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Discovery Center internationally recognized for work during pandemic

ASTC Discovery Center Award
The Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award given to the Discovery Center of Springfield for community service. Photo provided by the Discovery Center.

The Discovery Center of Springfield, Missouri is a STEM interactive center for children.

Early in the pandemic, the Discovery Center began offering a free daycare for children of healthcare workers.

That effort has earned the center the Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award for community service .

The award is from the Association of Science and Technology Center, an international nonprofit group that most children’s and science museums are a part of.

“When you get the attention and recognition of your peers that are doing the same work day in and day out, it’s extremely meaningful to our team," said Rob Belvins, executive director of the Discovery Center..

The center has won several awards for their work during the pandemic and their new STEM preschool that opened last year.

Blevins believes helping prepare children for kindergarten is important.

“Having that ability to start with them earlier is going to produce even better outcomes, so we are super excited for that," he said.

Although the preschool is tuition based, there are scholarships and sliding scale prices available.

Meghan McKinney is an undergraduate journalism student at Missouri State University. She works as a news reporter and announcer for KSMU. Her passions, other than journalism, are psychology, music, sign languages and dancing. She also runs a local music page on Facebook called "SGF Playlist."