Top 3 Ways to Volunteer at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate 

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As the saying goes, ‘Doing good feels good!’ Volunteering isn’t just about lending a hand; it’s about painting smiles on the faces of our youngest citizens of the Upstate! Giving back and discovering the impact you can have on the Upstate community can happen in numerous ways at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate – some you may not even have known were possible!  

The Importance of Volunteers at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate

As a non-profit, The Children’s Museum of the Upstate relies on volunteers to help fill gaps that our staff does not have the capacity to manage. But more than that, we see our growing volunteer program as a way to fulfill several of our core values including embracing a spirit of philanthropy and achieving excellence together. TCMU is a popular place to volunteer. Just look at the numbers!  

  • 2020: 110 volunteers across 1483 hours 
  • 2021: 175 volunteers across 1963 hours  
  • 2022: 118 volunteers across 2783 hours  
  • 2023: 486 volunteers across 1530 hours 

We are hoping to see this upward trend continue as we welcome more members of the community to help TCMU achieve its mission. Are you interested in volunteering at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate? There are several volunteer options available.  

Options for Volunteering at TCMU 

The options for volunteering at TCMU are diverse not only in their subject matter but also their location, logistics, and impact. Whether you are an aspiring educator seeking opportunities to enrich your experiences with children, or a corporate CEO looking for a team-building service opportunity without having to leave your building, TCMU is a fantastic option for you! So, future community champion, grab your cape and follow along as we explore the diverse ways you can unleash your superpowers with The Children’s Museum of the Upstate! 

1. Packing Brain Bags 

  • Group Size: 3-20 people
  • Ideal Ages: 16+
  • Time Requirement: 1-3 hours

Volunteering doesn’t have to be a solo gig! Everything is more fun when you have a team to rally around the cause with you – that’s why one of our core values is to achieve excellence together! Groups can volunteer at TCMU or offsite in their own place of work to pack Brain Bags, a grant-funded program aimed at fostering confidence in STEAM subjects among children in our community. Designed to inspire curiosity and creativity, Brain Bags provide hands-on activities and resources that engage young minds in STEAM principles.  

TCMU aims to distribute nearly 10,000 Brain Bags each year and we cannot do that without groups who volunteer their time to pack and prep these bags so we can get them distributed to organizations like YouthBASE, The Advanced Institute for Development and Learning, and Bel-Aire Community Partners. In the past, TCMU has welcomed Truliant Bank branch managers, Clemson University Teaching Fellows, and Elliot Davis into this volunteer space. That’s where you come in! 

Packing Brain Bags can look like cutting slips of paper, counting straws, folding instructions, or packing all the materials into a bag and stickering it closed! Typically, groups come to TCMU for 2-3 hours and a member of our staff walks them through the packing process. From there, the group divvy’s up responsibilities and gets to work! We’ve seen groups pack anywhere from 70 bags to upwards of 500!  

If getting your group over to the museum poses too much of a challenge, TCMU will bring everything to you! Whether you are looking for a volunteer opportunity in Simpsonville, Greer, Easley, Mauldin, Fountain Inn or Travelers Rest, we can work with you. We can even support on-location volunteer opportunities in Spartanburg. We will set up in a shared space of your office and chat with your team as they drop by to pack, which makes it even more feasible to make a difference! Shaping the future generation of compassionate problem solvers has never been easier!  

2. Educational Programs 

  • Group Size: 1-3 people
  • Ideal Ages: 16+
  • Time Requirement: 3 hours

TCMU is well-known for fostering intentional and inclusive play, a mission we accomplish through our diverse daily programs focusing on art, STEAM, wellness, literacy, and more! With nearly 55,000 people set to benefit from almost 800 activities this year alone, the support of difference-makers like you is crucial. Volunteers play an indispensable role, both behind the scenes and on the floor, enriching the experiences of our guests in our programming spaces.  

Whether it’s cutting up socks that will eventually become dog toys in the volunteer break room or walking guests through the steps of how to program a Bee-Bot, there’s always a need for diverse skills and interests among our volunteers. 

For those passionate about working with children, volunteering in areas like Open Art Studios or the steamWORKS lab is an excellent starting point. This sector of volunteering at TCMU offers aspiring educators a unique opportunity to engage with children from diverse backgrounds, inspiring creative ideas to enrich their own classrooms. Whether you prefer working behind the scenes or face-to-face, volunteering in our educational programs promises to be rewarding, with a significant impact on the development of children. 

3. Special Events

  • Group Size: 1-12 people
  • Ideal Ages: 16+
  • Time Requirement: 4 hours

Volunteering at special events with TCMU offers a unique and exciting opportunity to be part of memorable experiences while making a meaningful contribution that gives back to the museum’s mission. We typically 1-2 annual fundraising events each season:

  • Spring: BunnyBurg and Spring & Sprout
  • Summer: Countdown to Kindergarten in Spartanburg and Adult Night in Greenville
  • Fall: Trick-or-Treat at both TCMU locations and Sensory-Friendly Trick-or-Treat in Greenville
  • Winter: World Wonderland or Winter Wonderland at both TCMU locations

Yearly fundraising events like these provide an opportunity for volunteers to engage with diverse audiences and create lasting impressions. 

One of the key benefits of volunteering at special fundraising events is the chance to interact with a wide range of people. Since these events attract many volunteers, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with individuals from various backgrounds. Whether you’re stepping into the role of Santa’s helper, distributing candy to nearly 1,000 children during Trick-or-Treat, or assisting in building a cardboard castle, each event presents a unique and fulfilling experience. 

Volunteering at special events not only allows you to support TCMU’s mission in a fun and dynamic environment but also provides a platform to connect with community partners who support the event. Special events occur less frequently compared to regular programming, making each opportunity more special. It also means there is a smaller time commitment, so if you are interested in a one-time opportunity before diving into volunteering at TCMU headfirst, fundraising events are a great way to get your feet wet! 

Can Kids Volunteer at TCMU?

While our current volunteer age requirement is 16 years old, we’re eagerly working towards a future where even our youngest visitors can lend a helping hand. Our vision is to create a world where no barrier is bigger than a dream, and that includes breaking down age barriers to volunteerism. So, to all our little helpers with huge hearts, keep dreaming big and having fun while we work to create opportunities for you! 

Volunteering with TCMU offers an enriching experience for individuals who meet our requirements and are eager to make a difference. Whether you’re passionate about sparking curiosity in STEAM subjects, fostering creativity in young minds, or simply giving back to your community through Brain Bags, volunteering at TCMU promises to be a rewarding journey filled with meaningful connections and memorable moments.  

TCMU welcomes you to unleash your superpowers and be part of something truly special by visiting our website today! Join us in creating memorable moments and fostering creativity, learning, and play in the Upstate Community. 

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