November 2012

Celebrate the Holidays by Giving to Westchester Neediest:  MHA Westchester, Operation: Holiday Joy.  Spread holiday cheer – give a gift to an individual or family.  Help MHA to make the holidays brighter for individuals, children and their families who would not receive – or be able to purchase – gifts if it weren’t for Operation: Holiday Joy. Each year, MHA helps families by requesting their personal wish lists, matching them to individuals and groups, and delivering the new clothing, toys, food and household items.  There are many ways to help. You can sponsor an individual or family; make a financial contribution and MHA staff will do the shopping; purchase food, clothing, household items or toys that MHA will match to a child or family; or donate store gift cards.  MHA’s holiday gift drive is a great opportunity for groups – schools, churches, synagogues, a department at work. For more information, call 914-345-5900 ext. 7511 or e-mail development@mhawestchester.org.  MHA is a community-based mental health agency that has been helping Westchester County residents for 66 years through direct services, professional and community education and advocacy. MHA supports 20,000 individuals annually through a comprehensive array of mental health services striving to help each individual to achieve their personal goals and to lead independent, healthy and successful lives. For information, visit www.mhawestchester.org.

November 26 and 27, Ages 4-8 at 3:30-4:30.  November 28, Ages 10+ at 3:30 to knit the mile-long muffler.  Come to the Library to make decorations for the Storybook Trees which will be outside the Library during the holiday season.  Following tradition, we will be decorating three trees in front of the library with book themed decorations. The tree themes this year are:  “Bear Snores On”, “Mouse’s First Snow” and a tree adorned with scarves and pom poms made by the knitting group that meets at the library.  Families welcome.  Come for the whole session or just drop in for part of the time.  No fee, however we ask that you please bring an item for the local food pantry.  Register by calling 914-234-3570 or stopping by the Library.  32 Village Green, Bedford, New York 10506, 914-234-3570, www.bedfordfreelibrary.org.

Cartoon Drawing the focus of School’s Out/Art’s In at the Katonah Museum of Art.  November 23rd, Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay Street/Route 22, Katonah, New York, 10am – 3pm (parents and children are invited to drop in any time throughout the day).  Want to learn to draw like the illustrators from Blue Sky Studios? Join us for a day of cartoon drawing activities sure to help your cartooning skills. Participants will use mirrors to track facial expressions, act out movements and gestures, and use tracing paper and colored pencil to create their own expressive characters.  Children under age 6 participate with an adult; 7 and older, adults must remain at the Museum. Adults pay regular museum admission, participating children: $3 members, $6 non-members.  Call (914) 232-9555, ext. 0 or visit www.katonahmuseum.org.

Friends of Karen received this letter from the mother of a boy battling a brain tumor: “The most important thing that Friends of Karen provided [was] they sent us gifts from our children’s wish lists, allowing me to stay home with the family, enjoying more precious time together.”  Friends of Karen, a registered 501(c)(3) charity, provides vital, practical and comprehensive support, at no cost, to families caring for a child with a life-threatening illness in the New York Metro area. Their “Adopt-A-Family” Holiday Gifts for Kids program makes sure that each of their sick children — as well as his or her siblings — receive items from their holiday wish lists to make sure they have something to smile about.   You can help create those smiles.  Please contact Denise Tredwell for details as soon as you can at 914-617-4052 or denisetredwell@friendsofkaren.org.  If you don’t have time to shop, you can make a donation on our secure Adopt-A-Family Holiday Gifts for Children donation page, and we’ll do the shopping for you!  Thank you for your compassionate caring from all our Friends of Karen children!  Visit www.friendsofkaren.org.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012.  Mount Kisco Public Library, 100 Main Street, Mt Kisco, NY 10549.  Panel Presentation & Discussion featuring Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of The New York Immigration Coalition and The “Westchester Dream Team” – Maria Jaime and Marlen Fernandez, immigrant college students, who will speak about the recent “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” a new policy offering limited relief to those brought to the U.S. as children.  6:00pm – Reception, 7:00pm – Program.  Complimentary Program – Reservations Required (mdelaney@neighborslink.org or 914-666-3410 ext. 14)resented by the Friends of Neighbors Link, the goal of LATIN LINKS 2012 is to celebrate immigrant voices and give voice to the immigrant experience.  Please contact Marianne Delaney, Dir. of Development, for further details: 914-666-3410 ext. 14 or mdelaney@neighborslink.org.

Providing Early Care & Education for Every Family.
The YWCA Children’s Learning Center will host an Open House on December 2, 2012 from 2:00PM- 4:00PM at its Activity Center on 515 North Street, White Plains, New York. Join us for an infant & toddler sing-along with Musical Munchkins (starting at 2:30PM), tours of our classrooms and Q&A sessions with our staff. Learn about our program philosophy, curriculum and enrichment activities. This is a great opportunity for children and parents to meet our dedicated and experienced early education teachers.
Our vision for childhood development incorporates fun, safe, child-centered environments in classrooms that celebrate diversity and foster respect for all. Following The Creative Curriculum®, children have the opportunity to reach their full potential and graduate from the program ready for kindergarten.  The YWCA provides full-day and part-day care for children – infant through preschooler – in our licensed child care programs.  This event is open to the public. Please RSVP by November 29th to membership@ywcawpcw.org or (914) 949-6227 x147.  Visit us at www.ywcawpcw.org to learn more about other YWCA upcoming events.

On Sunday, December 9, 2012 join the Church Street School for a Holiday Bookfair at Barnes and Noble White Plains for a variety of events for kids and adults.  From 11:00am – 6:00pm, there will be Mystery Readers, musical performances, scavenger hunts, author visits and more.  We hope to see you there!  Barnes & Noble, 230 Main Street, White Plains, New York, 10601

  • Kids:  Join us for a very special reading of the heartwarming story “The Polar Express” by White Plains Mayor, Tom Roach at 12:30pm.
  • Kids:  Meet award-winning author and globetrotter C. Alexander London, Author of “An Accidental Adventure Series” at 3:00pm City Center Barnes & Noble White Plains, New York. He’ll read from his book, “We Dine with Cannibals” about reluctant twin adventurers who’d rather watch TV!   If we are really lucky, he might even give us a sneak peek of his newest book, “We Give a Squid a Wedgie.”  He’ll also share his own adventures and answer any questions you might have!
  • Parents:  Meet local author Jenny Rosenstrach, author of Dinner: A Love Story, and it’s companion website www.dinneralovestory.com  at 4:00pm.  Jenny will read from her book which is a cookbook/memoir that covers all the things that can happen at the family dinner table during all stages of a family’s life. That means it covers the Just-Moved-in-Together Stage, the Just-Married Stage, the New Parent Stage, the Bonafide All-Parties-Present-and-Eating Stage. It contains nearly 120 recipes (favorites from her blog as well as brand new soon-to-be favorites) and over 50 color photographs. It is a book for anyone reaching a milestone — moving in together, getting married, having a baby — as well as anyone who thinks that ending the day with a shared meal is, well…just about the best way to end a day!

Holiday Wreaths:  Sunday, Nov 25th, 1pm-3pm.  Create a simple, hand-made holiday wreath to adorn your front door for the upcoming holiday season.  Evergreen boughs, simple decorations and instruction provided.  Participants should bring their own wreath ring, florists twine/wire, pruners, and gloves.  Free for Members, $5pp non-members.  RSVP by Nov 21.

Sand Candles:  Saturday, Dec 1st, 11am-12pm.  Join us as we create decorative sand candles.  We will make a mold out of sand to create a unique candle design.  You can add items from nature such as shells and beach glass, pour in the wax, and wait for it to cool.  Suitable for ages 7 to Adult. Program fee includes 2 candles, additional candles $1 each.  $3pp for Members, $6pp non-members. RSVP by Nov 30.

Candle-making:  Sunday, Dec 2nd, 2pm-3pm.  Learn a little bit of candle-making history and then make your own hand-dipped candle.  Program fee includes 2 candles, additional candles $1.00 each.  Free for members, $5pp for non-members.  RSVP by Nov 30.

New Animal Enclosures!  Installed Nov 18-19, Unveiling Dec 8th.  Join us on Saturday, December 8th from 11am-3pm for the Grand Opening of our New Live Animal Enclosures.  A year in the making, these enclosures provide our live animal collection with a more natural environment while still giving visitors a chance to view and learn about each of our unique animals.

Westmoreland Sanctuary, 260 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Bedford Corners, New York 10549, visit  www.WestmorelandSanctuary.org.

Saturday, November 24th ALL DAY.  Last year, over 100 million people came out to shop at independently-owned small businesses on the day. Now, in its third year, Small Business Saturday will be even bigger. We’ll have special give-aways and yummy “Thank You!” cupcakes available. Let’s show our mutual gratitude and get the holiday season off to a wonderful start!  The Voracious Reader, 1997 Palmer Avenue, Larchmont, NY, 914 630-4581, www.thevoraciousreader.com

Cultural Care Au Pair Hires Barbara Buxbaum of Chappaqua, NY as Local Childcare Coordinator.  As a Cultural Care Au Pair local childcare coordinator (LCC), Buxbaum will provide service and support to host families and their au pairs throughout the program year.  Buxbaum is part of a nationwide network of more than 600 Cultural Care Au Pair local childcare coordinators dedicated to promoting global understanding through intercultural exchange. Buxbaum will advise area au pairs and their host families on educational opportunities, as well as organize fun activities for the entire extended Cultural Care Au Pair family to enjoy.  Buxbaum is currently interviewing families who are interested in hosting an au pair.  As a community resource on alternative childcare and intercultural exchange, she can be reached at 914-238-3410 or barbara.buxbaum@lcc.culturalcare.com to answer any questions. Interested families may also visit Barbara’s Cultural Care Web site at bbuxbaum@aupairnews.com.  Cultural Care Au Pair is the leading provider of intercultural childcare and educational exchange. Since 1989, Cultural Care Au Pair has placed more than 85,000 au pairs in welcoming American homes.  A division of EF Education and a U.S. Department of State regulated program, Cultural Care Au Pair is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., with an extensive network of recruitment, screening and orientation offices worldwide.

Holiday Shopping Event — the joy of finding something for everyone on your list.  Featuring: Asiatique, Catch All, DenaliFour, Designing Women, Ebba, Ilyse’s Pieces, La Petite Occasion, Nest, Oliphant Design, Patrice, Patricia’s Presents, Sailor Rose, Sister Parish Design, Soundview Millworks, Supper Truck, Three Islands, House Portraits by Barbara Bellin, M. Saverine Decoupage, Peaceable Hill Paperie.  9am to 5pm, Wednesday, November 14, St. Matthew’s Church, 382 Cantitoe Street, Bedford, NY.  15% of sales will support the work of St. Matthews in the community.

Watching the joyful expression of a child opening holiday gifts is unforgettable, so we aim to give all our sick children and their siblings — and their parents — these happy moments.   Friends of Karen’s Adopt-A-Family Holiday Gifts for Kids program invites you to fulfill a child’s holiday hopes.   Wayne’s mom told us, “The most important thing that Friends of Karen provided was they sent us gifts from our children’s wish lists, allowing me to stay home with the family, baking cookies and enjoying more precious time together.”   To help, please contact Denise Tredwell for details at 914-617-4052 or DeniseTredwell@friendsofkaren.org  or click here to make a secure online gift and we’ll do the shopping!  Help bring a smile to area children this Holiday Season.  The mission of Friends of Karen is to provide emotional, financial and advocacy support to children with a life-threatening illness and their families, visit www.friendsofkaren.org to learn more.

Ok, so this is a weird post.  I know it and I don’t care.  Maybe I am just trying to explain myself before people see me, maybe I am just SO sick of writing about the storm or being sad or hearing about and feeling the devastation that this has brought to people around us…so today I am going to write about what I am wearing.  It might be a first as usually what I am wearing is a pair of sweatpants and a fleece.  Today though, waking up freezing and looking at the snow outside, I decided that I just couldn’t put the baggy jeans back on today.  So I went in my closet and dusted off this amazing shawl that I bought (at the fabulous Planned Parenthood Empower Breakfast I might add) and put it on with some (tight for me) jeans out of my closet.  I have to tell you, it looks fab (I must say) — I feel totally dressed up — YET, it is like wearing a blanket around all cozy for the day!  YUM.  Best part?  It is made so it sort of just fits — you know how some wraps and scarves just feel like they need constant adjusting?  This one just sits on your shoulders like a sweater — with no fuss. Oh, did I mention it is MACHINE WASH? And made by moms?  Yup, check it sister.  I got the green one at the urging of friends (while I was reaching for my usual black) — all of the colors are gorgeous, warm and delightful.

April Marin, thank you for the lift today…click here to see what I’m talking about!  And no, this is not a paid advertisement.  Go in your closet, find something fun and put it on.  I already feel feisty and better about the day.  And yes, if you are still without power, you go ahead and want to kick me for this post…I would.

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SOMERSAULTS FOR SANDY! at Jodi’s Gym Westchester.  Sun, Nov 11th.  Join us this Sunday for a gymnastics FUNdraiser to help provide disaster relief to families affected by Hurricane Sandy.  100% of proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross.  1:00-1:50 —  1-4 yrs with Adult Participation.  2:00-2:50 — 4-7 yrs Separation (Adult must stay).  Minimum donation: $25 per child.  Call 914.244.8811 to reserve your child’s spot, Space is limited!  Visit www.jodisgym.com.

While we usually ask you for donations to support our work in Haiti and African nations, we are putting together an immediate drive to help our friends and neighbors throughout the Greater New York area who are still suffering due to storm damage and power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Here’s what we need: water, flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, diapers, baby wipes, school supplies, new socks, blankets, linens, jackets, hats, gloves, backpacks, suitcases, garbage bags, brooms, mops, buckets, cleaning supplies, shovels, extension cords (waterproof), rain jackets, personal hygiene products, vitamin supplements (including Pedialyte and Ensure), glucometers, strips and lancets.

We ask you to drop supplies off at our warehouse (140 Saw Mill River Road in Yonkers) tomorrow and Friday (Nov. 8 and 9) between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. We also need some help sorting and bundling donated items, so stick around and help if you possibly can. Next week, we will deliver what we’ve collected to our partner in this effort, Alison Thompson, an incredible relief mobilizer with whom we had the great fortune to work in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. Alison is a filmmaker and humanitarian who has told the story of her experience volunteering in Sri Lanka after the tsunami in a documentary film and a memoir—both titled The Third Wave.  If you’ve been looking for a way to help out since the storm, join with us and we’ll make a difference!

AFYA Foundation, 140 Saw Mill River Road, Yonkers, NY 10701, www.afyafoundation.org.