By Brandon Mercer

HAYWARD (CBS SF) — Teach a teenager to fly, and they’re set for life. That’s the theory behind an unusual Hayward city program to bring low-income and at-risk youth to airports, teaching them about science, technology, engineering, and math, all from behind the yoke of an airplane.  Graduates leave with a pilot’s license, and a leg up on life, according to organizers.

“Motivation Through Aviation” works with a non-profit at Hayward Executive Airport called East Bay Aviators to take teens from knowing nothing about aviation, to actually obtaining their private pilot’s license after age 16.

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“This initiative is amazing on a number of levels,” said Hayward’s Frank Holland. “Most young people – and particularly those with limited financial means – would never enjoy this type of opportunity. We’re hoping that the community will see that there’s a significant return on investment when we empower Hayward youth to pursue ambitious goals.”

Hayward announced a partnership Friday with Citizinvestor to raise $43,200 to expand the program, in its first crowdfunding foray.

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CROWDFUNDING TEEN PILOT LICENSES: City of Hayward Program On Citizinvestor

As with most crowdfunding projects, investors won’t be charged until the project reaches 100 percent of its funding goal, prior to the deadline.

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Citizinvestor is working with 23 other cities already to fund municipal projects that don’t fit in the budgets, including three in San Mateo County, and one in Elk Grove that have already been funded.