Grasping Futures – Making A Global Impact

April 4, 2024

In the spirit of community involvement, Kimberly Martin, a teacher at Royal Oaks School of the Arts, was honored with a grant from Union Power Cooperative last November. Her project, “Hands of Gratitude,” enabled the students to assemble functional 3D-printed prosthetic hands for individuals in the U.S. and developing countries, such as Guatemala.

With the grant, Martin’s students constructed 14 prosthetic hands and sent them off in a decorated carrying case with a card and a canvas with an inspirational message. “Hands of Gratitude has been an awakening for us,” Martin remarks. “It’s thrilling to know that the hands we constructed made their way to those in need, thanks to Matt Campana, the project’s founder.

Campana was delighted to learn that his work was being used by third- through fifth-grade students who wanted to make a difference. “The purpose of this project is not only to make a difference in the recipients’ lives but also to know that ALL KIDS matter and can make a difference,” says Campana.

This project was a community effort, with parent volunteers, school officials, and district staff all playing a part in completing the project in just three and a half hours. Martin explains, “It has inspired my AIG students to engage globally, build character, lend a helping hand, and strive for a collective goal.”

“The project, funded by NC Bright Ideas Grants program through Union Power Cooperative, extended compassionate assistance across borders and seas,” says Martin. “It also offered a philanthropic gateway for my students to reach beyond our classroom and impact others. Thank you, Union Power, for the grant. I hope other teachers will apply for the Bright Ideas Grants to assist their students with higher goals for themselves.”

Information box: Teachers, if you have a “Bright Idea” and want to share it, visit and enter the Early Bird drawing to win a $100 Visa gift card by August 15.