Staff Spotlight: Sasha Karlova, Visitor Experience Manager/Arts Educator

It’s time again to meet another Zimmer staff member. Say hello to Sasha, our Visitor Experience Manager/Arts Educator!

Name: Sasha Karlova
Position: Visitor Experience Manager/ Arts Educator
A little bit about her: Sasha received a BA in fine art from the University of California, Santa Barbara. However, she started her art education at the age of eight and continued taking art classes at Pasadena Art Center while

020attending Fairfax High School Visual Arts Magnet. During her stay at UCSB she participated in several group art shows and was head curator of the 2009 Undergraduate Art Show in which she also exhibited her work. She has been a yearly muralist at the Pasadena Calk Festival since 2005 and interned with the Light Bringer Project, a non-profit arts organization. She continues to make art and exhibits her work whenever she gets a chance. An alumni of the Zimmer’s arts education outreach program, youTHink, Sasha loves sharing her enthusiasm for art with children and families here at the Zimmer.

Childhood hero: Darkwing Duck

Take me through a day in the life of Sasha at the Zimmer.
Each day at the Zimmer is different. That is something that I love about my job! I usually come in between 9/9:30 or 8:30 on Wednesdays for VIB hour! Then I walk through the museum turning on exhibits and lights and make my way to the kitchen. I feel like I’m waking the museum up as I turn everything on. Then it’s back upstairs to turn on the music, check my email and help at the front desk.  On Thursdays I skip my usual morning routine and head straight to the art room to teach Messy Masterpieces (I wear my artist clothes that day). The class is so much fun! It’s so amazing to see each child experience art in their own way! The rest of the day can be a mix of working at my desk, helping at the front desk, facilitating Open Art, walking around the museum to restore exhibits and make sure everything is safe and fun , or teaching crEATe – one of our baby classes that uses edible materials to introduce babies to art! At the end of the day I can usually be found resetting our exhibits or at the front desk waving goodbye to our visitors.

What’s your favorite exhibit at the Zimmer?
It’s so hard to pick a favorite exhibit! I have so much fun in all of them! But… if I HAVE to choose I think I’d pick the Mann Theater. Since I spend a lot of time near that exhibit I always get to see fun plays and performances put on by our visitors. I am always amazed by how creative kids can be with just a costume, a stage and their imagination. I also love to see how children and parents play together here. This exhibit is also my favorite because that is where Friday Sing Along and Freeze Dance happens!

What is the most memorable thing you have been involved in at the Zimmer?
It’s difficult to pick just one most memorable thing since we do so many great things here at the Zimmer. If I look back at this year something that really stands out is participating in the LA Marathon 5K to raise money for the museum and our programs including youTHink. This event stands out because I had a chance to talk to so many people and tell them why the Zimmer and youTHink were important to me personally. It gave me a chance to bond with my coworkers, get to know our visitors better, and I had a great time running in the rain with so many dedicated people! I’m looking forward to fund raising and running again this year in March. If you want to donate to my cause you can do so here. You can make my first donation for this upcoming year!! 😀

Thanks, Sasha! Stay tuned for our next spotlight!

Summer Intern Spotlight: Ali Weiss

This week, say hello to another wonderful summer intern, Ali Weiss!

Name: Ali Weiss
A little bit about her: Ali is an intern at the Zimmer Children’s Museum this summer. In the fall, she will be a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she is studying Graphic Communication. In her free time, Ali enjoys hiking, reading, collaging, watching movies, and doing yoga.

Why the Zimmer?

I wanted to experience living in a different city this summer, so coming to Los Angeles was a perfect opportunity. The Zimmer is a place where I am able to combine my love for children, art, and learning.

Take me through a day in the life of Ali at the Zimmer.

In the morning hours, you can find me clad in my orange Zimmer t-shirt working on the museum floor or helping out with the summer camp. In the afternoons, I am upstairs with Arielle working on the computer, doing research and designing!

What’s your favorite exhibit at the Zimmer?

Bubbie’s Bookstore – it’s a comfy place for kids to sit and read or play with puppets!

What is the most memorable thing you have been involved in here?

I have really enjoyed helping Emily with the summer camp; the kids are adorable and you get to know them a lot better since you work with them for multiple days at a time.

Do you think interning at the Zimmer will help shape your career path? If so, how?

I think interning at the Zimmer will give me an idea of what I am interested in doing after I graduate. I will get a better feel of careers both in museums and in the marketing/graphic communication field!

Thanks, Ali! Stay tuned for more summer intern spotlights!

Summer Intern Spotlight: Emily Fare

This summer, we are so excited to have some seriously INCREDIBLE interns. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be featuring them on our blog so you can get to know a little bit more about them! This week, say hello to Emily Fare!

Name: Emily Fare
A little bit about her: Emily is a senior at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is majoring in Psychology. She plans to go to graduate school for Child Psychology or Educational Psychology. Her passion for working with children was sparked in high school when she volunteered at a local elementary school as a teacher’s assistant in a 3rd grade class. She has also worked at summer camps and has volunteered at a local pony baseball snack shack. Emily has also volunteered at a children’s library. Emily’s consistent involvement with children led her to working at the Zimmer Children’s Museum.

Why the Zimmer?
I chose to intern at the Zimmer because I basically get to play all day! I get so much responsibility such as running Summer Camp, teaching some classes, and helping out with field trips. But most importantly, I get to have fun while doing all these things! I get to surround myself with great children, great families, and great co-workers. I love the Zimmer because it really allows kids to explore and develop. The Zimmer takes pride in teaching kids new skills such as responsibility and community and I love how even the young children can grow.

Take me through a day in the life of Emily at the Zimmer.
Well everyday is different! Some days I can be found walking around the museum helping children and talking to the parents. Other days you won’t even see me at all because I will be running our awesome Summer Camp or planning for the next week! I spend most of my time preparing for summer camp, but when I’m not, people can come visit me when I teach Culture Club and Block Party on Thursday’s. I also help coordinate for the field trips that come in to the Zimmer twice a week! That’s pretty much my typical day doing summer camp, teaching my classes, helping in other classes, or just helping out around our museum!

What’s your favorite exhibit at the Zimmer?
My favorite exhibit would definitely have to be the rescue boat and ball pit! I love how children who may not know each other will sometimes all join in a game to play pirates or sharks. I love how you can really see the kids imaginations take off. I feel like the ball pit brings kids closer together in a fun, imaginative way.

What is the most memorable thing you have been involved in here?
Definitely working at the Summer Camp! This was my first time working with 4 and 5 year olds and they are amazing! They just want to have fun and I’m the person who allows them to do so. I love that feeling of being looked up to and I think when kids are that age, it’s easy for them to look up to someone who is having as much fun as they are. I love free exploration time on the rescue boat during Summer Camp because sometimes I get to be captain and just have a great time!

Do you think interning at the Zimmer will help shape your career path? If so, how?
Without a doubt! Interning at the Zimmer has already helped me so much because I’ve never really worked with kids younger than 7. This experience so far has been amazing and I continue to learn and grow each day. They can’t really teach you in school what I’ve learned here at the Zimmer Children’s Museum. You really just have to experience it and the experiences I’ve had here will definitely help me in a career with children. I plan to work at an elementary school someday and I’m sure the lessons I learn here will help me with my work choice. You learn, developmentally, how to interact, play, and teach these children and I cannot think of a better place to learn these skills!

Thanks, Emily! Stay tuned for more summer intern spotlights!

Staff Spotlight: Maria Palazzolo, Associate Director of Play and Learning

It’s time again to meet another Zimmer staff member. Say hello to Maria, our Associate Director of Play and Learning!maria

Name: Maria Palazzolo
Position: Associate Director of Play and Learning
A little bit about her: Maria completed her Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Long Beach in the field of Family Studies, with a specialization in Child Development. She received her Master’s degree in Early Education in 2008 from California State University Long Beach. Maria has worked in both private and public schools, as well as nonprofit organizations. This unique background has provided a foundation for best practice in working with children of all ages. Maria’s passion for helping children to realize their full potential and access their strengths drives her to become a better human being!

“My passion in life is to inspire parents to be their child’s number one advocate! I strongly believe in the power of love, positive guidance and a free-mind spirit. My number one priority is to create a partnership between parents and educators to insure that children get the best education experience possible.”

Childhood hero: My mom

Take me through a day in the life of Maria at the Zimmer.
Every day at the Zimmer, it’s a new adventure, and you never know what to expect! My job at Zimmer has me pretty busy. A typical day can include planning classes, seeking resources to expand our programs, building community relationships, and of course, my favorite part- building relationships with our guests! No one day at the Zimmer is the same; every day brings a new challenge and a satisfaction beyond words. Among the many responsibilities I have here at the Zimmer, I take my passion for children’s learning very seriously. I am committed to offering our guests the best education experience possible.

What’s your favorite exhibit at the Zimmer?
My favorite exhibit is the Wishing Wall; I love the meaning behind it. I truly feel it allows our guests to sit and really think about others and explain to their children what it means to have wishes for the world and what those wishes look like. I often hear the most amazing conversations among parents and their little ones!  It’s very inspiring.

What is the most memorable thing you have been involved in here?
Everything! But in particular, the baby classes we offer. I have the honor of seeing these little babies grow and learn right before my eyes! I love that we can create an environment where is safe and loving.  I love to see the reaction of the babies when they walk in the class to see all the sensory activities we have planned for them. It’s amazing how much learning takes place.

Thanks, Maria! Stay tuned for our next spotlights, which will be on our new SUMMER INTERNS!

Have You Seen It?!: Race to Naptime

If you’ve walked into the museum lately, you’ve probably noticed something big taking over the main lobby wall. And you might have been wondering why our staff has been wandering around the museum in their sweatbands.

Well, the Zimmer Children’s Museum is an official charity of the 2012 Honda LA Marathon, and to get in the spirit, the Zimmer staff is on a RACE TO NAPTIME! Help your favorite staff member win the race to the crib by donating to his or her LA Marathon team! We’ll even put your name on a little baby foot on the chart!

Want to run… or walk… or jog… or even stroll with us in the 5K on March 17th? Learn more here.

Staff Spotlight: Carrie Jacoves, Development Associate

It’s time again to meet another Zimmer staff member. Say hello to Carrie, our Development Associate!

Name: Carrie Sue Jacoves
Position: Development Associate
A little bit about her: Carrie was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, in addition to going to undergraduate and graduate school locally.  She received her BA in Sociology from California State University at Northridge and her MBA at the American Jewish University (formerly  University of Judaism).

Carrie is thrilled to have cultivated her career (the last 15 and a half years) with the Zimmer Children’s Museum after her first nine years working with JCCA as the Special Events Director and then as the Site Director at the Hollywood Los Feliz JCC.

While working full time with JCCA and the Zimmer, she has raised two children (Hayden, 20 and Rachael, almost 17) and enjoys life with her husband Mitch.  When she is not here at work,  Carrie is trying to get in a Half Marathon or two but really has her eye on the full 26.2 mile course of the LA Marathon in March (and she so enjoys raising money for her efforts that directly benefit the Zimmer!).  She also enjoys her extended families (all who live near by) and loves to travel to Scuba Dive.  Other than that– you can bet she is taking a nap!

Childhood hero: I know it is cheesy, but I would have to say my mom.  She was always doing so much all at once.  Besides raising 6 kids and always having a dog while I was growing up, she entertained all the time, started a catering business, and worked out of the home too.  She was my best role model.

Take me through a day in the life of Carrie at the Zimmer.
I have always been excited to get to work to see what awaits me.  I have never had a boring day working for the Zimmer.  I work on many events simultaneously, from Zimmerpalooza, our annual art exhibit show&tell,  various theatre or movie events, our special Mother’s Day Luncheon, and of course our Gala event in November.  I love the rush of having to multi-task.  I enjoy working with the lay leaders and seeing their enthusiasm for our mission and what we bring to the community.  Additionally, I have the opportunity to assist Esther Netter in raising additional funds that are not necessarily tied to an event.  There are many specific details that go into each project and through phone calls, emails, and notes, it all comes together with the culmination of the event– my favorite day!

What’s your favorite exhibit at the Zimmer?
Rhythms of the World. Being a musician as a kid (I played violin and flute), I love that the Zimmer visitors can sit and make their own music and hear it instantaneously.  The computer program then changes the sound of the music to that of various countries, so the child learns about diversity. The written musical notes are the same but by changing the country of origin, for instance, the sounds of the instruments slightly change, and it becomes very different music.

What is the most memorable thing you have been involved in here?
It is hard to really pick one.  So I am going to pick two!  I was involved in producing these events from the very beginning.  I am proud to say we are currently working on the 12th Annual Discovery Award Dinner, and we have come a long way since planning our first Gala back in 2001.  I have the opportunity to work closely with the honorees,  so I enjoy giving them a party for their accomplishments in their lives. Sometimes I get to surprise them with their friends and family who produce memorable pages in the Tribute Ad Journal I produce for the event too. I enjoy having relationships and interactions with them after the dinner as they become more involved with the Zimmer Museum and our youTHink arts education initiative in the public schools.

The second event/fundraiser is our series of show&tell art exhibits.  This year will be our 8th event.  Producing an art exhibit with a different theme every year and working with the artists who donate their artwork 100% to the Zimmer has been extremely rewarding, exciting and fun.  Check it out:  I just love when we find great homes for the art!

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

Staff Spotlight: Arielle, Development & Communications Coordinator

It’s time again to meet another Zimmer staff member. Say hello to ARIELLE, our Development & Communications Coordinator!

Name: Arielle Sherman
Position: Development & Communications Coordinator
A little bit about her: Arielle was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, but it’s been quite a while since she’s lived here. After attending the University of California at Davis, where she earned her BA in Art History, Arielle moved up to Eugene, Oregon to begin a Master’s program in Arts Management with emphases in both Community Arts and Media Management. Most recently, Arielle worked as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Cinema Pacific film festival in Eugene.

Now, this Valley Girl is back. Her position at the Zimmer combines her passions for the community engagement through the arts, youth learning, and- let’s be honest- social media. When she’s not working, Arielle can be found traveling the world (and capturing every moment of it on camera), watching the Food Network, geeking out over marketing blogs, playing on one of her many iSomethings, wandering into a(nother) museum, or waiting in line at a coffee shop.
Childhood hero: Bobby Flay

Take me through a day in the life of Arielle at the Zimmer.
I wear quite a few hats at the Zimmer, and that’s what makes my job so exciting. Every day is different! On the development side, I process all of the money that comes through our door, from general donations, to memberships, to tickets for special events, to grants. That means I get the pleasure of sending thank you notes to every person who helps support us in one way or another. I also help with the planning and implementation of all of our special events like our Discovery Award Dinner and Zimmerpalooza.

On the communications side, I manage all of our marketing and PR. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook? That’s me giving you those updates. Read this blog? Check out our website? Get the Zimmerandum in your inbox once a month? That’s all me too.

But of course, that’s not all. At any given moment, I could be in a meeting about new marketing partnerships with local businesses or big corporations, working with artists for our show&tell exhibit, representing the Zimmer at community festivals with Jessica, or organizing a filming for a promotional video.

What’s your favorite exhibit at the Zimmer?
My favorite exhibit would have to be Main Street. When I was little, I LOVED to play house (because when you’re a kid, you want nothing more than to be a grown up, right?!). On Main Street, kids can become chefs at the Blue Bagel Café, librarians in Bubbie’s Bookstore, grocers in the Corner Market, and so much more! It’s also one of the best exhibits for kids to interact with their parents/caregivers, because they can role play too!

What is the most memorable thing you have been involved in here?
I’ve worked at the Zimmer for less than 6 months, and I already have so many incredible memories. I think one of the most memorable things so far for me has been an event we hosted with Moms & The City and Energizer called Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries- simply because of how quickly the event happened. I got a phone call one afternoon from a local mommy blogger who wanted to have an event she was co-hosting take place at the Zimmer… in a week… less than a week before our gala. Recipe for disaster, right? But the entire museum staff jumped right in to help with everything from catering to marketing, and the event was a huge success. It just goes to show that with the right energy and dedication (and people who respond to emails 24/7), we can pull off anything that comes our way. It definitely made me proud to work with such an incredible staff.

The best part, though, was when our security officers opened a package that was delivered to us, only to find a 7+ foot tall Energizer Bunny costume. Needless to say they were intrigued. Oh, life at a children’s museum. We aim to entertain.

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

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!

NEW FEATURE: Staff Spotlight!

There are so many fabulous people who work at the Zimmer, and it’s about time you meet some of them! Once a month, we’ll be featuring one staff member and the exciting things she/he is doing here. For the first Staff Spotlight, we introduce you to… JESSICA!

Name: Jessica Sachs
Position: Community Relations Manager
A little bit about her:  Jessica recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in Community Studies. With a degree in Community and having worked with children for the majority of her life, as both a camp counselor and babysitter, she was bound for the Zimmer Children’s Museum! Jessica loves heading out into the community with museum activities and information, so look for her at the next big children’s event or festival!
Childhood hero: Harry Potter

Take me through a day in the life of Jessica at the Zimmer.
For me, every day at the Zimmer is a new experience with new guests and new opportunities to learn. I like to spend as much time as I can inside the Museum, floating around and talking to guests about their visit and figuring out what I can do to ensure every child gets a fun, educational, and exciting day at the Zimmer. Unlike most adults I know in the working world, a big part of my job is to PLAY… which is totally awesome!! I love playing peek-a-boo with the VIBs (Very Important Babies), ordering whatever the “Chef’s Special” is at the Blue Bagel Café, and dancing up a storm during our Friday Freeze Dance Party! At the Zimmer, I wear a lot of hats (figuratively speaking) so when I’m not out on the floor, you can also find me typing away at my computer in the front office working on cross-promotional and partnership opportunities, making announcements over the intercom, on the phone booking birthday parties, coordinating volunteers, or out in the community at festivals and special events.

What’s your favorite exhibit at the Zimmer?
My favorite exhibit is the Wishing Wall. Not only is it a beautiful way to teach children and parents about far away places like Jerusalem, but it also teaches them about the global concept of Peace. While people leave their wishes for the world here at our replica of the Western Wall at the Zimmer, people from all over the world visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem to do the same. Whenever I stand at the Wishing Wall I feel a sense of unity, like there is a bond between all those who visit the wall at the Zimmer and all those who visit the wall in Jerusalem-that bond being our wishes for a peaceful and just world. When you look at the wall and the individually folded papers filling each crack of the wall with wishes, you cannot help but feel that each paper wish is filling in each crack in the foundation of the building blocks towards peace. Standing at the Wishing Wall I get the feeling that peace is possible. I hope the children (and adults!) who visit this exhibit remember their wishes and let that feeling of peace take hold so that it never fades.

What is the most memorable thing you have been involved in here?
The most memorable thing, in the year that I’ve been working at the Zimmer, are the long days and late nights working on the Grand Opening of the S. Mark Taper Aid and Rescue Center! Of course, because it wasn’t already crazy enough, I came down with a full-fledge case of strep throat right in the middle of the chaos. But, in the end, all of the hard work and effort was totally worth it because the new exhibit is a hit! This time period was very exciting for me because I got to witness first hand how the museum changes and evolves, and I cannot wait to see what else is in store! It is such a wonderful time to be a part of the Zimmer and I am beyond thrilled to be on board!

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