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Fifth Third Bank funds "dreams" for Girls Science Academy

September 15, 2009

Source: Jennifer Cunningham
Job Title: Communications & Public Relations Manager
Phone: 269.382.6555

Dreams are becoming much more of a reality thanks to help from Fifth Third Bank. On August 24, 16 excited girls ages 9 to 14 experienced their first day of the Girls Science Academy at the Air Zoo.

Through this new summer camp, the Air Zoo hopes to empower girls in pursuing their career dreams, especially those in a primarily male-dominated field. Fifth Third Bank noticed the connection with their own beliefs of empowering people by enabling opportunities and diversity.

"We want to provide people with opportunities to explore whatever they find interesting. You never know who's going to discover the next big thing," says Jim Barnum, President of Fifth Third Bank in Kalamazoo.

Through a grant from the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank provided 15 scholarships for girls who would not be able to afford the camp.

Patrick Lonergan, Vice President of Community Affairs for Fifth Third, adds, "The Air Zoo is about fulfilling dreams and so is our Bank. The Academy is a perfect fit with the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund and its goal to empower women."

The camp has begun to inspire these young girls' dreams. "I'm a girl and I didn't think it would be possible to fly, but it is!" said Jackie Kelly on her first day, after a visit from co-founder of the Air Zoo and former WASP, Sue Parish. Emily Mixis added, "One day I want to go into space because I want to understand it, see what it looks like and be the first person to explore Mars."

A "Women in Aviation" exhibit at the Air Zoo was also made possible in part by a grant from the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee. The exhibit is nearing completion and will soon be made available to the public.

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