Each month the Thinkery blog highlights one of our amazing volunteers and their fantastic work at the Thinkery. This month we feature Alysa, a volunteer who has supported us in a plethora of ways here at the museum. Thanks Alysa for all your tremendous work!
Name: Alysa Rosen
Role (s) at Thinkery: Community Guide, Birthday Party Support, Kitchen Lab, Exhibit support, Tour support, Baby Bloomers.
How long have you been volunteering here? Since March of 2014
Why did you want to volunteer at the Thinkery?
I attended a Thinkery21 event and fell in love with the museum – the space, the exhibits, the staff. It was so fascinating and fun to wander around and play – even as an adult! But as much fun as I had touring them museum with other adults, I truly wanted to see the museum “in action” and learn more about how everything worked. I was working as a part time nanny during the week so I was already really enjoying working 1:1 with young children. I thought volunteering at the Thinkery would give me the chance to develop my leadership, teaching and communication tools. I also thought it would give me a chance to hang out with and talk to adults who shared a common interest with me (as a nanny, you can feel pretty isolated in your day-to-day existence!)
What is your favorite exhibit/program of the museum and why?
My favorite exhibit is the Farmers’ Market because it allows kids to both activate their imagination and learn about healthy eating and cooking. Kids also get to role play as workers, chefs, parents, farmers, etc. which is great for them. And the variety and number of plastic fruits and vegetables allows even the youngest innovators to collect, sort and fill/dump for hours! Not to mention the chickens! I’ve never seen kids get so excited about a bunch of wooden eggs.
What has been your best moment at the museum?
Well, I really enjoy volunteering in Kitchen Lab and watching kid’s expressions change as they figure out how to do a new experiment or project. But I guess my best moment was on a recent school tour. We had a class of Kindergartners from a low income school in south Austin. They were asked to raise their hands if this was their first time at the museum. I’d say almost all of them raise their hands and I realized that if it wasn’t for the school tour program, these kids would probably never have the privilege of seeing the Thinkery. It made me very proud to be a volunteer and contribute to their experience.
What is the best story you have about working with our visitors?
The visitors are of course the best part. And as a volunteer, you get to engage with hundreds of visitors. But this past Wednesday, I was volunteering as a community guide and this small child of about 6 or 7 came up to me and tugged on my apron and asked me to help her find her nanna. She tried to look brave, but she was clearly scared. Because of my training and the museum’s excellent “found child” procedure, we were able to quickly reunite her with family. It was a good feeling.
How has your work here influenced your life?
Honestly, I’d say that my experience volunteering here has truly changed my professional vision for myself. I realized that working for a children’s museum successfully combines my education, experience and passion. I feel like I have I truly found my passion – working directly (and behind-the-scenes) with young children and their parents, facilitating imaginative play, learning and discovery. I knew that when I return to Seattle, I will have to find a way to either volunteer or work for the Seattle Children’s Museum!
What is something in your life that that you LOVE?
What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off?
Going on a hike that ends with swimming in a cool body of water!