BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Museum of Science, Boston and Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) have unveiled a new partnership that gives every child in foster care in Massachusetts— and their families— free access to the Museum, its programs and exhibits, as well as scholarships for summer classes and career readiness opportunities for teens. The Museum and the DCF came together through the Wonderfund, the recently reestablished private charity providing support and enrichment to children engaged with the DCF.
In all, the partnership has the potential to reach more than 20,000 Massachusetts residents every year, including DCF-engaged children and youths in foster care, their foster parents, and their siblings.
Massachusetts First Lady Lauren Baker, who serves as vice chair of the Wonderfund and led its relaunch, said: “The Wonderfund is all about making sure that kids involved with the DCF get the chance to experience the moments of childhood magic and enrichment that all kids deserve. The way the Museum of Science has stepped up for our foster children and their amazing foster parents is absolutely extraordinary. We are grateful to the Museum for this incredible opportunity to have a huge impact for these deserving children.”
Museum of Science, Boston president Iaonnis Miaoulis said: “Children who have access to science and the fine and performing arts remain in school, achieve greater academic success, find better employment opportunities and are more active and involved in their communities. Our partnership with the Wonderfund and DCF is a natural extension of our efforts to reach and impact as many young people as possible. This vital program will help us nurture the next generation of innovators, inventors, dreamers and global citizens. We are proud to join with Mrs. Baker, DCF and the Wonderfund and welcome the chance to engage and support foster children and their families.”
In addition to its commitment to the Wonderfund, the Museum provides free and reduced rate admissions, as well as training and professional development programs, to thousands of students, teachers and community members each year.
The Museum of Science, Boston and Wonderfund partnership will provide free admission for foster families across the state and will include a professional development program for students aged 14 and up, which begins with volunteer opportunities and can lead to paid internships. In addition, the Museum of Science, Boston will offer 18 scholarships for its summer courses, which range from Animal Adventures and Dino Detectives to Urban Engineers and Introduction to Computer Science. The Museum will also offer an access program for children living in group homes and shelters and is developing plans for the future funding of memberships for highly engaged foster families.
Relaunched in June 2017, the Wonderfund, a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) federally tax-exempt charity, was formerly known as the DCF Kids Fund. The Wonderfund works to provide resources and opportunities beyond what state funding can offer, to thousands of children engaged with DCF on any given day including:
- Emergency and transitional items: Children placed in DCF care, some with no more than the clothes on their backs, are given a duffel bag that contains clean, seasonally appropriate clothing, new pajamas, toiletries, and an age-appropriate item of comfort such as a teddy bear.
- All children involved with DCF are eligible for funding from the Wonderfund to access enrichment activities like summer camp, arts and music lessons, sports, SAT preparation, or vocational training that can change the trajectory of their lives for the better.
Wonderfund CEO Erin Murphy Rafferty said, “Many of our children who enter foster care have endured profound loss, trauma, and abuse. These special kids deserve the chance to play, dream, and grow - to experience the magic and wonder of childhood. I can’t think of a place as fun and inspiring for them as the Museum of Science, Boston. We’re so grateful to the Museum for creating this exciting and educational enrichment opportunity for our Wonderfund kids.”
For more details about eligibility for the Museum of Science/DCF/Wonderfund partnership and how it works, please visit www.wonderfundma.org.
About the Museum of Science, Boston
One of the world's largest science centers and New England's most attended cultural institution, the Museum introduces more than 1.3 million visitors a year to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through the world-class hands-on exhibits, programs and pre-K-12 curricula of its William and Charlotte Bloomberg Science Education Center. An extraordinary variety of learning experiences span the Hall of Human Life, Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, 4-D Theater, and Butterfly Garden. The Science Behind Pixar, created with Pixar Animation Studios, is touring internationally. The Museum's National Center for Technological Literacy® has transformed STEM education nationally and internationally through advocacy, standards and assessment reforms, teacher professional development, and curriculum development. The Museum’s pre-K-12 curricula, including its award-winning Engineering is Elementary®, have reached an estimated 15 million students and 165,000 educators. Visit: http://www.mos.org.