San DIego Children's Discovery Museum Intern Program & Girard Foundation
From Cradle to Career: Fostering Workforce Readiness and Providing Mentorship Opportunities
San Diego Children's Discovery Museum is dedicated to nurturing children from 'cradle to career'. While our interactive play space targets younger children, out internship program was developed to continue our work with youth as they progress through middle school, high school, and into adulthood. The program is designed in response to a direct need presented by multiple community organizations and schools: to increase opportunities for young adults to experience project based learning and career skill development. Launched in the 2014-2015 academic year, our Intern Program has continued to grow and gain interest across San Diego County and beyond, with over 60 students completing and internship with us in the past three years. The program has become an integral part of our operations, and the work the interns do at the Museum impacts many of our 150,000 annual visitors by supporting our educational, interactive programs for young children and their families. The interns' experience working with various departments in the Museum in turn inspires other children in exploring their education and eventual career path.
Young adults need a place to gain hands-on experience in the work place. Today’s job market is increasingly competitive, and students are finding it more difficult to gain entry-level positions without experience. Our Museum’s internship program provides exposure to a variety of experiences and career fields that can become a launching pad for students not only to prepare for college, but to potentially gain access to alternative job opportunities and apprenticeships. Students experience side-by-side project based learning by partnering with our working professionals who are experts in their fields. These experiences foster workforce readiness and valuable mentorship opportunities, while informing their decisions for the future. The intern experience at the Museum is unique because the results of our interns’ hard work is evident immediately, on a daily basis, giving interns the opportunity to expand and revise their efforts at the Museum based on real-time results. We have ongoing relationships with several local schools and universities, including Del Lago Academy in Escondido, High Tech High San Marcos, Kiwanis Key Club students at Orange Glen High School and Escondido High School, Cal State San Marcos, and UCSD.
In 2016 we offered an internship to a young woman to work with our Marketing Department. Emily developed digital collateral, upgraded our Website, and helped with photgraphy and videography used for marketing purposes. After completing her internship, we were pleased to hire Emily to produce, direct, shoot, and edit a video that we used for fundraising and marketing purposes last fall, which received great acclaim from many who have seen it. You can view the video on our website here. After her internship was complete, we received the following email from Emily: "I just wanted to also let you know how grateful I am for having had the opportunity to work at the museum and as your intern. I've learned a lot during time here, as well as enhanced my skills and picked up new ones. I applaud all fo your hard work you contribute to the staff. You are great at what you do. Thank you for giving me professional experience and guidance and everything else in between. Thank you for welcoming me to such an amazing work environment with such amazing people I'll miss. Good luck in all your future endeavors and thank you from the bottom of my heart." Emily has since gone on to continue contract work in the communications field.
Last year, a high school student names Lucas sent us the following feedback after completing our internship program. "I'm sending this in hopes you will be a reference when I apply for a part-time job here on campus at SDSU. Working at the Children's Museum was not only useful for my skills, but it was also really fun. It was a totally new experience to ride the Sprinter train by myself, and then work on creative projects with the other interns. My time at the museum increased my independence as well as my cooperation, not to moention all the other "hard skills" I learned. Thanks for the consideration!" Lucas designed a website to host the final presentations of his High Tech High class last year, specifically for he and his classmates who participated in the Museum's internship program last year: Alex Limber, Bill Salinggih, Emily Dingman, Jared Davis, and Lucas LeVieux. Lucas and Emily are just two of the interns we have worked with over the past three years. With support from the Girard Foundation, the Museum will continue to grow and improve our internship program, and improve our ability to support children and youth 'from cradle to career.'
The Girard Foundation is a private, grant-making foundation established in 1986. Their mission is to foster innovation and systemic change in K-12 education, with the goal of improving student outcomes in San Diego County. The Foundation has provided funding for program development, capacity building, and efforts to engage the public on education issues, among other critical issues. Several of the Foundation's larger investments have been initiatives developed in collaboration with entrepreneurial educational programs, and they have partnered with a diverse range of organizations, including charter schools, school districts, universities, and non-profits. San Diego Children's Discovery Museum is honored to partner with such a prestigious foundation, one whose commitment to college and career preparedness is overwhelmingly evident in their funding and partnership history. To learn more about the Girard Foundation, please visit their website.
The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians
Providing Access to All Through Program and Event Sponsorship
The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians Providing Access to All Through Program and Event Sponsorship The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians has a generous history of supporting San Diego Children's Discovery Museum programs and initiatives, and we are deeply appreciative to call them a Community Partner. In the summer of 2014, Rincon donated the final amount needed purchase our first Mobile Children's Museum van. This support allowed us to launch a new program which would bring Museum's hands-on exhibits and educational workshops to schools and communities throughout the region, including San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial Counties.
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Nordson Corporation Foundation
Improving Communities Through Educational Support
In April 2016, the Museum received a $5,000 grant award from Nordson Corporation to benefit our Access for All Scholarship Fund. By August, more than 250 low-income school children had benefited from the award, participating in eductional workshops on topics like Wildflower Science, Art of Science - Sea Turtles, Art of Science - Chicken Adaptations, and Chicken Life Cycle.
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Board of Directors and Path to Discovery Campaign
Long-time San Diego resident Susanne Stanford became involved with San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in 2011 after an introduction by fellow Board Member, Larry Zeiger. A self-described "global citizen," Susanne is a leading advocate of the Museum's exhibits, programs, and initiatives, believing it is crucial for children to be exposed to, and experience world cultures, the arts, and science through hands-on learning. A long-time San Diego County resident, Susanne had largely focused her community involvement on arts, education, and legal organizations in the communities of La Jolla and downtown San Diego. After her introduction to the Museum, she spent some time getting to know Executive Director Javier Guerrero and Museum staff, learning their vision for the recently acquired larger facility. It was a vision Susanne could align with, and a perfect fit for her philanthropic focus.
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Learn more about volunteering with the Museum. Volunteers work in almost every area of the Museum. Some lead exhibit demonstrations and school workshops, while others assist with general operations, lead as Board of Directors, or serve as information ambassadors.