Monday, June 21, 2010

Extending the Museum’s Reach

This post was contributed by Outreach Program Developer Merideth Sullivan.

One year ago, 12 eager strangers walked through the Museum’s doors. Although each individual brought a range of diverse experiences and backgrounds as they relocated from around the nation, one thing they had in common was they all responded to the call to serve – these 12 members would form an AmeriCorps team funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Serve Rhode Island.

At Providence Children’s Museum, our dreams reach beyond our walls and this particular one-year program was an answer to those dreams. These AmeriCorps members were placed at three partner sites: Boys and Girls Club of Providence, Cranston’s Community Learning Center and YMCA of Greater Providence. We recognized that these partner organizations serve audiences significantly impacted by the economic recession and, with the addition of this new team, the Museum was ready to help.

During the school year, each team supported its site’s elementary-age after-school programs four days a week, providing tutoring help and delivering Museum Learning Clubs full of hands-on, minds on literacy activities. With the help and guidance of the Museum’s play experts, AmeriCorps members developed rich educational experiences for children. They created activities that allowed children to make their own discoveries at their own pace, with ample time for exploration.

In Air Play, kids investigated the power of air as they built flyers to test in a wind tube.

They used large dowels and rubber bands to create three-dimensional shapes.

Kids designed and built their own Paper Bridges and tested their strength.

After reaching 720 after-school children with nearly 20,000 hours of service, it was time to say goodbye. Last Wednesday evening, Museum staff, friends and family gathered to celebrate the year of service performed by these incredible AmeriCorps members.

Merideth and her team at graduation.

Thank you Yetunde, Kevin, Eric, Ian, Meagan, Kellyn, Jamie, Katie, Erin, Shannon and Andrew for sharing your time, talents and playful spirits with Providence Children’s Museum and the children of Rhode Island. You will be deeply missed!

A collage to commemorate the team and their service year.


Lindsay said...

Wow! How wonderful that this group was able to give so many children such a fun, playful learning experience. 720 children and 20,000 service hours is impressive! Congratulations and thank you!

Carly Loeper said...

This team has made such an impact; thanks for helping even more RI kids experience the joy and fun of learning. We'll miss all of you!