Thank you Our Shore Cares for interviewing our President and highlighting Minds in Motion for the month of September!
Our Shore Cares spotlights monthly community members that work diligently to benefit the Eastern Shore community. Featured this month is Vira Ogburn, President of Mind’s and Motion Children’s Museum. (http://www.mindsinmotionsby.org)
Q: Vira, please tell us about yourself and why you decided to start a children’s museum in Salisbury, Maryland.
A: I am a graduate of Salisbury University with an bachelors degree in Elementary Education (K-6), with an emphasis on Creative Arts and Spanish. I first started working for the Wicomico Board of Education as an Accounting Associate, primarily working to coordinate all of the transportation for all the extracurricular/athletic field trips from 2007-2014. Shortly thereafter I switched jobs within the public school system to work with F.I.T. children (families in transition) preK-12th grade and have continued to do so over the past 3 years. In addition to serving publically within the school system, I have also served as a Nursery Coordinator at Providence Presbyterian Church and privately tutored countless students in the subjects ranging from English as a Second Language, Spanish, to Math & Reading. I have always had a strong desire for children to learn through play; unstructured play is important in molding and shaping children academically. I decided to start a children’s museum (along with a good friend of mine, Heather Charlton, and her mother, Debra Giles) in Salisbury after visiting a children’s museum in Harrisonburg, VA, during one of our last family vacations. As we were exploring the downtown area we stumbled upon the museum and ended up spending the entire day there with our kids. As the day wore on we realized our phones had been tucked away, never looked at, never checked, as we were too busy interacting and playing with our children and the exhibits. They were playing, we were playing; they were learning, we were learning. More often than not the grown ups were left lingering at the exhibits “playing” not realizing their children had already moved on to another one. Since then, going to children’s museums has been one of the most memorable experiences our family has ever had together. That is why we decided to start one locally here in Salisbury. There aren’t any hands-on interactive museums that encourage children to learn while playing and we would truly benefit from something like this in our community.
Q: How do you think the museum will help change the Eastern Shore?
A: I believe the museum will help change the Eastern Shore because it will be an all-inclusive atmosphere that will welcome kids of all ages and from all types of backgrounds; a place where children and families alike will have an opportunity to grow intellectually. Children will have an opportunity to develop socially and collaboratively learn while playing and exploring the world around them. Our exhibits will be representative of our community at large. Whether playing in a medical exhibit, post office, news station, or construction site, children will be able to mimic local jobs but more on their scale. They will be encouraged to interact with these exhibits by exploring, creating, and discovering.
I also believe we can promote tourism and assist with revitalizing our community. I love this area and being able to support our local school systems (public/private/homeschoolers) and local businesses while benefiting our children would be a major accomplishment. Change starts small and it starts locally. If you can create a space for children to play while learning, for children to access their imaginations freely, for children to love to learn, then I believe that change can have a positive impact on them for many years to come. Our desire is for Minds in Motion Children’s Museum to have that kind of influence on children, parents and the entire community.
Q: What is your greatest strength and how has it helped you with creating and developing the Minds in Motion Children’s Museum?
A: I believe my greatest strength is having a passion for students to learn. Since a young age I have always had a strong desire to teach children. Even as a child, I would line my stuffed animals up in their chairs in my make believe classroom and teach them just like a regular school day. It was my “weekend job” and I loved doing it. As I grew older, I truly loved seeing children think outside the box. To grow. To discover and learn new things. Having a children’s museum where they can continue to do so will only further benefit them socially, cognitively, and behaviorally, and in most cases for the rest of their lives. I think that is ultimately the primary driving force behind Minds in Motion. Being a passionate educator and mother has truly helped me to gain perspective on this goal–to create and develop a place where our children will always be able to learn and grow. We want everyone in our community to benefit from the museum but especially our own children and their children and hopefully even their children for lifetimes to come.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote that you are willing to share that may help motivate others?
A: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”
I feel like every man, woman and child should work boldly to do something that will ignite a flame for positive change in the world around us. When you are passionate about something, always strive to go above and beyond and do it without fear of failure. Fear of falling short. Fear of not meeting expectations. Fear is imaginary and I often have to remind myself of this and then dismiss it in order to do the things I never imagined that I would (or even could) do!
Q: How can others get involved with the museum?
Our mission is to provide children a place to explore, discover, and create through interactive exhibits and educational programs, igniting curiosity and fostering a lifetime love of learning. If you support our cause, you can donate to our organization. You can also volunteer at many of the events, fundraisers, projects that we are constantly involved in within the community. Please reach out and contact us directly on how you can help contribute to our mission here on the Eastern Shore. Many hands make light work.
Thank you to all the volunteers that have helped MiM in any capacity so far. We truly could not do this without our communities support!
Contact Minds in Motion Children’s Museum or become a volunteer today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Photo Credit: Dawn Littleton