Designed For Action: Creating Programs for Kids Using STEAM
At York College, students aren’t just reading textbooks and listening to lectures. They’re working on community projects, solving real-world problems, and using their education to effect change. In Designed for Action, we meet the students who are making an impact outside of the classroom.
Kelly Marie Brown ’22 says the Keystone Kidspace located in the York Armory on George Street, is “exactly what I thought kids in the York area needed.” After volunteering and falling in love with the idea of a hands-on, experiential learning space for kids and their families, she continues to work there as an intern.
A First-Year Seminar Fellow and Recreation and Leisure major from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, Kelly’s interests range from horseback riding, martial arts, golf, to rock climbing. She enjoys reading, writing, art, and watching TV and movies with friends, especially Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars. Since she was 12 years old, her career plan has always been to work for the Walt Disney Company. She’s excited that right after graduation, she is moving to Florida to participate in the Disney College Program, a U.S. national internship program located at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, and in the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, where college students are offered paid internships and invaluable experience.
With her background and interests, it is no surprise that Kelly wanted to be part of something that was going to make a difference for kids in the community. She was drawn to Kidspace and says, “My professors have made me very prepared with this internship. They had us in field experience my sophomore year (even though the pandemic happened), and I’ve had classes that have led me through how to run and budget for programs as well.”
She worked with first-year students Chase Hellwig, Monica “Nica” Garin, and Gia Levis as a team to create programs for kids using STEAM, an approach to teaching and learning that combines science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math to guide student inquiry, discussion, and problem-solving. Examples of some programs include creating a tangled lantern craft where they had kids make lanterns out of paper and they hung them up in the parents’ hangout area. “We also created a gummy tower challenge to see how tall the kids could make a tower out of gummies and sticks with only four gummies and four sticks.”
Making an Impact
“I’m proud that even though I’ve been there a short time, I’ve made an impact with the staff and members,” she says. “I’ve been told that when I leave, Kidspace needs to find another Kelly. I think that is something to be proud of, that I’ve done such a good job that they recognize that.”
She believes her involvement with Kidspace “will help me in my career.” She adds, “I’ve already learned so much from working with kids in a different environment and learning from the staff as well.”
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. “It’s been challenging,” she says, “when we have a lot of kids at once with little staff and some of our expensive toys break. Or when a kid doesn’t listen to your instructions. But at the end of the day, there are smiles and they’re having fun.”
Kelly loves spending time with kids, and says it “has been such an amazing experience for me. This place has quickly made a place in my heart and I’m considering possibly continuing my work there in the future. It’s fun to play, and I think kids need a reminder of that and that’s exactly what Keystone Kidspace offers. It’s an amazing place that I think everyone should come check it out!”
As she looks forward to the Disney College Program, Kelly takes pride in her team’s work at Kidspace, and knows they have made a difference. The kids learned a lot, but then so did Kelly and her team.