The Bruce Museum has received a $15,000 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF) to increase the number of student participants in the Museum’s Teen Mentoring Program and Annual iCreate Teen Art Exhibition.
The grant allows a greater number of youth from underserved populations in minority-group isolated areas – including female students and students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch – from neighboring Fairfield and Westchester County school districts. The funding will also enhance technology platforms and software at the Museum to help prepare students for post-secondary education or vocations.
“We are thrilled to have received this grant from Fairfield County Community Foundation,” says Suzanne Lio, the Museum’s manager of Government, Foundation and Corporate Funding. “It enables us to expand on the important work we already do with area teens and give them a voice in the community.”
“The Youth@Bruce Mentoring Program and iCreate, the high school art exhibition, develops youth confidence and leadership,” adds Mary Ann Lendenmann, volunteer manager and New Media Developer for the Museum. “It provides teens with job skills and an active, visible role in the inner-workings of the museum. This year, with the help of the FCCF grant, we plan to expand the reach of the program to include greater numbers of students who may otherwise not have access to museums or out-of-school learning opportunities, including girls, who are woefully under-represented in the science field.”
The mentoring program at the Bruce has far-reaching implications for teens. A 2011 study published in the Association of Psychological Science indicates that workplace-based mentoring programs result in better academic performance, better attendance, and positive attitudes in students who participate. Further, according to a study conducted by UCLA in 2012, when young people become highly engaged in cultural activities, they earn higher grades, are more likely to graduate and enroll in and complete college. The UCLA study further indicated that students with museum-rich backgrounds are more likely to engage with their communities and give back by volunteering, voting and participating in local or school politics and decision making.