Providence Children’s Museum Receives Competitive Federal AmeriCorps Grant


Museum AmeriCorps member Amanda Nico leads an activity in a Head Start classroom. Learning Club participants Shawn Cojolun (age 10), Makajahv Wray (age 10) and Jennifer Toro (age 9).

PROVIDENCE, RI – On Wednesday, May 7, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced $205 million in grants to fund 288 AmeriCorps programs and the service of 43,000 AmeriCorps members nationally.  Providence Children’s Museum is one of only two organizations in Rhode Island to receive full federal funding in the highly competitive 2014 grant cycle.

Providence Children’s Museum’s program was awarded a 3-year grant and will receive $159,600 annually from the CNCS for 12 full-time AmeriCorps members.  The Museum has been an AmeriCorps site since 1997 and has served over 20,000 children through innovative outreach to inner-city schools, community centers and Head Start programs.  With this funding, the Museum will welcome its 19th AmeriCorps team in the fall.

Designed to help close the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children, the Museum’s AmeriCorps program provides stimulating interactive learning experiences not available to most low-income children.  Under the guidance of Museum education staff, AmeriCorps members work to inspire a lifetime love of learning, providing enriched learning experiences for all greater Providence Head Start preschoolers and conducting Learning Clubs for inner-city school-age children.

The Museum’s 2014-15 AmeriCorps members will:

  • Implement engaging play-based classroom activities that encourage problem solving in all 56 Children’s Friend Head Start classrooms, serving 1,000 3- to 5-year-olds and supporting Head Start’s goal of improving school readiness.
  • Guide Head Start children on classroom field trips to the Museum for hands-on play and learning.
  • Deliver Learning Clubs – hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) enrichment activities with a focus on math – for 200 low-income 2nd-4th graders in after-school and summer programs at the Boys & Girls Club and Highlander Charter School in South Providence.
  • Support recess by facilitating play-based activities at Highlander Charter School and Mary E. Fogarty Elementary School.
  • Welcome all Head Start and Learning Club program participants and their families to Family Nights at the Children’s Museum, where they receive free year-long Museum passes.

“Bringing hands-on fun and learning to thousands of disadvantaged kids each year, AmeriCorps greatly increases the Museum’s capacity to serve families who need it most,” said Museum Executive Director Janice O’Donnell.

Federal funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service must be matched by private support.  The Museum’s AmeriCorps program is also supported by Serve Rhode Island and currently receives additional funding from Amgen Foundation; Bristol County Savings Charitable Foundation; The John Clarke Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee; Cox Charities of New England Fund; CVS Caremark Charity Classic; Frank B. Hazard General Charity Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; Sovereign Bank Foundation; Textron Charitable Trust; UnitedHealthcare of New England; and donors to the Museum’s Annual Campaign.

Visit for more information about the Museum’s AmeriCorps program.

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