Albion-Homer United Way Funds KNS Outreach

Play is learning. Just visit Albion’s Kids ‘N Stuff Children’s Museum and watch the children interact with exhibits, programs and their peers to see that joyful learning in action. Albion-Homer United Way recognized play as a valuable learning tool by funding a September Free Day at the hands-on museum. In addition, AHUW also funded informational materials for KNS low-income families to learn of the “Museums for All” reduced admission reciprocal program.

The Free Day supported the AHUW goal to provide “long-lasting changes that prevent problems from happening” in community members lives. This year the agency directed its funding towards education, particularly for young children. Kids ‘N Stuff Museum fits into this goal by gearing its “learning through play” at children from infants to age 12.

On a typical Free Day, between 200-250 children, parents and grandparents come through the museum’s doors. A record free admission day attendance was over 750. KNS Free Days are sponsored by various individuals and businesses in the greater Albion area. With the Albion-Homer United Way funded Free Day, families once again were able to access all the KNS varied exhibits at no cost.

According to Audrey Dean, KNS Executive Director, the” Museums for All” reduced admission program, allows children and families to access other children’s museums in the United States and 20 countries at a lower entrance fee. This “Museums for All” program was created by the Institute for Museum and Library Services and adopted by the Association of Children’s Museums.

Postcards, funded through AHUW, outlining the “Museums for All” program, will be distributed to kindergartners through third graders at Harrington Elementary School in Albion and Lillian Fletcher Elementary School in Homer. The informational postcards are to inform low-income families of the opportunities to explore attending KNS or other children’s museums. Examples of reciprocal programs are Impressions 5 Science Center in Lansing and the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum among many others.

According to literature from “Museums for All”, is that “pursuing equity and inclusion is a best practice” to assist with children’s healthy growth. The literature further states that “play is learning, and is critical to the healthy, social, emotional, and cognitive development of children.”

These goals align with the shared goals of KNS and the Albion-Homer United Way. AHUW continues to demonstrate its commitment to the youth of the two communities by funding grants to agencies like KNS. Starting this month, through the end of the fund-raising and grantmaking campaign, AHUW is reaching out Albion and Homer individuals and businesses to contribute to allow funding of local agencies that promote healthy communities.

Marcia Starkey, AHUW Executive Director, said “United Way’s goal is to create long lasting changes. We invite you to be part of the CHANGE.”

Tim Krause