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Volunteer cover photo

Volunteer Corner 

Meet the volunteers on the frontlines for science education

Charlie Award
Congratulations, Charlie!

Congratulations to Imagination Station volunteer Charlie Antal! He was recognized May 17 at Medical Mutual's Outstanding Senior Volunteer Awards for his dedication and contribution to Imagination Station. We appreciate all Charlie does to keep the science center running smoothly, and we are grateful he has chosen to give Imagination Station his time and energy. Thank you, Charlie! 

(l. to r., Aubry Hall, Membership and Volunteer Manager; Charlie Antal; and Kim Sidwell, Director of Institutional Advancement)

Retired engineer brings talent and time to science centerIST Demo at WCDPL 1

When Alan Jaffee retired from his career as an engineer with Johns Manville Corps in Waterville, he knew he wanted to do something with science education. He began independently doing science demos in schools and judging science fairs for the Ohio Academy of Science, but when he had a lull between teaching and demos, he decided to share his time and love of science with Imagination Station.

Alan’s first day as a volunteer was working Visitor Services and from there, he says, it was “kind of feeling my way.” Over the last year and a half, his contribution has grown and evolved into community outreach where he does short demos and assists at workshops and events. As a former STEM professional, Alan put together an outline of what a STEM professional could do as a volunteer for Imagination Station. This outline has proved helpful when it comes to assigning roles and jobs to volunteers.

When he’s working inside the science center, Alan can be found doing cart demos on the floor and helping out in IDEA Lab. He says, “I enjoy the challenge of trying to explain the science in two to four minutes.” Alan described the satisfaction of being able to be Mr. Wizard or Bill Nye, or breaking the science down for visitors when working in the Gravity Room. Volunteering at the science center isn’t donating his time, he says, “It’s coming in here to have some fun and share my love for something.”

In his “spare time,” Alan serves on the Board of Directors at his synagogue and is a swim official with USA Swimming. But what brings him here, he says, is “the science, what I went to school for. And it’s the smile on a kid’s face, or recognition they’ve learned something. That’s why I’m doing it.”

Imagination Station is fortunate to have the talent, knowledge and experience of Alan Jaffee brings to his role as a volunteer.

Herm Dunwald Named Outstanding Community Volunteer 

We know our volunteers are some of the best in the area, and now it’s confirmed! Herm Dunwald, a longtime volunteer with Imagination Station, was honored November 9 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Northwest Ohio Chapter as a 2017 Outstanding Community Volunteer.

Herm is one of Imagination Station’s most dedicated volunteers and has been with the science center since its COSI Toledo days. He can usually be found with his traveling cart, bringing science to life with fun activities out on the floor of the science center. 

A former science elementary school teacher and General Science high school teacher, Herm says he loves the whole atmosphere of Imagination Station and the creative ideas that are explored through hands-on exhibits and programs. Herm’s favorite part of volunteering is interacting with visitors. He says, “If I can, I like to get at least one ‘wow’ out a group.” These ‘wows’ aren’t reserved for only children. Herm notes, “I’ve had as many grown-ups be wowed as kids.”

Herm and his wife Denise have been married 47 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. We are grateful for his years of dedication and service to Imagination Station.

Volunteers fill a vital role in helping the science center provide its many programs and services both on site and off site. The science center is always looking for volunteers. Volunteering with Imagination Station is a fantastic way to contribute your gifts, whatever they may be, and serve as an inspiration to others. Just like Herm!

Share your Gifts

Volunteering is the best way to bridge the gap between your skills and passions and the needs of our community. At Imagination Station, you are on the frontlines for hands-on science education in our community, and you will find that your volunteer experience will not only be fun, but also inspirational to others!

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