The children are clustered around the table, talking excitedly. There have been moments of frustration, fear of failure, and finally triumph as ROM In My Backyard (RIMBY) members play with “The Empathy Toy”—a blindfolded puzzle game that can be solved only when they learn to understand each other.
RIMBY is a budding space in the hub of two Boys and Girls Club communities, one in downtown Toronto and the other at Jane and Finch, where kids engage with 21st-century museum experiences using the ROM as their portal. This unique pilot program is made possible with the generosity of the MacMillan Family Foundation and the Patrick and Barbara Keenan Foundation.
“We have brought the ROM to children who may not otherwise be able to experience their Museum due to distance or economic barriers,” says Cheryl Blackman, Assistant Vice President, Audience Development, at the ROM. “Young participants are immersed in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) activities, embedded in the foundations of empathy and community.”
Parents and older siblings look on with admiration as the group transforms into engineers to design and craft modes of transportation. “Each session ends with negotiating for later pickup times due to their deep levels of engagement,” Jamea Zuberi, a 23-year teaching veteran and education access specialist, says with a laugh, adding that the group is “beyond excited” for their upcoming Saturday visits to the ROM.
“It’s full steam ahead for every child in this vital program,” she says. “They are learning to care for each other, solve problems collaboratively, and be agents of change in their communities.”
Help us bring ROM In My Backyard to more Boys & Girls Clubs! To learn more about how you can support this program, please contact Kathryn De Carlo at email@example.com or 416.586.5745.
For all other enquiries about the program, please contact Jaclyn Qua-Hiansen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.586.5682.