National Volunteer Week: ROMkids

Posted: April 12, 2014 - 10:33 , by Amanda Girgis
Woman standing in the Dinosaur Gallery.

The Royal Ontario Museum proudly joined the Nation in celebrating National Volunteer Week 2014. To wrap up this weeks commemoration of volunteers, we picked the brains of our ROMkids volunteers to learn more about what they do and why they do it. Our volunteers work tirelessly to give to the ROM what it has give them; stewardship, engagement, enjoyment, innovation and learning. In the last year alone, 327 ROMkids volunteers contributed over 28,000 hours to support our camps, gallery activities, and sleepovers. There is no task too big or small for these volunteers–- from cutting plaster to wrap the mummy masks, to sweeping enough floors to win a gold medal in curling; their dedication and enthusiasm has played a significant role in strengthening our community.

With a big smile on their face, they help us time and time again. Their energy and willingness is invaluable to us. Thank you volunteers, we couldn't do this without you.

- Kiron Mukherjee, ROMKids Assistant Coordinator.


Volunteer: KIMBERLY WONG

ROM: Tell us about yourself.

KIM: I'm 23 years old, majoring in History and minoring in English & History of Art. I am in my final year at the University of Toronto.

ROM: What’s your volunteer job at the ROM?

KIM: I currently volunteer with the Tiny Tots program at the ROM. I occasionally help out with ROMKids day and Sleepovers.

ROM: How long have you been a volunteer at the ROM?

KIM: I started volunteering at the ROM in 2006 (16 years old)

ROM: What inspired you to volunteer here?

KIM: Having started out as a ROMKids camper myself, the ROM was always my second home throughout the summer, my much-anticipated place to hang-out each year. Watching the staff have just as much fun at the camp as the kids was something I looked forward to as I grew up and, for me, there was never a question that I wanted to continue to be involved with the camp as I got older.

What’s been the highlight of your volunteer experience so far?

KIM: The fact that volunteering with Tiny Tots has become the absolute best part of my week.. that’s a highlight for me.

ROM: What are you hoping to gain through volunteer experience?

KIM: Through volunteering with the ROM, I have observed and helped prepare the unique lessons of the Instructors who customize cultural and natural history lessons to fit within the context of a particular gallery. Those experiences have helped me expand my own skills as a teacher and educator and I hope that they continue to inspire my future objectives in teaching.


Voluenteer: KATE VICKERY

ROM: Tell us about yourself.

KATE: I am a 15 year old student in grade 10 at Loretto Abbey.

ROM: What’s your volunteer job at the ROM?

KATE: My title at the ROM is a “gallery volunteer.” This means that I am stationed in a ROM gallery where I work hands-on with kids.  Depending on the station, my job is to teach a child how to make a craft, how to play a game or teach them about an artifact at one of our “touch tables.” Essentially, gallery volunteers make the museum experience more fun and interactive for our visitors.

ROM: How long have you been a volunteer at the ROM?

KATE: I have had the amazing opportunity of volunteering at the ROM for two years.

ROM: What inspired you to volunteer here?

KATE: The ROM has a long history in my family. My aunt used to take me all the time when I was younger, my uncle was a security guard here, and my sister got married at the ROM. So when my school announced that there were volunteer opportunities available at the ROM, I jumped at the chance.

ROM: What’s been the highlight of your volunteer experience so far?

KATE: The highlight of my volunteer experience so far has been the medieval fair; it was such an amazing experience. I was stationed there twice, one day I was dressed as a medieval princess, and the other a peasant. I was also taught three dances by the historian which I performed for visitors to the tune of the hurdy-gurdy (a medieval instrument). My favourite part was when we reached the last dance and got to pick children from the audience to join us.  The kids were having fun, I was having fun…It was definitely an experience I won’t forget.

ROM: What are you hoping to gain through volunteer experience?

KATE: I have already gained so much knowledge from my time at the ROM. I have learned about meteorites, saber tooth cats, mastodons, volcanoes and of course dinosaurs, just by being stationed at touch tables. I have also learned how to play a handful of ancient games such as yut nori, nine mans morris, and oware. I have soaked up so much information from volunteering at the ROM and I hope that as I continue volunteering, my knowledge will grow. 


Voluenteer: SABRINA HYDE

ROM: Tell us about yourself.

SABRINA: I’m 18  years old and a first year at the University of Toronto. I’m an undecided major, but most likely to be psychology and neuroscience.

ROM: What’s your volunteer job at the ROM?

SABRINA: I am volunteer for ROM for the Holidays, March Break, and ROMKids Weekends. I run arts and crafts tables, touch tables in the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity, and help facilitate special activities for special events like the Dino Dan Family Lounge during ROM for the Holidays and March Break. 

ROM: How long have you been a volunteer at the ROM?

SABRINA: I have been a volunteer at the ROM for almost a year and a half now. 

ROM: What inspired you to volunteer here?

SABRINA: My family has had a ROM membership for as long as I can remember, so I spent a lot of my childhood visiting the museum. I loved it so much that I wanted to make other guests' visits as special as mine were. What better way to do this than to volunteer here!

ROM: What’s been the highlight of your volunteer experience so far?

SABRINA: The highlight of my volunteer experience so far has been that every time I have a shift, I learn something new about the museum that I did not know before. I mean, I've been to the museum more times than I can count, but there is always something new to discover at the ROM. Most recent discovery: Did you know that the mummified cat in the Egypt Gallery has been on display since the museum opened 100 years ago?

ROM: What are you hoping to gain through volunteer experience?

SABRINA: Through this volunteer experience I am hoping to gain insight into the various cultures throughout the world through our galleries and collections. As a volunteer I am able to share what I have learned from the ROM and hopefully get more people interested in starting and continuing to learn at the ROM.


Voluenteer: ELIJAH KAMARAS-GARLAND

ROM:  Tell us about yourself.

ELIJAH: I’m 17 years old and in grade 11 at Vaughan Road Academy.

ROM: What’s your volunteer job at the ROM?

ELIJAH: Camp volunteer (Organize activities, ensures the children are having a fun time doing the activities, etc.)

How long have you been a volunteer at the ROM?

ELIJAH: Around 2.5 years (Started with ROM for the Holidays 2011)

ROM: What inspired you to volunteer here?

ELIJAH: I've been going to the museum since before I can remember. Having been a camper for many years before becoming a volunteer, it only made sense to me to become a member of the team that helped make me what I am today. Having the opportunity to influence and inspire a child's imagination and ingenuity the same way that the museum did so for me was too good an opportunity to pass up.

ROM: What’s been the highlight of your volunteer experience so far?

ELIJAH: Having a parent register their child in a future camp course and plan my line-up position so that I could be in their child's group. Knowing that I had had a major impact on that child is one of the greatest things I could have hoped to achieve from ROM camps.

While it's not a highlight per se, I cannot neglect the fact that it opened up a new social circle for me. The museum volunteers are more than people with badges that get to tell children what to do. It's a community, a family. The fact that I have gotten to know the people I know and have the privilege of calling them my friends is honestly what I can call an honour.

ROM: What are you hoping to gain through volunteer experience?

ELIJAH:  As I've said before, the ability to know that I've been inspired, and can inspire. For me, the hours listed on a volunteer sheet mean more than simply a statistic to be put on a student record. It shows what you have experienced, and what you have become because of those experiences.


From everyone at the Royal Ontario Museum, thank you volunteers for making our community a better place.

 

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