Newsletter April 2020
From the Director
By Tracy Bittle
I am writing to you during unprecedented times and your children’s museum, Leonardo’s Children’s Museum is currently closed due to the COVID19 pandemic. The safety of children and all of our guests in the number one top priority to Leonardo’s. On the afternoon of March 14, 2020, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life. Spring Break and March income is our largest of the entire fiscal year. Although challenging, we have to look forward and beyond this crisis. I truly believe that ‘this too shall pass.’ Our ‘normal’ will be different, but we will get through it. Staying positive is critical.
As a family support and educational facility our organization is working to continue to serve you. Please pray that we can play and learn together again soon, but in the meantime, we are working to provide materials for your family while you are in quarantine. Continue to follow CDC guidelines and keep your family safe from illness. So that when quarantine is lifted—we will be ready to hit the ground running!
Please see my list of activities called Tracy’s Tips to Surviving COVID19 CRAZINESS! This is my attempt to offer ideas on how to spend this time that we have now but were not expecting. Also, please look at the list of websites and programs that you can use as reliable sources of information and activities while you are relying on ‘virtual’ experiences during quarantine.
I highly recommend that we all think about how we talk about this crisis to children. This is scary and uncertain it so many ways possible. Young people are very perceptive and pick up on our nonverbal messages that we do not even realize. Children and youth have anxiety. We must address their anxiety. As we look to the Center of Disease Control for guidelines on COVID19—also look at their recommendations on children and anxiety. Remember, sometimes children do not simply state their problem. They may act out or demonstrate their stress in unusual ways. Try to be sensitive to this and work to remain calm and supportive to children during this time. My formal graduate training is in the field of Public Health. This is not a time in my life I expected to use this formal training, but blessings come in mysterious ways. Be very careful about the information you read during this time about this virus. Look at the science and evidence-based data. Limit your time in front of news reports and social media—it can tend to trigger some reactions due to our fear. Consciously look to supportive, positive places for your interaction with the world. There are many good things happening during this crisis—focus on that. And be sure to share THAT with children! Foster their honest, giving natures and then celebrate those.
List of great websites for kids:
Leonardo’s Health as an Organization after COVID19
Keep your body healthy---and your local nonprofits healthy!
Our society is very occupied with physical health and preventing the spread of germs. But on a different note-what about the health of our economy? As a businessperson one should always have emergency policies and plans. That often involves protecting customer, personnel and having cash reserves for set time periods in case of the inability to generate revenue. This is especially true with nonprofit, mission driven organizations, but is very difficult. As stewards and service-oriented leaders we tend to put everything into the mission and serving our target population. The next year will determine who was prepared and who wasn’t for a pandemic.
Leonardo’s Children’s Museum is a nonprofit, community driven organization. It has a very active Board of Directors and three fulltime administrative staff. Then without the help of over 30 part-time staff and hundreds of volunteers this organization would NOT be what is it today. During this crisis the Executive Director has met with the Officers of the Board of Directors weekly (remotely). The next Board Meeting will likely be held through video conferencing. The prospects of opening in April is not good. What does that mean for the organization’s financial health? It means that over $150,000 of revenue is lost. Our business is very seasonal. March is our highest month for income and April ranks in the top 25%. Leonardo’s has some cash reserves, but predicting their longevity is a very difficult prediction to make. Daily the Executive Director meet with agencies across the state to carry on best business practices during shutdown. Administrative staff is maintaining the grounds and providing care for the animals. But IF this crisis goes on much longer, the health of our organization is at stake. Nevertheless, I am grateful that Leonardo’s is maintaining and trying to outlast this pandemic.
Please, consider donating to support the payroll of crucial staff (such as those caring for the animals and facility) and other expenses. Utilities, insurance premiums, food and medical care for the animals, maintenance repairs and the care of Adventure Quest do NOT stop due to COVID19. However, our income HAS stopped due to COVID19.
It Is Rotation Time at OK Museum Network!
Tracy’s Tips to Surviving COVID19 CRAZINESS!