Delia Ramirez is a mother of three and a long-time PISEC participant. Over the years, her daughter's special interest in science blossomed through PISEC; today Delia's daughter is a CASE ambassador and an Outward Bound participant and is planning a science-related career.

Takeaway Message from Delia Ramirez:

I wasn't that good at science. I didn't know much about animals and stuff like that, so I like the fact that I learn a lot. The events are nice—I love them, especially because it's a family thing, and that's what makes it nicer. Plus, we have little ones growing up, and they teach them how to grow together and especially learning about science—that's the best thing.

When Delia and her children first came to PISEC events, they had had almost no experience with hands-on science. Today, Delia's 17-year-old daughter is a CASE ambassador. For Delia, it is the family orientation of PISEC programs that is particularly attractive. It offers something for people of all ages.

The best PISEC experience we had was at the Aquarium, when they swim with the sharks inside [the tank] and all the families are there. We watched the divers swimming next to the sharks. It was fun. I'd be afraid to go in next to a shark. They say that sharks don't eat people, and I said, "Oh my God, I didn't even know!" I learned so many things about sharks that I didn't even know. So I think that was a fun one for me.

And they gave us a shark tooth. I didn't know they lose so many teeth—I was stunned by that program, that show. All my family came together to the program. It was real nice. Everybody said they had a nice time, and it was beautiful. Everybody loved it; we all shared...That was the first time my whole family got together.

My daughter is now a CASE ambassador. Years ago, though, she was just participating in the program. They used to send invitations out to the families in our CBO, so that's how it started. And now my daughter is an ambassador. This is going to be her third year. She's going to be an ambassador again, and she loves it.

I just love it. I just wish I had kids now. I have nieces and nephews, and my son is going to be 23, and my daughter is an ambassador—she's 17. But I just wish I had more kids, and more grandkids, so I could bring them to the program—it's so fun to see the faces on the kids when they're learning about science.

It may have been Delia who first brought her family to PISEC, but it was her daughter's special interest in science that really engaged the family. Now, Delia herself has found a new interest in science, and her daughter's interest has turned into a career direction.

I'm not too good at science. My daughter and my son love science. That's why I started to love science. I got interested because my daughter, the one that's an ambassador, she loved science even before PISEC. I said, "Why does she love science so much?" That's why I started getting interested in these programs. My husband, he liked it because he never spent time with the kids in school, so the PISEC program was a time for him to spend with the kids. When he came to this program, he spent time with the kids. And it was nice.

I didn't know what science was, so for me, it wasn't that interesting. But now I see it differently, especially now that I see my daughter is so interested in science. She's a scientific girl. She just went up to the mountains to Outward Bound, [in] North Carolina for a 20-day hiking thing. She was kind of scared, but she made it, and they gave us a certificate. They sent me a letter yesterday. They said she was brave—yeah, they said she did everything. She brought a little stick from over there, to remind her that she was in North Carolina, and she came with pictures and everything. She loved it. She said she loved the country, but I see that she loves science. She just loves science.

Before PISEC, Delia didn't have the tools to support her daughter's special interest in science. Now, she sees the program as an important element in her daughter's growth and as potentially valuable to all teens.

Before PISEC, our family went to the lake and the beaches, that's it, or to parks and stuff like that. We didn't go to museums until we came to the programs. But now I can see how important it is. My daughter was in North Carolina during the CASE graduation, and I was there to pick up her certificate. You know, I said, "I can't miss this event." I just love it, I love it. But I think science is important—I didn't think it was that important, but now I know it is.

I think this program is nice for the teenagers. I like the fact that they could focus on a career, too, because I see it as a career. Because ever since my daughter started this program, it's motivated her to work, and to look more to the future. And it's a career motivation for the young kids, too.

Because her family has little money, Delia never saw museums as within her reach, except through school field trips. She sees PISEC as a way to enrich her own life, her family's life, and the lives of her extended family and neighbors.

When my kids went to school, I didn't know much about museums. But they used to take my kids to museums on school trips. I learned about science museums, The Franklin Institute and all, and I used to love them. I heard about the program and I said, "Oh, this is the museum I like to go to," but I couldn't afford to, because my life is kind of hard, as a lower-income family, so it's not easy to come to the museum.

It was nice when I heard about the program. I said, "Oh, this is free! We can go as a family." I invited a lot of neighbors too. It's been a great experience. I think the museum programs are more fun than most of our family activities, because they make it fun for the kids. They have activities and they really go into what they say and do. With PISEC you know that they're really going to do what they say they're going to do. Sometimes they send you a little card in the mail, they say they're going to do activities with the kids, and they really do it.

I say to my neighbors, if they have an event, "You come along with me, and you'll get an invitation, then you can go to the next event." I got all my neighbors to go, and they just love it. "Oh, we're going to the museum; they sent me a letter. Are you going?" And then it would spread all through the neighborhood, and I said, "Yes, I'm going." And they said, "Can we invite people?" and I said, "You could invite your family to come along." So it's nice, that's all I can say—that it's a nice program.


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