Staff Spotlight: Belinda, Education Program Manager

It’s time again to meet another wonderful Zimmer staff member. Say hello to BELINDA, our Education Program Manager!

Name: Belinda Vong
Position: Education Program Manager
A little bit about her: Belinda is an artist and educator.  She received a BA in Sociology and a BA in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine, and continues to study Early Childhood Education at East Los Angeles Community College.  Previously she has worked as a Program Coordinator at the UCI Cross-Cultural Center, and as an after-school teacher in the Mountain View School District working with students from Kindergarten through 5th grade.  Her involvement at the UCI Cross-Cultural Center and experience in working with children in underserved communities continues to fuel her passion for creating access for young children to learn about the world around them through creative and interactive play.  When at the museum, you can find her twisting up some quirky balloon animals or guiding your next school field trip!
Childhood heroes: Sailor Moon and Martha Stewart

Take me through a day in the life of Belinda at the Zimmer.
Usually I step into the museum and head down to the lower level towards the galley to drop my lunch off in the fridge.  This is when I like to take my rounds on the lower level, walking through each exhibit making sure that each space is ready to be played in.  I usually get a few minutes to myself at my desk to check my e-mails and voicemails, and to prepare for the day.  Then 10 o’clock hits, our doors open to the general public, and the kids start crawling in!

Throughout the day, I can be doing anything from welcoming a bus load of eager preschoolers for their annual field trip to the Zimmer or preparing our art room or program room for a class. I also try to squeeze in some time at my desk to do some office work and to brainstorm new program ideas! Though our weekly programs are always the same, and field trips are typically scheduled to come only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, each day is never the same… which makes it that much more exciting to come to work each day!

What’s your favorite exhibit at the Zimmer?
It’s hard to decide on any one favorite exhibit!  I definitely appreciate the overall connectedness of our exhibits and the many ways to explore and learn from each of them. For instance, the simple act of being able to plant soft and bright flowers into our recycled garden hoe holders is a neat way to illustrate not only how we can recycle materials, but also how we can help to take care of our planet – by planting flowers!  The little ones can also practice numbers by counting the flowers, or sorting by grouping the different colors of the petals… and these are just a few activities of one part of one exhibit! Imagine the many experiences the little ones can have throughout the entire museum!

What is the most memorable thing you have been involved in here?
The greatest part about working in a space with children, is that each day is definitely not like any other day, and each day is always filled with memorable moments.

Off the top of my head, one of the first memorable moments I’ve had was on my 3rd day on the job.  The other staff and I noticed a piece of brownie on the ground by the Mann Theater.  It definitely was a brownie… or was it?  It wasn’t too dry, nor too moist, but a very nice and solid chunk of something brown.  We circled it, bent down to smell it…  sure enough, it was definitely a ‘code brown.’  One of our brave part-time staff slapped on some gloves, scooped it up, and vindicated (our cleaning solution) it!

Of course, since then, I’ve had many more equally memorable experiences. A few of my other favorites have been CAMP Zimmer, Sunday Family Day programs with Love on 4 Paws, Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips, and Wishes for Our World. AND, I’m excited for more memorable moments to come!

Thanks, Belinda! Check back next month to meet another member of the Zimmer team!

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