Queens Family - March 2023

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Pivoting with Bethany Braun-Silva Sharing mom stories on her new podcast while keeping her day job as a writer and parenting expert Starting the Camp SearCh +Camp LiStingS Don't miss our C amp Fair See page 39 aSD parents: Legoland New York is now a Certified Autism Center Why Charter Schools are So popular march 2023 newyorkfamily.com

June 26 to August 18

Oasis Summer Camp at Fort Totten (Bayside) TODAY!
March 2023 | Queens Family 3

Photo: Michelle Rose Photo | michellerosephoto.com Hair


by: Donna Duarte- Ladd

Styled by: Danielle Schiebel | saluteyourstyle.com

4 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023 M A r C h 2023 NewYorkFamily.com contents F eat U re S 10 | h ealth The American Academy of Pediatrics new treatment guidelines for childhood obesity 24 | Special n eeds Legoland New York is now a Certified Autism Center 32 | Giving A guide to NYC volunteering 34 | cover: Bethany Braun-Silva Sharing mom stories in her new podcast while keeping her day job as a writer and parenting expert StorieS & Co LUmn S 8 | editor’s letter 14 | c amps How to begin the camp search 16 | c amps What parents should look for during a camp tour 22 | education Charter School Education in NYC 26 | h ealth Gas stoves and the potential health risks 28 | family Day o ut Explore video games and human connection at MoMA exhibit 30 | family Day o ut Go wild at the Newark Museum of Art 38 | editor’s Picks Books we love Fami Ly FU n 36 | c alendar All the fun events and activities for March Dire C torie S 18 | c amp listings on the cover
& Makeup:
Story Written and Produced
pg. 34 pg. 32 pg. 22 pg. 36 pg. 16



Advantage Day Camp—best day camp in NYC!

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• Full days – Upper East & East Side

Advantage Junior Tennis Camp— best tennis camp in NYC!

• Players 7 to 17 focus on tennis, up close & all summer long!

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Add on an afternoon of fun at the East Side/Roosevelt Island or Upper East Side/ Wagner Middle School Camps!

Exciting partners for 2023!

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March 2023 | Queens Family 5
at bingersole@advantagecamps.net or
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Registration is now open for all YMCA Summer Day Camps ����������������������������������������������������� boroughs. We’ve got camps for every child, including traditional camp and specialty camps offering everything from sports to STEAM! Swimming is available at most camps, and we’ll work with each camper to strengthen their swimming ability during their time at camp.


• Talented and experienced staff

• Amazing and uplifting camp spirit

• Healthy and clean environments

• Instructional swim lessons

All branches that host summer day camp are hosting open houses from 10 AM – 12 PM on MARCH 11, APRIL 29, and MAY 13.

March 2023 | Queens Family 7

Tip-toeing into Spring

March is always that in-between month. We head into Spring, and while we haven’t had a traditional winter (snow, where are you?), it is exciting to see the seasonal changes.

With the promise of warmer months, camp may be on your radar. Check out What Parents Should Look for During a Camp Tour (page 16), and of course, check out our camp listings (page 18).

If you are a parent with a child with ASD or who is sensory sensitive, you will be happy to hear that starting March 31st, Legoland NY (page 24) is now a Certified Autism Center. This is a BIG deal, and we are delighted to share this news.

We also have a borough-by-borough

guide on Where to Volunteer (page 32) as a family in NYC; volunteering helps teach kids about community and the joy of giving, so win-win!

Lastly, this month’s cover mom is parenting expert Bethany Braun-Silva. This born and bred New Yorker (page 34) follows her dream by chatting with parenting experts and celeb moms on her new podcast “The Breakdown with Bethany” while keeping her day job as a writer and shares her advice on how you can pivot towards something that matters to you!


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8 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023 editor’s note Share your feedback and ideas about family life in New York! Email us at editorial@newyorkfamily.com and tag us at #newyorkfamily get i N touch
New York Family is published monthly by Queens Family Media, LLC. Reproduction of New York Family Media in whole or part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved. ©2023 Queens Family Media, LLC n ina Gallo Photography 2022
March 2023 | Queens Family 9 www.ComprehendTheMind.com 718-441-0166 Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a renowned and widely sought expert in the field of mental health and neuropsychology, leads the clinical team at CCPS. Our doctors are trained to help not only the child but their ecosystem in supporting their needs. Well-being, emotional and academic, goes hand in hand, and we can guide you to both. Please call or visit our website to learn more. We accept all major insurances GHI, UnitedHealthCare, Oxford, Cigna, MagnaCare, BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) All major credit cards, Cash, and PayPal accepted • Extra time on tests, both in classrooms, SATs, ACTs, SHSATs • IEPs, 504 plans, private school placement • Forensic (injury, special education, child custody, immigration) cases • Medication management Clinical Expertise: Help with: Is your child struggling with: reading or Math? Paying attention? Making friends? Anxious mood? If so, a comprehensive evaluation will help you with your next steps.

New Guidelines for Childhood Obesity

The American Academy of Pediatrics releases its the first comprehensive update in 15 years

As the body positivity movement continues to trend, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced new treatment guidelines for childhood obesity that includes early use of medications and weight-loss surgery.

In recent years, body positivity has grown in popularity. Plus-size models grace the covers of major fashion magazines and shopping sites. Artists write songs about defying the stereotypical “model” body. And strangers argue on social media about what it means to be “fat.” But the new AAP guidelines seem to serve as a reminder that being very overweight can—in fact—be very dangerous.

This is the first comprehensive update to the AAP’s obesity treatment guidance in 15 years. Published in the journal, Pediatrics, a major highlight includes recommendations on medical care for kids as young as 2 and

through the teen years who struggle with obesity.

“The goal is to help patients make changes in lifestyle, behaviors or environment in a way that is sustainable and involves families in decision-making at every step of the way,” Sandra Hassink, M.D., an author of the guidance and vice chair of the Clinical Practice Guideline Subcommittee on Obesity, said.

While treatment includes extreme measures such as pharmaceuticals and bariatric surgery, it does not eliminate the need to focus on good nutrition and exercise as well. In fact, a bulk of the guidelines discuss treatment that includes nutritional support, physical activity treatment and behavioral therapy.

According to the AAP, intensive health behavior and lifestyle treatment (IHBLT) is the most effective known behavioral treatment for child obesity. It requires 26 or more hours of face-to-face, family-based

multicomponent treatment over a 3- to 12-month period.

“Lifestyle changes are hard- it’s so hard. Patients, families and children need much more in the way of support than just ‘don’t drink soda’ or ‘don’t eat fast food.’ The recommended lifestyle treatment in the guidelines is a really comprehensive, familybased intensive treatment,” explained Sarah Armstrong, M.D., FAAP, chair of the section on obesity at the AAP, and professor of pediatrics at Duke University.

Medication and surgery—to be done in addition to lifestyle treatment— is an option for some children who are older and teenagers who’ve developed severe degrees of obesity.

“We’re very fortunate to have some additional options, including medications and surgery where there is evidence of them being safe and effective,” Armstrong said. “It doesn’t mean everyone has to be on medication or get surgery. It means that

10 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023
March 2023 | Queens Family 11 Dental Care Pediatric Care Comprehensive exam of the mouth; including teeth, gums, and all soft and hard tissues around the mouth Cleanings Preventive dental care Emergency dental care Pediatric dental care Dental care for people with disabilities Referrals to specialists Gum treatment Fillings Root canals Crowns & bridges Dentures Extractions 718-567-5200 82-11 37th Avenue, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 Our New Clinic is Now Open in Jackson Heights, Queens! Regular check-ups Vaccinations School and camp physicals Well-child visits Urgent care for when your child is sick and in need of a same-day appointment Hearing and Vision Tests Completion of required school form (as part of physicals) 4th Floor - Dental 5th Floor - General Clinic

parents, children and doctors have choices.”

Stressed throughout the guidance is the need to intervene early.

“There is no evidence that ‘watchful waiting’ or delayed treatment is appropriate for children with obesity,” Hassink said.

The new guidelines do not discuss obesity prevention. According to the AAP, this will be addressed in another forthcoming AAP policy statement.

Treatment Guidelines for Childhood Obesity

Weight and obesity can be controversial topics. But one thing clear to most is the increased health risks that are associated with obesity. The AAP refers to obesity as a disease that could lead to short- and longterm health concerns when left untreated, including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Headlines and research throughout the COVID-19 pandemic showed that many of those who died from the virus were obese.

One thing to note is that the guidelines are geared toward doctors, not necessarily parents.

According to the AAP, doctors should offer adolescents ages 12 and older weight-loss drugs to treat their obesity. The fancy phrase for this is “weight-loss pharmacotherapy,” and it should be done in combination with health behavior and lifestyle treatment.

Teens ages 13 and older with severe childhood obesity should be evaluated for metabolic and bariatric surgery, the AAP adds.

More than 14.4 million U.S. kids live with obesity. And it isn’t easy—mentally or physically. The AAP noted that obesity is a disease that has been stigmatized for years, and it can be treated successfully with the recognition that complex genetic, physiologic, socioeconomic and environmental factors are at play.

“Weight is a sensitive topic for most of us, and children and teens are especially aware of the harsh and unfair stigma that comes with being affected by it,” said Sarah Hampl, M.D., a lead author of the guideline, which was created by a multidisciplinary group of experts in various fields, along with primary care providers and a family representative.

Diet and Exercise: Is it Still Important?

Yes. None of these new treatment guidelines for childhood obesity eliminate the need for

proper diet and exercise. These are healthy habits that are important for all people, regardless of their weight. Dr. Bridget Cole Williams, board-certified family physician and CEO of Green Harvest Health, says that offering weight-loss surgery and drugs to children who are obese serves as a huge “red flag” on how serious the issue is.

“We’re so careful with our kids in the first place. We don’t even want our kids on any medication, let alone medication and surgery for obesity,” Williams said. “However, I think it is a humongous red flag for how bad the obesity epidemic is in our country.”

Williams underscored the need to start obesity treatment early in kids.

“We have to start earlier, and we have to start younger,” she said. “Inevitably, if we do not do something, our children with the rate of sleep apnea, asthma, bone and joint issues, as well as heart disease and diabetes, will continue to grow astronomically.”

Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex. Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex.

Access to Nutritious Food and Opportunities for Physical Activity

As noted in the guidelines, it’s important to consider a family’s access to nutritious food and other necessities that help keep people healthy. The guidelines discuss increased risks for children with special health-care needs, as well as inequities that promote obesity in childhood, such as the marketing

of unhealthy food, low socioeconomic status and household food insecurity.

“Research tells us that we need to take a close look at families—where they live, their access to nutritious food, health care and opportunities for physical activity—as well as other factors that are associated with health, quality-of- life outcomes and risks,” explained Hampl. “Our kids need the medical support, understanding and resources we can provide within a treatment plan that involves the whole family,” Hampl said.

Additional Information on Childhood Obesity

Williams added a cultural and societal shift needs to happen in order to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.

“There are foods that are in the American diet that are not even allowed in other countries because of how fattening or toxic some of them are,” she said. “We need to change how our grocery stores look and have better access to nutritious food in lower income neighborhoods.”

Taking on these changes sound like a major feat, but Williams says it starts with the individual making simple changes. Parents can ask for half their families’ meals in a carry-out box when they eat at restaurants, spend more time shopping around the perimeter of grocery stores where the fresh foods are shelved and put less fattening foods on dinner plates.

Abrie McCoy, a certified lactation counselor with SimpliFed, a maternal and baby feeding health platform, recommends making nutrition a priority during pregnancy, too.

“Your child’s nutrition starts during gestation. In pregnancy, your body provides nutrients via the placenta and amniotic fluid, which is derived from the foods that you fuel your body with, McCoy explained.

Preventing overfeeding at the infant age is important, too.

“Using methods such as responsive feeding, infant led feeding, or paced feeding can help keep babies in control of a feed,” McCoy said. “This supports them learning to eat when hungry or thirsty and stopping when they are full. In turn, avoiding overfeeding at an early age.”

To learn more about childhood obesity, visit the AAP’s website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.To learn more about childhood obesity, visit the AAP’s website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

12 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023
“The goal is to help patients make changes in lifestyle, behaviors or environment in a way that is sustainable and involves families in decision-making at every step of the way.”


Open House: March 15 • Scan the QR Code to sign up and learn more!



March 2023 | Queens Family 13

How to Begin the Camp Search

Thinking about summer camp for your child but don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips to help you find the best camp for your child.

Think of What You Want Out of the Experience

Take the time to really think about what you would like your child to gain from the camp experience. Are you looking for your child to gain independence, build confidence and make new friends or are you looking for that along with excelling at a specific sport? Are you considering day camp as a working family and need full day care? Is there a specific “must have” activity or feature you need the camp to have? Write down a list of things you want your child to get out of the experience and what the “must have” things are to help you narrow down the options.

Consider Who Your Child Is

Being able to describe who your child is will help you find the right camp for them. Is your child introverted or outgoing? Does your child have any special considerations? Do they thrive in large groups, or would a smaller camp be a better fit? Does your child enjoy participating in sports or do they prefer theater and art? Being able to answer these questions about your child will help you look for a camp that checks the boxes of what your child needs to thrive at camp.

Researching camps

There are many different ways to go about searching for a camp:

Word of mouth – It’s good to talk to friends and neighbors about where their children go to camp and to learn about their child’s camp experience, however, you want to make sure to do their own research when it comes to choosing a camp. While one camp might be a perfect fit for one child, it might not be for another. Each family and child are different, as is each camp, so finding the one that is the best fit for your child may be different than someone else.

Talk to the Camp Director /Leadership –

Whether this is in person or by zoom/phone , one of the most important parts of your camp research is to talk to the camp director or a member of the leadership team at a camp you are interested in. When you choose a camp, you are forming a partnership with the director and you want to make sure you feel comfortable with them. Clicking with the camp director and feeling that you can be open and honest with them is imperative when choosing a day or overnight camp.

Search online – Checking out a camp’s website and social media channels is a great place to start. See what type of activities are offered, if the session lengths match what you are looking for, and what the camp’s philosophy is.

Touring – One of the best ways to get a feel for a camp is to tour a camp you are interested in. Day camps offer tours all year long and overnight camps tour during the summer into the fall. Touring allows you to see the facilities and ask questions about the camp while in the camp environment. Touring during the summer allows you to see the camp in action, which can give you a good feel about how what the camp is like. If you are considering an overnight camp for 2024, set up a few tours at camps you are interested in. It’s helpful to have an initial conversation with the camp director before scheduling a tour to be sure the camp is potentially a good fit for your child before traveling to see a camp.

Camp Fairs – At camp fairs, families can

walk from table to table to find out about all the different summer camp options. The fairs allow families to talk to multiple camp directors all in one day to compare various camps and gather information. Find out about New York Family’s camp fairs taking place this winter in NYC, Long Island and Westchester at newyorkfamily. com/camp-fairs.

Camp Open Houses – Many day camps and overnight camps offer open houses in the spring and fall so families can have a chance to visit the camp. During the open house, the camp will offer activities and provide families with a chance to walk around camp. These days are fun ways to visit the camp and give you the opportunity to talk to the camp director and leadership team in the camp environment.

Call the American Camp Association, NY and NJ – The ACA, NY and NJ offers parents free, one-on-one advice in finding a camp. Whether you are looking for a day, overnight or specialty program, the American Camp Association, NY and NJ can help in your search! Contact Renee Flax at 212-391-5208 or renee@ acanynj.org.

While the process of searching for camps can often be overwhelming for parents, once you sit down and focus on who your child is and the type of camp experience you want, the choices begin to narrow, leaving you with a few camps to consider. Spending the time now to find the right camp will pay off when your child has the summer of their life at camp!

14 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023
March 2023 | Queens Family 15

Camp Tours

What parents should look for

Thinking about summer camp for your child? One of the best ways to learn about a day or overnight camp is to tour the camp. Touring camps is an invaluable way to get to know a camp. Each camp has its own feel and touring the camp will give you a good sense of whether the camp is the best fit for your child and family.

Before you begin setting up tours, take the time to really think about what type of camp experience you are looking for. Doing your initial research will save you a lot of time and allows you to focus on what you really want in a camp. Ross Moskowitz, Owner and Director of Camp Westmont, a coed overnight camp in Wayne County, PA feels it’s imperative that parents figure out the type of camp they want for their child before touring overnight camps. “If you are looking for a traditional coed overnight camp, you should tour 3-4 traditional coed camps instead of seeing one coed camp, one singlesex camp and one brother-sister camp. This way, you are touring the exact types of camps you want, making it easier for you to narrow down the choices.”

Once you decide on the type of camp you are interested in, you can call the director and set up camp tours for the summer. Renee Flax, Camper Placement Specialist for the American Camp Association, NY and NJ advises parents not to tour too many camps in one day. “Seeing one camp in the morning and one in the afternoon is generally a good rule of thumb. Touring can be tiring for you and your child, and you also want to give yourself time to debrief between visiting the camps.”

Whether you are touring a day camp or an overnight camp, one of the most important aspects of the camp tour is relationship building. Genna Singer, Director of Camps, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan says, “The people who are doing the tours are the leadership staff or the owner/director and it’s important you feel connected with them. You want to know that you speak about children in the same way, that you can feel the energy of the leadership team and that

you understand how the camp is run. You are entrusting this person with your child, and you need to feel there is a connection and a trust with the leadership staff.”

Jason Mercado, Director of North Shore Day Camp in Glen Cove, NY says, “Seeing camp in action allows you to see the campers and what it would be like to have your own child there. You can also watch the directors interacting with the campers in real-time. Do the kids know them? Are the staff connected to them? When you tour, you notice things and are able to get the true feeling of the camp.” Mercado understands that not all families are able to visit over the summer and feels that fall open houses are another great time to see camp. “Our fall open houses coincide with the early bird rates we offer. These days are nice because we have the whole leadership team at camp so it’s more spirited than just touring on an off-season day and allows you to get to know the key staff members.”

All day and overnight camp do their tours differently. Some camps tour the whole family together while others, like Camp Westmont, do separate tours for the parents and the child. “We do camper only and parent only tours which allows each to have a meaningful experience. Both children and parents have their own specific set of questions and want to see different things at the camp. At the end, we meet up, go over

the highlights and ask if the camper has any questions which feels empowering, like they are being heard,” explains Moskowitz. While Moskowitz feels a child’s input is paramount to the camp decision, parents will want to give them choice within the camps they are feeling are the right fit. “If you are touring camps A, B and C but there is something you don’t like about camp C, you can say to your child that they can choose between camps A and B, but the ultimate say has to be the parents.”

It’s important to ask questions while on the tour and in the camp environment. “Find out about their policies, what they consider to be a successful summer for a camper and how they hire staff. All of these questions will help you understand whether or not you agree with the camp’s philosophy,” says Flax. “If your child has a specific special consideration like a food allergy or anxiety, the tour is a good time to ask how they handle these things.”

After you complete your camp tours, take the time to review all the camps and everything they offer. Some families say they just get a gut feeling after touring a camp. Others will have follow-up questions and should call the director to have another conversation. In the end, only you know your family and child best and will be able to make the final decision on your child’s summer home.

16 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023


















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advantage Day c amp

EAST SIDE: 281 Main St. Roosevelt Island, NY 10044

UPPER EAST SIDE: Wagner Middle School/220 East 76th St. New York, NY 10021 advantagecamps.net

EAST SIDE: mbarbato@ advantagecamps.net

UPPER EAST SIDE: dfallick@ advantagecamps.net

Looking for non-stop fun, learning and action for your Camper? Advantage Day Camp has it all—sports, art, enrichment and experiences for kids ages 5 to 14! From field sports, tennis and yoga to chess, robotics, STEAM projects and so much more. Plus swimming at the East Side/Roosevelt Island location and sprinkler time at the Upper East Side/Wagner Middle School location. There’s even complimentary early drop-off and late pickup! Choose days, weeks or all summer! Enroll now!

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EAST SIDE: 281 Main St. Roosevelt Island, NY 10044

WEST SIDE: 450 West 43rd St., New York, NY 10036 advantagecamps.net

EAST SIDE: mbarbato@ advantagecamps.net

WEST SIDE: gslotnick@ advantagecamps.net

Advantage Junior Tennis Camps offers the best summer ever for beginners to more seasoned players.

Campers ages 7 to 17 (at East Side/Roosevelt Island full-day Camp location) and ages 8 to 12 (at West Side/Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club half-day afternoon Camp location) focus on the game with drills, skills and match play under air-conditioned bubbles. Instructors and coaches bring out a Camper’s talents in a supportive way. Choose a week, all summer or something in between! Enroll now!

advantage QuickStart tennis c amp

UPPER EAST SIDE: Wagner Middle School/220 East 76th St. New York, NY 10021

EAST SIDE: 281 Main St. Roosevelt Island, NY 10044

WEST SIDE: 450 West 43rd St., New York, NY 10036 advantagecamps.net

UPPER EAST SIDE: dfallick@ advantagecamps.net

EAST SIDE: mbarbato@ advantagecamps.net

WEST SIDE: gslotnick@ advantagecamps.net

At Advantage QuickStart Tennis Camp kids ages 4 to 8 get in the game—and love it! Special kid-sized racquets and slower-bouncing balls make it fun from day one!

Specially-trained coaches use drills and games to keep Campers engaged, learning and enjoying in a friendly, non-competitive atmosphere. Choose the East Side/ Roosevelt Island, Upper East Side/Wagner Middle School or West Side/Manhattan

Plaza Racquet Club location and sign up for a week or all summer for this half-day Camp. Even add afternoons at Advantage Day Camp! Enroll now!

aviator Summer Day c amp 3159 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11234


Aviator Sports Summer Day Camp offers five daily rotating activities such as swimming, ice skating, gymnastics, rock climbing, parkour, indoor/outdoor turf, and courts plus more in its ample 175,000 sq. ft. facility and 35-acre outdoor area. Aviator Summer Camp also offers off-site and onsite field trips such as a day at Green Meadows Farm, Launch Trampoline Park, and a Brooklyn Cyclones game. The summer camp runs from 9 am-5 pm with early drop off and late stay available. Bus transportation is also available throughout

18 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023 C amp S Dire C tory | Special Advertising Supplement
Established in 1992 • Ages 4-15 Reasonable Tuition Bayside • 718-229-3037 Visit us at: www.worldofdiscovery.org Specialized Sports Program • Gymnastics • Karate • Swimming • Music • Private Outdoor Pool • Small Groups • Trips • Dance • Arts & Crafts • Free Transportation To ensure a safe environment, we are taking all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID 354 Lakeville Road, Great Neck, NY 516-466-8422 | www.CMSGN.com thhe e A me merican n M ont ontessosori Societ y since 198 8 • pl pla •L arge e classrooms •Low w teacher-s-stude d nt t rattiio •Early y dro drop -of f ex ten en t ded d da avavailable Our fullyequipped, spacious classrooms offer the most enriched curriculum available for 18 mos – 6 yrs with the American Montessori Society since 1988 •Spacious playground •Large classrooms •Low teacher-student ratio •Early drop-off and extended day available C o u n t r s i e M o n t e s i s o r S c h o o l Countryside Montessori School An Education Where Children Thrive Under the Guidance of Great Teachers in an Environment that Stimulates Creativity and Individual Potential! Now Registering for Camp

July 5th – August 11th

Monday — Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Early drop-off available

All children entering Kindergarten through Grade 5 are welcome!

Attend an Open House

Saturday, April 15 at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, May 24 at 6 p.m.

Core Academic & Recreational Options

martial arts • drama • dance • STEM arts & crafts • special events & more!

Register for two four or six weeks!

For more information

tel: (718) 551-3123

email: summer@kewforest.org kewforest.org/summer

Daily rotating activities including ice skating, swimming, gymnastics and more!

Lunch and snack included Weekly, half-summer and full summer registration accepted

Ages 4-15 (four age-appropriate divisions)

Bus pickup available throughout Brooklyn

Learn More and Schedule a Tour Today!


March 2023 | Queens Family 19
at the Kew-Forest School ol h rest Sc S K F at t th Join us for

Brooklyn. Lunch and an afternoon snack are included.

countryside m ontessori School

354 Lakeville Rd, Great Neck, NY 11020 516- 406-3623 cmsgn.com


Countryside Montessori School offers Summer Camp for children 18 months to 6 years old. An 8 week program offers flexibility in number of weeks and offers half and full day options. Toddlers enjoy our spacious playground in the mornings and nap in the afternoon. For our primary children we offer academics (similar to the school year) in the morning and afternoon play. Please be sure to email for more details.

Garden School

33-16 79th Street Jackson Heights, NY 11372

718- 335-6363



Garden Summer Camp is run by highly-trained staff, industry experts, and professional educators who are dedicated to ensuring that each camper has a safe and enriching experience. To ensure that your child gets the attention they need, our camp has low camper to teacher ratios and is divided into different programs by age. At Garden’s Summer Camp, your child will build confidence, make new friends, discover new talents, and have lots and lots of FUN!

h illcrest Jewish center Day

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183-02 Union Tpke Flushing, NY 11366 hjcdaycamp.org


The “camp where everybody knows your name” offers programs for campers

from pre-school through our Counselor-in-Training program for 14- and 15-yearolds. Our age-appropriate programs include Red Cross swim instruction, arts and crafts, outdoor play, sports, field trips, drama, Jewish culture programs, special events and activities, and weekly cookouts. Kosher lunch and afternoon snack are provided daily. Camp runs from 9 AM to 4 PM, with extended hours available from 8 AM to 6 PM.

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216-15 Peck Ave., Bayside 718-634-8109 magicdaycamp.com

Magic Day Camp has successfully operated for more than 30 years. Conveniently located in Bayside, Queens, with doorto-door bus transportation to families EVERYWHERE in Queens at no additional cost. Magic Day Camp has given generations of

children a safe and rewarding environment to explore new and enriching experiences. With daily swimming, daily trips, sports programs, dance programs, parks, state of the art facilities, celebrations, and incredible summer days; “everyday is truly magical!”

Summer at the kew- forest School

119-17 Union Turnpike Forest Hills, NY 11375 718- 551-3123



Summer at The Kew-Forest School (July 5 – August 11, 2023) provides children entering Kindergarten to Grade 5 with academic enrichment in reading, writing, and mathematics, along with recreational activities including martial arts, drama, dance, STEM, arts and crafts, special events, and more! Two, four, and six week options available. Attend an Open

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House on Saturday, April 15 at 10am or Wednesday, May 24 at 6pm.

oasis Bayside


718-865- 5647


An affordable NYC summer camp at Fort Totten with programs for ages 3 to 16 that are centered on the arts, outdoor education, instructional and recreational swimming, sports, and team building. With an optional lunch program as well! Oasis Bayside gives campers the opportunity to be active, think creatively, and discover new friendships that will last a lifetime. Three different types of camps are offered: a traditional summer day camp program for children in grades K-6, a Teen Travel program with daily destinations for young adults ages 12 to 14, and a modified day Early Start Imagination Camp for campers 3-5.

ymca of Greater n ew york

Summer c amp ymcanyc.org/camp

YMCA Summer Day Camp offers the best of adventure, aquatics, sports & games, creative arts, camp traditions, special guests & trips, and summer learning. YMCA programs for ages 3-15 are designed to meet your child’s interests and abilities. Through their day camps and specialty camps in all five boroughs, parents can trust the Y to give their kids a fun, enriching, and high-quality camp experience this summer — out of the house and learning new skills. Summer camp starts on July 3 and runs in two-week sessions through August 25. Camp hours and prices vary by location. Visit the website to find a camp near you to learn more!

Hillcrest Jewish Center Day Camp

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Charter School Education in NYC

Charter schools continue to be popular among parents as the city recovers from pandemic

New York City has 275 charter schools across all five boroughs, with six new additions from last year. As parents continue to weigh whether or not they should enroll their children in charters — among other countless education issues citywide — it is more important than ever that these 275 schools reflect the needs and requirements of each individual student.

A charter school differs from a traditional public school because charters still receive government funding, but operate outside of the school systems previously established in the geographic area in which the school is located.

This means that charter schools are not as beholden to the sometimes rigid statewide curriculum that is followed in traditional public schools. Instead, charters have the opportunity to explore alternative learning styles in addition to what the state expects to be taught.

“Charter schools are independentlyoperated public schools that have the freedom to design classrooms that meet their students’ needs,” a statement from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools website reads. “It is common to see charter schools led by former teachers who wanted to take the lessons they learned in the classroom and apply those lessons to an entire school.”

All charter schools are required to operate under a contract with a charter school authorizer, which holds the individual school accountable for the educational standards of their charter. Still, all charter schools are different, with some focusing on subjects relating to STEM education, college prep while others integrate forms of the arts into each subject.

This ideal of having a charter school emphasize individual skills or subjects is one reason why charters can be so appealing to guardians who want their children to have a more individualized school experience.

“Every day I am inspired by the hard but incredibly joyful work of our teachers and staff to get students back on track from the pandemic and empower them to build a future where they can reach their full

potential as learners and as people,” said Jane Martinez Dowling, chief of external affairs at KIPP NYC, a charter school system.

“I think what really sets KIPP NYC apart is our commitment to supporting students

throughout their lifelong learning journeys – from the moment they step through our doors in kindergarten, through graduation, college, their careers, and beyond to fulfill their potential.”

22 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023

In the Big Apple, another attractive quality about charter schools is the emphasis of diversity within their student bodies as well with staff and educators.

According to the New York City Charter School Center during the 2022-23 school year, 49% of the student body in the NYC charter school system identified as Black and 41% as Latinx. Additionally, 80% of charter school students are economically challenged, 18% of students are in individualized education programs (IEP), 9.6% live in temporary housing and 9% are multilingual learners.

The NYC charter school system has an estimated population of 142,500 students, with 15% of all NYC public school students attending a charter school.

Recent studies conducted by New York City Charter School Center indicated that in 2022, NYC students attending charter schools scored at higher proficiency rates in both English language arts and mathematics than their district counterparts.

Citywide, Black and Latinx students attending charter schools achieved twice the

proficiency rates as their district school peers in math, and scored nearly 20 percentage points higher in English language arts.

Especially as the city heals from the COVID-19 pandemic, parents and guardians look for ways that can help their child have the best opportunities in education, and for some that means enrolling in a charter school.

Some educators involved with the state’s charter programs say that since the schools are seeing higher enrollment rates and higher general interest especially in response to the pandemic, New York State should respond to the increased demand and lift the current caps on the number of charter

schools that can open in a state.

The cap in New York State currently stands at 460 schools, with a smaller-sub cap on NYC.

“Despite the historic challenges of the past three years, charter schools delivered for NYC families – providing a high-quality public education that has set students up for success – no matter where they live in the city,” said James Merriman, CEO of the NYC Charter School Center. “But there is much work still to be done, and the need for opening more seats at great public charter schools have never been higher. All families deserve a choice in where they send their kids to school.”

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NY’s Legoland is now a Certified Autism Center

Starting with its opening of the new season Legoland New York will also be a Certified Autism Center. Ask any parent of a child diagnosed with ASD (Autism spectrum disorder) if going to a theme park is easy; most likely, every answer will differ. This is because, as a parent with a child with autism, sometimes going anywhere can be challenging. I should know, I have gone to several theme parks with my ASD son and I have been hit, slapped and bitten, for the park was too overwhelming for him. My son is quite sweet, but visiting a spot where loud noises are the norm, long lines part of the deal- can be quite stirring especially for a nonverbal or sensory-sensitive person. When even the most simple place does not consider that not all kids are the same, going to something grand like a theme park feels impossible.

There has been one exception- and this is Legoland. We have been to Legoland three times, and it has been the only theme park where my son is happy. A few months back, I learned that Legoland was in the process of becoming a Certified Autism Center. I may have cried, for I know that parents with kids with special needs want to try at least to give their kids the same experience as other kids

and to learn that the park would become even more equipped for my ASD child is a game changer for families. And now starting March 31st Legoland with be equipped to to give these kids and their families the support they need to enjoy their visit.

What you can expect on your next visit to Legoland

Being certified provides Legoland NY with the tools and support needed to thoughtfully engage with a neurodiverse population while understanding that kids play at a level that is known and comfortable to them. While all Legoland Resorts across North America will now be Certified Autism Centers by spring 2023 this is what you can expect at Legoland New York:

• No more having to explain why your child may do this or that; there will now be trained front-line team members educated and equipped to help autistic guests and sensory sensitive individuals.

• Pre-planning resources available for guests on the Parks’ websites.

• I once took my son on a ride and he was unable to push a button (he now can); he just sat there in his little ride while the other kids passed him by and my heart sank. At Legoland, you will find at every ride a posted sensory

guide (developed in partnership with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards) indicating whether there are bright lights, loud sounds, or any features that guests might need to plan around.

• Low sensory areas allow guests with certain sensitivities to take a break and relax in a less stimulating environment.

• Upon request, First Aid offers ear plugs to assist with sound and overstimulation and “Assisted Access Passes” can be requested at Guest Services.

What does it mean to be a Certified Autism Center?

According to their press statement Legoland NY received its certification from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. IBCCES works with many fields such as education, healthcare, entertainment and professionals to provide evidence-based training and certification programs created in conjunction with its board of clinical and subject matter experts and autistic individuals to give a better understanding of autism and other neurodivergencies. Simply put, they give people the tools to know how to understand people with ASD as well as people who may be challenged with neurodivergencies such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, epilepsy, hyperlexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Tourette syndrome (TS).

Legoland New York Opens for the season March 31st and is located at 1 Legoland Blvd, Goshen, NY 10924.

24 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023
Special needS


• Advanced Regents pathways as part of our rigorous education, including: Arts Pathway | Languages Pathway

• Academic supports for all learners, including students with special needs and ELLs

• Capstone Projects each year address issues in our local community

• Career placement support through internships and training programs

• Earn college credit before graduation through CollegeNow, CLEP and more

• Sports including Basketball and Volleyball teams

• Uniforms that students help design

• Extracurriculars, clubs and college visits

Located in South Jamaica, Queens!

156-10 Baisley Boulevard Jamaica, NY 11434

Our Mission:

Our mission is to cultivate a STEAM learning environment strengthened by social-emotional and academic supports that incorporate our core values of P.R.I.D.E: Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Discipline, & Excellence to promote lifelong learning.


Friday, March 10th at 6 p.m. (Virtual)

Saturday, March 18th at 10 a.m. (In-Person)

Friday, April 7th at 6 p.m. (Virtual)

To RSVP to a virtual open house, email us at AMS4admissions@charter.newvisions.org or call (718) 525-2041.

Through an advisory structure, we ensure a strong connection between the school community and families.

We offer scholar supports that fosters life skills beyond graduation; by way of courses focused in College & Career Readiness, Entrepreneurship, Health & Wellness.

Our grade-level school counselors loop with scholars from 9TH grade through 12TH grade and a social worker designated to lower house (9TH & 10TH grade) and upper house (11TH - 12TH grade).

Along with sports we also have programs such as My Sisters Keeper, Masters of Excellence, Helping Hands, Gay Straight Alliance. These programs are designed to promote scholar voice and acknowledge diversity.

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Gas Stoves

Arecently published study has found that indoor gas stoves are linked to an increased risk of asthma in children, with around 12.7% of current childhood asthma cases in the United States being attributable to gas stove use.

Since the publication of this study, debates have sprung up, with some pledging their allegiances to gas stoves and others suggesting that they be phased out. There’s a lot of information swirling around, which can be hard to sift through if you’re a parent, especially one with a gas stove in your home currently.

Here’s what you need to know about gas stoves, how they can affect you and your family’s health and what you should do if you have a gas stove in your house.

What Makes Gas Stoves Potentially Harmful?

Because stoves burn natural gas, they create invisible by-products, one of the most concerning being nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actually has regulations outdoor NO2 emissions and sets safe exposure limits, but there aren’t any similar regulations for indoor exposure.

In recent years, we’ve learned much more about the ways that exposure to NO2 can negatively affect our health. Long-term exposure to NO2 can increase a person’s chances of respiratory infections and asthma.

Gas stoves have a negative impact on the environment as well. Burning natural gas produces carbon dioxide. Unburned natural gas contains methane, and gas stoves have been found to leak unburned methane. Both carbon dioxide and methane are greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change.

Are Gas Stoves Going To Be Banned?

Federally, there doesn’t seem to be a ban on gas stoves on the horizon. Alex Hoehn-Saric, Chair of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC), released a statement

clarifying that he is not looking to ban gas stoves.

Instead, the USCPSC is doing further research on the gas emissions from stoves and working on finding new ways to address the health risks.

In New York City, there’s already a ban on natural gas hook ups in new buildings going into effect at the end of this year.

City Council passed a bill in 2021 that will ban natural gas in new buildings under seven stories starting in 2024, and in 2027 for anything taller. However, this bill doesn’t affect buildings where gas is already installed.

I Have A Gas Stove. What Do I Do?

You don’t need to get rid of your gas stove. If you want to take some steps towards lowering health risks that could come from using a gas stove, here are some things you can consider doing:

Ventilate your kitchen when cooking. Turning a fan on won’t do much, since it’s just circulating the same air through the kitchen. But consider opening your windows while you cook or use exhaust fans that move air outside.

Use an air purifier with a high clean air delivery rate (CADR) to improve the air quality in your home

Look into using electric appliances where you can. While replacing a gas stove with an electric stove isn’t easy or even feasible for many, there are smaller changes you can make to limit how much you’re using gas. Use an electric kettle instead of boiling water on the stove top. Use appliances like electric slow cookers, toaster ovens, rice cookers or microwaves when possible.

There’s no need to rip your gas stove from the wall, but these small changes can make a difference in the health of you and your family.

26 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023
The potential health risks and what you need to know

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With cultural researcher, parenting expert and columnist Jessica Joelle Alexander

Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 2 p.m. ET

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Video Games at MoMA

Exhibit explores interactive design and human connection

Technology and video games often bear the connotation of being isolating, closing their users off from “actual” human connection.

But at its core, interactive design was created to bring people closer together. This idea is explored in Never Alone: Video Games and Other Interactive Design, on view in the Museum of Modern Art through this summer.

Between visits to the masterpieces of artists like Picasso and Van Gogh, play some of your favorite video games and learn about interactive design.

The exhibition explores how interactive design transforms and influences our experiences and interactive design’s role in connecting people together.

As visitors walk through, they’ll be able to learn how the input, the designer and the player come together to bring experiences to life through technology. The items featured in Never Alone were selected from the museum’s collection as ground-breaking examples of interactive design.

See 35 video games from yesterday and today alongside other examples of interactive design. And, of course, some of the video games are available to play for yourself.

The ten video games available for play are certainly a highlight of the exhibition.

Parents and kids can bond over playing classic games, like Pac-Man and Tempest, while learning about the connections between the player’s input and the digital world.

Play world-building games, like SimCity 2000 and Minecraft, as examples of the player’s role in bringing a game to life.

Puzzle over Getting Over It, Flower and Everything Is Going To Be Okay as they present stark contrasts of how video game designers can use the medium in different ways to accomplish different goals.

Kids and adults alike will love the opportunity to play these video games. And, through playing these games, visitors can see firsthand how design and even the players

themselves can play a role in the success of a game.

In addition, visitors will get the chance to see other examples of interactive design through the years, including computer interfaces, icons, apps, computer terminals and more.

Senior curator Paola Antonelli said the exhibition is meant to showcase how interactive design runs through different aspects of our lives.

“The interfaces we use to access the digital universe are visual and tactile manifestations of code that both connect and separate us, and shape the way we behave and perceive life,” Antonelli says in a press release. “Ever since digital tools have become ubiquitous, interactive design has become the conduit to systems of all kinds, from communication and information to transportation, supply, and more. It is in the touch commands on the screen of an ATM machine or of a smartphone, and in the interface

of an ICU monitor. Interactive design runs a great part of our lives.”

Whether you’re a technology buff yourself or you have kids who can’t get enough of different video games, plan to make a visit to Never Alone while it’s still on view at the Museum of Modern Art. Who knows: maybe you’ll leave the museum with a new favorite video game to play at home.

Museum of Modern Art

11 W 53rd St. in Manhattan

Hours: Sunday through Friday, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. Saturday, 10:30 am 7 pm

Admission: Adults – $25. Seniors and visitors with disabilities – $18. Students (full time with ID) – $14. Children (16 and under) – Free Admission to Never Alone: Video Games and Other Interactive Design, is included with general admission to the Museum of Modern Art. Through July 16th, 2023.

28 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023
Family day out
Photos by Emile Askey
March 2023 | Queens Family 29 Check us out Online! We’re the #1 print & digital lifestyle platform for engaged parents in New York. Visit newyorkfamily.com for daily stories and to sign up for our weekly newsletters!

Go Wild at the Newark Museum of Art

Animal Kingdom exhibition offers a fresh look at nature

Families and kids can now learn about and celebrate the wonders of the animal kingdom from the comfort of an art museum.

The Animal Kingdom exhibition at The Newark Museum of Art (newarkmuseumart. org) teaches visitors about the different animals that inhabit the land, air and sea and how we as humans impact them through a series of immersive and interactive experiences.

Upon entering the exhibition, visitors are greeted with the intro gallery, where they can get acquainted with animals of the land, air and sea.

One of the most exciting features of this gallery is the Magic Door to Art. When visitors open the door, they’ll be greeted by a dynamic presentation of 15 different works of art fea-

turing different animals.

The Magic Door to Art shows animals coming to life through art while also demonstrating a connection between science and art.

Showing the connection between different disciplines was a primary goal of the exhibition.

Silvia Filippini-Fantoni, deputy director of learning and engagement at the Newark Museum of Art, says the aim was to “move away from science for science’s sake” and instead “look at the integration between art and science and technology, given that our museum has all these different collections, and how we can bring them together.”

After leaving the intro gallery, visitors will fly into the world of birds in “Lost World: The Audubon Immersive Experience.” This fully immersive projection-based experience brings the animals from Audubon’s Birds of America to life.

The projections in this gallery feature dynamic versions of Audubon’s bird illustrations in their natural habitats, accompanied by a soundtrack of actual bird sounds compiled

from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s database.

This room is also home to a replica of an underground cave, complete with cave paintings modeled after seven different caves from around the world. Here, visitors can play a matching game, allowing them to interact with the first known human art displaying animal subjects in a playful way.

Finally, visitors will enter the “Sketch Aquarium.” In this digital aquarium, parents and kids alike can create their own sea creatures and then scan them into the aquarium. And unlike traditional aquariums, you’re encouraged to tap the glass in the Sketch Aquarium!

In addition to teaching visitors about different animals of the land, air and sea, the Animal Kingdom exhibition also helps visitors learn about the realities of human impact on the environment.

The “Endangered” room in the exhibition highlights endangered and threatened animals, but it’s also a call to action. In this room, visitors can learn about small changes they

30 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023
family day out

can make in their own lives to have a positive impact on the world around them.

Filippini-Fantoni says museums have a responsibility to discuss important social justice issues like humans’ impact on the environment.

“There’s this idea that museums should be neutral,” Filippini-Fantoni says. “But really, we want to address these topics that are relevant and important for our audiences.”

Families can connect with the exhibition even further through special events, like immersive yoga classes held in the “Sketch Aquarium” and “Lost World” rooms of the exhibition.

These special events as well as the immersive nature of the exhibition are efforts to effectively engage with visitors, especially visitors from younger generations.

“We kind of understand that just putting artwork on the wall is not really going to engage and connect with younger audiences,” Filippini-Fantoni says. “We really need to do it in a different way.”

The Animal Kingdom exhibition is unique from what you’d typically find in an art mu-

seum, but it was created in connection with the Newark Museum of Art’s values and mission.

“It was all very intentionally focused on creating opportunities that are unexpected and creative,” says Andreina Castillo, director of marketing and communication for the Newark Museum of Art.

Maegan Douglas, manager of interpretation and public programs, says she hopes attendees leave the exhibition with a sense of awe and wonder.

“Many visitors may not remember some of the things they saw,” Douglas says. “But they’re going to remember how they felt.

The Animal Kingdom exhibition at the Newark Museum of Art is on view through May 2024.

Newark Museum of Art 49 Washington Street Newark, NJ 07102 973-596-6550

March 2023 | Queens Family 31
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Giving Back as a Family

A guide to NYC volunteering

Volunteering in NYC helps teach kids the value of what they have and why it’s important to help those who may not have as much. It also helps build strong family bonds as you work together as a family to do good. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, giving back spreads goodwill and joy to the community.

In a city as large as New York, finding ways to volunteer as a family can be a little difficult. It’s the double-edged sword of New York City living. Everything is here, but that means EVERYTHING is here.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the best places for New York City volunteering as a family. This borough by borough list will help you find the perfect way to give back.


New York Cares

Financial District

65 Broadway, 19th Floor, NY, NY 10006


New York Cares is an excellent vehicle for giving back with your family. Children ages 14 and up can join up with an adult group leader for a variety of activities, while family-friendly projects are available for everyone to take part in, even the younger kids. Ages: All ages

Food Bank for New York City

Financial District

39 Broadway, 10th Floor, NY, NY 10006

212-566-7855 ext. 5

This organization provides support to the underserved across New York. To help them with their many charitable endeavors, they accept volunteers of all ages. Even kids as young as 5 are welcome for the organization’s Weekend Repack to help sort donated and bulk items into specific categories. Ages: Five years old and up

Toys for Tots

Across Manhattan


One of the easiest ways to participate in New York City volunteering is to do it on your own. Parents and their children can give back

together by donating toys to Toys for Tots. Take the kids and make a day of purchasing requested toys and donating them to your local Toys for Tots drop-off center. Ages: All ages

God’s Love We Deliver


166 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10013 212-294-8100

Offering a variety of ways for families to do good as a family, God’s Love We Deliver offers all manner of charitable opportunities from seasonal to year-round. Children 16 and over can help with activities like packing and serving. Those 18 and older can make meal deliveries. Meanwhile, children younger than 16 can participate in Crafting Love projects like making beaded bracelets and birthday and holiday cards. Ages: All ages

New York Common Pantry

East Harlem

8 East 109th Street, NY, NY 10029 917-720-9700

Giving back as a family by volunteering at New York Common Pantry is a great way to do good.This pantry depends on volunteer help to allow its continued distribution of thousands of meals yearly. Children ages 16 and up are welcome and can help with the distribution of pantry items, meal service, or pantry item packing. Ages: 16 and up

Friends of Governors Island

Financial District

10 South Street, Slip 7, NY, NY 10007

Friends of Governors Island only accepts volunteers who are 16 or over, so this New York City volunteering opportunity is limited to those with older children. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy time outdoors, stay active, and help one of the most beautiful spots in NYC stay beautiful. Ages: 16 and over

Partnerships for Parks

Across Manhattan 212-360-1399

Partnerships for Parks is devoted to helping neighborhood parks thrive. A diverse network of dedicated park volunteers continues to expand, making it possible to do more to restore and revive parks across the city. This joint program of City Parks Foundation and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is always looking for more volunteers. Ages: All ages

Jewish Association for Services for the Aged Garment District

247 West 37th Street, New York, NY 10018 212-273-5200

Accepting volunteers of all ages, the JASA offers a variety of services that help improve the lives of seniors across the city. Offering everything from meals to legal services, the JASA is committed

32 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023

to empowering and embracing the elderly community of New York. Ages: All ages

Carter Burden Network

Lenox Hill

415 E. 73rd St., NY, NY 10021

212-423-9665 ext. 423

Another excellent resource for New York City volunteering as a family, the Carter Burden Network offers a variety of services to seniors and their families, including grocery shopping, computer training, and more. The organization accepts both adult and youth volunteers. Ages: All ages


Toys for Tots

Across Brookyln


One of the easiest ways to participate in New York City volunteering is to do it on your own. Parents and their children can give back together by donating toys to Toys for Tots. Take the kids and make a day of purchasing requested toys and donating them to your local Toys for Tots drop-off center. Ages: All ages

Partnerships for Parks

Across Brooklyn


Partnerships for Parks is devoted to helping neighborhood parks thrive. A diverse network of

dedicated park volunteers continues to expand, making it possible to do more to restore and revive parks across the city. This joint program of City Parks Foundation and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is always looking for more volunteers. Ages: All ages

City Harvest

Borough Park

150 52nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232 646-412-0600

City Harvest’s farmers market-style distribution centers provide fresh produce to those in need across all five boroughs of the city. Along with other activities, they promote more food being used and less wasted. City Harvest offers volunteer opportunities for both adults and youth. Ages: Check their volunteer FAQs for specifics.

Gallop NYC

Prospect Park

Prospect Park, corner of Canton Ave. & Coney Island Ave, 855-925-5661

If your children are 16 and over, and you love horses, Gallop NYC is an excellent opportunity for Volunteering in New York City as a family. This group offers therapeutic horseback riding to children and adults with developmental, emotional, social, and physical challenges. Volunteers can help in a variety of ways, and training is provided. Ages: 16 and over

Grow NYC Greenmarkets


Washington Park &, Dekalb Ave., 212-7887900

Grow NYC Greenmarkets are throughout New York City where families can donate their gently used clothing, shoes, and textiles. Practice giving back as a family by going through closets and donating items that you and your kids never use. Ages: All ages


Toys for Tots

Across Queens


One of the easiest ways to participate in New York City volunteering is to do it on your own. Parents and their children can give back together by donating toys to Toys for Tots. Take the kids and make a day of purchasing requested toys and donating them to your local Toys for Tots drop-off center. Ages: All ages

Citymeals On Wheels

Across Queens


Citymeals On-Wheels provides food and

companionship to New York City’s elderly. The organization is a great one for giving back because they accept volunteers of all ages. Ages: All ages

Partnerships for Parks

Across Queens


Partnerships for Parks is a city-wide initiative aimed at restoring and maintaining neighborhood parks so everyone can have green spaces to enjoy. Ages: All ages

Queens Botanical Garden

Flushing 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11355 718-886-3800

Queens Botanical Garden makes giving back as a family easy. Their routine volunteer opportunities are made to accommodate ages ranging from 14 to adults, while younger children can help out at seasonal community days if they’re accompanied by an adult. Opportunities range from planting to office work. Ages: All ages

Gallop NYC

Forest Hills

88-03 70th Road, Forest Hills, NY 11375 855-925-5661

As previously mentioned, Gallop NYC offers a variety of opportunities for New York City volunteering for people 16 and up. That service is focused on helping people with physical, mental, and emotional developmental roadblocks. Ages: 16 and up

City-Wide Citymeals On Wheels


Providing food and company to housebound elderly across New York City, Citymeal On Wheels is a volunteer group accepting volunteers of all ages to help hand-deliver meals. Kids can get involved by writing cards and letters, helping to prepare meals, and more. The organization is a great one for giving back because they accept volunteers of all ages and from all across New York City. Ages: All ages

so Many o pportunities for n ew york City Volunteering As a Family All it takes is a click or a phone call to start teaching your kids the importance of giving back. Most of the organizations we just listed accept children of various ages, so it should be easy to find a way for New York City volunteering that fits your family. It’s better to give than to receive so use this list to help you find the joy of giving back as a family!

March 2023 | Queens Family 33

Bethany Braun-Silva

on pivoting into a new career with her podcast "The Breakdown With Bethany"

and parenting expert

At New York Family, we have the privilege of meeting all types of parents. It is an inspiring job; it is impossible not to learn and take in everyone’s story that we share. We also attend many events, talks, and summits because, as most parents know, parenting has many layers. Frankly, some of these events can feel a bit junior high and twirling around in my brain as I walk to each one is usually, will I have anyone to chat with ? Will I know anyone since most of our relationships these days are via social ? The answer is usually yes.

I met Bethany Braun-Silva at a parenting talk a few years back. Bethany walked up to me, introduced herself, and with her upbeat personality, she shared how she was also a parenting writer. As I have gotten to know Bethany, I now know that on top of being a prolific parenting editor, she is an on-the-go mom of two boys, Elias, 10, and Jake, 7, who she raises with her equally busy husband, Manny. On any given day, you may see an article pop up in the world web that she has written as a Special Projects Editor at Wild Sky Media. Or you will find her sharing helpful parenting advice and mom hacks on TV news segments. So it was not surprising when she founded her podcast and web show "The Breakdown With Bethany" on Mom. com, where she interviews celebrity moms and parenting experts that are a refreshing listen.

I caught up with this busy mom to learn more about how she has pivoted into a new career (the podcast) while keeping her day job as a writer and parenting expert.

DDL:What inspired you to start The Breakdown With Bethany?

BBS:Mindy Kaling! Well, not directly, but during my time as the Editor of Parenting. com , I got offered an interview with her

and couldn’t believe how lucky I was. The interview went well, but I didn’t get the green light to publish the conversation on Parenting.com , so I thought, “why not create my own platform for all these interviews with amazing moms I was being offered?” I love talking to mothers about their ambitions, motherhood journey, careers, relationships, struggles, and triumphs; I truly feel that is what I’m meant to do, so I just did it. I bootstrapped the project for so long, and now I’m so proud that it’s widely available on multiple podcast platforms and YouTube.

DDL:You interview many well-known moms, although they are all pretty famous; what are some things that make them just like us?

BBS:Get ready for a major name drop, but it was actually Serena Williams who said to me during an interview that “motherhood is the ultimate equalizer.” I think moms, famous or not, go through similar emotional struggles: guilt, shame, fear, and loneliness. Something that I’ve been so grateful to help do through my interviews is destigmatized conversations around postpartum depression and anxiety. This is something we talk about a lot on “The Breakdown With Bethany,” and famous or not, this is something that no mother is immune to, and I love that I’m able to help bring more and more awareness to this important topic.

DDL: Any incredible interviews where you signed off and said to yourself WOW?

BBS: Any time I can make a real connection with someone is a “wow” moment. I do the interview through Zoom, so this can definitely be challenging, but most recently, I interviewed Jenna Bush Hager, and from the first question, I could tell that this was going to be a great interview. She is so giving as a reporter and as a guest, and I am also such an admirer of hers that when I

finished, I needed to take a minute to take the moment in.

DDL:I also love hearing mothers’ stories; there always seems to be a common thread: we have a lot more in common than we think. By sharing these mom stories, do you feel it helps you parent?

BBS:I do! I think any time I feel connected and like I’m not alone on this crazy parenthood journey helps me to be a better parent. And that’s exactly why I wanted to share these stories, to help other parents, especially mothers, realize they are not alone. When I conduct interviews, I usually have a question (or two) pertaining to my life. For instance, I recently interviewed a well-known parenting writer who is coming out with a book about astrology and raising kids. I mentioned that it always seems to be a battle with my older son, who is an Aries, and she told me that Aries often like to “fight for fun.” She gave me some great recommendations on relating to him, like sparring with him a bit lovingly. So far, it seems to be working!

DDL:While still a working editor, you have made some pivots to follow your passion for storytelling; what advice can you share with parents on making changes in their careers (keeping in mind many of us still have to pay our bills)?

BBS:I totally get that bill-paying part. Nobody is bankrolling me or my husband so my desire to make a career shift has been fueled by my passion and ambition but it has also been incredibly intentional. What I would suggest to parents who want to make a change in their careers is to follow their passions and to go for it absolutely but not blow up their lives. What I mean is don’t quit the day job without a revenue stream. My journey to television and creating the podcast was, at times, painstakingly slow— because

34 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023
— while keeping her day job as a writer

I couldn’t just leave everything behind to pursue the big dream, and I still can’t. But I’m finding that doing things at a slower, more calculated pace has helped me reach levels I never thought I could. So I say to go for it with all your heart, but don’t be afraid about taking it slow and making smart (and best) decisions for your family, even if it feels like a step back. You’ll get there!

DDL:What do you do to banish mom guilt?

BBS:Mom guilt can be incredibly overwhelming, especially when you are as ambitious as I am. In the moments when I’m feeling especially guilty, I take a moment to practice mindfulness and really get present with myself. I check in with myself by asking questions like: Are my kids okay? Are they healthy? Are they safe? Are they happy? The answer is usually “yes,” thank goodness, which helps ground me. And then, I spend some time with them where I am 100 percent present to check in and reconnect. But if I’m being honest, I mostly ignore it and push through.

DDL:You are a born and bred New Yorker; what do you love about raising kids here in the city?

BBS:So. Many. Things. I grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, and my husband grew up in Astoria, so raising our little New Yorkers to appreciate all the things we loved growing up is so fun and rewarding. From stickball in the schoolyard to trips to quick trips to The Met, there are so many things to appreciate about being from NYC. Watching them experience the same things I did for the first time is such a joy. They really are little New Yorkers and have a hard time understanding that pizza is not available 24 hours a day in other places.

DDL:What are some of the ‘rules’ you feel you have broken to create a life you are happy living?

BBS:I love this question because I’m actually writing a book that has to do with this very topic. I love breaking “rules.” I was a mother before I was a wife; I pursued a career in journalism without any formal education on the subject, and I started a podcast out of a sheer desire to spread a message and cultivate a community. Maybe it’s my New York sensibility or being an only child but I hate to be told I can’t do something. I advocate for myself professionally a lot. Sometimes it feels scary and a little desperate but I know who I am and what I can bring to the table. So I would also encourage other women to do the same!

March 2023 | Queens Family 35
Michelle Rose Photo

Quee NS

St. Pat’s for all Parade

when : March 5, noon

where : 43rd Street & Skillman Avenue, 43rd Street & Skillman Avenue, Sunnyside

aGeS: All

what: Join community groups, unions, businesses, activists, schools, clubs, artists, musicians and dancers as they turn the streets GREEN in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. want to Go?: Free. stpatsforall.org

Purim celebration at central Queens

when : March 12, 12 – 2 pm where : Commonpoint Queens Central Queens, 67-09 108th Street, Forest Hills

aGeS: All

what: Wear your best Purim costume for a day with crafts, games, bounce house, prizes, and more.

want to Go?: $5 ages 2 and older. (718) 268–5011, commonpointqueens.org

Spring children’s Garden family Day

when : March 12, 1 – 4 pm where : Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing

aGeS: 2-12

what: Participate in planting activities and crafts, and learn about all the programs the Garden has to offer for children.

want to Go?: $5 suggested donation. (718) 886–3800, queensbotanical.org

animal tales: Green eggs and ham

when : March 18, 11 am – 12:15 pm

where : Alley Pond Environmental Center, 224-65 76th Ave. Oakland Gardens

celebrate holi at Flushing town hall on March 18.

aGeS: 3 – 5

what: Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday with live animals, Green egg-inspired pretzel and M&M snacks, and more!

want to Go?: $24 per child. (718) 229–4000, alleypond.org

hands on history:

construction at the manor!

when : March 18, 1 pm

where : King Manor Museum, 150-03 Jamaica Ave. Jamaica

aGeS: 5 and up

what: Celebrate the women who helped construct King Manor in the 19th century and participate in a construction style activity.

want to Go?: Free. (718) 206–0545, kingmanor.org

celebrate holi! live music & Dance Performance

when : March 18, 2:15 pm

where : Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd. Flushing

aGeS: All

what: Celebrate Holi with performances featuring classical raga music, traditional Kathak dance, a dance drama of Holi, folk dances and more.. want to Go?: $15; $10 Members, Seniors, & Students with ID. (718) 463–7700 x 222, flushingtownhall.org

Bayside village St.

Patrick’s Day Parade

when : March 25, 1 pm

where : Bayside Village BID, Bell Blvd between 36th and 41st Avenues, Bayside

aGeS: All

what: Celebrate Irish culture and heritage with bands from all over the region, Irish dancers and more!

want to Go?: Free. (718) 423–2434, baysidevillagebid. com

M AN h AttAN

the very hungry caterpillar Show

when : Fridays, 10 am,

36 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023

Saturdays and Sundays, 9:30 am and 11:30 am. through May 28.

where : DR2 Theatre, 103 East 15 Street, New York

aGeS: 8 and under what: See the stories of Eric Carle come to life with a menagerie of over 75 magical puppets.

want to Go?: $48$110. (212) 375–1110, hungrycaterpillarshow.com

Dog man: the musical

when : Starting March 4, Saturdays, 11am, 2pm and 4:30pm, Sundays, 12pm and 3 pm, Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 7 pm, through April 30 where : New World Stages, 340 W 50th Street, New York

aGeS: 5 – 12

what: Everyone’s favorite crime fighting dog leaps off the pages and onto the stage in this hilarious family show. want to Go?: $50-$116. Newworldstages.com

wonder women

when : Starting March 4, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm, through March 26. where : Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd Street, New York

aGeS: All

what: Celebrate Women’s History Month and commemorate pioneering figures in science, technology, arts & design, and mathematics.

want to Go?: Included with admission: $16; $13 seniors and visitors with disabilities. (212) 721–1223, cmom.org

holi in nyc

when : March 8, 4 – 6 pm

where: Waterline Square, 400 West 61st Street, New York

aGeS: All

what: Celebrate Holi with powder play, performances, dance workshops and Indian drummers.

want to Go?: Free. eventbrite.com

Bro Nx

family time: Double Dutch

when : March 18, 3 – 5 pm

where : The Bronx Museum, 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx

aGeS: All

what: All ages and skill levels are welcome to an afternoon of double dutch with experienced instructors.

want to Go?: Free. (718) 681–6000, bronxmuseum.org

wings of Dublin irish


when : March 19, 4 pm where: Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx aGeS: 5 and up what: See exquisite Irish and World champion dancers together with Ireland’s finest musical and vocal virtuosos.

want to Go?: $32-$83. (718) 960–8833, lehmancenter.org

Silent Disco

when : March 31, 6 – 8 pm where : Williamsbridge Oval, Van Cortlandt Ave. East, Reservoir Oval E, Bronx aGeS: All

what: Boogie on the dance floor while you listen to your favorite music and DJ with silent headphones. want to Go?: Free. nycgovparks.org

Brook LYN

the roller wave when : Wednesday and Thursday from 12-10pm, Friday through Sunday from 11am-2am

though June 4. where : The Roller Wave and Atlantic Terminal Mall, 625 Atlantic Ave. Downtown Brooklyn

aGeS: All

what: Skate your way to family fun at this new pop-up roller skating rink!

want to Go?: Tickets start at $14.50 and rental fee is $5-$10. Rollerwavenyc.com

winnie the Pooh

when : March 19, 3 pm where : Kings Theatre, 1027 Flatbush Ave, Flatbush

aGeS: All

what: This fresh stage adaptation is told with stunning life-sized puppetry through the eyes of the characters we all know and love.

want to Go?: Tickets start at $29. (718) 856–5464, kingstheatre.com


when : Starting March 25, Saturdays and Sundays, 10:30 am, Saturdays and Sundays, 2 pm, through March 26.

where : BAM Fisher, 321 Ashland Place, Boerum Hill

aGeS: 5 and up

what: Watch as performers leap, dive, dance, and juggle to create a mesmerizing story of collaboration and creative problem-solving.

want to Go?: $18. Bam.org

March 2023 | Queens Family 37 MARC h calendar
t he Queens Botanical Garden hosts a children’s Garden Family day on March 12. catch “dog Man: the Musical” at new World stages through april 30.

Books We Love

Our editors share their favorite new reads

The Soul of an Octopus

Author: Sy Montgomery

Genre: Non-fiction, Nature

A woman befriends octopuses at the New England Aquarium. The heartwarming book shows the intelligence and complexity of these spirited, playful and fascinating creatures, as well as the meaningful bonds they can form with humans.

Editor: Barbara Russo

Such a Fun Age

Author: Kiley Reid

Genre: Fiction, Coming-of-age

A case of racial profiling causes the relationship between a young Black woman and the wealthy white mother she babysits for to disintegrate. As both women try to figure out the other, they come to realize that their lives are far more intertwined than they could have ever imagined. Themes of race, identity, and privilege are undercut by humor and snappy writing that makes the novel hard to put down.

Editor: Vered Ornstein

Book Lovers

Author: Emily Henry

Genre: Romance

Cut-throat literary agent Nora Stephens is far from the typical heroine in a romance novel – and she should know, she’s read them all. When her younger sister begs her to go on a vacation to a tiny town in North Carolina, Nora keeps running into Charlie, a brooding book editor she’s worked with one too many times. But as their paths in this tiny town cross again and again, Nora and Charlie both discover that they’re more than the literary tropes they’ve assigned themselves.

Editor: Kaitlyn Riggio

I’m Glad My Mom Died

Author: Jennette McCurdy

Genre: Memoir

Fans of the Nickelodeon teen series’ iCarly and Sam and Kat will be left stunned by this biographical bombshell from the actor who plays the shows’ popular character, Sam Puckett. In it, she details how her mother forced her into a career she wanted no part of from a very young age, and how it led to a long-term struggle with eating disorders and alcohol abuse. The extremely personal and revealing memoir is the kind that will stay with you for a while, whether you’re familiar with its celebrity author or not.

Editor: Jeannine Cintron

The Rules Do Not Apply

Author: Ariel Levy

Genre: Memoir

Trigger warning on this book. This book is written with brutal honesty and does include the heartache of loss and love that doesn’t always work out. The book shares the author’s life as she navigates her career and life and how while some parts are sad - in my opinion, the openness is beautifully written and reminds us that we all have diverse outcomes for our actions but this is the heartbreak and beauty of life.

Editor: Donna Duarte Ladd

Somebody’s Daughter

Author: Ashley C. Ford

Genre: Memoir

This powerful memoir highlights Ashley’s complicated childhood that she defines with such depth and detail. She gives readers a look into her life – and her struggles, growing up poor and Black. A very different coming-of-age-story, she beautifully weaves stories of who she was, her family, her body, relationships, poverty, and more – recounting how they made part of who she is – as she learns to become herself.

Editor: Serena Norr

38 NewYorkFamily.com | March 2023
Editors’ Picks
Sunday March 5th, 2023 - 11am to 3pm Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City RSVP Now - Space is Limited www.newyorkfamily.com/LongIslandExpo Discovery and Fun all in one place, in one afternoon. Don’t miss out. Get your FREE ticket now! Fun for the Whole Family • Meet Camp Directors • Games & Raffles • Arts & Crafts • Free Treats • Face Painting • Balloon Animals • Bouncy House • Live DJ SPONSORED BY

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For more information, please contact:

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