CHUBBUCK, Idaho (KXPI) - Hands-on learning has been proven to be more beneficial for young minds. So why not have some fun while learning? Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz found a place with 5,000 square feet of learning fun for kids. It has some new features that he wanted to see. So Eyewitness News 3 stopped by... and to Pay It Forward.
"One of my favorite things is when people come in, they have prescriptions from their therapists or from teachers that say, 'your child needs to play more. Take them to the My World Discovery Museum,'" said Melody Daniels, one of the founders and executive directors.
My World Discovery Museum is a nonprofit. It operates with a board and several volunteers and employees. Those employees are called playologists, and when you walk in there, you can see why. Their goal is to help shape the young minds of children with hands-on learning. And that's exactly how it started.
"I could see the benefit of this hands-on learning style. And then my friend and I were talking about it and we decided that every kid needed it. So that was really our motivation. We wanted more kids to have access to things like that because we could see what it could do for their development. And not just kids that needed therapy, but any kid. It helps their development so much," said Daniels.
The museum will soon be three years old in October 2023. Before that, it was mobile, going around to parks and schools.
"We would not exist without the community. From the very beginning, we started off with neighbors and friends who just believed in us. We have family members all over the country who would send donations, and that's how we start. That's how we opened in this space was really donations. We had a couple of businesses that donated exhibits, and we started with that. And then just have added to it through grants and fundraising and different things through the community," said Daniels.
The adventure has come with a lot of challenges. One of those was opening during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the rewards have far outnumbered the hurdles.
Time to Pay It Forward.
"It was really good for us because then we kind of opened smaller and people comment a lot of times on our sanitizing and cleaning situation," said Daniels.
"Hello," said a woman, walking up to Daniels.
" Hi," Daniels replied.
"Are you, Melody?" asked the woman.
"Yeah. Hi Cassie. How are you?" said Daniels, suddenly recognizing the woman (Cassie Leatham.)
"Hi. Good. I'm here to Pay It Forward. I'm with Mountain America Credit Union," said Leatham.
"Oh," said Daniels.
"So we're here to give you $500," said Leatham, pulling cash out of a logo-marked envelope.
"Ah," said Daniels.
"To help your efforts," continued Leatham.
"That is so sweet," said Daniels, taking the cash.
"Because we love this museum. I know I frequent this place a lot. And my four-year-old daughter loves it. And it was something that we really needed in our community. So we just really appreciate all your hard work," said Leatham.
"Thank you Cassie and you do so much in the community to help so many people," said Daniels, giving Leatham a hug.
"Oh, well, no," said Leatham.
"This doesn't even surprise me. Like of course, you're here," said Daniels.
"No, not at all. We just appreciate you, so," said Leatham.
"Thank you so much. We appreciate it," said Daniels.
"Thanks," replied Leatham.
The My World Discovery Museum can be found inside the Pine Ridge Mall in Chubbuck. The hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays through Saturdays. There is a small admission.
"Pay It Forward" stories air the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at email@example.com.