We had the good fortune of connecting with Cheryl Mang and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cheryl, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
At the beginning over every new year, I pick a guiding word, a word that influences how I will approach the upcoming year. For 2021, I chose the word grace. 2020 was tough, and as we begin to emerge from such an unprecedented year, it’s important that we show kindness to not only others but also to ourselves.

What should our readers know about your business?
Southern California Children’s Museum is a a non-profit children’s museum for kids up to 8 years old. We specialize in sensory and pretend play, with a focus on arts and culture. Our mission is to cultivate a child’s wonder, stimulate curiosity, and motivate learning through interactive exhibits, creative experiences, and dramatic play, all while promoting the diverse cultures of Southern California. We’re all about collaborating and have worked with many local artists, authors, and illustrators to bring a fun, unique perspective on children’s education to our space!

2020 was especially tough because our mission is centered around in-person experiences. When California went into the lockdown in March 2020 and we were told to shut our doors, we had to adapt quickly in order to stay connected to our community and continue to deliver on our purpose of learning through play. I am extremely proud of our team for picking up all the skills necessary to create quality, entertaining yet educational content such as the Story & Crafts: Trailblazers series where we highlighted amazing female trailblazers in various fields (my favorite episode featured a Q&A where Chef Niki Nakayama and Chef Carole Iida from n/naka responded to questions from kids in our community), the ABC Series where we brought the alphabet to life through crafts and activities, and a collaboration with ALMA Backyard Farms that taught kids all about Farm-to-Table-to-Earth.

I am also proud that as an organization, we made the decision to stand up against hate. Education is the cure for ignorance. We know that children learn through play and that reading books and hearing stories are exercises in empathy. That’s why we double-downed on our commitment to uplifting stories featuring diverse characters and cultures through our virtual content and will continue to do so as we gear up for a return to in-person programming.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First stop, Southern California Children’s Museum with the little ones! It’s the perfect place for climbing, exploring and imaginative play. Depending on the day we visit, there’s also kid-centric programming like Story & Craft, bilingual circle time, sustainable art projects and sensory play.

We’d pick a Tuesday or Thursday morning to head to the Hollywood Bowl to catch a free rehearsal of the L.A. Philharmonic. The best part about these rehearsals (besides it being free) is that you are privy to the conductor’s notes to the orchestra, you get to experience the guest performers perfect their art (I once watched Misty Copeland rehearse and her work ethic is nothing short of amazing) and kids have more space to explore since the amphitheater is nearly empty.

Exploring L.A.’s culinary scene is a must. Supporting family-owned businesses is important to me, so I would take them to some of my favourites including Guelageutza, a Oaxacan restaurant in Koreatown with a charming space that is family friendly but also known for their mezcal bar, and Ricebox, a contemporary Cantonese BBQ joint in Downtown Los Angeles.

We’d pick a night for some parent-only fun at LA AX, an ax-throwing facility in North Hollywood (no experience necessary!) followed by cocktails back at home, courtesy of cocktail kits from Fancy Free Liquor in Burbank.

*Note that COVID-19 safety precautions may have affected the availability of some of the aforementioned activities Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Our Board of Directors. This group is made up of some of the most passionate, creative and capable women I have ever met. It’s the collective drive and dedication of these board volunteers that keeps this museum moving forward.

Our staff, especially our museum manager Allison. Our small but mighty team did a tremendous job pivoting from offering in-person experiences to creating kid-friendly virtual content that is educational and entertaining to help us stay connected to our community while our doors were closed.

Our collaborators. We partnered with some of the most remarkable authors, illustrators, content creators and brands over the past year in order to bring some incredible content to our community.

Website: http://socalkids.org/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/socalkidsmuseum/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/socalkidsmuseum

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SoCalKidsMuseum/

Youtube: https://youtu.be/ax5hFAveR6k

Other: We would love your support so we can continue to bring new programming and resources to our community! To donate, please visit http://socalkids.org/donate/

Image Credits
Photo credits: Southern California Children’s Museum, Julie Shuford Photography and Juicebox Media

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.