and role models far beyond the field or court.

Kids can’t concentrate if they don’t feel safe.

They can’t envision a career if they’ve never heard of or learn a skill they’ve never been taught.

So, with Operation Breakthrough, we’re going to create this place.

I am excited to announce I am purchasing the building that will be the future home of the ‘Ignition Lab:Powered by 87&Running’- a co-working space where these teens will have the support, resources and opportunity to explore careers in STEM, launch their own entrepreneurial ventures and gain real-world experience.

As a kid I was mindful of how life looked different for everyone, but as a man I am profoundly aware of the difference in opportunity, exposure, and privilege I grew up with compared to others.

Where you live, the situation you were born into or the color of your skin should have no impact on the dreams you can dream.

And it’s a beautiful thing when a kid’s dream comes true.

A spokesperson for Operation Breakthrough tells FOX4 that they are excited for the project and are looking forward to expanding their program to high school students.

“Ignition Lab: Powered by 87&Running” is currently scheduled for a fall 2021 opening.

“From the first time Travis first came to Operation Breakthrough to read to our preschool children to his most recent visit when he was racing robots with our robotics team, he has always been a great friend to our kids,” said Operation Breakthrough CEO Mary Esselman.

“Travis is a wonderful representative of the Chiefs and the entire Kansas City community.  We are excited about the Ignition Lab and the possibilities that it will create for so many children as they enter high school.  Through this initiative, Travis is continuing to champion the work of our Founders, Sisters Berta and Corita.”

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