CFMC Grants at Work – G.E.A.R.S. Robotics


In its second year, the G.E.A.R.S. (Guys Engineering and Robotics Squad) Robotics Team earned a spot at the recent Indiana VEX State Championship in Indianapolis and brought home the distinguished Build Award for their division. This tournament was the largest state robotics championship in the United States, with over 361 elementary, middle and high school teams competing to advance to the VEX Robotics World Competition in late April.

“I felt pretty good about the Build Award. Out of all the teams in our division at state, we had the best build,” said Braden Shrum, a G.E.A.R.S. team member.

G.E.A.R.S. Team members (left to right) Ezra Speelman, Ryan Robbins, Reid Robbins, and Braden Shrum are all smiles after winning the distinguished BUILD AWARD at the Indiana VEX State Championship in Indianapolis.

During this season, the G.E.A.R.S. team had a lack of funding which hindered their ability to participate in tournaments and purchase robotics parts. With help from the Community Foundation of Morgan County (CFMC), they received a Capacity Grant and thus, the team was able to attend their last regional tournament and buy extra parts needed to succeed at the state championship.

“This grant from CFMC helped us not only build a better robot, which earned the Build Award but has also given the team a great start for next season,” said G.E.A.R.S. Team Captain Ryan Robbins. “For that, we are very grateful.”

G.E.A.R.S. Robotics (Martinsville) is one of 11 teams in the Central Indiana area (Indianapolis, Greenwood) that is part of Cornerstone Robotics, a Christian homeschool robotics program in its ninth year of competition. G.E.A.R.S. team members include Ryan Robbins (10th grade), Braden Shrum (9th grade), Ezra Speelman (11th grade), and Reid Robbins (7th grade).

“More valuable than the awards they earned this year are the skills developed and character built to shape their futures,” said G.E.A.R.S. Team Mentor Julie Robbins. “I am beyond proud of the boys for their hard work and awards, but what means more to me is the character they demonstrated as they helped competitors fix their robots, taught and encouraged new teams, gracefully handled challenges, and competed in an upright manner. These boys are the ‘cream of the crop’ in both skill and character.”

Robotics exposes students to science and technology through fun, hands-on experience in engineering principles, programming skills, problem-solving, teamwork, character building, leadership, and more. G.E.A.R.S. is designed to help build creative, inventive and intelligent students who will be productive members of society. For more information about G.E.A.R.S. and Cornerstone Robotics, check out their website at

CFMC’s mission is to connect donors and their charitable giving with our evolving community needs in order to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations through impact grantmaking. The vision of CFMC is to be the philanthropic leader and a catalyst in order to maximize available resources in our community.

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