Spotlight on: Explore & More’s Junior Docent Program

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This fall, Explore & More launched a Junior Docent pilot program. This innovative community initiative welcomes high school teens ages 14-18 to Explore & More through a series of trainings focused on the importance of volunteerism and multi-cultural sensitivity. Our partnership with International Prep High School of Buffalo has afforded eight high school seniors the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills through volunteering at Explore & More events.

Explore & More highlights cultural diversity through our interactive exhibits, which has now become the foundation of our Junior Docent workshop training series. Our International Prep Docents receive 3-hour, bi-weekly trainings that promote positive cross-cultural relationships, race/ethnicity, disability, religion, nationality, and other social identities. The Docents then exercise their new skills through volunteering at Explore & More community events.

This past December, our Junior Docents lead families from Buffalo’s West Side in our Graham Cracker House Building event at The Niagara Branch Library. In February, Junior Docents made their way out to the museum and spent a full day co-facilitating activities during our Lunar New Year celebration. We very much look forward to the performance presentation they are currently developing for our March Travel the World Around Buffalo Week!

This four-month pilot program focuses on exposing students to the importance of fostering service values, and celebrating the beauty of diversity. Junior Docents who successfully complete our pilot program will receive 25 community service hours toward their high school graduation requirements and a letter of reference for their leadership and dedication to volunteerism.

-April Baskin

April Baskin is an AmeriCorps VISTA Member and the Junior Docent Program Coordinator Explore & More Children’s Museum.