It’s no stretch to say Warren Kreway’s mentorship goes beyond the call of duty, but now he’s being formally recognized for it.
During a FIRST Robotics competition in Calgary on Friday, the co-founder of United Robotics of Lacombe (URL), was awarded the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award, designed to acknowledge mentors within the robotics community who not only lead, but inspire and empower the students they work with. Nominations are submitted by students, in this case, those of URL.
“You always wonder what the kids think. Now I do,” Kreway said. “It was quite the experience to say the least.”
The nomination letter was written by Derek Lange, a Grade 12 student from Ponoka that travels to Lacombe to be part of URL. In the letter, he said Kreway listens with an open mind and heart, giving advice in a way that guides students to make their own decisions.
“URL members challenged him to come back to school to finish his high school diploma at the age of 65. Warren graduated with three of the URL members to show them that it is never too late to accomplish your dreams,” Lange wrote.
“He is an exceptional individual because he teaches us how to positively influence our community, become well-rounded individuals (academically and socially), give back to our community and open up our hearts to care for each other.”
The clincher, however, in Kreway being named a finalist was the fact that his mentorship inspires others to become mentors themselves, both to students locally and abroad.
He put together a mentorship team of URL members that visit Iron Ridge Elementary Campus in Blackfalds, which gives young students their first taste of robotics and showing them what they can achieve.
“The most exciting part, though, is the interaction of the kids,” Kreway said. “They see it as being a big, real-life video game, but there’s technology behind it. There’s science and math, but they don’t realize that.”
He’s also created “Through the Eyes of the Children,” an organization whose mission is to inspire youth to advocate for change in third world countries through raising awareness of poverty and problem solving.
He took trips to the Ukraine and Uganda with robots to inspire children there to become engineers. While the technology might not be readily available there yet, he said it’s important to show them what’s possible.
“I want to see fire in them, not just acceptance of their lives,” he said.
As a finalist of the Woodie Flowers award, Kreway now has the opportunity to fly to Houston, Texas for Worlds, where he’ll go up against all Woodie Flowers finalists from around the world for the championship.
For more information on Through the Eyes of the Children, visit www.africanian.org.