Seventeen NNSS volunteers smile in front of a house they helped renovate.

Compassion and action: NNSS celebrates a year of giving back

Seventeen NNSS volunteers smile in front of a house they helped renovate.

2023 was a banner year for outreach at the Nevada National Security Sites (NNSS). Spanning a combined 27 community plus science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) events, NNSS employees committed to making a difference in their communities.

Community care
A total of 418 NNSS volunteers contributed 1,233 hours to community outreach activities. Highlights from the year include renovating two southern Nevada homes through Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada to provide critical home repairs to low-income seniors, veterans and individuals with disabilities; supplying and outfitting Las Vegas-area youth with new footwear through the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation to ensure disadvantaged children have access to new shoes and socks; and “adopting” more than 100 angels for The Salvation Army of Southern Nevada’s Angel Tree Program to provide toys to children who might not otherwise receive gifts during the holiday season.

“Outreach is integral to our culture at the NNSS,” said Mission Support and Test Services (MSTS) President Garrett Harencak. MSTS is the management and operating contractor for the NNSS. “Year round, our employees are dedicated to giving back to the regions in which we live and work, creating lasting connections with individuals and organizations while growing our impact as community leaders.”

Dozens of children line up in their neighborhood to receive a holiday toy from firefighters.
The Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation delivers holiday toys to local children.

The end of the year is a special time for the NNSS Fire & Rescue. Throughout December, volunteers organize toy collection and distribution points for the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports burn survivors and their families after fire-related catastrophic events. “This is important for us, especially when the fire department, EMS and first responders are a small community across the board in southern Nevada,” said NNSS Fire & Rescue Captain Robert Acevedo. “Even though we don’t serve a general public like other fire departments in town, we still have people willing to do things for southern Nevada and people here who want to give back. The Burn Foundation has been that go-to place because it hits home — what The Burn Foundation does stays here in southern Nevada.”

An NNSS employee demonstrates equipment to students during a presentation about geology.
NNSS employees demonstrate tectonic forces with a sandbox model during a STEM Saturday about geology and geophysics.

Inspiring through STEM
As one of the largest technology employers in the region, the NNSS continuously invests in student STEM education, resources and opportunities. NNSS volunteers gave 573 hours toward STEM outreach initiatives in 2023.

In partnership with Clark County School District and the Atomic Museum, STEM Saturdays brought numerous NNSS subject matter experts in front of hundreds of students and families to demonstrate how STEM shapes various career paths. The district partnership also enables NNSS scientists, engineers and technologists to present in classrooms across the Las Vegas valley, connecting with students and encouraging exploration and problem solving through STEM. NNSS was the proud sponsor of the Las Vegas Science and Technology Festival, a multi-day exposition celebrating STEM achievements and careers throughout the city.

“As one of the largest technology employers in our region, we are proud to play a role in how STEM education can influence successful career pathways, whether it’s connecting one of our scientists with youth inside the classroom or supporting students with the resources they need to make their own STEM discoveries,” said Harencak. “Our continued investments in education aim to ignite a spark and unlock possibilities in STEM leaders of the next generation.”

2024 outreach kicks off with the highly anticipated Nevada Science Bowl, where high school students compete in an academic competition for a chance to represent their state at the Department of Energy Science Bowl, and February 10 STEM Saturday. For more information about our advocacy, community and STEM initiatives, visit NNSS Outreach. Follow milestones in our communities on Instagram, X, LinkedIn and Facebook.