BCN Staff – Jan. 30, 2022 – The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas (BBBSCA) will launch a new partnership on Feb. 22 with Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) to advance its JEDI (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion) program efforts. The partnership will incorporate visits to the museum’s new Children’s Gallery as part of BBBSCA’s community-based mentoring curriculum for Bigs and Littles, officials said.
The two organizations plan to launch the partnership at an event on Tuesday, Feb. 22, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the ballroom at Mosaic Templar’s, 501 W. Ninth St., downtown Little Rock.
During the event, current mentors (Big) and mentees (Littles) will have an opportunity to explore the museum’s one-of-a-kind children’s gallery, “Same. Different. Amazing.” The space is dedicated to promoting and celebrating differences by prompting conversations with children through interactive manipulatives within the gallery space.
In addition, the organizations hope to see the Bigs and Littles in action in the brightly colored 466-square-foot space designed for children ages two to nine, which will serve as a recruiting tool for new mentors. Those not able to attend but are still interested in serving with BBBSCA can contact the organization through their website at https://www.bbbsca.org/.
Renewing BBBSCA’s commitment to JEDI youth empowerment work is a priority under the leadership of new CEO Raymond Omar Long. As the first Black leader of this organization, Long has observed that more than 80% of the young people served by BBBS are people of color. JEDI recognizes, affirms and celebrates diverse backgrounds, lives and experiences of all BBBS stakeholders, including youth, families, donors, volunteers and staff, which ties in beautifully with the “Same. Different. Amazing.” experience in the museum’s Children’s Gallery.
“We are committed to bringing unity in a world that seems so divided,” said Long. “We want to empower young people along their paths that sometimes contain unparalleled adversity. This partnership provides an opportunity for Bigs and Littles to affirm and celebrate diverse backgrounds, lives and experiences.”
“Our new Children’s Gallery is the perfect space for this collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas and their national JEDI program,” added Quantia “Key” Fletcher, director of the historic Black museum. “We understand that it is important that children see what diversity looks like and, when they do see it, to celebrate how our differences and similarities make us amazing. Children learn best through play and exploring, and our gallery allows them to do just that with hands-on toys, games and interactive screens all designed to promote conversations about diversity and inclusion.”
Fletcher said the gallery is a learning experience for adults too, providing parents and caregivers with the tools to talk with their children about topics such as equity, race, positive self-awareness and diverse friendships. The interactive exhibit has various stations that prompt visitors to engage in conversations about similarities and differences, she said. The exhibit also focuses on reinforcing messages of positivity that developing children need to hear.
The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is one of the state-owned museums that is part of Arkansas Heritage, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. It is located in downtown Little Rock on the corner of Broadway and historic Ninth Street. The name is taken from the location, the former headquarters of the Mosaic Templars of America, a black fraternal organization founded in Little Rock in 1883. This world-class, nationally accredited museum is the state’s only institution with a mission to preserve, interpret and celebrate African American history and culture in Arkansas.
This onsite event is dependent on the number of current COVID-19 cases at the scheduled date and time, and if necessary, the organizations will announce modifications to host a hybrid event.
For more information on this unique program with BBBS of Central Arkansas, please contact Raymond Omar Long at 501-680-5179 or email@example.com. To schedule a field trip to MTCC’s new gallery, please contact Raven Cook, director of education, at 501-683-3592 and firstname.lastname@example.org. The museum is free and open to the public Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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