Though Kearney may be small, it’s spirit of community giving is mighty. The first featured nonprofit finalist from Kearney is the Kearney Area Children’s Museum. This nonprofit seeks to inspire play, exploration and discovery through 20 interactive exhibits. The answers to this Q&A are courtesy of Jennifer Beck, director of community engagement at the museum. To vote for the Kearney Area Children’s Museum, click here!
Q: Why do you need an office makeover?
A: Our office consists of a wide variety of mix-and-match furniture that is getting worn out. Our back counter was used as our front desk counter in our previous location. Our chairs are recycled from hotels when they have given away old furniture, and our desks are from online exchange sites. For our staff “break table,” we are using a hotel chair and table from our vending area. It would be nice to have some quality pieces that are in top working condition.
Q: How do you devote ethical business practices to fulfilling your mission?
A: We strive everyday to provide a safe, clean, and welcoming atmosphere for children to learn and families to grow together. We are always researching new ways to incorporate education in all we offer, whether that be early child development or elementary learning. Our exhibits vary in topic ranging from STEM, Public Safety, Agriculture, Construction & Design, and many more. Our goal is to keep our exhibits fresh and exciting for our guests.
Q: What are some positive examples of your influence on the community?
A: We’ve been serving families since 1989 by providing them with hands-on, educational learning experiences. We also work with families and local schools through our community outreach efforts. To ensure that all families are able to enjoy the museum, we offer free nights once a month. To make what we do possible, we maintain positive relationships with local businessws and organizations. Lastly, we also have a scholarship program that provides families with financial needs the chance to purchase a family membership at a discounted rate. To better serve our community we work closely with other agencies that serve families in a variety of ways. Some of these non-profits include Compass, Community Action Partnership, RAFT, Heads Start/Early Head Start, HelpCare Clinic, and ARC of Buffalo County.
Q: Please demonstrate your leadership.
A: We not only strive to serve families and children but also our community. Our staff are highly involved in the community in a variety of ways including participation in Leadership Kearney, Junior Achievement Program, chamber committees and advisory boards. We also have a positive relationship with the University of Nebraska Kearney and local high school students through volunteer efforts, internships and guest speaking in a variety of classes.