Spring on the York College campus

Changemakers and Keystone Kidspace

“This is a place that’s going to do so much good in York. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?”
Volunteers in construction vests and hard hats survey progress on the space where Keystone Kidspace will be built

Keystone Kidspace, which will soon find its home in an old armory along North George Street in York City, will be a hub for York’s youngest minds to dive into creativity and play. The plan for Keystone Kidspace was supported by Louis Appell, the philanthropist who uplifted the idea of Keystone Kidspace’s founders, Jessica Brubaker and Jennifer Tansey, to create a space that welcomed children and families to downtown York. 

Graphic Design major Colin McClenachan ’23 is a member of York College’s Impact York group under its Changemakers volunteer program, and was one of several students who partnered with Keystone Kidspace in the fall of 2019. When he learned of Mr. Appell’s love for York—and support of several endeavors that made the community better—he wanted to contribute to the Keystone Kidspace in his own way. “This is a place that’s going to do so much good in York,” McClenachan says. “Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?” 

The Impact York group looked for ideas on how Keystone Kidspace could get the word out about the upcoming space. They researched public events where a table could be set up and volunteers could share the opportunities that would be offered in the space. The COVID-19 outbreak canceled many of those events. 

“Jessica [Brubaker] was really great with adapting and bringing the volunteer teams along for the ride when all of us needed to transition for remote work,” says Cody Miller, Director of Service Initiatives at the Center for Community Engagement. “We were excited for the opportunities our students had to work with Keystone Kidspace, and we wanted these volunteers to learn how to adjust their plans when outside forces change things.” 

Another group of volunteers under Changemakers, Spartan Service Alliance, made similar changes to how they worked with Keystone Kidspace after the initial COVID-19 closures. Jessica Fiero ’22 found that pivoting pushed her to sharpen her leadership skills. Her group worked on developing programs for the space and came up with various ideas for social media videos that could be used to both market Keystone Kidspace and engage future visitors. 

Even though initial plans for marketing Keystone Kidspace changed this year, Changemaker volunteers have the opportunity to continue working with the center for the remainder of their college experience or until Keystone Kidspace may no longer need their assistance. Fiero and McClenachan hope they can implement some of their ideas later in the year. 

“By the time we can meet again, I think we’ll have an even better understanding of how to reach people and tell them about Keystone Kidspace,” Fiero says. “And even though plans changed, I’ve gained so much by being part of Spartan Service Alliance. I hope other students look for ways to make an impact in York.”