“We are building these kits to give to families from Centro Hispano and East Tennessee Freedom Schools which are traditionally communities that have less access to mental health, have some cultural barriers around mental health and this just gives them a fun relaxed way to share and think about mental health with their children,” Lee Robinson, Muse Knoxville Director of Education and Exhibits, said.
Volunteers stuffed yellow bags with hands-on tools, activities and sensory toys to promote positive mindsets and emotional wellness, as well as important scientific lessons.
Robinson says kids can just open the bag and start exploring.
“Bubbles are just fun and that breathing in and out is going to calm your child down, let them be able to face whatever challenge they’re facing,” Robinson said.
Roughly 40 mental health STEM kits will be handed out to Centro Hispano.
The nonprofit organization is a leading resource for East Tennessee’s Latino community and for the past several weeks families have spent time at the children’s museum learning how to start and continue a conversation about mental health.
“The kids came in kind of shy and a little nervous and so did the moms and they have really kind of built a community together where they can share in the load of raising children which is a hard job for anyone,” Robinson said.
Robinson is confident investing in a child’s well-being will create positive ripple effects across East Tennessee.
“I think this will build stronger families and with stronger families, you get stronger communities, stronger city and a stronger world eventually,” Robinson said.
Muse Knoxville was awarded the grant money for the kits through the United Way Hackathon.
They plan on giving out the remaining 150 kits to East Tennessee Freedom Schools over the summer.