Albion-Homer United Way recently granted Kids ‘N’ Stuff Children’s Museum funds to complete neurodiversity sensory experiences.
The $1,500 AHUW grant will mean full funding for the addition of sensory experiences at KNS to support visitors of all abilities. Neurodiversity is defined as a “viewpoint that brain differences are normal, rather than deficits” and that “neurodivergent people experience, interact with, and interpret the world in different ways” according to Caroline Hurteau KNS board chair quoting from Understood.org.
“At Kids ‘N’ Stuff we believe that all children deserve high-quality, engaging play that meets their needs,” Hurteau stated in the grant application. “ The project led by the KNS Exhibits Committee has identified opportunities for engaging the five senses that are currently lacking at the museum. With the AHUW grant the museum has secured the total $9,500 grants needed for the project.
The project includes an ever-changing bubble tube, mesmerizing fiber optic strands, interactive light panels and an infinity light tunnel. Also planned is an Interactive Calming Station with liquid floor tiles and convertible crash pads. For families whose children need additional support there will be five-sensory backpacks with noise-cancelling headphones, directional cards with museum information, fidget spinners and “koosh” balls.
New KNS Executive Director Katie Gigliotti said, “Thanks to the generosity of the Albion Homer United Way and other area supporters Kids ‘N’ Stuff Children’s Museum is able to tackle much needed accessibility initiatives in 2022.”
She continued, “Mindful that some of our visitors may be overstimulated during regular business hours, this grant has allowed us to launch Sensory Friendly Sessions once a month, create sensory-friendly backpacks available for checkout at the front desk and provide a social story for those guests who may need additional support. We’re grateful to the Albion Homer United Way for helping us further our mission by ensuring access for more families throughout the community.”
Albion-Homer United Way’s commitment is to help fund non-profit programs like KNS through grants. On-going donations throughout the year are needed for funding these efforts.
According to AHUW Executive Director Marcia Starkey there are several good reasons to donate to the local United Way including that donations fund Albion and Homer specific programs and funding decisions are made by a local board. Donor lists are never shared with other agencies and payroll deductions make donating easier. Donations can be mailed at any time to AHUW P.O. Box 55, Albion, MI 49224, made on-line at www.albionhomeruw.org or by contacting Starkey at 517-499-2563.
AHUW board members are Carolyn Amos, Donisha Brewer, Chris Burdette, Robert Hawkins, Art Kale, Marc Newman, Isabell Nazar, Eddie Williams and Shane Williamson.
PHOTO CAPTION: Using the light board at Kids ‘N’ Stuff Children’s Museum is part of the neurodiversity play available at the hands-on center. With a grant from Albion-Homer United Way and other contributors KNS is able to offer monthly Sensory Friendly Sessions to accommodate the needs of all children.