Family at play

A family at the V.I. Children’s Museum in Buccaneer Mall, St. Thomas.

ST. THOMAS — The V.I. Children’s Museum is in need of some help to remain open for the community.

First opened in 2016, the museum was badly affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Their downtown location was destroyed, and the VICM team rebuilt the entire museum two more times themselves without any financial assistance outside of generous community donors. Currently in Buccaneer Mall, it is now more conveniently located with plenty of parking.

Like many nonprofits and businesses, the team is now battling the effects of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and has had to alter their operations to keep their staff and visitors as safe as possible. This change has drastically decreased the number of visitors to the museum, greatly affecting the nonprofit’s cash flow. As expected, corporate donations have also taken a hit, as some companies struggle to retain employees and prepare for an uncertain future.

“This is where the community comes in,” said VICM Executive Director Chantel Hoheb. “And to be sure, our community extends way past the Virgin Islands. I’m hoping Virgin Islanders all over the world will help share and contribute to our upcoming matching campaign.”

In September 2020, 87 donors helped the VICM raise $8,250 during GlobalGiving’s LittlexLittle Matching Campaign. The museum is hoping to double the participation and donations in the March GlobalGiving campaign taking place through March 12. The online global platform allows people to make donations toward non-profit projects. During the LittlexLittle Campaign, donations made through GlobalGiving will be matched 50 percent for donations up to $50.

In addition to the museum itself, the team has developed programs to reach youth out in the community, such as their At-Home Discovery Kits. They hope to create a mentorship program, host more STEM-based activities to get younger children interested in technology and encourage a love of learning by getting the community more involved in the literacy of the island residents.

For more information, connect with them on social media and visit their website www.vichildrensmuseum.org.