Monday, November 14, 2016

Community Partner Spotlight: The Doseum

Organization Name: The DoSeum

When was your organization founded / how long have you served in the San Antonio Community: The San Antonio Children’s Museum was founded in 1992 and opened its doors in 1995. One year ago, in 2015, SACM officially re-opened its doors in a new location as The DoSeum.

What is your Mission Statement? Through joyful learning and discovery, The DoSeum grows minds, connects families, and transforms communities.  It also serves as a premier educational resource through developing innovative thinkers capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century.

How does your organization impact our San Antonio Community: The DoSeum is a premier educational resource for educators, caregivers, and children in the San Antonio community. We create accessibility to STEM-based opportunities for low-income families and schools while empowering the communities to grow stronger together. Children’s museum’s especially those that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math like The DoSeum, serve as “charging stations” that power kids’ minds and support the important work of schools and other community organizations.

The DoSeum’s Strengthening Schools and Families program serves select schools in low-income San Antonio communities by allowing museum instructors to work with local educators, families and students to create informative and fun STEM content specific to their needs. Through a series of hosted workshops at The DoSeum, the program strengthens key relationships at each school site while preparing the school community to host its own “Family Science Night.” To further provide state-of-the-art information and findings for parents and caregivers, The DoSeum partners with the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Education and Human Development to conduct research on early learning.

The DoSeum’s Educator Development programs provide professional development and curricular resources to schools and create a supportive network of STEM educators by bridging the gap between the educators’ desires to provide STEM education and their capacity to do so.  We serve approximately 500 teachers each year through a combination of one- and two-day offerings along with yearlong opportunities that provide 100 continuing education credits.

Educational intervention for during early childhood development for children of low socioeconomic status increases their cognitive abilities and academic. In the past year, The DoSeum has continued its efforts to serve those living in low-income areas of the city and, as a result, our underwritten visits have grown by 63%. To ensure that The DoSeum continues being accessible to all, The DoSeum for All fund enables children and educators from Title 1 schools to participate in Field Experiences free of charge. The DoSeum for All Fund has allowed us to serve 50,000+ people through scholarships, free Field Experiences, and discounted admission. And with the support of H-E-B through The DoSeum’s H-E-B Free Family Nights, The Doseum has been able to offer free admission to more than 28,000 residents of San Antonio. The DoSeum seeks to provide students with out-of-school time that complements students’ formal classroom learning, serving as a time of meaningful engagement that merges the museum experience with classroom content. As a children’s museum and science center, we are uniquely positioned to play this role. We provide a safe, welcoming environment for students, caregivers and teachers alike, focusing on inquiry-driven approaches to STEM education with an experienced team of educators to deliver the programs.

Field Experiences extend an unparalleled opportunity for educators to enrich classroom experiences by providing an outside source for joyful, kinesthetic learning and play. Museum educators work to align museum visits with concurrent classroom STEM content by integrating crucial material from the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills into programming.  Each Field Experience lasts approximately three hours and consists of DoSeum gallery exploration and facilitated, inquiry-based STEM learning activities. School liaisons ensure that Field Experiences go beyond simple museum visitation by offering engaging activities to deepen and solidify the understanding of essential STEM concepts explored during their museum visit.  We anticipate serving 25,000 students during the 2016-2017 schoolyear through Field Experiences.

What is the vision of your organization for the future of our Community: The DoSeum desires to create a community in which every member has equal access to STEM-based opportunities. By providing STEM focused content, we are helping to provide more experiences for early exposure to science and to create lifelong interest and passion in STEM subjects and pursuits. Through our exhibits and programs serving children, their caregivers and their educators, our vision is to serve as a premier educational resource that develops innovative thinkers capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century. We are working to create a San Antonio in which all children will have access to the best educational resources.

How does the Junior League of San Antonio help you fulfill your Mission: Nearly all of The DoSeum’s events and programs are built and executed by a team of volunteers, who have graciously given up their time to help children experience the fun and educational components of our Museum. All of our volunteer training is run by Junior League of San Antonio, which means we can ensure that our events and programs will be in the hands of qualified individuals who truly care about the cause they are working for.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Community Partner Spotlight: Prevent Blindness Texas

Organization Name: Prevent Blindness Texas

When was your organization founded / how long have you served in the San Antonio Community: Prevent Blindness Texas has been serving the south Texas region, including San Antonio area since 1965.

What is your Mission Statement: The mission of Prevent Blindness Texas is to prevent blindness and preserve sight.

How does your organization impact our San Antonio Community: Prevent Blindness Texas’s “Star Pupils” program is designed to educate parents and the general public on children’s vision issues by providing disadvantaged children in Bexar County with access to vision care through educational platforms and partnerships. 

One of the components to our “Star Pupils” program is our Sight for Students application. 
It assists families with a household income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level by providing a free eye exam and/or glasses as needed.  The voucher system allows children (18 yrs. and younger) to receive an eye exam and glasses if needed without any cost to the family.  Prevent Blindness Texas is also committed to assisting families who may qualify for free eye care services through the Sight for Students program by assisting with additional vision resources, such as free vision screenings  and education services.

What is the vision of your organization for the future of our Community: An indicator of the success our program continues to see, is evident through increased screening numbers and requests from SAISD’s Student Health Services to continue our collaboration.  Year after year, we continue to increase the number of underserved and at-risk children in Bexar County through the “Star Pupils” Program.

True to our mission of preventing blindness and preserving sight, there are no specific criteria to participate in free vision screenings.  All children, parents, educators and the general public are eligible to receive educational information on children’s eye health and safety.

The “Star Pupils” Program will arm parents with the information they need in order to protect their children’s eyes at play and school to ensure a lifetime of quality vision.  It also helps families with a household income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level by providing children with a free eye exam and/or glasses as needed without any cost to the family. 

Providing access to free vision screenings, eye exams and glasses enables children to be all they can be.  It equips them with the necessary supplies and the greatest possible chance at success.

How does the Junior League of San Antonio help you fulfill your Mission: With the Junior League’s support, Prevent Blindness Texas is able to reach out to a greater number of children every year, providing more and more free vision screenings. More and more children and families in need can receive assistance and be better prepared for State mandated testing in the Spring.