‘Our Place’ begins work on children’s museum

Art projects were highlighted at the recent Meet The Heroes pancake breakfast sponsored by Our Place Community Center-Imagination Factory Children’s Museum. Shown with his finished project is Eli Anderson, 6, of Norway.

IRON MOUNTAIN — Our Place Community Center-Imagination Factory Kiwanis Children’s Museum is a non-profit organization committed to providing a place in the community where everyone belongs.

One of its goals is to open a five-room children’s museum that will enhance early childhood development, youth empowerment, interactive play and self-discovery. The center also will provide young adults with leadership development skill sets and service opportunities, as well as introducing adult mentoring and volunteering for people of all ages.

The Our Place Community Center-Imagination Factory Children’s Museum is gearing up to create positive activities for the children, youth, adults, families and the elderly that will result in regular socializing and a prevention model to improve the health and well-being of all participants. Leaders and advocates of the center are now connecting with individuals, businesses, organizations, schools and agencies to provide information on the new children’s museum and to identify interested builders and exhibit sponsors.

“The committee has been organizing an exhibit-builder and exhibit-sponsor community campaign,” co-director Jonathan Ringel said. “Chairperson Cherie Fila and her museum team are working closely with my fund-development committee and Jeff Gurchinoff, chairperson of the design committee.”

This spring, the center will announce a special event featuring a tour of the upper Iron Mountain Central Middle School site at 217 W. Hughitt St., where the community center and children’s museum is located. In addition to the tour, the U.P. Idol Talent Show will return with local children and youth performing.

Local athletes, from left, Ada Van Holla, Faith Bal, Charlie Gerhard, Andrew Mann, Andrew Kleikamp, Olivia Allen and Jeffery Van Holla made positive connections playing and talking with children and participants of all ages at the Nov. 3 Meet The Heroes pancake breakfast event at the Our Place Community Center-Imagination Factory Kiwanis Children’s Museum in Iron Mountain.

The actual opening date of the Imagination Factory Kiwanis Children’s Museum will depend on how the exhibit building and exhibit sponsorships progress from now through April. The public is welcome to attend four upcoming events at the Our Place Community Center-Imagination Factory Kiwanis Children’s Museum:

— Friday, Dec. 14, Holiday Celebration Party from 5 to 6 p.m. in the cafeteria.

— Monday, Dec. 17, Youth Empowerment Team meeting from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Dickinson County Library in Iron Mountain.

— Saturday, Feb. 2, Youth Empowerment Team event, with details to be announced by student leaders.

— Monday, March 4, “A Conversation With Michael Trout — Supporting Children Of Pain And Loss,” at 5 p.m. in the gymnasium, followed by dinner in the cafeteria.

State Trooper Geno Basanese, lawyer Grant Carlson and Superior Health Foundation director and bully prevention author Jim LaJoie were featured at the Meet the Heroes event sponsored by Our Place Community Center-Imagination Factory Children’s Museum.

Directors of Our Place Community Center-Imagination Factory Kiwanis Children’s Museum are Ringel, Gurchinoff and Barb Reisner. Officers are President John Estes, Vice President Steve Mulka, Treasurer Dian Miller and Secretary Ruth Manier.

Executive board members include the directors, officers and these board members: Fila, Beth Bray, Tamara Juul, Steve Markham, Becky Nord and Kim Webb. Committee leaders are Fila, Gurchinoff, Ringel, Reisner, Nord, Christine McMahon and Henry Mann. In addition to executive board and committee leaders, there are 35 members on the board of directors and 120 community leaders who have volunteered to help with program development and fund development both for the community center and children’s museum.

“I strongly believe that the Our Place Community Center-Imagination Factory Kiwanis Children’s Museum will be a solution to substance abuse and addiction in our community,” Reisner said. “By providing a sense of belonging, opportunities for leadership development, healthy lifestyle choices, interactive play and information on local health support services, we will make a difference.”

Said Fila, leader of the children’s museum committee, “The opportunity for our community to join together and create this space for people of all ages to play together, build projects and experience personal growth is a dream come true.”

Anyone interested in joining the Our Place Community Center-Imagination Factory Kiwanis Children’s Museum movement can go online to ourplacecc.org or stop by the holiday party from 5 to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at 217 W. Hughitt St.

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