Museum CEO Turns Weeks of Training and Practice Into $20,000 for CDMoD

October 18, 2022

Cindy Burreson wins Grand Prize at RAP Foundation Desert Fast Pitch Competition

Each year the RAP Foundation, NPO Centric and their generous sponsors host the Desert Fast Pitch Competition, where representatives from Valley non-profits take part in an eight-week course that gives them the opportunity to develop fundraising materials and ultimately emerge from the training with a three-minute pitch that each will compete with.

This year, of the 27 applicants, 12 were selected to compete at the Semi-Final Level and the final 6 competed for a total of over $65,000 for their charities.  Cindy Burreson, CEO of the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert, was the winner of the Grand Prize of $20,000 to help a project at the Museum that will make a notable difference in the lives of a segment of the population that often goes overlooked.

Burreson’s pitch celebrated the fact that the Museum is reopening as a Certified Autism Center 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 a child who may be experiencing a sensory meltdown and nurture them using fidget toys, weighted blankets and other such tools that evoke calm.”  They will have sensory bags available with things like noise-reducing headphones, sunglasses and maps that describe the type and level of stimulation of each of the Museum’s exhibits as well.  “Low Sensory Rooms and these other tools have a huge impact on whether these families will even visit a museum like ours, so we are taking it seriously.  We will be a sensory inclusive venue,” said Burreson.   VIP badges will also be included in the Sensory Bags to discreetly let the Museum’s Autism Certified Staff know that they have a patron with a sensory need.

The Children’s Discovery Museum is a space which allows children to experience joy and laughter, to make happy memories with their families, and forget about the grown-up problems of the world.  It gives children a place to explore, imagine, learn, and express in creative ways.  Children’s museums, in general, are popular, yet neutral, sources of information, attract a diverse cross-section of people and provide shared experiences through interpretative and interactive exhibits. They are uniquely positioned to help reverse stigma and discrimination. In a time when the world is faced with trauma, the presence of a strong children’s museum in the desert community will provide a safe-haven to help families re-establish the normalcy of childhood.

The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert plans to reopen in 2023 with new exhibits and programming.  Community members are invited to make donations toward the Museum’s reopening in 2023 with new exhibits and programming.   All efforts are welcome. Please give today by visiting Checks may be mailed to CDMoD 71-701 Gerald Ford Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270.

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The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is a valuable community resource for children and families to experience the joy of learning about themselves and the world around them. The museum inspires personal growth by engaging curiosity and creativity through hands-on explorations of exhibits and programs. Learning: The Museum values being a space which nurtures thoughtful, hands-on learning in a creative and engaging environment that celebrates learning as an innately joyful activity. Family: The Museum values being a place where multigenerational family members can grow their relationships through comfortably exploring, sharing, and learning together. Community: The Museum values being a community resource and a welcoming safe space where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together to share experiences while learning about themselves and the world about them.