Discovery museum

State Farm awards $ 20,000 grant to Children’s Discovery Museum to help underserved children

NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) – On Thursday, February 18, State Farm awarded a $ 20,000 grant to a local children’s museum to help continue an award-winning after-school partnership.

This partnership, made up of the Children’s Discovery Museum, Illinois State University, and UNITY Community Center, led to the creation of the after-school program. Beginning in its 9th grade, the program is called the Innovation Institute Program (IIP) and aims to further educate at-risk youth in the community.

Program goals include strengthening the extracurricular and summer activities currently available at the center with a positive learning experience program focused on STEAM-related content. The program is offered to students from kindergarten through college.

“We are very grateful that State Farm has chosen to continue to support our award-winning program with this grant. We love to visit UNITY every week and build strong bonds with the students. It’s so gratifying to see how the kids are growing throughout the year and how excited they are to take the different levels of the program, ”said Jennifer Raisbeck, School Programs and School Educator. awareness of the Children’s Discovery Museum. “We know this year will continue to bring us challenges, but we know how important it is to continue this relationship with our students. “

During the Illinois Association of Museum’s annual conference, IIP won Illinois’ Highest Honor for Best Practices in Educational Programs.

“This program has become a mainstay of the UNITY Community Center, and each year we see greater involvement from students as they invest in their own learning. The students have established a relationship with our instructors and look forward to each week’s programming. Through State Farm, we can continue to build these relationships, ”said Rachel Carpenter, Director of Education for the Children’s Discovery Museum. “The real success of this program has been seeing the young participants grow up in the adolescent program where they then graduate and put these skills to work in the service of their communities as leaders. Pursuing this program means a lot to the career opportunities of students as they graduate.

Museum officials said early exposure and engagement in science and math through programs like this is important preparation for young people to develop a sense of competence and interest in pursuing studies. higher education and STEAM-related careers.