Established in 1992, the not-for-profit Community Center of Northern Westchester provides supplemental food, clothing, and other resources to those in need in Northern Westchester County. The Center is sponsored by 28 churches, synagogues, schools and civic groups and operates with substantial volunteer support from the northern Westchester community. The Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm and its services are available to all.  The Community Center of Northern Westchester, 84 Bedford Road, Katonah, NY 10536.  Visit for more information.

Open Door Family Medical Centers needs volunteer readers for our Reach Out and Read early literacy waiting room program. Our volunteers read aloud to young patients, discuss the importance of reading aloud with parents, and distribute age-appropriate books. Anyone over 14 years of age is eligible and will be provided with an orientation and training designed to familiarize our volunteers with our facility, the mission of the program, and how to approach and connect with our patients. This is an excellent opportunity to develop skills for communicating with children and families, promote a love of reading, make a difference in YOUR community! We have volunteer time-slots available Monday-Saturday in all four of our sites (Ossining, Mt. Kisco, Sleepy Hollow and Port Chester). For more information, please contact the Reach Out and Read Coordinators: Jenny Palacio & Charlotte Baughman @ or  (914) 502-1358 or (914) 502-1355.

We serve overwhelmed, stressed parents throughout Westchester County helping stop a generational cycle of child abuse and neglect. Using a home visiting model we have an 85% success rate. We provide support; teaching new discipline skills and anger and stress management. We offer volunteers an intensive 12-hour training program and on-going individual supervision. Contact Linda Paver, MSW, CSW our Volunteer Coordinator at (914) 997-2642 for more information and a volunteer packet.

English and bilingual speaking volunteers can help prevent child abuse and neglect as a Parent Aide if they are over 21 years old, can give two hours a week and make a one year time commitment. Other volunteer opportunities include grant writers, community speakers, fundraisers, group leaders and administrative/office helpers. A one-hour orientation is a prelude to our 12-hour training. Call Linda Paver (914) 997-2642 for information.

familytieslogoAs a lifeline to the greater Westchester area, Family Ties of Westchester, Inc. works to build stronger families and communities. Family Ties provides support and advocacy services to families of children with social, emotional and behavioral challenges in times of crisis and beyond. Family Ties offers a wide range of programs and services that help families make the important decisions necessary to guide their children down the successful path they deserve.  All Family Ties services are free and confidential.  Together we can make a difference working towards a solution, developing the right strategies, and helping to guide our youth through struggles, stigmas and stereotypes.  Visit

United Way of Westchester and Putnam Seeks Foster Parents: United Way of Westchester and Putnam Seeks Foster Parents: Have you ever considered being a foster parent but aren’t sure where to start? There are hundreds of foster care children in Westchester County who are in need of a safe, temporary home. Learn more about foster care, eligibility or sign up for an orientation by calling United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline. Visit for more information.

Make a difference in the life of a Fresh Air Child this summer!  Volunteer to Host a New York City Child.  Sign up NOW to make a difference in a Fresh Air child’s life! Volunteer with The Fresh Air Fund to make the summer of 2012 memorable for an inner-city child and host family. Each summer, over 4,000 children visit volunteer host families in rural, suburban, and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. Fresh Air Fund volunteers simply want to share their homes with city children and introduce them to the joys of suburban or country life. Families find hosting so rewarding that more than 65 percent of all Fresh Air children are reinvited to visit the same host families year after year. First-time Fresh Air visitors are six to 12 years old and Fresh Air hosts range from young families to grandparents. All it takes is the willingness to welcome a New York City child to your community.  Local Fresh Air Fund committee members recruit host families, reach out to the community and coordinate fun activities for families and children.  Fresh Air volunteers need your help to create another fun-filled summer for children from New York City’s low-income communities, such as eight-year-old Justin of Brooklyn. “We made hot dogs and s’mores over the fire. I’ve never cooked outside before!”   For more information on how you can join your local Fresh Air volunteer team or become a volunteer host this summer, call The Fresh Air Fund at (800) 367-0003 or LaShika Walker at ext. 8962. You can also learn more about the Volunteer Host Family Program by visiting The Fresh Air Fund online at

Friends of Karen (F.O.K.) was founded in 1978 by Sheila Petersen, a family friend of Karen MacInness, a 16 year old diagnosed with Lafora`s Disease. Sheila, respecting Karen`s parents wishes to keep Karen at home for her final months, appealed to the community and raised the necessary funds to allow her parents to care for Karen in their own home.  Currently, Friends of Karen helps families in the New York metropolitan area care for their children (aged 21 years and under) who suffer from terminal or life threatening illnesses. F.O.K. works to ensure the financial and emotional well-being of families coping with the extraordinary demands of their child`s illness. Social workers work with the families to assess the family`s needs and help families to obtain assistance from insurance plans, government programs and community agencies, while maintaining contact with the family through home and hospital visits.  Friends of Karen also provides direct financial assistance and help with needs related to the child`s illness, including: household expenses, transportation to medical treatment, in-hospital expenses such as telephone, TV, parking, and meals for the parents, childcare for siblings while the parents are with the hospitalized child, living expenses for parents who must travel to get needed treatments, funeral arrangements, bereavement support, and private counseling referrals.  Friends of Karen relies on individuals, corporations, foundations, schools, community and employee groups to contribute the needed dollars and in-kind gifts and volunteer time to give our families what they need to care for their children though their difficult illnesses.  For more information about Friends of Karen, visit or call 914.277.4547.

Friends of Karen’s mission is to provide emotional, financial and advocacy support for children with a life-threatening illness and their families, in order to help keep them stable, functioning and able to cope.  Since our founding in 1978, we have served approximately 5,000 children and their families. When siblings are counted we have touched the lives of over 12,400 children. 

Friends of Karen offers many ways to get involved with their mission and support their families.  Below are three efforts that are coming up this spring.  For more information, visit

35th Anniversay Celebration on the Sound
Save the Date!
Friday, June 14, 2013
Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club, Mamaroneck, NY
Honoring Palma Patti and Acura of Westchester
For more information contact or visit


The Dimes Project:  How Meghan Inspired A Gift for Families at Friends of Karen

Meghan loved playing soccer, shopping for clothes, and hanging out with friends. She was a fun-loving and courageous teen.  One day soon after she lost her battle with cancer, her family found a dime on the sidewalk. Then they started finding dimes all the time, and they remembered the idea of ‘pennies from heaven,’ that when you find a penny it means that a loved one who is gone is thinking of you. But they used to tease Meghan about being ‘high maintenance,’ so they said, “That’s just like Meghan, she wouldn’t do ‘pennies from heaven,’ she’d do dimes!”  This kept happening, and Meghan’s family had an inspiration. “Life can turn on a dime,” they said, and they decided to do something about it: every time they found a dime, they put it in a special jar. When they got around to counting it, they had $76 in dimes!  They donated it to Friends of Karen in Meghan’s honor to help other families like theirs.  You can be part of Meghan’s inspiration: collect dimes from your friends, neighbors and family to help sick children and their families.

Here’s how:

  • Choose your timeframe – It could be the fall term of school or the months leading up to your birthday or another special occasion.
  • Set your dollar goal – This is really important!  You’ll be surprised how it can motivate and inspire you.
  • Create your jar – A big jar is best and you can decorate it any way you like to attract attention (and dimes)!
  • Decide where to put your jar – In a store? At your school? On your kitchen counter?  You may want to make a sign, or ask us for copies of this card to hand out.
  • Count your collection – You can get paper rollers or use a coin counting machine (many banks have them).  Once you have a total, call us to arrange your delivery.

If you would like help getting started, contact Denise Tredwell or call her at 914-617-4052. On Long Island and Queens, contact Patricia Conway or at 631-473-1768 ext.3.  Thank you!

The Gift of a Holiday Dinner for a Sick Child 

Christina, a Friends of Karen child, and her family look forward to a holiday dinner.  Easter and Passover are very meaningful holidays, and a great time for families to get together. But when parents are overwhelmed by caring for a child with a life-threatening illness, they often have to skip important family occasions — and the whole family misses out on the memorable holiday festivities.  Please help solve the problem:  Contribute an A&P, Shoprite, Stop & Shop or Pathmark gift card to Friends of Karen so that a family can enjoy the foods that have special meaning for their important holiday.

Contact Denise Tredwell,, or call 914-617-4052 to participate, or click here to make a  donation on our secure webpage (select Easter and Passover Program from the “This gift is for” menu).

Friends of Karen needs gifts cards to A&P, ShopRite, Stop & Shop and Pathmark. Pantry items including paper towels, tissues, Purell, antiseptic hand wipes, baby wipes and diapers in sizes 4,5, and 6 are always needed. Gift cards to McDonald`s, Dunkin` Donuts and Starbucks are a treat for our children in the hospital and also a pick-me-up for their parents. If your children have “too many” toys, please consider hosting their next birthday party to benefit our toy pantry. We are always in need of brand new toys, including Lego sets and other building toys, baby dolls for 2-year-olds, board games for 12+, Klutz books, decorative items for bedrooms (pillows, lava lamps, digital clocks, novelty lamps) and scrapbooking sets. For more than 30 years, Friends of Karen has provided financial, emotional and advocacy support to families with children from birth to 21 years of age with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses living in the tri-state area. Call 914.277.4547.  Visit

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  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

Furniture Sharehouse collects your gently-used furniture and makes sure it gets directly to needy Westchester families who are moving out of homeless shelters, escaping domestic violence, reuniting after foster care or recovering from personal or natural disasters. Since 2007, they have distributed over 21,000 items free of charge to over 4,200 individuals, half of them children, helping them fill their empty apartments and stabilize their lives.  The need is great, and the waiting list for an appointment is six-weeks long, so please consider donating your furniture and/or making a monetary donation to help us “make a house a home” for these Westchester families.  Visit

Furniture Sharehouse collects your gently-used furniture and makes sure it gets directly to needy Westchester families who are moving out of homeless shelters, escaping domestic violence, reuniting after foster care or recovering from personal or natural disasters. Since 2007, they have distributed over 21,000 items free of charge to over 4,200 individuals, half of them children, helping them fill their empty apartments and stabilize their lives.  The need is great, and the waiting list for an appointment is six-weeks long, so please consider donating your furniture and/or making a monetary donation to help us “make a house a home” for Westchester families.

¿Habla Español?  The Westchester Library System needs you!  WLS runs a volunteer tutoring program for people preparing to take the General Educational Development (GED) exam, an alternative to the traditional high school diploma.  Some GED seekers take the test in Spanish and we need tutors with moderate to strong Spanish language skills to assist these students.  Tutors receive training and commit 3 hours a week to a drop in session at one of several area libraries (Mt. Kisco, White Plains, Elmsford, Port Chester, Yonkers, New Rochelle, or Peekskill).  Choose a time and location that’s convenient for you!  Please contact Robin Osborne (914-231-3237, or visit the “GED Connect” space in the WLS homepage ( for more information.  English-only tutors also needed!


The mission of Gilda`s Club Westchester is to provide a place where men, women, and children with cancer and their families and friends join with others to build social and emotional support as a supplement to medical care. Free of charge and non-profit, Gilda`s Club Westchester offers support and networking groups, lectures, workshops and social events in a nonresidential, home-like setting. Funding is solicited from private individuals, corporations, and foundations. Gilda’s Club Westchester is a community of people whose lives have been touched by cancer…all types of cancer. It’s a community of people who have found strength, comfort and inspiration by sharing their experiences. It’s women, men and children. It’s friends and family. It’s volunteers and donors. It’s a place where we can all come together –FREE OF CHARGE—to renew our spirits and our souls. You won’t find medical care here. Here is where you and your family will find emotional support as a supplement to medical care. Here is where social support, information, fellowship, laughter, hope and inspiration meet. Inside the cozy rooms of our White Plains Clubhouse you’ll find lectures, workshops, support & networking groups, social events and more. All for FREE! Join Us.  Gilda`s Club Westchester, 80 Maple Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601, 914·64478844,