KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Kansas City Chiefs tight end, Travis Kelce, is helping fund and create a center for high schoolers to explore technology and innovation in Kansas City. The Ignition Lab will serve as a transitional program into STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) for students participating in Operation Breakthrough, who are currently aging out of the program after 8th grade. Kelce and future participants of the Ignition Lab helped lay down cement at the site near E. 31 St. and Troost Ave. on Monday afternoon.

The idea behind Ignition Lab started when President and CEO of Operation Breakthrough, Mary Esselman, and Kelce’s foundation, Eighty-Seven & Running, started exploring ways to provide 14 to 18 year olds a space to collaborate.

“Currently what happens is when they reach 14, they age out of our program. The Ignition Lab is about to change that,” explained Esselman.

One of the teens looking forward to the program is sophomore Semahj Ware. She’s participated with Operation Breakthrough for a few years and grown to love cooking and the culinary opportunities available post-graduation. One of her goals is to operate a food truck through the Ignition Lab. Esselman says it is an idea that’s in the works to teach kids entrepreneurial skills and how to apply their passion to a career.

Kelce hopes kids are inspired to dream of what kind of life they can have.

“Anything that you can imagine is going to be right here at Eighty-Seven & Running Ignition Lab. I’m very proud that we can give that opportunity to these kids,” said Kelce.

The space will open to nearly 200 students in the fall of 2021.

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