The Kaleidoscope Discovery Center (KDC) is saying goodbye to Kristin Allison, their current program coordinator, but is welcoming Danielle Jones to fill the position at the end of the month.
The Kaleidoscope Discovery Center (KDC) is saying goodbye to their current program coordinator, but is welcoming new blood to fill the position at the end of the month.
Danielle Jones will be taking over as program coordinator at the end of the month, but is already in the office working with current coordinator Kristin Allison before the latter transitions out of the KDC. Danielle is a graduate of Missouri S&T, as well as a former Phelps County Fair Queen, and is looking forward to officially starting her new career.
As she trained Danielle for her new duties, Kristin fondly spoke about how she started working at the KDC.
“The place I was with before had closed it’s doors,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue working or stay at home with the kids.” Kristin said she explored the position, learning about KDC’s mission statement and within a few weeks of hearing about it, was already working to bring new program and classes to Rolla’s youth.
“I decided this is something that might be kind of fun,” she said. Spending the past year helping to enrich the lives and education of local students, Kristin said the job spurred her to grow in ways she’d never anticipated, and provided her with a wealth of memories to take with her.
“I’d probably do it again,” she said with a smile. Kristin said her favorite moments at the KDC involved watching the students come through the doors and be exposed to new ideas and come up with their own, while expanding their own knowledge.
“It’s those lightbulb moments,” she said. “Watching them progress onwards, it’s a lot of fun.” She gave the example of a writing class taught at the center, seeing how the student’s writing changed and matured over time.
In addition to being a part of different students’ educational journey, she said she is going to greatly miss the volunteers who made the experience possible.
“The memories I’ll take with me are the people that came here and volunteered their time and taught the kids, meeting those people and seeing how excited they were to be here and teach these kids all those new concepts,” she said.
Kristin said that, at first, the process to find someone to fill the position was “a little rough,” because they were trying to figure out what kind of people would work well with the KDC. Their search led them to Danielle, who first heard about the KDC on the day of her graduation from Missouri S&T.
“It happened kind of fast,” said Danielle, explaining how her department chair brought up the KDC to her at graduation, saying it would be a good place for her to explore her options. Once the program coordinator position opened up in July, Danielle stepped in to fill the role.
“I thought it was a really cool idea,” she said. “I’ve always been passionate about community service and helping the community, especially with kids. This was just a cool opportunity and I’m excited to see what we do this year.
Danielle’s educational background is in biological science. She said that while the subject won’t necessarily help with office duties, her background will prove beneficial in bringing further programs to the center.
“A lot of what we offer now is robotics and engineering based, so I might be able to bring in new people to offer different programs that deal with he environment and biology.”
Beyond new programs, Danielle said she wants to help the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center engage more with the surrounding community, keeping up with the events around town and making their presence and face known.
“I want to get people excited about coming in here and seeing what we do and what we’re all about…and help this place blossom,” she said. “We’ve actually been bouncing around several different ideas with tons of different things. We’ve been talking about doing a ball to help raise money.”
Kristin and Danielle will be working together until the end of September, when Danielle will fully take over the role of program coordinator. Originally from De Soto Missouri, Danielle said she’s looking forward to becoming an integrated member of the Rolla family.
“As cheesy as it sounds, I really fell in love with he community and the area,” she said. “I wanted to do more to help in this community, I think there’s a strong bond between the people in this area.”
The Kaleidoscope Discovery Center is currently in the middle of offering after-school programs for students. As Danielle spends more time at the center, the number of programs available to students will increase. Information on signing up for classes can be found through their website.