Trinia Jones is a mother of four boys. Her ethnically mixed family attended PISEC events as a group, both parents and their four sons.

Takeaway message from Trinia Jones:

Before PISEC, we went to the playground and the park a lot. We played baseball, that kind of thing. And as far as science is concerned, beyond watching Discovery, we didn't do a lot of science-oriented activities.

After we got involved with PISEC, we went hiking more often. One day we were all in my son's bedroom window watching lightning, because we had this great view of the city, and they were talking about facts that they learned about lightning at The Franklin Institute. I noticed when we went to the library, they would want books that were more specific—books that specifically dealt with one subject, like maybe a certain type of frog, as opposed to just frogs.

Prior to PISEC, Trinia saw no reason to buy expensive tickets to a museum in hopes that her children might enjoy the experience. PISEC not only piqued the family's interest in science, but also introduced Trinia to the idea that one can buy a membership and enjoy free admission for an entire year.

The thing that I liked about it the most is it encouraged my husband and I to buy passes for our family every year, which we've done every year since. We'd choose one of the museums and we'd buy a membership for our family. And it encouraged us to do that because we always have fun at the different events. So we figured, "Okay, we can do this as a family." So that's one of the things that I remember most about it.

The museums were expensive. We have a large family; we have four sons, so that makes six of us. And you know, all of the [PISEC] events are free, so that was a big boost. And once we started participating, it was just fun and interesting.

For Trinia, it came as a happy surprise that the staff of a free program could be pleasant, welcoming, and attentive.

I like that the programs are free. I like that the people involved with the programs are very helpful and kind. Like the one lady who I email at The Franklin Institute—she always gets right back to me. I really appreciate that. Sometimes when things are free, people treat you like you owe them something. But, I never get that attitude or that feeling from any of the people who are participating in these events.

The program is designed to encourage families to learn about science and to have fun while doing it. And the programs offer various activities that are not only fun but also educational. The last one we went to at the Aquarium, about sharks, was really interesting.

While Trinia herself was not particularly interested in science, her sons had showed an interest. PISEC allowed her to support her boys' science interests and even expand upon them.

I've found that my children—since we have all boys—they just love science, and I was never really interested in science in school. My oldest son, who's now 20, he really loved dinosaurs. So his interest was in dinosaurs, and then my next son, he was more interested in nature, like trees and plants and that kind of thing. So having the two boys with different interests in different aspects of science, one might want to go to The Franklin Institute and the other might want to go to the Natural Sciences museum. So, it would be difficult because we couldn't go to both. And this program, and my children's interest in it, opened up a whole door for me. And you know, it's been enriching; it's been fulfilling. It's really been great.

Once Trinia and her children got involved with PISEC programs, their awareness and interest in the natural world expanded. Soon, her children were applying information from museums to real-world settings.

When we went to West Virginia to visit my father-in-law, they would always point out things that they remembered, like, "Remember when the lady from the Academy of Natural Sciences told us about butterflies? The butterflies do this, or do that," and they would always teach me or remind me of something that they learned.

As a result of their involvement in PISEC, Trinia and her family discovered that science exploration could be as much fun as the movies and far more meaningful.

You might go to the movies together. You might go to a theme park together, which, in all reality, isn't educational. It's not something that you keep with you; you know it's just a memory. But, when we go to the museums, they learn things that they can apply somewhere in their lives, whether it's in school or whether it's something at home. So I think the educational part of it makes it...different.

We'd talk about the subject we were planning to explore before we arrived. For instance, before we went to the last event about sharks, we talked about it. And one of my sons, who loves sharks, was telling me some things he knew.

Well, when we went, my husband was away in Washington on a trip, so afterwards, the two boys who went with us, they couldn't wait till my husband came home and they shared everything. And they brought these packets home, different little activities like "Make a Shark Tooth Necklace," and all of these facts, and they shared all that with my husband.

People are extremely excited in my house after an event, and they want to know, "When are we going back? When are we going to go again?"

Without PISEC, Trinia and her family would never have thought to visit a museum. Now, the family buys memberships each year, and brings along friends when they visit. They have also begun to take part in science learning opportunities outside of PISEC.

The educational aspect has been fabulous—the opportunity to go to the various different places more frequently than we could have afforded to go on our own. The encouragement that it gave us to choose one place and get a yearly membership was fabulous because my children now look forward to these things, and they tell their friends about it, so now I have friends that want to go. I think that had we not been involved in this program, I can't see us ever having even thought to get a membership to the Natural Sciences Museum. You know, maybe of course the Zoo, but not The Franklin Institute, because in your mind you think, [once] you've seen one thing you've seen it, but the exhibits are consistently changing. But, I don't think that I would have even done that if we had not gone to this program.

My sons have participated in a library-based program called Science in the Summer. They went to the Delaware County Science Fair, and my son made a project and it was in the fair.

When my husband and I went away, just the two of us, to Niagara Falls, we actually went to the Aquarium there. And that would not be something we would have done in the past, because as an adult, I'm thinking, "Why would I want to go to that aquarium?"

When we go away with the children, we can use our reciprocal membership. And my children have gone to the museums in Washington various times because of their love for science.


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