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Beneficiary Spotlight: Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

Since first opening its doors in 1998, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center has become a haven for children and families along the Gulf Coast. It is dedicated to inspiring children, families and communities through interactive educational experiences and exploration.

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center offers 15,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space, six acres of outdoor play space, a spacious theatre, Viking kitchen and other great facilities for community use.

As the first children’s museum established in Mississippi, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is one of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s inspiring beneficiaries and is also a cause that holds a special place in the hearts of Chef Emeril and his wife Alden.

Alden Lagasse was a childhood friend of Lynn Meadows – the museum's namesake, who passed away in a tragic automobile accident while attending the University of Mississippi. With a passionate belief in the museum’s mission and a desire to support the organization named after her dear friend, Alden and Emeril Lagasse designated the center as an official beneficiary in 2003.

With support from the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, the WINGS Performing Arts Center and Café to the Stars opened in spring 2009, providing an additional outlet for creativity at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. The program focuses on nurturing talent, spirit and leadership skills in youth through performing arts and community service.

Now a nationally recognized performing arts program, WINGS has reached more than 5,000 students and paved the way for nearly all to attend private and public universities or vocational training programs.

“With the continued support of the Foundation, I have seen children's lives changed through their work in our transcending performing arts program,” said Tonya Hays, founder and director of the WINGS Performing Arts Center. “It is my goal that youth leave this program with confidence, a commitment to lifelong learning, a passion to help others and the belief that they can lead. 

Most recently, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center was named one of 10 recipients of the 2016 National Medal award, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. WINGS recently hosted its annual showcase "Dreams & Legends" at the Beau Rivage last month which the Foundation was honored to attend.

With many new projects on the horizon and exciting plans to expand in 2016, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center will continue to be a place for youth on the Gulf Coast to grow and learn for years to come.

“We are thankful to have such incredible community partners like the Emeril Lagasse Foundation,” said Hays. “The Foundation’s generosity has allowed us to create a space that children and youth feel ownership and pride in. 

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation is proud to support organizations like Lynn Meadows Discovery Center that are dedicated to helping youth realize their potential through hard work, discipline and team building. Learn more about how you can get involved and support causes making a difference here.


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