Monday, March 30, 2009

Giving Families a "Head Start"

On Wednesday night, the Museum hosted its second Head Start Family Night of 2009, welcoming a record-setting 800+ children, families and volunteers from Varrone, Friendship and Dean community centers for an energetic night of good food and great fun.
The partnership with Greater Providence Head Start is part of the Museum's AmeriCorps program, made successful by a team of MuseumCorps educators who develop creative classroom activities for Head Start children, guide them on Museum field trips, and invite their families to free Family Nights.A line of people snaked around the building on Wednesday as they waited to enter and then made their way upstairs for dinner in the colorfully decorated Assembly Space, thanks to generous food donations from community supporters. The families also received free year-long memberships – 338 were given out! – and they played. And played. And played!
Here's what several AmeriCorps members and staff had to say about Family Night:

“Family Night was crazier and more fun than we could have imagined! I cannot count the number of people who told me they had a blast and they couldn't wait to come back. We planned on feeding around 500 people and ended up feeding 800. All of the wonderful Head Start volunteers made our job so much easier. We couldn't have done it without them.”
Katie Barron, AmeriCorps member, Head Start team

“The food situation was nothing short of a miracle; when I saw that over 200 people had eaten at 6:30 (with many going up for seconds!), I was positive we wouldn't have the ability to feed everybody. Somehow, though, the food just kept coming out of the kitchen. It was almost as if somebody was looking over us to make sure that we had just enough food to satiate over 800 people.”
Molly Russell, AmeriCorps member, Head Start team“I was really impressed with how understanding all of the families were throughout the night. There were a lot of people in the Museum, and a lot of long lines, but I didn't hear anyone complaining. Every time I passed through an exhibit families were laughing and playing – it was such a positive atmosphere!”
Camille Cordeiro, AmeriCorps member, Head Start team

“Everyone was in such good spirits and excited to eat, mingle, and most importantly, play. A favorite moment: a child (about 4) was running down the ramp ... He looked at me and, jumping up, and down yelled, "I'M SO EXCITED TO BE HERE!" It was fabulous and totally made my night. :)”
Kelly Sullivan, AmeriCorps member, Head Start team

“I LOVED Head Start Family Night. There was such an amazing energy in the Museum. I loved seeing some of the younger kids showing their older siblings or parents how different exhibits worked. There was such a sense of community, and I hope that everyone had as great a time as I did!”

Lindsay Kilgore, Experience Coordinator

“This is an amazing collaboration. Kudos to those who came before and made this a tradition and my deepest thanks to all here who made it such a success … it took a village to do what we did and we felt the support of the staff and volunteers (and needed it). To the team – Molly, Miranda, Camille, Katie and Kelly – my congratulations on a fabulous job. Each team member fulfilled their duties with exquisite attention to detail. My humble thanks to all.”

Mary Scott Hackman, Early Childhood Program Developer (and Head Start team supervisor)

Congratulations, team – what a night!

Click here if you would like to make a contribution to the Museum to help fund charitable memberships for children and families in need. Thank you!


Anonymous said...

A Head Start administrator told me about a family of 11 who uses Head Start Family Night as their only "whole family" outing during the year. Every year, it's the Museum that brings them all out together - a time they look forward to year after year. "Where else can 11 family members go together in the evening - that's free, welcoming to young children and enriching for all?” he marveled.

Melissa K. said...

This was a great event! I filled out so many family memberships, and some Head Start kids even recognized me from their field trip a few weeks ago.

Some of the children I work with in Learning Club (an after-school program at the Museum) are former Head Start kids who participated in this program a few years ago. They definitely remember the fun they have on these visits!