If you didn’t know, Boston Children’s Museum has six kids. Well, they’re not exactly kids, but rather teenagers, our BNY Mellon Teen Ambassadors. Although they have many responsibilities, one of them is to serve as experts, of a sort, on designing programs for our visitors, since out of all of our staff they are closest in age to our visiting children. Our Teen Ambassadors, or TAs for short, bring the Museum to the local community and the community to the Museum. They are each Boston Public School students, speak a language in addition to English and work at the Museum, year round, for two to three years. One of the important roles of the TAs is to help prepare the Museum’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. day celebration, which is completely youth designed and led.
When asking our TAs about what they know about Martin Luther King, Jr. their response sounds a little like this, “He had a dream, integration, and he died.” Then, we ask them, “what do you want to know?” Their questions are endless and many are profound. For example, this year one question was, “With everything Dr. King did, why does poverty still exist in this country?” Their questions serve as a guide for their research.
As the Teen Ambassador Program Manager my job is to find community leaders, college lectures and resources in our own community which can help answer all their questions. Although I am passionate, knowledgeable and educated about Civil Rights history, I also know that there are many other people in our own community who know even more than I do, and that our youth deserve to be exposed to that knowledge. We use Boston as our classroom and we find that our teachers surround us. A prime example: this is the second year that our TAs have met with the legendary Mel King, Boston educator, activist, writer and founder and director of the South End Technology Center.
The Teen Ambassadors spend three months preparing for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. When the day arrives, they demonstrate all that they have learned through their presentations of a rich series of family activities in the Museum.
Our TAs ask their own questions and they also ask questions of our visitors. On Martin Luther King, Jr. day do you talk to your children about Dr. King, and if so, what kinds of questions do your children ask you?