Members of the Homewood Science Center gathered for a photo during Summer Fest. Serving are, front row from left, Michelle Nelson, Allison Wagner, Stephanie Applebaum and Kin Kong, with, back row from left, Babajide Falae, Jeff McClain, Edie Dobrez, Brittany Armbruster, Phil Lee, John Sowa and Jay Heiferman. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
Education, Local News

Supporters help raise nearly $70,000 for Homewood Science Center

An estimated 175 people came out July 20 to support the Homewood Science Center at its Summer Fest party, helping to raise nearly $70,000 to support science programs.

The party moved indoors this year to Idlewild Country Club with entertainment from DJ Phil Lee.

The Homewood Science Center, 18022 Dixie Highway, marked its seventh year of operations under Executive Director Edie Dobrez, who works with a 10-member board. The center’s programs offer students of all ages, parents and teachers ways to learn and teach about science through hands-on learning and science instruction. HSC gears its curricula around science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). 

“I am pleased to announce that we are just a few hundred dollars short of our $70,000 goal. Proceeds include ‘in kind’ auction donations, ticket sales, auction proceeds and sponsor ticket sales,” Dobrez said.

“This is a record year largely because of the generosity of 87 sponsors whose donations were then matched by the Farley Family Foundation. Philanthropic research shows that match challenges increase giving and because of the Farley Family Foundation we were able to put the science of philanthropy into practice with much success,” she said. 

  • Gathered around the table are, from left, Paschal Nydouya, Kobie Douglas, Patty Douglas, Elston Terrell, and Daria Terrell. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
    Gathered around the table are, from left, Paschal Nydouya, Kobie Douglas, Patty Douglas, Elston Terrell, and Daria Terrell. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
  • Steve Kelly and Stephanie Applebaum use the QR code readers on their phones to place bids on several auction items offered at Summer Fest. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
    Steve Kelly and Stephanie Applebaum use the QR code readers on their phones to place bids on several auction items offered at Summer Fest. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
  • Enjoying each other's company are from left, Angela Mesaros, David Otto, Alex Coyle and Rachel Harris. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
    Enjoying each other's company are from left, Angela Mesaros, David Otto, Alex Coyle and Rachel Harris. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
  • Enjoying the party are, from left, Lizzie Gallagher Holewinski, Alex Gallagher and Sean Gallagher. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
    Enjoying the party are, from left, Lizzie Gallagher Holewinski, Alex Gallagher and Sean Gallagher. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
  • Homewood Science Center Executive Director Edie Dobrez, welcomes guests Janna Henry, Carrie Bonanotte, director of the Bel Canto Choir and other musical programs, and her husband Joey Bonanotte. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
    Homewood Science Center Executive Director Edie Dobrez, welcomes guests Janna Henry, Carrie Bonanotte, director of the Bel Canto Choir and other musical programs, and her husband Joey Bonanotte. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
  • Carlie Rohrer, a summer art camp instructor at the Homewood Science Center, shows an example of what kids at HSC work on. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
    Carlie Rohrer, a summer art camp instructor at the Homewood Science Center, shows an example of what kids at HSC work on. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
  • Enjoying the evening at the Homewood Science Center benefit were from left, Deborah Okleshen, Laura Murray, Marcellus Marsh, Lauri Marsh, and Shawanda Jennings. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
    Enjoying the evening at the Homewood Science Center benefit were from left, Deborah Okleshen, Laura Murray, Marcellus Marsh, Lauri Marsh, and Shawanda Jennings. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
  • Enjoying the variety of foods at Summer Fest are, from left, Dodie Wains, Lisa Komorowski and Christine Roberts with Nicole Rodriguez at far right. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
    Enjoying the variety of foods at Summer Fest are, from left, Dodie Wains, Lisa Komorowski and Christine Roberts with Nicole Rodriguez at far right. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
  • Members of the Homewood Science Center gathered for a photo during Summer Fest. Serving are, front row from left, Michelle Nelson, Allison Wagner, Stephanie Applebaum and Kin Kong, with, back row from left, Babajide Falae, Jeff McClain, Edie Dobrez, Brittany Armbruster, Phil Lee, John Sowa and Jay Heiferman. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
    Members of the Homewood Science Center gathered for a photo during Summer Fest. Serving are, front row from left, Michelle Nelson, Allison Wagner, Stephanie Applebaum and Kin Kong, with, back row from left, Babajide Falae, Jeff McClain, Edie Dobrez, Brittany Armbruster, Phil Lee, John Sowa and Jay Heiferman. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

HSC offers kids free STEM Saturday programs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The center will be accepting applications in August for the fall conservation ecology internship for middle school students. It’s Girls STEAM Success Club program for middle and high school girls had a successful year.

Dobrez said HSC revived its field trip as the country came out of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We have served 1,800 students so far this year and we are gearing up to serve more students this fall and winter,” she explained.  Sessions are specially designed for PreK to Grade 2, Grades 3-5, and PreK-Grade 8.

The program has focused on engineering skills centered on roller coasters, playing off Homewood’s connection. John Miller, who lived in Homewood, designed a device in 1910 that prevented roller coaster cars from rolling backward in the event of a pull chain breakage. Kids watch a video about his invention and take a 3D “ride” on a roller coaster that are the impetus for them to build their own roller coasters using recycled materials.

Dobrez and her staff are now branching out from the Miller invention. 

“We are developing new topics and experiences for (field trips) because educators are asking,” she said. Besides the engineering, HSC offers Imagination Playground, Nanoscience and STEAM Studio activities for field trips.

Staff is already planning for the HSC-sponsored “Walk Walton” event on Oct. 22 at the Izaak Walton Preserve. Programs focusing on the preserve and outdoor activities are highlights of the annual event. 

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