MISSOULA — The Families First Learning Lab is moving into the new Missoula Public Library, so we sat down and spoke with Executive Director Hannah Zuraff to learn more about the new space.
"We are moving into the new Missoula Public Library very soon we’re hoping to have an opening sometime in September so stay tuned for that. But we are in the process of moving from this tiny little space in the old Missoula Public Library to the new one right next door," she explained.
The Families First Learning Lab is looking to raise about $165,000 as it moves to the new, expanded location. So far, the group has raised about $138,000 and is looking for the public's help in garnering the over $27,000 remaining.
Zuraff says the new facility will be better able to help families with better services.
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"We are a 25-year-old organization and it’s gonna allow us to bridge or two parts of our mission -- which is kind of play and enrichment and then family education parenting classes. So, in our new facility will have three private consultation suites for families, a family education classroom. We’re gonna have an exhibit on the floor," she told MTN News.
"So, we'll have a rotating exhibit themes there for kids to look forward to and play with all of those are kind of focused on the lens of child development and social-emotional development. And we’re also a partner in this really cool room that mimics the Clark Fork River. It's going to be our water room. We’re really excited about that."
"We’re working on a long spectrum discovery area and the Clark Fork Coalition and the library for all these projects," Zuraff continued. "It’s going to be a really dynamic new facility and we’re excited to get out of our tiny little office that our four staff throughout the past few years has been sharing."
Zuraff says she's excited about the new exhibits that the Families First Learning Lab will have on display at the new Missoula Public Library.
"Traditionally we’ve done this new program called Community Connections...these pop-up exhibits that are kind of Mary Poppins like With a trunk well show up," she said. "You can see a space rug here behind me. One of them is our outer space exhibit. So we’re still going continue to have these pop-up exhibits like NASA or [a] doctor's office. We have one that focuses on kindness and writing notes to our grandparents that we will do with kids, but really on the main floor, we will have one primary exhibit."
The Families First Learning Lab is working on a capital funding campaign. Donations can be sent to PO Box 5626, Missoula, MT, 59806, or can be made online. Zuraff says and all of the money raised will go "straight to [making] our dreams come true in the same facility."