INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to purpose-driven organizations and passionate leaders and entrepreneurs who are making an impact in their communities and industries.



 

Jennifer HinderliterJennifer Hinderliter is the Executive Director of WOW! Children’s Museum. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube and learn more at wowchildrensmuseum.org.

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?
We Inspire Learning – We believe in the power of play! The social and cognitive skills learned at a very young age lay the foundation for acquiring important skills later in life. Our interactive, hands-on exhibits allow children to explore, create, inquire, and discover, helping them develop critical thinking, problem-solving and physical skills.

We Enhance Education – We love math and science, and we help kids love it too! Our drop-in science programs make science accessible to children as young as 18 months. For older children, we bring hands-on science education directly to the classroom, or provide it here through Museum field trips. Sparking an early interest in math and science is critical to developing science-savvy adults.

We Connect Community – We help make memories! We connect children to caregivers, families to families, and people to the place we live. By working with local musicians, artists, educators, and storytellers, we’re connecting children with the rich resources available in our community, and helping teach them about their world.

 

WHY DO YOU DO IT?
We want to inspire the next generation of creative thinkers. Our mission is to engage families in educational, hands-on experiences that connect curiosity, creativity, and discovery.

 

WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
WOW! is an integral part of early learning on the Front Range, serving more than one-million visitors since we opened in 1996. We anticipate serving 90,000 visitors in 2017 through museum visits, programs, and outreach educational classes. Playing at the Museum allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. It allows children to explore the world, practice adult roles, and gain confidence. And, it improves children’s social skills by helping them learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills.

 

WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
I am inspired by the educators and families of young children in our community. Each day, I have the privilege of meeting children and families from across the north Denver metro area. I am moved by their engagement while visiting our exhibits and their love for WOW! And, it is always motivating to receive positive feedback from our school outreach partners that our science education classes continue to be an engaging addition to their curriculum.

 

WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
My dream is that WOW! will grow to be a partner and resource for early childhood educators and parents. We hope that by working to refine the perception of WOW! among stakeholders from “a fun place to play” to a partner in informal education, we will elevate the Museum’s status as a go-to resource for both parents and teachers. We’re focused on helping our adult visitors understand the importance of learning through play and how they can support it.

 

WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
To make our dreams a reality, we are actively seeking to expand our relationships with school districts as well as partnerships with local community groups serving children and families. It would also be wonderful to have additional staff to help us reach our goals.

 

WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
We continue to be challenged by the size of our facility. The number of visitors we serve increases each year, with an expected 90,000 visitors in 2017. With additional space we believe that we could not only increase our exhibit offerings, but provide more diversity in our educational programming and classes.

 

WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Find a mission that you’re passionate about and avoid burnout by maintaining a work-life balance. In our office, we try to maintain a good sense of humor and find fun and joy in our work!

 

HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
We welcome your partnership! Please share your thoughts and ideas for how we can work together to continue to improve the lives of the children and families in our community. And, of course, your financial partnership is greatly appreciated. Without our generous donors we would not be able to provide the community with our interactive exhibits and hands-on education programs.

For more information about how to get involved with the Museum visit: wowchildrensmuseum.org/get-involved/

 


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