Earlier this summer you were introduced to Carole Charnow and the amazing institution she heads, the Boston Children’s Museum (BCM). BCM was originally created to serve the under-resourced families of Boston. In 1913, their first year in business saw 65,000 children from across the city come through their doors, and those kids didn’t get there by having mom or dad give them a ride. They walked, rode bikes, took public transportation… BCM has grown into so much more and at so many levels, but the core of its mission remains how to foster children’s development to enable them the best chance for future success.
Due to Covid-19 and the shutdown of vital resources to under-served neighborhoods, those who most need BCM are now also suffering the most. Parents have lost jobs, can’t pay rent, and forget about child care. When a parent has to choose between using milk for dinner or letting a child use some for an on-line activity, the dinner will certainly win out. So now what?
BCM discovered that although families were getting lots of activity ideas for their children from online sources, parents were unsure which activity was age-appropriate and they didn’t always have the materials at home to do the activities. Then BCM came up with the idea to distribute kits to these under-resourced families with the focus on children under the age of 10. Brilliant.
So what’s in these kits? For the youngest children, ages 2-5, activities (which are available in multiple languages) focus on fine motor skills. Their kits include scissors, paintbrushes, eye droppers, play dough, and such. In consultation with classroom teachers, kits for children in the 5- to 10-year-old range include items such as pencils, crayons, glue sticks, construction paper, along with jump ropes, beach balls, and sidewalk chalk to encourage physical activity. All these kits are designed to develop school readiness skills with the aim of fun and open-ended exploration.
This is where we come in. BCM had no income for more than three months, zero, yet they continued to put children first and used any resource they had to not let these families down. In a way, the museum is going back to its roots, but instead of children in need coming to them, BCM is hitting the streets and going to them. Well over 500 kits have been produced and distributed this summer and hundreds more are needed. The more money raised, the more kits can be created and the more children BCM can positively affect. And there will be a lot of grateful parents out there too!
You don’t need to put together a curriculum. You don’t need to buy supplies. You don’t need to put kits together. You don’t need to take time to distribute the kits. All you need to do is take two minutes of your time and go to this website:
www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/support/helping-hands-campaign and be sure to specify that your donation is for the kits. Please check with your employer as many will match your donation!
- $25 buys one family a kit
- $100 buys a kit for four families
- $500 supports 20 families
You get the picture.
Boston Children’s Museum is a resource for all of us, no matter what income level. Their website, https://bostonchildrensmuseum.org/ is chock full of activities for all age levels and at no cost to you! Taking another few seconds from your day to pass this article along to others will not only give them access to all the amazing BCM activities but may spark their desire to help with a donation as well.
So explore, have fun… and THANK YOU!