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The After-School Explorers Podcast: Local Legends and Hometown Heroes

By Karisa Cole, Out of School Time Program Instructor. 

The After-school Explorers is a group of students in grades 3-5 who live or attend schools in the Mid-North neighborhoods of Crown Hill, Highland Vicinity, Historic Meridian Park, Mapleton Fall Creek, Meridian Highland, and Historic Watson Park

The program offers a wide range of learning and enrichment activities that promote the academic, physical, emotional, and social development of youth. Explorers visit museum exhibits, participate in programs, accept STEAM challenges, take field trips to local colleges and universities, and establish relationships with peers. 

Each school year the After-school Explorers’ program goals and objectives are met through units of study that fall under an overarching theme. In the past, the After-school Explorers have written their own song and recorded an accompanying music video with GRAMMY nominated children’s musician, Zak Morgan. 

This school year, as a way to celebrate the new Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience® and connect with their own community, the After-school Explorers have created a podcast series titled “Local Legends and Hometown Heroes.” Throughout this series the After-school Explorers’ goal is to interview men, women, and children who have an impact on our community. Program participants nominate those who they would like to interview, as well as write their own interview questions.

Once a month the After-school Explorers invite a guest to meet at the museum to record the podcast. Oftentimes the interview begins with a few jokes to break the tension, and then the conversation starts flowing. So far this school year, the After-school Explorers have interviewed a trained EMT/Security Officer, a Corporate Partnership Manager, and members of the Indy Fuel Hockey Team! In the coming months podcasts will feature a studio owner/Yoga instructor, a meteorologist from the local news, and the museum’s Extraordinary Scientist-in-Residence, a world-renown paleobotanist.

This student-driven project has been put into practice with the guidance of two out-of-school-time instructors, Karisa and John. Through questioning and observation, the instructors have been able to see the need and desire to develop a trust and connection between program participants and community members. In order to do so, the instructors created opportunities for program participants to visit a local firehouse and talk with a firefighter, tour the control room where security officers watch cameras to keep museum-goers safe, and meet sports coaches who have dedicated their careers to improving the lives of youth through athletics. The podcast is just one piece of the curriculum, which encourages participants to identify their own interests and connect them to potential areas of study, demonstrate higher order thinking skills, demonstrate imagination and curiosity, and collaborate when working as a team.

You can subscribe to the After-school Explorers podcast for free on SoundCloud. Search TCM After School Explorers to listen to episodes, see photos of the After-school Explorers and their guests, and nominate a local legend or hometown hero!

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