Westchester Family - April 2023

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april 2023 Westchesterfamily.com
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8 | s afety

e-Dangers: What to know about safely storing e-bikes and e-scooters and tips for the best way to charge lithium-ion batteries

14 | s pring

This season’s bucket list

34 | cover Westchester Family’s ultimate guide to birdwatching


& colUmn S

6 | editor’s l etter

10 | education

Bilingual education for kids

20 | c amp

Westchester Family partners tell us why camp is for everyone

Th E S pE ci A l child

24 | s pecial child

When the next step is an IEP

26 | m om stories

Things you may not know about that special needs parent

28 | s pecial child

Learning disabilities in children — what parents need to know

30 | s pecial child

The benefits of horse therapy

32 | s pecial Needs listings

FA mily F U n

36 | c alendar

All the fun events and activities for April

d i RE c To R i ES

12 | Bilingual listings

32 | s pecial Needs listings

o N the cover

Illustration: Beatrice.S.Hug | anagambuto.com

Photo: Getty Images

Cover Story Written by: Barbara Russo

4 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023 April 2023
WestchesterFamily.com contents
pg. 34 pg. 24 pg. 14 pg. 36 pg. 20

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April 2023 | Westchester Family 5

Birds of a Feather

This month we are all about guides and lists. Whether you’re wondering When the Next Step is an IEP (page 24) for your Child, The Benefits of Horse Therapy (page 30), we have these and other helpful articles in our Special Child Resource Guide that can be found on page (page 32.)

Many of our kids have e-devices. Read up on What to Know about Safely Storing e-bikes and e-scooters (page 8.)

Check out our Spring Bucket List (page 14) from rollerskating at Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace, visiting Janes Carousel, to heading to Coney Island -we have a chock full

of ideas for seasonal fun.

Lastly, while people travel worldwide to Birdwatch (page 34), many of us have been flocking (hee, hee) outdoors here in New York to check out the eclectic array of birds in our parks. And we’re here for it! This month’s cover features some of NYC’s best places to see birds. Our guide, written by NYF editor and lover of all birds and bunnies Barbara Russo, breaks down by park and what species can be found and where. Enjoy!


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6 WestchesterFamily.com | April 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 in 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
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Almost everywhere you look in NYC, someone uses an e-bike or e-scooter. Despite their popularity among New Yorkers of all ages, these devices contain lithiumion batteries that have caused a recent rash of raging, damaging — and in some cases deadly — fires around the city. You may be surprised to learn this, but you may have gear in your home that is being charged by lithium-ion batteries. As parents buy more e-scooters and VR systems for their kids — awareness of these batteries is a first step (for example, we had no idea we had one in our own home and only checked while this article was being written.) If you have an e-bike or e-scooter, knowing how to store them and charge their batteries safely is key to keeping your family and others safe.

What is a Lithium-ion Battery?

A lithium-ion battery is a type of energetic, rechargeable battery. They’re very popular lately because they have some advantages over other batteries. They’re lighter than other types of rechargeable batteries, they hold their charge and can handle hundreds of charge/discharge cycles. Certain smartphones and smart devices contain lithium-ion batteries, but e-bikes and e-scooters pose the biggest and most concerning threat when it comes to fire.

The problem with these batteries is that they store a large amount of energy in a small amount of space. When batteries aren’t used the right way, or if they’re defective, they can be quite dangerous, fire officials say. They can overheat, catch fire or even explode. When fires like this occur, they burn very hot and are difficult for firefighters to extinguish.

“They take a lot of amperage. Most people don’t have a 20-amp outlet that it needs for the charging, Stephen Berger, a volunteer firefighter and former fire chief from Nassau County, said. “So, the mistake people make

is they think it’s like a regular battery where you have a regular 15-amp outlet and charge it overnight. Then, it overheats and catches fire.”

E-bikes and similar devices still need to be charged in order to be used, of course. But it’s important to do so correctly and safely. For starters, never leave a charging device unattended.

“If you’re going to charge a lithium battery for an electric scooter or bike, charge it someplace where you can observe it. It should not be left unattended,” Berger said.

The dangers of lithium-ion batteries aren’t going unnoticed by lawmakers and authorities in city government. Officials including FDNY commissioner Laura Kavanagh are advocating for better regulation of e-bikes and e-scooters.

How to Safely Store e-Bikes and Charge Lithium-Ion Batteries

Fires caused by e-bikes and e-scooters happen with some regularity. In fact, the FDNY reported more than 130 such fires in 2022, and the numbers are rising. Electric bike batteries were the cause of several recent fires in NYC this year, too.

“Lithium-ion batteries power many of the products we use in our daily lives, by and large functioning without issue,” Brian O’Connor, a technical services engineer at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), said. “At the same time, lithium-ion batteries do pose potential fire risks, so it’s important to use and maintain them properly, and to be able to recognize signs of malfunction. That level of awareness can go a long way toward minimizing the likelihood of a fire.”

Fire prevention experts also recommend charging your e-bike or e-scooter outside the house.

“They don’t recommend you charge it

inside the house, if possible. But if you do bring it in, sit there and watch it,” Berger explained.

Additional Safety Tips for Charging

Lithium-Ion Batteries:

The NFPA recommends these safety tips for charging e-bikes, e-scooters and similar devices with lithium-ion batteries:

• Purchase and use devices that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.

• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Only use the battery that is designed for the device.

• Put batteries in the device the right way.

• Only use the charging cord that came with the device.

• Do not charge a device under your pillow or on your bed or couch.

• Do not keep charging the device or device battery after it is fully charged.

• Keep batteries at room temperature when possible. Do not charge them at temperatures below 32°F (0°C) or above 105°F (40°C).

• Store batteries away from anything that can catch fire.

Additional Resources

The NFPA says to stop using a battery if you notice an odor, change in color, too much heat, change in shape, leaking or odd noises. If it’s safe to do so, move the device away from anything that can catch fire and call 911.

Never throw lithium-ion batteries in the trash. Take them to a battery recycling location. The NYC Department of Sanitation website has a lot of information on how to safely and legally dispose of batteries.

For more information about e-bike and fire prevention safety, visit nyc.gov or nfpa. org.

8 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023
What to know about safely storing e-bikes and e-scooters and tips for the best way to charge lithium-ion batteries

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Bilingual Education for Kids

What parents need to know

As New York parents, we’re all too familiar with the many options for school. We know how overwhelming (and time-consuming) it can be to research the different options and find out what would work best for your child. That’s why we’re coming in clutch with your guide to all things bilingual education!

Bilingual education has become increasingly popular in New York and beyond, so we’ve got the scoop on why that is and how some of these programs are structured. If you’re considering sending your children to a school with a bilingual program, stop the oh-so-exhausting research process now and check out our brief (but informative, as always) summary about what to expect. Read on to find out if bilingual education is for your family.

History of Bilingual Education in New York

Bilingual education has been around for quite some time now. Private schools each have their own founding stories, many dating back to the early 20th century. But as for bilingual programs in New York public schools, bilingual and ESL education appeared in 1974 following a lawsuit against the NYC’s Board of Education for failing to educate Puerto Rican students with limited English skills. Since the implementation of the Aspira Consent Decree, New York ESL and Bilingual programs have expanded to serve students speaking over 145 languages. While bilingual education began primarily as a way for kids who speak their native language at home to learn English, it has since become attractive to parents of kids who already speak English natively. Why? Keep reading to find out!

Why Bilingual Education?

You may be wondering what all the hype is about bilingual education anyway. First and

foremost, bilingual learning not only connects students with another language but with that language’s culture as well. We all want to see our children grow into well-rounded adults with a strong education, but we also want them to accept difference, celebrate diversity, promote inclusion, and craft an open mind. Bilingual education shows kids from an early age that their own language and culture is not the only one, and it broadens their perspective from New York to the greater world in which we are all a part of.

Not only do kids develop more inclusive views early on, but bilingual education instills empathy. Think about this: your child is learning to speak both English and Italian.

All of their friends at school are too, but some of their friends in their neighborhood at home don’t go to a bilingual school. So your child has to think about this, and then decide to use English when communicating with these friends: in other words, they have to think about others before thinking about themself. While this quick decision-making process may seem trivial, it kick starts empathy, collaboration, and social emotional skills from a young age.

And finally, studies have shown that bilingual education accelerates and improves many academic skills (extending well beyond the classroom), such as reading levels, problemsolving, math competency, creative thinking,

10 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023


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and more. Part of this is because learning two languages at once sharpens their memory, but it’s also because learning two languages shows kids that there is more than one way to approach something. Much like their decision to speak either language based on their situational context, they’ll likely look at challenges in the same way, whether that means coming up with multiple ways to build something STEM related or thinking about solving a math problem on a test in numerous ways.

Types of Bilingual Education

Now that we’ve covered our bases on why bilingual education is so popular let’s go over the types of bilingual education because there are even subcategories within the categories when it comes to New York education.

Public vs. Private : The first decision you have to make is whether you want to send your kids to a public or private bilingual school. Before that, you should consider what foreign language you want your kids to learn. Public schools offer many English-Spanish programs, but if you’re looking for Italian, German, or French bilingual education, you’ll

likely have more options with private schools. This isn’t to say that you can’t find programs with these languages in public schools: many public schools offer Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Italian, Bengali, French, and more. But the catch is that you’ll have to apply to attend that school if you don’t live in that district. As for private schools, your kids will likely have more focused attention on them and their language learning because of the smaller number of students. Many bilingual private schools have two teachers in every classroom — one who natively speaks English, and the other who natively speaks the other language that the school teaches. Both public and private schools have their pros, but if you are hesitant to browse private schools because of financial circumstances, be sure to check

out their admissions pages first. Many New York private bilingual schools offer generous financial aid and scholarships, so don’t let this deter you!

English as a Second Language vs. Dual Language : Does your child speak another language at home and you want them to learn English through school? If yes, then English as a Second Language (ESL) is the bilingual education format you want. If your goal is for your child to learn two languages simultaneously (half instruction in one language and half in another language), then Dual Language is the right fit.

Hopefully, this guide summed up bilingual education for you. If you’re considering sending your little one to a bilingual school.

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12 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023
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Spring Bucket L ist

25 cool things for families to do across Westchester this season

Spring is in the air! We love this time of year. The flowers are starting to bud; the weather is a little warmer, and there’s more daytime to explore the many cool things to do in Westchester. Below, we’re excited to share our bucket list of springtime activities to enjoy with your family, including hikes, bird watching, biking, local concerts, museums, where to get that first ice cream of the season, and much more! Happy exploring!

see the cherry Blossoms : The start of spring for us is seeing the first buds of the gorgeous cherry blooms. Believed to represent renewal, new beginnings, and hope, there are many places where you can see this glorious flower in and around Westchester. Some parks include J Harvey Turnure Memorial Park (26 Lake St, White Plains, NY 10603 ); Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden (28 Deveau Road, North Salem, NY 10560 ); Boscobel House & Gardens (1601 NY-9D, Garrison, NY 10524 ), and Harbor Island Park (60-98 Harbor Island Park, Mamaroneck, NY 10543 ).

attend the family Day: learning center Birthday celebration! at the katonah museum of art: Visit the Katonah Museum of Art on May 7th in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Pollack Family Learning Center. The event features a ‘Let’s Create’ birthday party celebration where families can enjoy a variety of activities and crafts around KMA’s garden and grounds, along with a DJ, garden games, and a birthday presentation with guests and cupcakes. Admission is free but registration is required. Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay Street Katonah, NY 10536, 914232-9555, katonahmuseum.org

take a trip to the Botanical gardens : For a mini road, you and your family can enjoy a gorgeous day at the New York Botanical Gardens. There is also their own collection of stunning cherry blossoms to admire as well as daffodils, peonies, magnolias, and more. Make a day of it with a long walk throughout the space, including a visit to the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden for self-guided discovery and fun. 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458. www.nybg.org

go on a hike : One of our favorite ways to enjoy Spring is by soaking in nature with our family. Westchester County offers many beautiful hikes of varying levels to check out. Some favorites include the 190-acre Cranberry Lake Preserve (1609 Old Orchard St, West Harrison, NY 10604 ); the spectacular hiking and views at Croton Gorge Park (35 Yorktown Rd, Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520 ); the gentle-tochallenging paths at Teatown (1600 Spring Valley Rd, Ossining, NY 10562 ); 45 miles of scenic paths at Rockefeller State Park (125 Phelps Way, Pleasantville, NY 10570 ); hiking and animal interactions at Muscoot Farm (51 NY-100, Katonah, NY 10536 ); and interactive hikes and cool nature-themed events at Greenburgh Nature Center (99 Dromore Rd, Scarsdale, NY 10583 ), to name a few options.

go Bird Watching : Westchester is home to an incredible and diverse range of bird life where you can see birds in their natural habitats, including forests, estuaries, fresh and saltwater marshes, lakes, and along the river and coast. Some spots for bird watching include the 508-acre Croton Point Park

14 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023

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spring bucket list

(Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520 ); Edith G. Read Natural Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (1 Playland Pkwy, Rye, NY 10580 ); and the Marshlands Conservancy (220 Boston Post Rd, Rye, NY 10580 ).

go on a Bike ride : Dust off your bike and take a family bike ride on one of the many pathways in Westchester. This includes the Tarrytown Lakes Park; the relatively flat North County and Putnam Trailway in Northern Westchester and Putnam; Bronx River Pathway; South County Trailway; Briarcliff/Peekskill Pathway, to name a few options.

visit untermyer gardens : While this glorious garden is open year-round, there is something special about visiting this historic public park in the spring. Whether you enjoy a public tour as family, or simply stroll the grounds on your own, you’re sure to be amazed by the rich horticulture, architecture, and multicultural design that overlooks the Hudson River. 945 N Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10701, untermyergardens.org

go to the Beach : Opening day for most beaches in Westchester is the end of May. While it might be cold, going to the beach is still a fun way to spend the day where you can have a picnic, play sports, and finally make sand castles again. Glen Island Beach (Weyman Ave, New Rochelle, NY 10805); Playland Beach (1 Playland Pkwy, Rye, NY 10580 ); and Croton Point Beach Park (1 Croton Point Ave, Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520 ).

go to rye playland : Get ready for some action-packed thrills with your family at Rye Playland. The iconic park opens on May 20th where you can enjoy their historic rides, Friday night fireworks, and, of course, a stroll on the nearby boardwalk. 1 Playland Pkwy, Rye, NY 10580, playland.com

see a show at caramoor : This popular cultural arts destination located on a 80-acre of land — complete with Italianate architecture and stunning gardens — recently announced their Spring 2023 concert line-up. This season includes a diverse array of musical performances and educational programs for families as well as for date night. Experience Jazz in Collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center with Sean Mason on March 24th; American Roots Music in Collaboration with City Winery on May 12th, and a family concert featuring Elena Moon Park and guests on May 21st. 149 Girdle Ridge Road, Katonah, NY 10536, caramoor.org

have the first ice cream of the season : There are many places in Westchester to enjoy a scoop (or two!) of ice cream. Some favorites include Ice Cream Social (481 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains, NY 10605); Bona Bona Ice Cream (10 Westchester Ave, Port Chester, NY 10573 ); Village Creamery & Sweetshop (32 Broadway, Valhalla, NY 10595); and Penny Lick Ice Cream (580 Warburton Ave, Hastings-On-Hudson, NY 10706 ), to name a few delicious options.

visit kykuit, the rockefeller estate : Take a tour of this 40-room home and sprawling property with your kids that was once the home of John D. Rockefeller. The incredible gardens are not-to-be-missed that boost views of the Hudson River. Tours are advised for kids ages 10 and up and range from $20-60 per person. 381 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591. hudsonvalley.org

attend the flower show at the lyndhurst mansion : Soak in the beauty of the historic Lyndhurst Mansion as it transforms with botanical displays. Held on April 15th and April 16th, see how floral designers transform the interior of the mansion as you and your kids explore the space at your own pace. There will also be free activities and workshops for the family as well as a botanical market, special lectures, and landscape tours. Tickets are $30 per adult and $18 for kids ages 6-18. 635 S Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591. lyndhurst.org

run a 5k (or 1k) as a family: Get moving this spring by running a 5K. Try out the Heels and Wheels 5K on April 30th; Rye Derby 5K on April 30th; Mother’s Day 5K in Yorktown Heights on May 14th; and the Soul Ryeders Half Marathon & 5K on May 21st.

sleep under the stars with Wolves : Try something completely different with your family this Spring and experience Sleeping with the Wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center. This popular camping event sells out quickly so be sure to get your tickets soon. Packages include a pizza party, movie under the stars, evening fireside snacks, and tents.$340 for a four-person tent. 7 Buck Run St, South Salem, NY 10590, nywolf.org

attend the peekskill rotary’s cherry Blossom festival : Celebrate the beginning of spring at the The Rotary Club of Peekskill’s Annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Enjoy various children activities, flower paint potting, arts and crafts, face painting, bouncy castle, craft vendors, food trucks and a book drive. Admission and parking are free with easy access from the Peekskill train station. Peekskill Riverfront Green Park, 1 Robin Dr., Peekskill, NY 10566. peekskillrotary.com

attend the rye arts center’s spring fundraiser : Studio 51: Party with a Purpose!: Attend The Rye Arts Center’s Spring Fundraiser on May 13th. Held at The Capitol Theatre, the event will feature a transformed Garcia’s at The Capitol Theatre into the iconic ‘70s nightclub “Studio 54”! The event also includes food and drink, great music, and interactive art studios, as they honor three incredible women who have made an impact in the Rye community! Garcia’s at The Capitol Theatre, 149 Westchester Ave, Port Chester, NY 10573, ryeartscenter.org

attend the opening Day celebration at the hammond museum & Japanese stroll garden : Experience the beauty of this Westchester museum and tranquil Japanese Garden with your kids when they reopen

16 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023
attend the Flower s how at the lyndhurst Mansion. liflander photography
April 2023 | Westchester Family 17 Register now for Westchester County Parks summer camps! From nature discovery to learning baseball, basketball, golf and swimming skills… there’s something for everyone. parks.westchestergov.com Register @westchesterparks @westchesterpark @westchestercountyparks Youth& P recollege P ro gr ams in t he A r t s Serious Foundation. Serious Fun. • Acting • Songwriting • Creative Writing • Digital Arts • Filmmaking • Musical Theatre • Photography • Visual Arts • Vocal Arts Open House is Saturday, April 15 at 10 am RSVP at purchase.edu/youth Continuing Education Join us on campus for a summer full of enrichment and FUN! We offer 1, 2 and 4 week full day programs for grades 4 -12. Ou r students dive into a rich environment of new skills and new friends, fostering growth and independence. Register now at purchase.edu/youth

spring bucket list

on April 1st. Enjoy the natural beauty of the garden and on-site exhibits that feature local artists. Deveau Rd, North Salem, NY 10560, hammondmuseum.org

attend the amazing Butterflies exhibit : Want to learn more about butterflies? You and your kids can do that right in Westchester at the new Amazing Butterflies Exhibit at Lasdon Park. Open until May 7th, the immersive and exciting new exhibit is produced by Minotaur Mazes of Seattle and based on an exhibition created for the Natural History Museum in London. The exhibit features scientific input and interpretation where families are invited to shrink down to the undergrowth and learn more about the life cycle of a butterfly in an interactive maze. Families start as a caterpillar as they make their way to a secret world with grass and leaves towering over your head. Through this journey, families will learn more about the relationship between caterpillars, butterflies, and their natural surroundings. 2610 NY-35, Katonah, NY 10536, lasdonpark.org

attend lego city: city of champions :

Visit LEGOLAND from March 17th-April 23rd for LEGO City: City of Champions. Kids can collect mission cards, test their skills with games and challenges, meet Minifigures, and take a special selfie. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester, Ridge Hill Mall, 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710, legolanddiscoverycenter.com

attend the green ossining earth Day festival : Celebrate the earth at one of the biggest Earth Day festivals in the County. Held on April 22nd, this zero-waste festival also includes a Children’s March that kicks off the festival at 9:30am. Ossining Waterfront, www. greenossining.org/earth-day-festival

attend plantfest : Upgrade your home with a gorgeous collection of plans from Teatown’s annual spring sale. Held on March 12th and March 13th, pick up a selection of native wildflowers, annuals, perennials, herbs and more. 1600 Spring Valley Rd, Ossining, NY 10562, teatown.org/plantfest

take a springtime tour of the armourstiner octagon house : From April to

June,take the springtime tour of the historic Armour-Stiner Octagon House. As the former home of the whimsical summer retreat in 1872 by tea-importer Joseph Stiner and see its greenhouse and garden that some describe as an “arrested carousel.” Experience this whimsical 1872 Summer home and its marvelously intact, 19th-century landscape. 45 W Clinton Ave, Irvington, NY 10533, armourstiner.com

visit all of the farms on the Westchester farm trail : Did you know that there are state-designated routes connecting 13 farms in Westchester? Make a plan to visit one — or all —this spring. Some farms include Muscoot Farm; Fable: From Farm to Table; Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard; The Meadows Farm; Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm, and more.

go fishing : Spend a lazy Spring day with your kids at one of the many fishing spots in Westchester. Some places to check out include Bronx River Reservation; George’s Island Park; Kensico Dam Plaza; Wampus Pond; and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, to name a few options.

18 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023 Learn the sport of a lifetime this summer! Play at the state-of-the-art Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning and train with our former pros and national coaches! If you are new to tennis or a high performance player, no matter what, this is the place for you! All levels welcome; ages 5-18 To inquire for further details please email caryleedsinfo@nyjtl.org or visit www.nyjtl.org/caryleeds/summer-camp/ 1720 Crotona Avenue Bronx, NY 10457 718-247-7420 www.nyjtl.org/caryleeds caryleedsinfo@nyjtl.org

Big Camp - Traditional camp for ages 4 - 13

Leader In Training - Designed to develop leadership skills for teens at camp.

Counselor In Training - The challenging and rewarding introduction to the world of camp counseling.

April 2023 | Westchester Family 19 Just for June Summer Pre-Ballet, Hip Hop Hooray! and Princess Party Available for Ages 2-4 Contemporary, Movie Magic, Tap & Tumble, Pom Jazz, Ballet/Jazz 2 Hour Intensives Available for grades 1-12 Daily Summer Camp with flexible daily and weekly options 5-Week Summer Classes available in July and August July 5th through August 25th 277 White Plains Road Eastchester, NY 10709 (914) 793-2799 | studiobdance.com | studioboffice@aol.com SUMMER CAMP FOR AGES 5-14 WEEKLY SESSIONS 6/26 - 9/1 SPEND YOUR SUMMER WITH US! ROCK OUT PLAY IN A BAND INDOOR/OUTDOOR FUN MAKE NEW FRIENDS (914) 231-6559
YMCA Camp Combe Day Camp
Register Now

Why Choose camp?

Westchester Family partners tell us why camp is for everyone

With summer fast approaching, the time is now to find the perfect camp for your child where they will have the opportunity to grow on an individual and social level. We asked some of our partner camps why parents should consider a summer program for their child this year. Here’s what they had to say!

Why send a child to summer camp?

“Students attending a camp receive benefits such as instructors with science expertise, an emphasis on hands-on experimentation, course material covering some required labs for Advanced Placement Biology for older campers, high-tech science experiments and more.”

— Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory DNALC

“Children benefit from attending a well-run summer camp with caring adults. Summer camp provides the opportunity to meet new friends and establish lifelong friendships. A quality program, such as Acres of Adventure, sees the camper first as an individual and then as part of a group. A quality program also offers diverse activities to engage any child’s interests.”

h ow do kids flourish at summer camp?

“At the Y, a common thread of inclusion, caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility weaves through all our programs. Located on a beautiful 100 acres facility in Putnam Valley- we serve campers ages 4-14. Campers in our mini-camp, big camp, and leadership

development programs participate in traditional camp activities such as swimming, hiking, ziplining, archery, and much more.

— Shannon Sullivan, Director of Camp & Teen Services, YMCA Camp Combe

“Because camp is different from school, kids explore a new side of themselves that wouldn’t happen in a classroom setting. Kids are encouraged to explore and experience new things outside their comfort zone. They make new friendships and new memories that they will remember for a lifetime.”

— Beth Fritz-Logrea, Director, Dance Academy Summer Intensive

“Music in a small group setting allows our expert staff to design highly engaging activities that inspire kids to sing, play, and create. Exploring music — rhythm, song, and sound — allows multiple entry points for learners of all abilities and styles.”

— Ken Baum, Owner, River Rock School

h ow do kids with learning challenges enjoy their camp experience at your camp?

“Summer camp is a perfect opportunity for children of any age to forge new relationships, get out of their comfort zones and learn to challenge themselves. Green Chimneys Summer Camps offer an inclusive environment open to children of all abilities, recognizing the individuality of every camper and that camp is not one-size-fits-all. The staff works with all campers to help them feel

successful, knowing that the definition of success is different for every child.”

— AJ Johnson, Camp Director, Green Chimneys

“The overall focus of our camp is on positive reinforcement. We focus on the individual child- programs are designed for children to succeed. In cases where extra support or accommodations are necessary, we provide smaller camper-to-counselor ratios to integrate individualized support into the program to promote success. Children will have a wonderful summer through skill-building, problemsolving, and developing confidence.”

— Mike Halpern, Director Youth Services,

h ow important is keeping campers and staff safe from illnesses?

“Our camp was safely open each of the past 3 summers without interruption from COVID because of cleaning and hygiene protocols, excellent communication and cooperation from families. Protocols continue even though we are hopefully out of the worst of the pandemic, and we continue to have a certified health professional on site.”

“At our camp we greet each camper with hand sanitizer when they check in for the day. Before snack, each camper gets a spritz of hand sanitizer and after snack before they go back out into the gym they get another spritz. The same process happens before and after lunch as well for the campers that stay full day. At the end of the day, on their way out of the gym during dismissal the campers get hand sanitizer again.”

20 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023
Camp S


in coopera�on with The City of Stamford For over 30 years, Curtain Call, Inc. has offered drama�c arts programs for young and old!

Summerstock Full-Day Workshops: Each session runs two weeks. In age-appropriate groups, students rotate between specialized instructors and build confidence, performance and presenta�onal skills, crea�ve ins�ncts, stro nger social development, and teamwork.

Crea�ve Theatre (Grades 6 to 12): Improv, Ac�ng, and Scene/Sketch Wri�ng

June 24 (Orienta�on), June 26 to July 7; Mon. to Fri., 9:30am to 4:30pm

Musical Theatre (Grades 6 to 12): Ac�ng, Voice, and Dance

July 10 to 21; Mon. to Fri., 9:30am to 4:30pm

Summerstock Junior (Grades K to 5): Ac�ng/Improv, Singing, and Movement

Two, separate (and non-sequen�al), two-week sessions:

One: July 24 to August 4; Mon. to Fri., 10:00am to 3:00pm

Two: August 7 to 18; Mon. to Fri., 10:00am to 3:00pm

April 2023 | Westchester Family 21
Located at Sterling Farms 1349 Newfield Ave., Stamford, CT 06905
www.curtaincallinc.com brian@curtaincallinc.com 203-329-8207 x700
Spend the summer with Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Rock Hill Camp Mahopac, NY Camp Addisone Boyce Tomkins Cove, NY Visit www.girlscoutshh.org/camp for more details.
Sibling Discounts! Payment Plans! Scholarships for those

The Habits of Highly Effective Adolescents

With Christine Carter, Ph.D. and Laura Kastner, Ph.D.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023, 5 p.m. ET

In this interactive talk, acclaimed sociologist and leadership coach (and mother of four teenagers!) Christine Carter, Ph.D., will draw on scientific research to outline realistic ways parents and educators can help preteens, teens and college students find focus and fulfillment through the development of effective habit formation, goal-setting and authentic leadership skills.

Transforming Trauma and Navigating Overwhelm

With trauma specialist and author Laura van Dernoot Lipsky

Tuesday, May 4, 2023, 4 p.m. ET

In this interactive talk, trauma exposure pioneer Laura van Dernoot Lipsky will offer practical tools to help us sustain, individually and collectively, in the face of trauma, secondary trauma and overwhelm. She will discuss what the consequences of trauma are as well as strategies for supporting ourselves and each other.

22 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023 ® MARCH 4 - APRIL 30 8 WEEKS ONLY!
“You have to love a family show that makes adults laugh, too.”
“perfect for everyone”
TELECHARGE.COM 212-239-6200 DOGMANTHEMUSICAL.COM New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St. Presents Register for FREE at WestchesterFamily.com/ParentEd FREE Parenting Webinars coming soon - Sign up now!
A Hilarious Heartfelt Family Adventure
w EST ch ESTER www.we S tche S terfA mily.com Sp E ci A l nEE d S R ES o UR c E gU id E

When the next step is an IEP

Missing milestones and an Individualized Educational Plan

Have you noticed your child struggling in school? Perhaps they are having a hard time learning to read, can’t grasp multi step math problems, or are having difficulty staying focused in class. Their self-esteem is plummeting as school work becomes increasingly challenging, and their struggles seem insurmountable. Your child may have special needs and, if so, the sooner you can identify these needs and address them, the better it will be for their overall confidence and academic performance. So what can you do?

For starters, if you see your child struggling, talk to their doctor and teacher. Discuss milestones they may or may not have met and determine if their teacher notices the same challenges you see at home. If you feel these struggles are getting worse or think they may benefit from additional accommodations at school, you might consider having them tested. This testing can be done for free either through your state’s early intervention program (if your child is under age three) or through your child’s school district. The evaluation and specific tests administered may range, but evaluators will typically test your child’s IQ and will likely also test language, motor, behavior, and achievement skills.

IEP or 504 plan

Depending on the evaluation results and your child’s needs, your child may qualify for either an IEP or a 504 plan. An IEP details your child’s specific goals and a plan for what your school will do to help meet those goals, including specific services, like speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and academic support. A 504 plan helps provide accommodations for support within the classroom, such as additional time on tests, an aide in the classroom, preferential seating, and/or modified homework. Typically students

who have a less severe disability (like anxiety, ADHD, etc.) and not a diagnosed learning disability will receive a 504. Students who need more services, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, special education teacher support services, etc., would receive an IEP. Note: School-aged children in private schools have a right to an evaluation if a disability is suspected. Work with your child’s teacher or school director to help you coordinate an assessment via the state.

Know Your Rights

Federal law indicates that every child is entitled to a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment possible. Three specific federal laws apply to children with special needs, including the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Ace, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These laws’ specifics can vary by state, so it’s important for you to understand the procedures and criteria specific to your state.

IDEA stipulates that a child’s issues must fall into one of 13 categories to be eligible for special education services. Section 504 mandates that schools cannot discriminate again students who have disabilities and are required to provide appropriate accommodations to them. Students covered under Section 504 usually have less severe disabilities or do not

fall into one of the categories stipulated under IDEA. The ADA indicates that children with special needs cannot be discriminated against and must be provided appropriate services and programs suitable to their needs. If your school district refuses to provide appropriate services to your child, you may initiate a due process hearing to challenge their decision.

Focus on Your Child’s Strengths

It is easy to go into a bit of negative space when dealing with your child’s educational support. Remember to focus on your child’s strengths; they may struggle with reading and writing but may excel with math computation. Or maybe your child is incredibly social, empathetic, and kind. Perhaps they are a beautiful artist, a great storyteller, or a whiz at building Legos. Praise your child for small accomplishments, like sitting next to a friend at lunch who seemed sad, drawing a beautiful flower, or creating an elaborate Lego tower. As you help your child academically with areas where they may struggle, continue to build their self-esteem, and explain that no one is perfect. We all have strengths and weaknesses, as well as areas we need to work on improving. Your special needs child can still have dreams and aspirations that can be achieved with support and guidance.

24 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023 The special child | Special Needs Focus
April 2023 | Westchester Family 25 • Occupational Therapy • Physical Therapy • Speech Therapy/Prompt • Home & Facility Based Services • Sensory Gym • Rock Climbing Wall • Feeding Therapy OUR FACILITY FEATURES: Therapists in masks & Alen BreatheSmart 75i True HEPA Air Purifier in both locations! WWW.CREATIVEWONDERSTHERAPY.COM Mt Kisco 914-373-6823 White Plains 914-421-8270 OPENINGS AVAILABLE Contact us to schedule an appt. Telehealth AND IN PERSON available Green
School greenchimneys.org

Things You May Not Know About That Special Needs Parent

Iwas at a restaurant the other night. We made the reservation early as we brought our 6-year-old to a large family dinner. Mateo is autistic and early hours are better for a number of reasons, for restaurants are one of the most challenging places for us to take him. When my son started stimming (redundant or unusual movements or noises that help handle emotions like excitement, anger, anxiety and fear), a family at a table on the other side of the restaurant began to stare. They continued to gape, including the mother, who could not stop staring at me I tried to contain my anxiety as the looks were not ‘ah, we get it’ gazes; they were more like ‘his noise is making me uncomfortable — get him to stop’ looks. Urgh, here we go again. Four years ago, when being a mother of a special needs child was new, I would apologize, red flames moving upwards through my body from embarrassment. If there were a way out, I would take it, folding my body and my son’s into an invisible ball of shame as we quickly took the first exit. Pangs of guilt would pierce through me for failing to ‘make’ my son normal so all around us would feel comfortable.

Now, fast forward to that moment at the restaurant. I am fierce now; most special needs parents are, as we do not have a choice. We have years ahead of us of advocating for our child one way or another. I did not dash away with my child; we let him stim, no shhhhs from us; he was happy with all his relatives around him. I have accepted that I cannot change how people process or receive my child, but I can protect him. You can give me all the side eyes you want, but I now know my only job is that my child has a beautiful life.

Of course, I wish for more people to understand a special needs parent, for there are numerous things you cannot see. Many

do not see the hours we spend advocating for our children while holding full-time jobs. They sometimes end up in the hospital, for their immune systems are vulnerable, depending on their disability. We get blamed for them not acting like ‘other’ kids. We may even get blamed for them being in the hospital. The paperwork we fill out is endless. We have to call the school bus because they may be getting bullied. If they are non-verbal, we are their voice. We cry in the shower. We cry at the supermarket. We scream into our pillows.

What I would have wished the other evening at the restaurant was for that family not to have missed a teachable moment. I often have to share that my son

is special needs with pretty young kids at the playground to explain his lack of social skills. They never miss a beat; they absorb the information and are gentler around my son.

One day as inclusivity is more woven into the world, most (hopefully) will not give a person different from them a second glance. And that mother at the table will be educated by her kids and their ‘normal’ experiences. She may understand more that a parent may be struggling at that moment, and a simple smile may help them get through that awkward moment they are experiencing. None of us know everything, and that person may just be a special need parent quietly holding her family — and herself — together.

26 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023 The special child | Special Needs Focus
mom stories
April 2023 | Westchester Family 27 APPLY TODAY TO BECOME A YES SHE CAN TRAINEE Yes She Can is dedicated to helping young women with autism and learning disabilities develop transferable job skills and workplace social skills. To apply, visit us at: www.yesshecaninc.org/apply For more information: Darlene Schubert, MA Director of Training Programs darlene@yesshecaninc.org www.yesshecaninc.org WOMEN WITH AUTISM. WE WORK. WITH YOU Helping Special Families Plan for the Future Special Education Advocacy Special Needs Trusts Guardianship Transition Planning Special Needs Planning www.littmankrooks.com 800 Westchester Avenue • S-436 Rye Brook, New York 10573 • 914.684.2100 1325 Avenue of the Americas, 15th Fl. • New York, NY 10019 • 212.490.2020

Learning Disabilities in Children

The most inspirational stories are often the kind where those at a disadvantage overcome obstacles and emerge victorious in spite of – and because of – the challenges they were faced with. Such is the case for Emily Yudofsky and Stefan Bauer, who were both diagnosed with dyslexia as children. After watching their own parents struggle to get the support they needed growing up, the pair teamed up to start Marker Learning, an organization dedicated to helping children with learning disabilities receive the diagnosis and resources they need to thrive in school.

We chatted with Stefan and Emily to delve into how their own experiences led them to start Marker and what parents can do if they suspect their child might have a learning disability.

Q: What are the signs of a learning disability parents should look for in their

kids? What are the signs of dyslexia, specifically, that parents should look for?

Emily: Learning and attention disabilities can present in a myriad ways. For example, a student with ADHD and executive functioning challenges may not be able to manage their time effectively, stay organized or prioritize multiple tasks.

With dyslexia, it can present in struggling to sound out words, substituting words, or even avoiding reading at all costs. We commonly see young children who are able to answer questions accurately when they are verbalizing, but have difficulty when they are writing out responses. Across the board, we find that for most students with learning challenges, they’ve lost a lot of confidence as they see their peers advancing and feel stuck. As a parent, it’s critical to notice some of the social and emotional challenges that might be manifesting because of a learning challenge.

Q: What are some of the types of learning disabilities you often see in children you

work with?

Stefan: We see a range of learning challenges in the children we work with, from reading, writing and math disorders like dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia, and attention disorders like ADHD which manifest in executive functioning issues.

Q: Is there anything parents can do to prevent learning disabilities?

Emily: The truth is learning disabilities cannot be prevented – we’re born with them and they last a lifetime. Many learning disorders are actually known to be genetic, running in families. So the question isn’t as much about prevention as it is about intervention, and the earlier, the better. This means pursuing a formal psychoeducational evaluation to understand what a child’s strengths and weaknesses are, and what services and accommodations they will need for long-term success. Then it’s all about providing evidence-based approaches to refine skills and get back on track.

28 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023 The special child | Special Needs Focus

Q: Tell us about Marker and what inspired you to start it?

Stefan: Our mission at Marker Learning has always been a very personal one. In elementary school, I really struggled with reading and was placed in special education. My mom knew something wasn’t right and fiercely advocated for me, quitting her job to ensure I had the support I needed to succeed, and paying thousands of dollars for a learning disability evaluation. I ended up getting diagnosed with dyslexia. By receiving this diagnosis and documentation, I was able to unlock accommodations in school that fundamentally transformed my trajectory in life. My co-founder, Emily Yudofsky, who is also dyslexic, had a similar experience as a kid.

Unfortunately, many families do not have access to evaluation. While K-12 students are legally entitled to learning disability assessments in public schools, diagnoses are often delayed or missed entirely due to unprecedented staffing shortages and backlogs. Private evaluators, meanwhile, can have months-long wait times and charge

exorbitant amounts of fees, often costing tens of thousands of dollars.

Our mission was inspired by these experiences. Our goal is to provide clear diagnosis and certified documentation for anyone who is dealing with a learning or attention disability – all for a much more affordable price and faster timeline.

Q: What work do you do in schools?

Stefan: We’re very excited to partner with a range of schools across the country (including some in New York). In fact, we already reach more than 1 million students through these partnerships. We work with

school district special education staff to manage caseloads and act as an extension of school psychologist teams. We want to help schools retain their staff and prioritize dayto-day student care.

Q: What steps do you recommend parents take after their child is diagnosed with dyslexia or another learning disability?

Emily: Once you have that diagnosis and documentation, it’s then really about advocating for your child to get the support they need at school. Ensure your child is set up with an IEP or 504 plan, a written roadmap ensuring your child receives special education services tailored to meet their unique needs. This will follow them through school, and staff should reassess needs over time as your child develops. Communicate frequently and directly to gain clarity about how your child is doing in the classroom, and what’s being done to support them. And be sure to ask your child how they’re doing, ensuring they know there’s nothing wrong with them. They have so many amazing strengths and everyone learns differently.

April 2023 | Westchester Family 29
Now welcoming Kindergarten and 1st Grade! The John Cardinal O’Connor School helps children who learn differently thrive. Call Sister Jeannie at (914) 591-9330 or email admissions@johncardinaloconnorschool.org to make an appointment today! The John Cardinal O’Connor School invites parents to learn about our affordable language-based academic curriculum for children in grades K-8 with learning disabilities, speech or language impairments or other health impairments. Our certified special-education teachers use multi-sensory teaching techniques and blended learning in small classes to help children thrive academically, spiritually, emotionally and socially in our supportive school community. JCOS is a Catholic elementary school that welcomes children of all faiths. Do You Know a Child with Learning Disabilities?
“The question isn’t as much about prevention as it is about intervention, and the earlier, the better.”

The Benefits of Horse therapy

for a child with special needs

The bond between humans and horses is incredible. For children with special needs, horse therapy can greatly help with many physical, mental, and emotional needs in a safe and loving environment. This modality can help children with ADD/ ADHD, autism, visual impairments, Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy, MS, learning and behavioral disabilities, and much more.

Path International (pathintl.org) states, “Therapeutic/adaptive horsemanship contributes to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with disabilities.”

Understandably, wanting to learn more and understand the best way to approach horse therapy may be unknown to most. We recommend checking out The New York State Horse Council (NYSHC). This nonprofit organization provides information on horses and horserelated activities within or affecting the state of New York. There is also a handy guide to Therapeutic Riding Programs in New York.

Over time, horse therapy can improve balance and posture, muscle strength and posture, joint movement, communication, and more as your child forges a special bond with this beloved animal. Below are a few places in NYC, Long Island, and Westchester where your child can begin their horse therapy journey.

New York Cit Y

Flying Manes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.

Flying Manes Therapeutic Riding provides therapeutic riding lessons and other equineassisted activities and therapies to children ages four and up with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. Lessons help kids build their coordination and strength and improve cognitive, emotional, and social skills through exercises, games, and horsemanship skills. 6100 Mosholu Ave, The Bronx, NY 10471. 917- 524-6648, info@flyingmanes.org


GallopNYC offers therapeutic horsemanship programs to aid kids who have developmental, emotional, social and physical disabilities. Their program helps riders learn new skills such as walking, talking, learning, having fun, and bonding with their horse. Locations in Forest Hills and Howard Beach. Programs are offered quarterly and riders who have physical disabilities will be evaluated by their physical therapist. Lessons cost $60 for a 30-minute group lesson and $65 for a 30-minute private lesson. GallopNYC Forest Hills, 88-03 70th Road, Forest Hills, NY 11375 and GallopNYC Sunrise Stables, 80-98 Linden Blvd, Howard Beach, NY 11414, 855-925-5661, info@gallopNYC.org.

Seaside 4 Therapeutic Riding, Inc.

Seaside 4 Therapeutic Riding is a non-profit organization and PATH Internationalcertified therapeutic horseback riding center dedicated to working with adults and kids

with disabilities and special needs. The program offers both indoor and outdoor training and aid work with riders based on a family’s specific needs. The program can help improve muscle strength, flexibility, and balance, increase self-esteem, confidence, mobility, and coordination, and improve concentration, communication, and more. The grounds also have a wheelchairaccessible restaurant and bathrooms. Lessons are $50 each, which includes 25 minutes of saddle time as well as time for mounting and dismounting. 116 Canton Ct, Brooklyn, NY 11229, 646-831-6256, info@s4tr.org.


Great Strides Long Island

During the lessons at Great Strides, kids will learn how to improve balance, strengthen their muscles, flexibility and joints, and balance and posture. The team works with kids who have autism, brain damage, Down Syndrome, developmental disorders, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia,

30 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023 The special child | Special Needs Focus

and learning disabilities as well as kids with emotional, social and psychological disorders. Lessons are $60 for a 30-minute private lesson; $75 for a 45-minute private lesson; and $90 for a 60-minute private lesson. 41 Coram Swezeytown Rd, Middle Island, NY 11953, 631786-9708, julie@greatstridesli.org

Center for Therapeutic Riding of the East End

The Center for Therapeutic Riding of the East End’s mission is to ‘transform lives through the therapeutic power of horses.’ This non-profit organization is PATH certified and provides services to kids and adults with emotional, cognitive, and physical disabilities. Participants have to apply and be brought in for an evaluation before working at the center. 93 Merchants Path, Sagaponack, NY 11962, 631.779.2835, program@ctreeny.org.


HorseAbility offers adaptive learning, which can help riders with physical, emotional and mental well-being as well as hippotherapy with Physical Therapists, Occupational

therapists, and Speech Language Pathologists. Hippotherapy provides physical, occupational and speech-language pathology to kids to help with their sensory,neuromotor and cognitive systems. Participants have to fill out a form to apply for these services. 223 Store Hill Rd, Old Westbury, NY 11568, 516-333-6151


Access Equestrian

Access Equestrian offers adaptive riding and hippotherapy for kids with physical and mental limitations. This non-profit organization offers both group and private lessons that include groundwork, warmup exercises, skills development, activities, games, and trail rides. Programs help build students’ self-esteem, concentration, confidence, coordination, and more. 1 Succabone Road, Mount Kisco, NY 10549, 914234-9000, info@accessequestrian.org

Endeavor Therapeutic

Horsemanship, Inc.

The Therapeutic Horsemanship program at Endeavor offers clinical programs to kids

of different levels and abilities. Participants in the therapeutic program have to be four years old and up. Kids will learn mounting, steering, groundsmanship, grooming, anatomy of the horse, posing, half-seat, leg yields, and much more. Over time, kids develop improved fine motor skills, increased confidence, and ability to take multi-step directions. Families must submit paperwork to work with Endeavor, where participants will be asked to come in for an evaluation.

556 Croton Lake Rd, Mt Kisco, NY 10549, 914241-0211. program@endeavorth.org


Located on 22 acres with seven sensory trails, Pegasus offers therapeutic horsemanship for kids with special needs from PATHcertified instructors. Programs provide basic riding, ground horsemanship, and exercises to improve balance, posture, mobility, and concentration, create the mind/muscle connection, and more. Participants have to fill out a form and pay a $55 evaluation fee. 310 Peach Lake Road Brewster, NY 10509, 845669-8235 x115, program@pegasustr.org.

April 2023 | Westchester Family 31
1 Cross Road, Ardsley, NY 10502 914-968-4854 x1224 Director of Admissions The School for Adaptive & Integrative Learning at Ferncliff Manor PROGRAMS AND SERVICES: • Art Instruction • Behavior Training Outreach Services • Vocational Training • Interactive Theatre Arts • Music • Adaptive Physical Education • PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) • Physical Therapy • Occupational Therapy • Speech Therapy • Social Work • Psychology
Founded in 1935, The School for Adaptive and Integrative is a small private school providing a range of educational, therapeutic, and health care services for children with intellectual disabilities.

c ardinal o ’ connor s chool

16 North Broadway, Irvington 914-591-9330 jcoschool.org admissions@ johncardinaloconnorschool. org

The John Cardinal O’Connor School is a Catholic school dedicated to providing an affordable, languagebased,academic curriculum for children in grades K-8 with mild Learning Disabilities (LD), Speech or Language Impairments (SPL), or other Health Impairments (OHI). Students are taught by certified special education teachers in small classes. Teachers utilize multisensory instructional techniques to help children succeed academically and socially.

creative Wonders therapy center

470 Mamaroneck Ave, Suite 204, White Plains 101 South Bedford Rd Suite 404, Mt. Kisco

914-421-8270 ext. 1 creativewonderstherapy.com

Creative Wonders is a pediatric therapy center with locations in both White Plains and Mt. Kisco. Seasoned occupational, physical, and speech therapists trained in specialties including sensory integration, PROMPT, Feeding, and evaluations including SIPT evaluations. Private speech and toddler rooms as well as a sensory gym! Strict cleaning guidelines and precautions as well as HEPA Air Purifiers in both locations.

e B l coaching Westchester 50 Main Street, Suite 1000 White Plains, NY 914-200-1320 eblcoaching.com

EBL Coaching specializes in one-on-one home and virtual tutoring for students in grades pre-K-12 with learning needs. They use research-based, multisensory techniques to

The Westchester School

NYS approved and funded non-public school providing therapeutic and educational services to students diagnosed with AU, MD, ID, OHI, OI, ED, & PWD, ages 3 - 21, with locations in Yonkers & North Salem

develop students’ reading, writing, math, note taking, test taking, and executive functioning skills. Under Director Dr. Emily Levy, each student is evaluated to determine their specific needs and is matched with a learning specialist and an individualized learning plan. EBL offers specialized instruction for students with dyslexia, learning disabilities, and ADHD using the Orton Gillingham method and other research-based techniques.


Bronxville, NY Berkeley Heights, NJ Cloud (Virtual Option) 908-279-0787

admissions@flexschool.net flexschool.net

Accredited private school for gifted and twiceexceptional (2e) learners. Their gifted curriculum, infused with executive functioning support and social-emotional learning, is custom-designed for insatiable minds. Summer enrichment / ESY offered on Cloud and NJ campuses. International students are welcome on all campuses. FlexSchool is proud to provide financial aid and scholarships to those who qualify. Weekly Virtual Open House.

connect with nature, discover their own special talents, and develop skills and confidence to grow into independent young adults.

littman k rooks, llp 800 Westchester Avenue, S-436, Rye Brook 914-684-2100


Littman Krooks Special Needs Planning and Special Education Advocacy Attorneys work for the empowerment of individuals with special needs. Planning for your child’s future can seem overwhelming but you do not need to face these tasks alone. Seeking the assistance of an attorney can be the best approach.

m ain street pediatric Dentistry

115 Main St., Suite 302, Tuckahoe, NY 914-633-4440

drpennydds@aol.com mainstreetpediatricdentistry. com

Ungraded, self-contained classrooms with a student to staff ratio of 12:1:4 & 8:1:2 in SchoolAged classrooms and a ratio of 10:1:2 in Preschool classrooms.

• C us tomized cla s sr o om ins tr uc tion ba sed on I E P goals, enhanced wit h S MA R T boards, I P ads, and compu ter s in ever y cla s sr o om

• C ounseling, B ehavior al S er vices, O ccupational T her apy, P hysical T her apy, a s well a s S peech and L anguage T her apy

• A s sis t ance wit h t r ansitioning to po s t academic life by pr oviding Vocational and J ob S k ill oppor t unities

• A daptive P hysical Education and a S ens or y R o om

g reen chimneys s chool Campuses in Brewster & Carmel, 845-279-2995 greenchimneys.org admissions@greenchimneys. org

Green Chimneys is an accredited special education program for students who have been unsuccessful in traditional school environments, and benefit from a highly structured and supportive setting. Therapeutic day and residential programs feature an enriched curriculum for individualized academic, behavioral and emotional support. An innovative nature-based approach integrates animal-assisted activities; horticulture; and outdoor exploration into treatment and education plans, helping students

Main Street Pediatric Dentistry’s experienced staff has specialized training to work with special needs patients and those with disabilities. They focus on behavior management, working closely with the patient and their families to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Patients of all ages are welcome.

mlm advocacy

Monica Mandell, PHD, LMSW 914-308-0751

monica@mlmadvocacy.com mlmadvocacy.com

With expertise as a social worker, Monica Mandell, PHD, LMSW, helps families navigate through the special education system. As an experienced bilingual social worker, Monica is able to diagnose and understand the causes of your child’s learning problems and works with school districts and other providers to map an advocacy plan to ensure your child’s access to the tools needed for success both in and out of school.

32 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023 Sp E ci A l nEE d S d i RE c T o R y | Special Advertising Supplement
ww w.wes tc hes ter sc hool.or g
- 376 - 4 3 0 0

sail at ferncliff m anor

1154 Saw Mill River Road

Yonkers, NY 10710

914 968-4854


The School for Adaptive and Integrative Learning (SAIL) at Ferncliff Manor is a NYS Education Department approved private, non-public special education program serving residential and day students with severe ASD and developmental disabilities. SAIL provides 24-hour medical services, rehabilitative and psychiatric care and an intensive staff to student ratio. We accommodate a variety of meal plans (ie: kosher, diabetic, gluten free). We strive to provide each student with the skills they need to enjoy a personally rewarding life.

m onster m ini g olf

Yonkers Ridge Hill Mall

221 Market St., Unit 2950, 2nd fl., Yonkers NY 914 346-5072

yonkers@monsterminigolf. com


Monster Mini Golf is an indoor, fun, affordable, upbeat experience for special needs humans of all ages. Their 18 holes of monster-themed mini golf, glow-in-the-dark experience is wheelchair accessible, climate controlled, with interactive team members. For more excitement they have an on-course DJ, arcade games, bowling, and private party rooms!

Westchester s chool

45 Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY 520 Route 22, North Salem NY 33 Seymour St., Yonkers NY (Pre-K), 914-376-4300 westchesterschool.org

The Westchester School is a New York State approved, non-public school that provides educational and therapeutic services to students from Long Island, New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Connecticut.

With campuses in Yonkers and North Salem, NY the program provides services to over 300 students with the classifications of Autism, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Emotional Disability, and Preschool Student with a Disability.

Winston prep connecticut

57 West Rocks Road, Norwalk, CT 203-229-0465


Michelle Rolfe, Director of Admissions mrolfe@winstonprep.edu

At the core of Winston Preparatory School’s unique, individualized learning program for students with learning differences is the continuous commitment to an in-depth understanding of each and every student. At Winston Prep, emphasis is put on discovering who

each student is, what their strengths and learning needs are and, based on their learning profile, designing an individualized curriculum that is grounded in continuous assessment and evaluation by expert faculty and staff.

yes s he c an i nc. PO Box 2019 White Plains, NY 10601 914-358-1460 yesshecaninc.org

Yes She Can Inc., a non-profit founded in 2013 dedicated to helping young women with autism and related disabilities develop transferable job skills and workplace social skills – through authentic work experience. We serve teen girls in transition from high school to adulthood and young women with autism spectrum disorders in an inclusion setting at Girl AGain boutique. Contact Darlene Schubert, MA Director of Training Programs at darlene@yesshecaninc.org.

April 2023 | Westchester Family 33 Why Can’t My Child Learn? ADVOCACY MLM A BILINGUAL EDUCATIONAL ADVOCATE UN DEFENSOR EDUCATIVO EMPOWERING FAMILIES TO NAVIGATE THE PROCESS OF SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES With expertise and a soft touch, Monica Mandell, PHD, LMSW, helps families navigate through the special education system. As an experienced bilingual social worker, Monica is able to diagnose and understand the causes of your child’s learning problems. Working together, she will map an advocacy plan to ensure your child’s access to the tools needed for success in school. Callor emailfor a consultation: 914.308.0751 monica@mlmadvocacy.com Learn more at www.mlmadvocacy.com PASSIOnate DISORG ED INSATIABLEINVENTIVE DIFF ULT UNSTOPPABLE STU BORN DISRUPTIVE TALENTED


family fu N iN Westchester & B eyo ND

Birdwatching is a great way to get in touch with nature. It’s also an activity that everyone in the family can enjoy together.

“Anyone can bird,” Roslyn Rivas, public programs manager for NYC Audubon, said. “Just being connected with nature is such a positive thing for individuals, but to share it with someone else really can foster a sense of community. You can all learn together. And the more eyes you have when you’re birding, the more likely you’ll see birds.”

Spring is synonymous with more daylight hours and access to nature. Westchester is home to an incredible and diverse range of bird life where you can see birds in their natural habitats, including forests, estuaries, fresh and saltwater marshes, lakes, and along the river and coast. Be sure to pack your binoculars and check each park for their specific bird viewing rules. Happy viewing!

i n wESTch ESTER

Croton Point Park

Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520

Located in the beautiful Hudson River, this 508acre park offers incredible access to view birds. Its location on the river makes it an ideal spot to locate bald eagles who use the area for breeding. Over 250 species of birds have been spotted here. BirDs to look for iNclu De:

Spring : Great-horned owls, vesper sparrow, eastern screech owls

Summer : Bobolink, grasshopper sparrows

Fall : Song, savannah, white-throated, snow bunting, lapland longspur

Winter : Bald eagles, owls, American kestrel, Northern harrier, scaup, common merganser, common goldeneye, bufflehead.

Edith G. Read Natural Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

1 Playland Pkwy, Rye, NY 10580

This 179-acre wildlife sanctuary offers access to the shoreline on Long Island Sound, Ma-

nursing Lake, wetlands, and numerous trails. It is designated as an “important bird area” by the Audubon Society of New York where you will find numerous nature exhibits, a bird viewing window, and the home of 5,000 ducks. Nearby Rye beach also offers incredible views for bird watching.

BirDs to look for iNclu De:

Spring : Migrating scooters, northern gannet.

Summer : Great blue herons, loons, bank swallow, lesser yellowlegs.

Fall : Bay-breasted warbler, black vulture, chimney swift, ruby-throated hummingbird.

Winter : Greater and lesser scaup, canvasback, American wigeon, black duck.

Year-round : Snow bunting, snowy owl, barrow’s goldeneye, red-necked grebe, eared grebe

Marshlands Conservancy

220 Boston Post Rd, Rye, NY 10580

This 150-acre preserve is the only extensive salt water marsh in Westchester where 300 species have been discovered in its marshes and mudflats. This includes the home of five ecological habitats and is deemed a critical habitat and biodiversity reserve. Dogs are not permitted.

BirDs to look for iNclu De: Spring : Wild turkeys (late spring), vesper sparrow, Cape May warbler

Summer: Yellow-breasted chats, eastern kingbird, cerulean warbler

Fall : Black skimmer, prairie warbler, tree swallow

Winter : Yellow-breasted chats, bald eagle, American woodcock, bufflehead, wild turkey.

Year-round : Shorebirds, waders, rails, marsh wren, salt marsh, wren, seaside sparrow.

in nyc

If looking to explore birdwaching beyond Westchester - birding in NYC can be very fun. Despite the Big Apple being a bustling metropolis, there are still lots of places to see nature, including birds. See, our city is located along the Atlantic Flyway, which is sort

of like the I-95 highway for migratory birds. They fly from areas near and far all year long, especially during spring, so they need places to rest and refresh. (Whereas we humans like to stop at Starbucks or Applebee’s on long family road trips, migratory birds use New York City as one of their favorite rest stops!)

Listed here are popular parks around the city for birdwatching. Keep in mind there are plenty more places to see birds, of course. Birders throughout the city have seen and identified the birds in this guide. It’s important to mention that it’s never guaranteed that you’ll see any or all of these feathered friends when you’re birdwatching, but half the fun is in trying to spot them! To learn more about birdwatching, bird species and more, there’s so much information online. Some of our favorite sites include:

• Protectors of Pine Oak Woods : siprotectors.org

• NYC Audubon: nycaudubon.org

• NYC Parks: nycgovparks.org

Pelham Bay Park

Bruckner Boulevard, Eastchester, Hutchinson

Let’s start up north in The Bronx’s Pelham Bay Park. This park is quite large. At three times the size of Central Park, Pelham Bay Park is the city’s largest park property. Designated an Important Bird Area by National Audubon, over 250 species have been recorded here.

BirDs to look for iNclu De:

Spring : Black vulture, northern gannet, American woodcock, warblers and other songbirds, shorebirds

Summer: Clapper rail, wading birds, wild turkey

Fall : Raptor, shorebirds, kinglets, warblers, sparrows

Winter : Snow bunting, owls, accipiters, Canada goose, great blue heron, swan Year-round : Peregrine falcon, great horned owl, merlin, red-tailed hawk, woodpeckers

Van Cortlandt Park

Broadway, Jerome Avenue, City Line, Van Cortlandt Pk S

34 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023

Continuing through The Bronx is another big park. At more than 1,000 acres, Van Cortlandt Park has lots of natural habitat that birds love.

BirDs to look for iNclu De:

Spring : Warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks, swallows, waterfowl

Summer : Nesting wood duck, wild turkey, hairy woodpecker

Fall : Raptors, warblers, American pipit, sparrows

Winter : Owls, accipiters

Year-round : Great horned owl, red-tailed hawk, woodpeckers

New York Botanical Garden

2900 Southern Blvd.

In addition to seeing beautiful plants and flowers, you can see birds here too. The property’s diverse habitats have attracted a reported 229 bird species and make it a

migrant bird hotspot!

BirDs to look for iNclu De:

Spring : Warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks, orioles and other songbirds

Summer : Nesting wood duck, green heron, red-tail hawk, ruby-throated hummingbird

Fall : Raptors, ruby-throated hummingbird, warblers, sparrows

Winter : Owls, woodpeckers, rusty blackbird, mixed songbird feeding flocks

Year-round : Resident wood ducks, red-tailed hawks

Central Park

Fifth Avenue to Central Park W., 59 Street to 110 Street

As busy and bustling as Manhattan is, the city’s geographically smallest borough offers lots of opportunities for Birdwatching in NYC. One of the most famous parks in the world, Central

Park provides habitat for lots of migratory birds. On a side note: Have your camera ready, because there are lots of Instagram opportunities located throughout this iconic park!

BirDs to look for iNclu De:

Spring : Flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, vireos, kinglets, tanagers, grosbeaks, wading birds and waterfowl, freshwater sandpipers

Summer : Nesting red-tailed hawk, Baltimore oriole, foraging wading birds

Fall : Warblers, thrushes, sparrows, raptors

Winter : Mixed songbird flocks, owls, accipiters, wintering waterfowl and gulls

Year-round : Red-tailed hawk, Peregrine falcon, common woodpeckers

Inwood Hill Park

Dyckman Street, Hudson River, Harlem River S.

Located at the northern tip of Manhattan, Inwood Hill Park’s oak and tulip poplar forests attract lots of songbirds during migration. Grab your binoculars, take in the park’s gorgeous views, and look for lots of different colorful birds.

BirDs to look for iNclu De:

Spring : Wild turkey, rusty blackbird, warblers and other songbirds, American woodcock, shorebirds

Summer : Louisiana waterthrush, green heron, orchard and Baltimore orioles, red-tailed hawk, warbling vireos, hairy woodpecker

Fall : Northern harrier, raptors, shorebirds, kinglets, warblers, sparrows

Winter : Owls, accipiters, mixed songbird feeding flocks

Year-round : Red-tailed hawk, gulls, woodpeckers

Governors Island

Accessible by ferry from Lower Manhattan

Located right in the middle of the New York Harbor, Governors Island serves as a great resting spot for migrant birds.

BirDs to look for iNclu De:

Spring : Owls, gulls, woodpeckers, flycatchers, warblers, tanagers, orioles, and grassland birds

Summer : Black skimmer, purple martin, nesting common tern, herring and great blackbacked gulls, fish crow, eastern kingbird

Fall : Raptors, freshwater sandpipers, woodpeckers, flycatchers, grassland birds, warblers, and other songbirds

Winter : Owls, accipiters, diving birds, songbird feeding flocks

Year-round : Gulls, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, fish crow

April 2023 | Westchester Family 35

we S tche S ter

amazing Butterflies exhibit

WheN: Thursdays – Sundays, 10 am – 4 pm, through May 7.

Where : Lasdon Park & Arboretum, 2610 NY-35, Katonah

ages: All

What: Enter an interactive maze through the monarch caterpillar tunnel and navigate your way through puzzles, games and even a zip slide, and emerge as a beautiful butterfly.

WaNt to go?: $12.50. lasdonpark.org

easter egg hunt

WheN: April 2, 7 & 8, 10 am –4:30 pm.

Where : Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard, 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem

ages: 3 – 8

What: Hunt for eggs with your own set of bunny ears and meet the Easter Bunny.

WaNt to go?: $5-$18. harvestmoonfarmandorchard. com

robert the guitar guy

WheN: April 3-May 22, Mondays, 10 – 10:30 am

Where : Larchmont Public Library, 121 Larchmont Ave. Larchmont

ages: 0 - 3

What: Little ones will love clapping and dancing along to the sounds of the guitar.

WaNt to go?: Free. (914) 834–2281, larchmontlibrary.org

fiesta! concert with flor Bromley

WheN: April 4, 11 am – noon

Where : White Plains Public Library, 100 Martine Ave. White Plains

ages: All

What: Join Flor Bromley for songs, dancing, and interactive

fun for the whole family.

WaNt to go?: Free. whiteplainslibrary.org

the sleeping Beauty

WheN: April 14, 7 – 8:30 pm; April 15, 2 – 3:30 pm.

Where : Whitney Theater, 265 Clove Road, New Rochelle ages: All

What: Don’t sleep on this opportunity to see the dancers of the Ajkun Ballet Theatre perform this classic.

WaNt to go?: $35. https:// www.ajkunbt.org/

spring forward, give Back

WheN: April 16, 10 – 11 am

Where : Teatown Lake Reservation, 1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining ages: 12 and up

What: Participate in a service project as a family and give back to the environment.

WaNt to go?: Free. teatown. org

pout pout fish

WheN: April 16, 11 am and 2 pm

Where : Emelin Theatre, 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck ages: 3 and up

What: Turn the poutiest of frowns upside down in this new musical featuring whimsical puppets and live performers in a sweeping oceanic adventure.

WaNt to go?: $24; $19 children. (914) 698–0098, emelin.org

captain louie at the play group theatre!

WheN: April 16, 1 pm & 4 pm; April 23, 11 am & 2 pm.

Where : The Play Group Theatre, 1 North Broadway, White Plains ages: All

What: This charming tale follows a young boy as he

faces the challenges of moving to a new town and making new friends.

WaNt to go?: $22; $18 senior citizen and children younger than 12. playgroup.org

earth Day sunprints

WheN: April 22, 2 – 3 pm

Where : Pelham Art Center, 155 5th Ave. Pelham ages: 8 and older

What: Celebrate Earth Day by making sunprints using objects from nature!

WaNt to go?: $35, $32 for Members. pelhamartcenter.org

music of Bob marley for kids + more

WheN: April 22, 2 pm

Where : Garcia’s At The Capitol Theatre, 149 Westchester Avenue, Port Chester ages: 12 and under

What: You’ll be Jamming to

36 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023
Meet pout pout Fish at the emelin t heatre on a pril 16,
April 2023 | Westchester Family 37 Westchester Family The Digital Edition Sign up for a free digital subscription at WestchesterFamily.com and we’ll send you an email when the new issue comes out! WestchesterFamily.com IT’S TIME TO HIT THE SLOPES: WINTER SKI GUIDE REGISTER NOW FOR OUR CAMP FAIR JANUARY 12 & 13 IS YOUR CHILD OLD ENOUGH FOR OVERNIGHT CAMP? INSIDE: 2019 Camp Directory Terrific January Activities Happy New Year! 159 RYE YMCA’S NEW NURSERY SCHOOL @ St. John’s Church 122 Fenimore Rd, Mamaroneck Toddler (18-35 mos) Pre-School (3-5 yrs) AM or PM program 3, 4 or 5-day options REGISTER NOW FOR FALL 2023 GRAND OPENING SPECIAL FIRST MONTH FREE! Learn More

calendar APR i L

the music of Bob Marley at this Earth Day celebration.

WaNt to go?: $17.50 Advance; $20 Day of Show. thecapitoltheatre.com

5k run and lil’ Bunny hop

WheN: April 23, 8:30 – 10:30 am

Where : Memorial Park, 4 Baldwin Ave. Larchmont ages: All

What: Run, walk, or hop in this all ages competition.

WaNt to go?: $15-$30 by April 15th. runsignup.com

everyone out for earth Week!

WheN: April 23, 11 am – noon

Where : Teatown Lake Reservation, 1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining ages: All

What: Kick off Earth Week with hands-on activities and crafts centered around sustainability.

WaNt to go?: $10- $15 per family. teatown.org

act Jr . presents Nice Work if you can get it

WheN: April 28, 7:30 – 10:30 pm; April 29, 2 – 5 pm & 7:30 –10:30 pm; April 30, 2 – 5 pm.

Where : Taylor Hall at Christ Church, 18 Kensington Road, Bronxville ages: All

What: Everyone will enjoy this high-energy evening of fun with exuberant production numbers and timeless Gershwin favorites.

WaNt to go?: $25; $22 seniors and veterans; $15

students. (914) 391–6558, actshows.org

2023 Westchester children’s Book festival for early readers

WheN: April 29, 10 am – 3 pm

Where : Mohawk Day Camp, 200 Old Tarrytown Road, White Plains ages: 2-8

What: Enjoy author readings, train rides, an interactive carnival zone, food trucks, and more!

WaNt to go?: $20 per family includes two adults and three children from the same family. wcbfestival.org


Zephyr cirque mechanics

WheN: March 24-April 16, Fridays and Saturdays, 7 pm, Saturdays, 2 pm, Sundays, 5 pm, through April 16; Sundays, 2 pm, April 12 – 14, 2 pm.

Where : The New Victory Theater, 209 W 42nd Street, Midtown ages: 5 and up

What: This whirlwind of circus will blow you away with a 20-foot-tall windmill as the star of the show.

WaNt to go?: Tickets start at $20. newvictory.org

2003 macy’s flower show

WheN: Mondays – Saturdays, 10 am – 9 pm, Sundays, 11 am –9 pm, through April 10.

Where : Macy’s Herald Square, 151 W. 34th Street, Midtown ages: All

What: See the famed department store transformed into a lavishly romantic dreamscape with thousands of beautiful blooms.

WaNt to go?: Free. macys. com

the New york international auto show

WheN: Starting April 7, Mondays – Saturdays, 10 am –10 pm, through April 16.

Where : Jacob Javits Center, 655 W. 34th St. Chelsea ages: All

What: The Auto Show offers exciting and unique ways for families to explore the latest in auto innovations with immersive and interactive exhibits.

WaNt to go?: $21; $7 ages 12 and younger. autoshowny.com

paW patrol live! heroes unite

WheN: April 22 & 23, 10:30 am, 2 pm & 5:30 pm.

Where : The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 4 Penn Plaza, Midtown ages: All

What: This brand-new interactive live stage show features stunning visual effects, captivating storytelling and a vibrant musical score.

WaNt to go?: Tickets start at $50. pawpatrollive.com

state Ballet of georgia

WheN: April 16, 6 pm

Where : Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx ages: All

What: See a rare U.S. performance from this world famous company!

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

38 WestchesterFamily.com | April 2023
t he Westchester children’s book Festival for early readers comes to White plains on a pril 29. t he play g roupd t heater presents captain louie on a pril 16.
5 Mile/5K Road Races: 9:15am start 1 Mile Family Fun Run/Walk: 11am start Register at ryeymca.org Volunteers needed! RYE YMCA 21 Locust Avenue, Rye 914-967-6363 www.ryeymca.org Join the Rye Y on April 30 and we’ll waive the $100 Joiner’s Fee! SUNDAY, APRIL 30 9am-12:30pm RYE YMCA NEW THIS YEAR! Derby Team Challenge: Run with family, friends & co-workers and compete for Team Awards. Sneaker Drive: Bring new and gently used children’s sneakers for the Sharing Shelf. Scan for details Rye Derby The Rye YMCA & Eamonn Coghlan present the 35th Anniversary The Y: Spirit. Mind. Body. HEALTHY KIDS DAY HEALTHY KIDS DAY ACTIVITIES ARE FREE AND OPEN TO ALL! ��������������������������� sports samplers, live music, bounce house, free food and much more!

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