Volunteer Spotlight: Jim Pyers with the World of Wonders Science Museum

Jim Pyers and Jen Young (safely) demonstrating an experiment with fire

Jim Pyers and Jen Young (safely) demonstrating an experiment with fire

Volunteers are the heart of many nonprofit organizations. They find meaningful work in giving back to the community, and can feed their passions through volunteering. This section is dedicated to praising all they do by spotlighting a different volunteer in each Lodi Live print edition.

Jim Pyers has dedicated himself to the World of Wonders Science Museum (WOW) since the museum’s beginning in 2009. If you’ve visited the WOW, you’ve probably met Jim and you’ve definitely seen his contributions to the museum. Jim is retired and likes to spend his time building exhibits or “tinkering.” Next time you’re at the WOW look around… a good 80 to 90% of the exhibits around the museum were built by Jim. When it comes to science, Jim is like a big kid, and being part of the WOW is his creative outlet. With fun, out-of-the-box experiments- like a gun that shoots rolls of toilet paper or a hover-board made from a leaf blower, he gets to explore science with others who share his excitement. When the museum was just starting out and didn’t have the funds to rent exhibits, Jim was one of the main reasons the museum was able to continue to thrive; the exhibits he created and shared at the WOW helped the museum to keep its doors open and remain true to their mission of hands-on, science “edutainment” (education through entertainment). Jim  loves being able to share his passion for science with the community, especially kids. That’s why we’re putting the spotlight on Jim and thanking him for his contribution to our community.

Lodi Live: What got you started volunteering at the WOW Museum?

Jim: Because I was trying to bring science education to kids before the WOW, before I ever knew about it. You know I read articles in the paper about how there’s a lack of science in school and kids need science. So I started doing things. I built the first two exhibits, that are both still at the WOW today, I built those for schools but they didn’t want them. Then the WOW came along and they needed a little of this and a little of that and I said, “Well I have some of this." I had the desire to bring science to kids and this just all came together at the right time.

Lodi Live: Why do you think science for kids is so important?

Jim: Well my gosh, like I tell kids sometimes before some of our sessions, what if you woke up one morning to a bare walled room. There was no television, no computers, none of that fun stuff you love because there wasn’t scientist? We take all of this stuff for granted and it’s so important.

Lodi Live: What have you enjoyed the most about being at the WOW?

Jim: Well I like being on the floor with the people. The best day I’ve had was when we first started out. I had a table with all kinds of stuff on it, you know, little experiments and things, and I would show it to kids. One day a little girl came up and I showed her all the things I did and then she left. Then she came back and she brought her little brother and she told him everything that I said and was teaching him. I thought that was so cool. That’s what we’re trying to do. I enjoy being with people and sharing science with them. The other thing I love is when Jen (The WOW’s Program Director) and I go out to schools and we perform for the students. Sometimes we have too much fun (laughs) blowing things up, setting things on fire.... It’s more fun than reading out of a book. Jen and I have it down pretty good and it’s a lot of fun.

Next time you’re at the WOW and you see Jim roaming the floor with one of his experiments, be sure to stop and say hi. You’ll be happy you did. Thank you, Jim!

Do you have a volunteer who makes a world of difference at your organization? Contact me to nominate them for the next edition of Lodi Live!