SFCM STORIES

Voices from the Community

Our Santa Fe Children's Museum (SFCM) Stories Series highlight the joys in play and experiences from special members of our Museum family and tell the testimonies that are most important to us... YOURS! 

SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US

Sam Wesson, Museum Member

"The Santa Fe Children's Museum was an invaluable resource after moving to Santa Fe in late 2019. My son, Sam, got a chance to make new friends, play with all of the exhibits and learn new things at all of the weekly programming. His favorite is Fine Art Friday!

After COVID-19 shut everything down, it was a big loss not having the Museum open but when it was able to be opened up for outdoor only play in late 2020, it really provided a safe space for him to play and get that little bit of social interaction that everyone was sorely missing. Since reopening for both indoor and outdoor play it has been great for my son to get back to seeing friends he hadn't seen in a long time. The Museum has done the best job with COVID-safe practices and it really makes the museum feel like a truly safe space for him to play! None of it would be possible without the wonderful staff at the museum. They're the ones who really make SFCM Sam's absolute favorite place in Santa Fe!" 

~Sam Wesson, Museum Member

Alex DeVore, Former Museum Volunteer/Santa Fe Journalist

"By the time I hit 14-years-old, I had only lived in Santa Fe for two years. Growing up in Los Angeles, I still wasn't used to a smaller city with a slower pace and trying to make new friends. Additionally, my mother had decided to homeschool my brother and I that year, which meant the whole time period was really more of an exercise in loneliness and hurt feelings.

In an effort to get literally any time outside of the house at all, I felt a volunteer position someplace would be good for me and round out the homeschooling experience. I’d move on to working with nonprofits like Shakespeare in Santa Fe and Warehouse 21, and contribute to the Santa Fe New Mexican and take classes at the Santa Fe Community College, that year, my spring, summer and winter were spent volunteering at the Santa Fe Children's Museum—and it was glorious.

It was probably naïveté that led me to believe I'd be manning the bubble table. petting the museum animals, and clamoring up the climbing wall eight hours a day. What ultimately followed was not just my learning a thing or two about how nonprofits work and how hard work works, it was—as cheesy as this sounds— a journey of vital self-discovery.

Volunteering with the Santa Fe Children's Museum not only brought me a feeling of connection with coworkers and the families who attended the space regularly, but it also proved to offer some early insights into community, camaraderie, and doing something in the service of ideas greater than myself – not for material reward, but also for emotional enrichment and in the best interest of the people. I learned so much about the world through my time at the Santa Fe Children's Museum, particularly how to form and apply my own set of values, all of which I adhere to to this day.

Years later I'd visit with friends and their children, amazed by the improvements of the space, yet still struck with that familiar pang of nostalgia. We'd watch some young family laugh at their massive bubbles, work in the public garden, while learning about science, playing...connecting. Even more recently, hearing of more detailed programming in community agriculture, astronomy, biology, and other sciences makes me glad, and it reinforces my belief in the power of play for people of all ages.

It is not hyperbole to say that nearly all of the wonderful things that have happened to me since I relocated to New Mexico –– a career in journalism, a deeper appreciation for community and an enduring love of Santa Fe—would not have come to pass had I not walked through that Museum door, stood nervously in that office and meekly sputtered out, 'Hi, umm, I'm here to hold the snakes."
                
  ~Alex DeVore, Former Museum Volunteer/Santa Fe Journalist

Reina Gallegos, Mother of a camper

"The Santa Fe Children’s Museum “Wee Wonders Exploration Camp” exceeded all of our expectations! Our daughter woke up everyday excited to be able to learn and play with new friends. The teachers were very fun and patient which made camp a very safe and great place to be! This program brought out more confidence and independence from our daughter which will definitely help her thrive in the future! Thank you Santa Fe Children’s Museum!"

~Reina Gallegos, Mother of a camper

 

 

 

Ms. Margie Roybal

I would like to thank you for our Virtual Field Trip. My students as well as teachers really enjoyed it. My students wanted to express their gratitude and show you what they liked from the trip!

~Ms. Margie Roybal, Sweeney Elementary School
(Grades K-4)

 

 

 

Lasita Shalev, Museum Member/Volunteer

"As a volunteer, the Santa Fe Children’s Museum provided me with an opportunity to inspire young people to love nature. My favorite aspect of the Museum is their outdoor area. I support them because children learn whilst enjoying themselves there!"

~Lasita Shalev, Museum Member/Volunteer

Susan Tarver, Executive Director, Bienvenidos Outreach Inc.

"Thank you for your summer 2021 donations of fresh, local vegetables grown by your museum program students to Bienvenidos Outreach, Inc. The staff, volunteers and clients of our food pantry are appreciative of your continued help to our community.  We started the summer months with a solid commitment to providing the healthiest foods available to our clients by making sure that no one goes hungry, especially our seniors and children who remain the most vulnerable of our clients.  We will also continue to offer clothing and other basic needs to all our clients and will do everything in our power to ensure that the homeless have all the essentials to stay safe and warm. Your continued support of our mission is an inspiration to all of us."

  ~Susan Tarver, Executive Director, Bienvenidos Outreach Inc.

Laney Yancey, Camp Mother and Scholarship Recipient

"Camp was such an amazing experience for my daughter, Elisa. She grew so much emotionally and intellectually during her time at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum. I am so grateful for their camp scholarship program that allowed me to afford to send my daughter somewhere amazing, fun and COVID-safe so that I could start going back to work in the midst of a pandemic. Everything that they do for our community is amazing. We love the Children’s Museum!"

~Laney Yancey, Camp Mother and Scholarship Recipient

 



Elizabeth Romero, Mother/Museum Visitor/Camp Scholarship Recipient

"My son Timothy has sensory issues and high anxiety, so COVID only made things worse. His one outlet to let him be carefree and be himself was when he would go to the Santa Fe Children’s Museum! We would go every Saturday for outdoor play! He couldn’t wait for Camp and would ask me daily when he could go! When we received the scholarship for camp he was beyond excited! Timothy loved every activity, the volunteers and the director!  It was extremely helpful as I lost my job due to the pandemic.  Thank you so much!"

~Elizabeth Romero, Mother/Museum Visitor/Camp Scholarship Recipient

 

Vasundhara Alsop, Museum Team Member

"Growing up, when my parents traveled, my brother and I spent time with our childhood babysitter. Our babysitter was Londi Carbajal, who was the co-director of the Santa Fe Children's Museum at that time. She introduced me to the Museum and I celebrated my 5th birthday at the Santa Fe Children's Museum. I’ll never forget that birthday party and those memories!"

~Vasundhara Alsop, Museum Team Member


Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health

"While consistent in-person schooling has not been possible over the past year and many youth activities are canceled or transitioned to virtual implementation, many children are in urgent need of activities to support their mental, physical, and emotional health. Parents are uniquely strained, and in many families it is not feasible for parents to provide all that children need to support their development during this pandemic. The Grab and Go Kits are filling an important need to keep children engaged and learning while they need to stay safe at home. The kits also offer parents a ready-to-use activity kit for their children, which helps parents to feel the care and support of local community organizations during this time."

~Nicole Neault, MPH
Senior Research Associate,
Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health

Youth Conservation Corps

"In the YCC team our roles vary throughout the weeks. First we are introduced to our daily planning for the day or week. During this time of work we have accomplished tasks of weeding, cleaning, and most importantly team bonding. It was important to us because we are able to Interact with children and supervise them while being around the museum.

During our time in YCC, we learned very important life skills! We worked as a close team throughout the summer to learn important conflict resolution, problem solving, time management, togetherness and cooperation skills. We also experienced useful gardening, landscaping & construction skills such as maintaining various vegetables and flowers, stucco/adobe, power tools, heavy machinery, and irrigation. 

We took educational field trips to various places, such as the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, DBC Inc, and Thornburg Investments. We learned how to mix stucco, and plastering skills in order to restore our horno. 

Our team participated with hands-on experiences like CPR training and financial literacy classes. All of us are now certified in CPR, and know how to best manage our money. 

~Gaby Quezada Gallegos and Sage McEwen
2021 Youth Conservation Corps Members

Abby Feldman
Daughter of Museum Founder/Donor/Mother

"There are few places you can go as a parent where time slows down, and you can engage with your child through play. This place for me is the Santa Fe Children's Museum.  It is a home away from home for me and my family; it's a place full of joyful memories, where I would spend hours siphoning water, scamping up rock climbing walls, and gently handling snakes. When my mother, Ellyn Feldman, co-founded the Museum, I was a child, and I had no idea I would get to bring my own child to play there forty years later. It fills me with pride to bring my son to a place that continues to be beloved by the community, where kids come first and it's all about nurturing their young minds."

~Abby Feldman
Daughter of Museum Founder/Donor/Mother