The Center of Science and Industry (COSI), the top-ranked science center in the country by USA Today’s 10Best and the Human Service Chamber are teaming up for a new partnership to support families across Franklin County with much-needed support for distance learning.
COSI initiated a collaboration of Franklin County nonprofits through the Human Service Chamber to join elected officials to distribute its free, hands-on STEM kits called Learning Lunchboxes at previously scheduled meal, toy, clothing distribution points and holiday drives to distribute meals and science kits to families in need. COSI will give out its space-themed Learning Lunchbox created in partnership with NASA, and its dinosaur-themed Learning Lunchbox. COSI created these science kits in order to engage the community and respond to the need for more at-home science learning during the pandemic.
Two distributions will happen on Tuesday, December 22 from 8:00am – 10:00am at the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, 3960 Brookham Drive, Grove City, Ohio 43123. Learning Lunchbox distribution will end at 10:00am, or until supplies last and food distribution will continue until noon. The second event will take place from 11:00am – 1:30pm at the Reeb Avenue Center, 280 Reeb Ave, Columbus, OH 43207. Learning Lunchbox distribution will continue until supplies last. Other distributions are in the process of being planned with YMCA of Central Ohio, at various locations across Franklin County, Homeless Families Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“It has been a challenging year to be sure, and the holidays will be difficult for many, but we at COSI, along with our partner institutions, want to do our best to provide hope and some holiday cheer,” said Dr. Frederic Bertley, President and CEO of COSI. “As such, we are both excited and grateful to partner with our fellow nonprofits and provide this fun, hands-on, safe STEM experience for children and families. Education is critical now, and as students head into winter break, we must continue to provide these alongside other resources and support to ensure no one is left behind during this pandemic.”
“On behalf of all our members, we are excited to partner with COSI to distribute these Learning Lunchboxes to youth and families, just in time for the holidays,” said Michael Corey, Executive Director of the Human Service Chamber. “We hope that in partnering together to provide these educational resources that this new generation can be further inspired to love and advance science for all of us. Thank you to COSI for their leadership and partnership as ever.”
Each event follows rigorous social distancing protocols and is done via vehicle pull up. The distribution sites are also converted to community Wi-Fi hotspots from the COSI Connects Transit vehicle so youth can pull out their smart phone and download free STEM learning activities to use at home, even without the internet through a digital portal called COSI Connects. Learning Lunchboxes were created out of a partnership with the Franklin County Commissioners and the city of Columbus, to provide a weeks’ worth of learning content that K-8 students, especially underserved youth, to be done at home with their families around various topics.
COSI has been closed since March 13, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the closure, COSI has been engaging the community through COSI Connects, COSI’s digital doorway to online learning, the COSI Learning Lunchbox, kits filled with hands-on science activities, and the new “COSI on Wheels: Curbside Edition.” Earlier this fall, COSI conducted a statewide roadshow to distribute additional Learning Lunchboxes with other partners. The roadshow served more than 1,000 families across Ohio counties, including stops in Athens, Canton, Lima, Parma, Steubenville, Dayton, and more. For more information on COSI Connects visit cosi.org/connects.
(Author: Jaclyn Reynolds. Original post here.)