Cindy Burreson, CEO of the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert, won the RAP Foundation’s Desert Fast Pitch competition this year, which included the grand prize of $20,000.
Each year, the RAP Foundation, NPO Centric and their generous sponsors organize the Desert Fast Pitch Competition, where representatives from non-profit organizations in the Valley take part in an eight-week course that gives them the opportunity to develop equipment fundraiser and ultimately exiting the training with a three-minute pitch that everyone will compete with, according to a CDMoD press release.
Burreson’s pitch celebrated the museum reopening as a certified center for autism and noted that the prize money will be used to create tools for neurodivergent families to enhance their visits to CDMoD.
Their priority will be to build a private low sensory room which, Burreson explained, “is a space for caregivers to bring in a child who may be experiencing a sensory crisis and feed them using fidget toys, weighted blankets and other similar tools that evoke calm”.
They will have sensory bags available with things like noise canceling headphones, sunglasses, and cards that also outline the type and level of stimulation for each of the museum’s exhibits.
“Low sensory rooms and these other tools have a huge impact on when these families visit a museum like ours, so we take it seriously. We will be a sensory-inclusive place,” Burreson said.
VIP badges will also be included in the sensory bags to discreetly inform the museum’s autism-certified staff that they have a customer with a sensory need.
The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert plans to reopen in 2023 with new exhibits and programming, although an exact date has yet to be announced.
The museum was scheduled to reopen in December 2022, but the reopening schedule has been delayed due to two main factors: fundraising and manufacturing.
“We still need to raise just over $1 million, and there are supply shortages that may affect builds,” Burreson said.
Community members are encouraged to donate for the museum’s reopening in 2023 with new exhibits and programming.
All efforts are welcome and anyone can donate by visiting cdmod.org. Checks can also be mailed to CDMoD 71-701 Gerald Ford Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270.
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