Area youth aiming to bring children’s museum to Delaware County


As a teacher and cross country coach, Olentangy Liberty’s Jared Mills is used to watching student-athletes take his ideas and run with them.

What sophomore William Wang is doing with one — a vision to create a children’s museum in Delaware County — is starting to gain some serious steam.

“Our student group first got inspired during a cross country morning practice back in August,” Wang, who leads the Powell Youth Council, said. “Our coach spoke about his short-term failures, but long-term successes throughout his life to help encourage and motivate the team.

“One part of his speech that stuck out to me was one of his community ideas: The Powell Distance Project.”

During the speech, Mills described his desire to improve the community through a shared love of running. It was a sentiment Wang certainly shared, so he sent him a text asking if he and his fellow Powell Youth Council members could do anything to help.

The thing was, though, the Powell Distance Project was just a concept. The idea hadn’t been fully developed. Instead, Mills told Wang about another community dream he was kicking around: The Delaware County Children’s Museum.

From there, Mills — a three-time Olentangy Teacher of the Year, two-time Central District Cross Country Coach of the Year and OHSAA Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity award winner — said Wang and his classmates have taken the idea to the next level.

“Will and the Powell Youth Council have taken full responsibility regarding the concept of the children’s museum,” Mills said. “Although it’s an idea I shared with the Powell Youth Council, for the most part, I’ve just been along for the ride. They’ve created the business plan, developed the budget, reached out to potential sponsors and organized meetings with the Powell city council.”

The plan is for the museum to open in Delaware County sometime in 2024 or 2025. It’ll offer the 13,000-plus youth living in and around Powell, and the rest of the county — kids from elementary school to high school — purposeful play and career-related opportunities.

The project already has sponsorship interest from global companies like Honda and Intel to local restaurants like Aladdin’s Eatery, Wang said, and is a certified non-profit organization.

The Powell Youth council has already put in a ton of work, Wang said, and there will be plenty more ahead, but that — the hard work and the progress that stems from it — keeps the group motivated.

“The most rewarding thing about seeing this idea bloom is seeing the process itself unfold from a concept to a legitimate project,” Wang said. “Seeing all the hard hours leading to fruition is by far the most rewarding thing.”

Tarun Batchu, another Liberty sophomore who has been working to bring the project to life, said she’s most excited about the opportunities the museum will create.

“As a student living in Powell, I find this museum to almost be the center of opportunity and educational success for children like me,” she said. “With more development, emailing and presenting, I truly do believe this museum is feasible.”

“Delaware County is a thriving community and lots of opportunity exists,” Mills said. “A children’s museum would bring immersive learning for children in Delaware County through the power of play.

“More than 30 million individuals visit children’s museums around the world annually, therefore, it has a proven and positive track record. It’s time to bring a children’s museum to the residents of Delaware County.”

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