Soynia Booth is a mother of two grown daughters and a grandmother of four children. For her, PISEC programs have offered a new and important way to connect with and help educate her grandchildren.

Takeaway message from Soynia Booth:

I guess I just like spending quality time with my family. When I can't afford to do things I'd like to do with my grandchildren, CASE allows me. I'm on a fixed income, and [when] the kids want to do something and I'm thinking, "Well, I can't afford to take them to the movies," but I can always call CASE and say, "CASE, I'd like to come to the Zoo," and they'll say, "Hey, no problem!" and we go to the Zoo. So, it allows me to do activities with the kids even when I don't have any money in my pocket.

Soynia values PISEC programs for their quality and affordability. They provide her with an accessible, educational alternative to TV and video games. As a grandmother, she's also grateful for the support she receives from PISEC staff in engaging her four young grandchildren.

Everything that the CASE program allows me to do is really enjoyable because, when I do the events, I do them with my older children and my grandkids. It gives me a chance to do family outings with them. It makes it affordable for me to go to the Zoo, sometimes two [or] three times a year. We've been to the Aquarium last year...which I had never been to. I wouldn't have been able to afford to take my grandkids with me, and I mean we had a really great time. At The Academy of Natural Sciences and The Franklin Institute, it's always a learning experience. We come out for their little workshops when we can attend, and I bring my grandkids. It's always a learning experience; my grandkids are teaching me some things I've forgotten. They give you quality time with your family. Instead of putting the kids in front of the TV with a PlayStation, we're coming here.

Unlike most PISEC participants, Soynia joined not through a CBO but as a result of a serendipitous conversation at the dentist's office with a CASE ambassador.

I was being nosy. There was a lady in the dentist's office and she was on her cell phone, calling people, asking them how many people wanted to go to the Zoo. She was trying to get a head count together, and I said, "Well, I would like to go!" And we exchanged phone numbers, and I came and I met her. She just told me how to sign up for the workshops and put my name on the list and I would get information in the mail, for when they were going to have workshops or we could have passes for the Zoo, and here I am.

Soynia appreciates PISEC's hands-on workshops, which she feels are a special benefit to her grandchildren.

I like the workshops, 'cause it gives me the chance to do hands-on activities with my grandkids. Of course you know grandparents don't have as much energy with the kids, so when you come to a workshop, there's somebody there to help you to help your grandkids do the different activities, and then they get to take some of their projects home with them, and I really enjoy that.

Soynia would highly recommend PISEC programs to her friends as a positive, educational, and low-cost way to spend quality time with family.

[The programs are] educational, exciting, fantastic, great. It's just an enjoyable program that allows you to spend time with your family, your kids, and your cousins, whoever you want to invite to come out with you for that day and have a great time...

With CASE we're able to do workshops with the family. It doesn't just limit you to once a year; it allows you to do these projects throughout the year. So it's an all-year-long project. It's not just seasonal.

Soynia says her grandchildren have become far more interested in museums and science since they started coming to PISEC programs. As a result, she and the children go to the museums on a regular basis. She and her family find museum outings rewarding and fun.

You see, I had the kids all week, and the first thing I'm thinking is, "Let's go to The Franklin Institute!" As many times as you could come to The Franklin Institute, there's always something that you've missed or something you want to see again. As soon as the kids came in here they said, "I want to go to the Heart!" (the giant walkthrough exhibit at The Franklin Institute). And that's a learning experience. So the more we come, the more it's instilled in them [and] the more they remember. Sometimes it's like, "out of sight, out of mind" with little kids. But, because we come so often, it sticks with them.

My daughter, who's never on time, manages to get to PISEC programs. I called this morning and said, "Well, make sure you're going to be there," and it gave her something to look forward to doing as a whole group, so now you have three generations. You have me, my daughter, and now my granddaughter.

When we did the Mummy Madness workshop, we came down and made the little beetle, out of the clay, and I actually even made one myself, so it makes you feel like a big kid, too. And like I said, it's not just somebody giving information. The hands-on projects are really great, too.

For Soynia and her family, cost is an issue, and an exciting, educational program that is affordable and fun is a valuable opportunity.

When they finished their hands-on project they were talking about it, saying, "Can we take it home?" They really get more excited than I do. Because I want to be hands-on with their learning and their growing—that makes it really nice and affordable. I keep saying "affordable," 'cause when you have more than one kid, it does become expensive.

Because PISEC has given so much to her family, Soynia is glad to volunteer to help out.

Whenever they call me to do a workshop, I will drop whatever I am doing and try and work around my schedule to do the workshop. Some people just want the free passes, but don't want to participate with the surveys or the workshop to keep it going. I'm willing to come down and volunteer an hour a week or two hours; I'm willing to do that.


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