The Cal State Long Beach Mobile Science Museum paid a visit to more than 100 children of homeless Long Beach families Tuesday as part of a free, two-week science education camp.
The museum on wheels arrived at the Mary McLeod Bethune Transitional Center at the Villages at Cabrillo around 9 a.m. Tuesday, where about 120 children kindergarten through 8th grade gathered to experience the wide world of science.
Wrapping up the a two-week summer program dubbed See Us Succeed (Science Education Experience to help Underserved Students Succeed), the MSM presented more than 40 exhibits devoted to sciences ranging from astronomy to zoology. The hands-on displays, which include a marine touch tank and a motion chair, are designed to bring a museum experience to those unable able to visit them.
Started in 1980, the MSM has since grown into one of Cal State Long Beach’s most successful community outreach programs, according to the university.
“It’s one of the more exciting things that I do because it’s something that these kids would never have the opportunity to take part in,” said Laura Henriques, chair of the CSULB Science Education Department, in a statement. “It gives parents time to seek employment or more permanent housing or do things without having to worry about their kids being in safe programming,” she said.
Another one of the many challenges facing families in the homeless community is where to go during the day when shelters close their doors. Adressing that need and more, the program and the credentialed teachers and students of the MSM are ensuring that of all the things local underpiveleged youth lack, a memorable museum visit won’t be one of them.
Made possible by a grant from the Verizon Foundation, the program is a partnership of the Mary McLeod Bethune Transitional Center for Homeless Students, which serves more than 300 students a year, and the Long Beach Unified School District, which serves more than homeless 5,000 students a year, according to their web sites.
The center is named for its founder, McLeod Bethune, who was born to slaves in 1875 and committed her life to ensuring that others had the access to education that she did not as a child.
The Bethune Center is located at 2041 San Gabriel in Long Beach. For more information on visiting the summer program at Bethune Center or Cabrillo High, call Henriques at 562 985 4801.