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Community Comes Together to Help Young Learners

    ROCHESTER, NY, September 24, 2020 – The year 2020 has provided a series of challenges for families, and the transition to virtual learning has been chief among them. Recognizing the struggle many families would have with balancing remote learning and work schedules, the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) created Curiosity Club, a program providing a safe, supervised learning environment for students in grades 1-8 to attend their virtual school days.

    Relieved to find a place for their child to learn virtually, a generous donor stepped up to ensure another family would also benefit from Curiosity Club. While enrolling their own child in the program, an anonymous donor made a gift to provide a full 10-week scholarship, including before- and after-school care, to a Rochester City School District Student. This donor also provided the student’s family with a Family Membership to the RMSC. 

    “Remote learning doesn’t just mean a harder educational experience for kids. It also means that some working parents have to make the decision between dinner and supervised learning, between going to meetings and answering math questions, or between making the rent and their kid falling further and further behind,” the donor shared. “Our funding of an RMSC Curiosity Club scholarship means that one less family has to struggle with those impossible choices.”

    The RMSC expresses gratitude to a number of sources for support of this program and has already been able to provide more than $47,000 in scholarships for students in households qualifying for SNAP benefits. The RMSC is also grateful to community partner Foodlink for providing nutritious, kid-friendly, individually packaged breakfasts and lunches, free of charge, for all students enrolled in the program, regardless of scholarship status.

    Ashley W., parent of the student who received the anonymously-donated scholarship, said her child was so eager to attend Curiosity Club that she was counting down the days until the program started.

    “My daughter was excited the day she found out she was accepted. Without this scholarship, getting help with remote learning like this wouldn’t be possible for our family,” Ashley said. “Curiosity Club gives her a safe space to excel while I work, and gives her time to socialize with peers. Being an only child, she’s been exempt from her friends since March. Getting to see some of them this week means everything to her.”

    Hillary Olson, President and CEO of the RMSC, says staff were excited to be able to offer this program and the team is grateful for the support the program has received from both individuals and foundations.

    “With all of the hardships we’ve all been through this year, it has been so inspiring to see this type of support and care between community members. We want to be able to offer this program to as many students as possible, and we hope this spirit of togetherness and paying it forward will enable us to do just that,” said Olson.

    For more information on Curiosity Club, visit

    For more information about supporting RMSC’s scholarship funds, contact Lisa Ireland at 585.697.1936 or