Westchester Family - May 2024

Page 1

What is Book tok?

What parents need to know the Win-Win of Caregiver support

WestchesterFamily.com speCialty
Arts, STEM,
For Your Explorer
summer programs The
Sports & More!

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May 2024 | Westchester Family 3
see camp in action


F eatures

8 | tech

5 Substack newsletters to follow

12 | childcare

New study shows how to support employers with caregiving benefits

16 | m om stories

My battle with postpartum depression

26 | Profile

Glow Maven Latham Thomas

30 | tech

What parents need to know about BookTok

stories & Columns

6 | editor’s l etter

10 | Family Day o ut

Gardens for family visits

14 | a sk the e xpert

How to manage emotional labor in your home

18 | c amps

Specialty Camps for your summer explorer

24 | i n the News

Westchester launches gun violence prevention taskforce

Family F un

28 | c alendar

All the fun activities for May

Pro F ile: GloW mave N

Photo: Yumi Matsuo | yumimatsuostudio.com

Hair & Makeup: Buffy Saint Marie Hernandez | buffysaintmarie.com

Produced by: Donna Duarte- Ladd

Shot on location at: The Soft Space by Mama Glow

4 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024 M Ay 2024 WestchesterFamily.com
pg. 26 pg. 30 pg. 18 pg. 16 pg. 28
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The Art of Mothering

May is a busy month, and it is also includes Mother’s Day.

Many know becoming a mom affects us all differently. In Mom Stories (page 14), our Deputy Editor, Jeannine Cintron, shares her Battle with Postpartum Depression and how she still works through the struggle of depression and anxiety.

What would parents’ work lives look like if all employers up the ante. A study reveals why Caregiving Benefits Improve the Family

and the Employer (page 12).

Westchester has the most beautiful Gardens (page 10) plan your day out and enjoy some spring beauty.

May also means summer is near; if you are looking for a unique camp we have a helpful roundup of Specialty Camps and Programs and more in this issue (page 18)!

Publisher: Clifford Luster

eD itorial Director: Donna Duarte-Ladd

a ssociate Publisher: Erin Brof

aDvertisi NG Director: Stacie Goldberg

DePuty eDitor: Jeannine Cintron

DiGital eDitor: Kaitlyn Riggio

e ve Nts m a N aG er: Shara Levine

a ssociate Di G ital eD itor: Thalia Fernandez

eD itorial a ssista Nt: Alexa Lutter

PartN ershi P m a N aG ers: Lauren Alperin, Lauren Anchin, Joan Bergman, Mary Cassidy, Suzanne

Cirigliano, Chris Cunnington, Lori Falco, Shelli Goldberg-Peck, LynnMarie Hanley, Lisa Herlihy, Nicole Miller, Janine Mulé, Nina Spiegelman, Gwen Tomaselli

m arketi NG & s trate Gy Director: Rosalia Bobé

m arketi NG & e ve Nts a ssista Nt: Ashley Rivera

sales & m arketi NG assista Nt: Elana Cantor

m arketi NG a ssista Nt: Tilejah Gilead

m e D ia sales a ssista Nt: Anastasia Aktipis

a rt Director: Leah Mitch

Web Develo P er: Sylvan Migdal

Gra P hic Desi GN ers: Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti

eD itors at larG e: Serena Norr, Cris Pearlstein

eD itorial co Ntributors: Jana Beauchamp, Mia Salas

eD itorial i Nter N : Avital Kessner

ContaC t inFormation

a Dvertisi

Presi D e Nt: Victoria Schneps-Yunis

ceo : Joshua Schneps

get in touch

Share your feedback and ideas about family life in New York!

Email us at editorial@newyorkfamily.com and tag us at #newyorkfamily

6 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024 editor’s note
NG: (718)
circulatio N : (718) 260-8336 Tina@NewYorkFamily.com aDD ress: New York Family Media/Schneps Media 1 MetroTech Center North, Third Floor Brooklyn, NY
260-4554 Advertising@NewYorkFamily.com
New York Family has been awarded the PMA Gold Award for for Overall Design and Bronze for Website General Excellence. 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. ©2024 Queens Family Media, LLC
coo : Clifford Luster
Nina Gallo Photography Donna






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5 Substack Newsletters to Follow Written by Women tech

During the pandemic, a lot unfolded. Sure, it was a chaotic time, but it also sparked creativity, leading many of us to cultivate or seek genuineness while we schooled kids, worked, and juggled our day-to-day. Amidst this, digital newsletters emerged. Sure, there are those newsletters we never signed up for that mysteriously plant themselves in our inbox that do not relate to our lives. Go away! Yes, those newsletters. These were different. These offered authenticity as the main narrative, and while some have started before the pandemic or post-lockdown, we have begun to hear more about these exceptional newsletters.

Some are from our favorite sites or podcasts, where newsletters are an opportunity to provide you with valuable and helpful content daily or weekly. Sign up for those and read them because they are most likely being curated by an editor with excellent credentials- gathering and sending this valuable content your way.

Another form is Substack, where you can browse a variety of newsletters, sign up for one or more, and manage what is sent to your inbox.

What is Substack

Substack emerged around 2017 and allows writers to publish and circulate their newsletters. Most come from working editors, journalists, or people who wish to share more about a particular subject; this is a welcoming forum where they can do it.

It’s a revolution for many writers as it allows journalists, editors, and authors to do what they are passionate about (writing) while being provided tools to create and manage their subscriber lists. Authors can even charge subscriptions for access to their content, and

fans can read beyond what is shared on a writer’s social media handle. It is a way to stan out on someone you admire while not flooding your beloved mailbox with content you don’t want to read, a win win for all involved.

Here are 5 worth checking out Resilence with Alexa Wilding . New York Family’s former cover mom (October 2022), Alexa Wilding, is also a great writer. After years of sharing her life via Instagram as a writer, singer-songwriter, twin mom, cancer mom, survivor, and advocate, she has started a Substack.

When I was just a fan of her IG handle, her raw essays led me to get to know her, which led to an NYF cover. Whether she shared from her earthy home upstate or at the hospital while one of her twins and then herself fought (and won) their cancer battles,

her writings were profound. Even in the saddest moments, there were layers of hope and a love for the energy and mystique of life. I am excited to read more about her journey and, most importantly, resilience in her new newsletter!

Gratitude Journal by Alex Elle. Alex is my therapist; she doesn’t know it, but she may since she has a following of over a million plus on Instagram alone, and most of her followers hang on to her every phrase, wordfor-word. This New York Times bestselling author, breath coach and more- has posted words that have lifted, consoled, and given me hope. Her newsletter, Gratitude Journal, is a resource of hope and growth where you can find posts on Growing through Grief and Gratitude , Lessons are Blessings and Gratitude for Boundaries , and more. This is for all

8 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024

her free subscribers; Alex also offers paid subscriptions from $7 a month to $70 a year, which provides different benefits.

Scraps by Carolina Gelen. It all started with a can of tuna for me with Carolina Gelen. I was searching for a suggested feed on Ig, and this delicious (and affordable!) recipe where one can make tuna benedicts, tuna burger, and more in just a few minutes became my lunch and dinner staple. Her newsletter is full of delicious recipes that feel easy to make and doable for my family in this expensive food economy; her newsletter is called SCRAPS, and her goal is to work hard to churn out recipes that won’t break the bank. I want to, and so will you, make everything she cooks up, like her Sweet & Saucy Apricot Chicken and her 30-Minute Creamy Caramelized Fennel Pasta

Les Undressed. There used to be a time when I dressed pretty cute; as I write this post, my big toe wiggles out of the hole of my well-worn sock. While I still have my style moments, they have become few and far

Substack is a way to stan out on someone you admire while not flooding your beloved mailbox with content you don’t want to read — a win win for all involved.

between as I now work full-time remotely. Sure, not having to worry about getting dressed up daily has its financial and time benefits, but I grew up loving style. While New Yorkers are pretty stylish, Parisian style hits differently. They have that je ne sais quoi when it comes to their wardrobe.

Someone I found who inspires me is Sylvie Mus. This human could wear a sack and look fabulous, so let’s get that right out in the open. Her twist on classics reminds me of what quiet elegance looks like. Initially from Rwanda and now living in Paris, Sylvie’s newsletter focuses on wardrobe building and

insider tips, and her approach to dressing is more simplified, which is where I am personally at right now in my life. It also doesn’t hurt that she shares some of her day-to-day life, which gives me a dose of everything France I adore.

Hi, It’s Your Older Sister. One of the coolest things about newsletters authored by a friend or colleague is that they offer a unique glimpse into the things you already admire about that person and a window into their thoughts and experiences. Whether it’s a heartfelt reflection on life, insider tips, or candid musings on motherhood, it is refreshing to read authentic content. It harks back to the days when blogs first started to pop -up, before people became influencers, and the waters began to get mucked with what is real and what is staged.

Hi, It’s Your Older Sister. Cris Pearlstein shares genuine tips and honest mom advice, such as rejection and identities. Many of us can relate to these subjects while adulting and mothering. It is also nice to know that your older sister still has your back.

May 2024 | Westchester Family 9
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Gardens for Family Visits in Westchester and beyond

Spring is a favorite season especially after a chilly winter. From outdoor festivals to hiking, there are tons of things to do outside in Westchester. One of our favorite ways to enjoy the weather and landscape is to explore the magnificent gardens that surround us. Incredibly, many of the areas gardens are free and/or offer a range of programming for kids of all ages. Check out some of our favorites below:

Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden

Families will love spending the day at this South Salem museum and garden. This includes a beautifully-preserved 3.5-acre Japanese-inspired stroll garden, as well as onsite museum. In the museum, you’ll find exhibits with local artists and events. Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden, 28 Deveau Road, North Salem, NY 10560

Untermyer Gardens Conservancy

A Westchester favorite, this 43-acre public garden features a look at incredible architecture and multicultural design overlooking the Hudson River. Founded in 1917 by Samuel and Minnie Untermyer, the gardens have families can enjoy access to the gardens, as well as tours, summer concerts, and more. Admission is free; however, special events have various fees. 945 N Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10701.

Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens

Enjoy an afternoon in this sculpture garden to view a collection of 45 pieces of outdoor art. Started in 1965 by Donald M. Kendall, former chairman of the board and CEO, the garden features art from 20th-century artists and gardening design from Russell Page. The gardens are open from 10:00am-4:00pm on weekends from May 31st-November 17th. PepsiCo, 700 Anderson Hill Rd., Purchase, NY 10577.

Caramoor Center of the Arts

While Caramoor is the go-to place for summer concerts, it is also home to beautiful

t he Vista at untermyer Gardens conservatory

grounds for exploring and hiking. Over the summer, this includes access to sound art throughout the gardens. You can also view their gardens, enjoy a picnic, or simply relax. 149 Girdle Ridge Rd, Katonah, NY 10536

John Jay Homestead

This historic site is the former home of John Jay, one of the authors of The Federalist Papers. Here, you and your family can enjoy access to its grounds during their weekend farmers market or view one of their five gardens. The formal garden dates all the way back to the 19th century. Additionally, throughout the year they host events where you can learn more about the grounds and its history. 400 Jay St, Katonah, NY 10536.

Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate

Take a tour of this sprawling 40-room home and garden space. The former home of four generations of the Rockerfeller family, the estate is now the site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The grand tour includes the classic (home) tour, plus additional time in the gardens, art galleries, and visits to the second floor of this historic home. 381 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Lasdon Park, Arboretum and Veterans Memorial

Explore this beautiful public park and garden with your family all-year long. This includes gardening events, spring walks, and the cool dinosaur garden. Everywhere you turn you will be amazed by the beauty of the landscape and its 15 garden spaces. 2610 NY-35, Katonah, NY 10536

Beverly E Smith Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden

This Yonkers gardens is volunteer-run where you and your kids can enjoy birds, butterflies, plants, animals, and insects. Programming includes spring walks, bird watching, nature exploration, and more. Admission is free. 19 Dudley St, Yonkers, NY 10703.

Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center

Located close by in the Bronx, a day trip to Wave Hill offers families a fun day of nature and exploration. Enjoy access to their multiple gardens and woodlands within its 28 acres, art events, hands-on workshops, performances, and much more! Upcoming events include garden walks, birding, forest bathing, and more. 4900 Independence Ave, Bronx, NY 10471

10 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024
family day out
Photo by Jessica Norman
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Caregiving Benefits childcare

New study shows how support from employers strengthens families — and businesses

The phrase ‘caregiver benefits’ might seem completely foreign to many parents. Unfortunately, the modern parent has to contend with a barrage of work/home confluences as they navigate childcare, work schedules, kids’ schedules, illness, and much more. While hybrid/remote work has become a part of the norm since COVID, many parents still have to piece together childcare, which sometimes feels like piecing together an impossible puzzle. From using vacation time for kids’ illness to using PTO days, many parents simply need flexibility – and employers who value and understand that –to make it all work.

On top of figuring out schedules, parents also have to allocate enough funds – and make enough money – to pay for childcare. In some instances, childcare is so costly where some parents may find themselves working to essentially pay for childcare. This causes many parents stress and unease. Many even leave the workforce and/or can’t take on challenging roles such as leadership roles because the stress outweighs the potential positives.

However, a recent white paper study, “The R.O.I.(Return of Investment) of Caregiving Benefits” from Vivvi, a company that provides child care and early learning for children and families, in collaboration with The Fifth Trimester, found that family-friendly caregiving practices can boost earnings, productivity, and leadership potential. Thus, caregiving benefits can lead to an improved work environment and profit to employers. In fact, childcare benefits are so vital, respondents from this recent study said they ranked having childcare benefits more than having a 401k!

“In 2024, support for caregivers at work – benefits, training, culture, or all three – is no longer ‘bells and whistles’ but a vital

pillar of profitability, with calculable R.O.I.,” says Lauren Smith Brody, founder of The Fifth Trimester, and author of the report. “For years, we’ve known that this progress is the right thing to do, but now we can see – with real numbers – that it’s a business imperative.”

Featuring six months of quantitative and qualitative research and data, the survey measured more than 300 caregivers and 10

individual case studies in a diverse range of industries, demonstrating how support can drive profits. Read on to check out more about the survey and its surprising findings.

Quite simply, caregiving benefits can include non-monetary and monetary benefits such as offering flexible schedules, providing discounted or complimentary childcare services, offering extended leave time, and/or offering respite care, to name a few options.

12 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024
cottonbro studio/pexels.com

Key Findings in The R.O.I. of Caregiving Benefit

Caregiving benefits not only benefit parents but provide retention for all. When parents are treated with belonging and equity in a company, other employers also benefit. The survey found that 42% of respondents who considered leaving their job in the last year say that they stayed because of their employer’s support of their caregiving; while 59% of respondents say that if they had back-up or subsidized child care they would be likely to stay in their job for at least four years.

Candidates are actively looking for family benefits. Being a parent is no longer something caregivers have to hide or figure out on their own. Survey findings show that 9 out of 10 respondents say that they’d rather have an ongoing child care subsidy of $10,000 than an immediate $10,000 cash bonus. Incredibly, respondents ranked having child care benefits more important to them than having a 401k. Candidates are also looking for paid family leave, on-ramping programs,

Caregiving benefits can include non-monetary and monetary benefits such as offering flexible schedules, providing discounted or complimentary childcare services, offering extended leave time, and/or offering respite care.

and fertility benefits when looking for a new role, even if they won’t use them yet.

Productivity is boosted with parent-friendly policies. Quite simply, when parents don’t have to worry about childcare they are better able to be focused and motivated. According to the survey, 69% of respondents said if their employer had backup or subsidized child care they would work in person more often than required. Additionally, 57% of respondents said that if their employer had backup or subsidized child care they would take on higher-level work.

Leadership can be unlocked with childcare benefits. The survey also found that childcare benefits may offer companies better gender balance. Thus, allowing more women in

leadership positions.

Improvement of ROI and profits. One case study showed that every $1 invested in caregiving benefits drives $18.93, for an R.O.I. of nearly 18x.

“This new report makes it clear that parents are driven to stay, grow, and create progress and profit for their employer,” says Lauren Hobbs, Chief Marketing Officer at Vivvi.

“There is no single way to support caregivers in the workforce; but rather, so many accessible strategies—each with measurable R.O.I.—that companies can implement regardless of their size, structure or industry.”

The full survey results of “The R.O.I. of Caregiving Benefits” and the 10 case studies can be found here.

May 2024 | Westchester Family 13
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How to Manage Emotional Labor in Your Home

Scheduling appointments, making the grocery lists, managing disagreements between siblings. There’s a seemingly endless list of things that go into running a home, especially when you look beyond physical tasks like chores and getting kids where they need to be.

Recently, more and more people have been talking about emotional labor, the often unseen work that goes into making sure life runs smoothly, whether that’s at home or at work.

Emotional labor often takes the form of everyday tasks, so it’s easy for them to be overlooked, but no household would function without it.

Oftentimes, emotional labor falls more on one spouse over the other, which can get exhausting over time.

We sat down with Dr. Yasmine Saad, clinical psychologist and founder and CEO of Madison Park Psychological Services about how parents can manage emotional labor more effectively at home.

How would you define emotional labor at home?

Emotional Labor was initially introduced by Arlie Hochschild in her book “The Managed Heart” (1983). This theory explores how individuals manage their emotions to meet the demands of their roles, initially in professional settings but later extended to personal and family contexts.

Emotional labor in the home context refers to the management and regulation of emotions to maintain harmony and meet the emotional needs of family members.

This includes a wide range of activities, from showing empathy and support, to managing the emotional climate of the home, to ensuring everyone’s needs are met in terms of love, care, and attention. Examples of emotional labor in a family setting can vary widely but often include:

• Listening and providing emotional support: This involves being there for family members during times of stress, sadness, or

celebration, offering a shoulder to lean on, and providing comfort and encouragement.

• Anticipating the emotional needs of family members, such as knowing when a partner had a tough day and needs space or when a child needs extra attention.

• Maintaining a positive home environment by mediating conflicts, maintaining morale, and fostering a sense of security and belonging.

• Ensuring family activities foster positive memories and bonds

It’s not uncommon for the distribution of emotional labor to be uneven at home, with one spouse doing more than the other. What effect can this have on a relationship in the long term?

The distribution of emotional labor in homes is often uneven, typically with one partner, usually the one who is most maternal, taking on a greater share of this emotional role. Fathers or mothers can occupy that role.

The uneven distribution of emotional labor can have several long-term effects on a relationship, including:

• Resentment and frustration: The partner carrying a larger share of emotional labor may feel overburdened, unappreciated, and resentful, eroding relationship satisfaction.

• Emotional burnout: Constantly managing others’ emotional needs can lead to emotional exhaustion, reducing one’s capacity to manage one’s own emotions effectively.

• Decreased intimacy and connection: As one partner feels increasingly burdened and the other potentially oblivious or disengaged, the emotional distance can grow, affecting

intimacy and connection.

How can spouses make sure emotional labor is evenly distributed?

To ensure a more even distribution of emotional labor, spouses can take several steps:

• Open Communication: Regularly discuss the distribution of emotional labor, acknowledging its presence and importance. Share feelings and experiences openly to foster understanding.

• Recognition and Appreciation: Recognize each partner’s efforts in managing emotional labor and express gratitude for these often invisible tasks.

• Shared Responsibility: Actively work towards sharing the emotional load, which may involve redistributing tasks, setting boundaries, and proactively offering support.

• Develop Self-awareness: Encourage each other to become more aware of one’s own emotional needs and capacities and how one’s actions affect the emotional climate of the home.

• Seek External Support: In cases where the imbalance is significant and difficult to address, seeking the guidance of a therapist or counselor can be beneficial.

Additional considerations include the importance of modeling healthy emotional labor practices for children, as this sets the foundation for their future relationships and emotional well-being.

Also, understanding that the dynamics of emotional labor can vary widely among different types of families and cultural backgrounds, and what works for one family may not work for another.

14 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024
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My Battle with Postpartum Depression

Depression is a funny little illness. Because you look and feel like you’ve been through the spin cycle of a washing machine, yet everyone keeps telling you that you’re totally fine. You’re fine, your family says. You’re fine, your friends say. You’re fine, the doctor says. You’re healthy, your family is healthy, and everything is perfectly fine in your life.

If you’re supposedly so fine, then why don’t you feel fine?

Why, instead, do you feel like every moment awake is an assault on your mind and body, like the very act of taking air into your lungs is earth-shatteringly terrifying, and like you are no longer even living inside of yourself, but instead just functioning as a separate, mindless entity, numbly hovering over your former self in the meager hope that someday you can return and feel, dare I say, normal again?

And all the while, as you’re feeling increasingly un-fine, the world around you is spinning away. People are still living their lives, still going to work, still caring for their children, still eating and sleeping and smiling and laughing every day. They’re doing all the things you did back when you really were

fine. Except now, everyone else is fine. They go right on living while you teeter dangerously on the brink of insanity, wondering how you’ll make it another day, another hour, even another minute.

I had my miscarriage in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. I had watched the parade in the morning, dressed my son in his holiday finest, then drove over to my mom’s house in Brooklyn and sat down with my family at the table to eat. Sometime between my first stuffed mushroom and second slice of turkey, I began to feel the stabbing pangs of labor pain. Two terrifying hours later, I emerged from an emergency room bathroom stall with a tiny, balled-up fetus wrapped inside of a sanitary napkin. Horrified and shaking, I handed it to the triage nurse, who told me I was running a fever and needed to calm down.

Please don’t feel sorry for me. My story is only seemingly dramatic because hospitals, blood, and death tend to fill me with dread, and retelling the events of that day is simply impossible to do without conveying just how dramatic it all felt at the time. But in reality, I’d been only eight weeks along, was quite optimistic that I could conceive again soon, and honestly thought I was going to be okay. I mean, much worse things have happened to

people much more misfortunate than myself. So after about ten miserable hours in a dim hospital room, I went home and crawled into bed, exhausted and sad but feeling that the worst of it was over.

Or so I thought.

I did not know, at that point, that postpartum depression could happen after a miscarriage, even one occurring in just the first trimester. I didn’t know that the overflow of hormones coursing through my body after this event – combined with the severe loneliness brought on by a harsh winter, a young child who needed more from me than I could possibly give at the time, and a hardworking husband who was never home – would lead me into a frightening downward spiral so intense that I am still recovering from it today.

My husband used to leave for work around 6a.m., and I’d wake up at 5a.m. just to savor the only adult company I’d enjoy all day until he returned, already half-asleep, around 9p.m. Those mornings I’d sit on the floor of the foggy bathroom while he showered for work and we’d chitchat back and forth. It was the closest to normal that I would feel all day. Then I’d climb back into bed when he left, around the same time my son would usually wake up, and we’d watch cartoons together until the sun came up. And then I’d brace

16 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024
mom stories

myself for a very long, lonely, dreary, anxietyridden day.

The darkest period of my life was like one, long, drawn-out anxiety attack. I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life, but never like this. My days were spent pacing the floors of my three-room apartment for hours at a time, fingers tearing at the hair behind my neck and pulling until it bled. I’d clutch the phone in my hands and cry, praying for it to ring, wishing for someone to talk to, anyone at all who could distract me from my personal hell for a moment or two. I’d open every shade and curtain in the house, hoping the daylight might flood my home and chase my shadowy demons away. I’d wait by the window, praying, begging, pleading for my husband to pull up in his car and save me from the bitter, paralyzing loneliness.

One morning, after I’d gotten out of bed, I fainted as I poured my son’s breakfast cereal. It could have been from dehydration, or anxiety, or maybe just plain hunger, as I hadn’t been able to force down more than a slice or two of bread in about two days. I quickly awoke to find my son, confused and

I’d open every shade and curtain in the house, hoping the daylight might flood my home and chase my shadowy demons away.

visibly upset, pleading with me to get up. At that point, I really needed help. For my little boy, my sweet, innocent, scared little child, I had to come out of this. I simply had to. There was just no other way.

Recovery was a gradual process. With the help of my family, some medication, and a whole lot of self-discovery, I eventually began to feel like myself again.

The following March, I was thrilled to learn that my daughter was on the way. This was a blessing for more than just the obvious reasons, because it forced me to stop taking my medication and learn to heal entirely on my own. Honestly, I didn’t even think I was capable of healing on my own until I had no

other choice. So I believe my little girl saved me from what might have been a different kind of downward spiral.

You don’t need to be a parent to find yourself coping with depression, although I know many are. You don’t need to be married, divorced, employed, unemployed, grieving, sick, healthy, rich, or poor. You don’t need to have any reason at all. For many of us, depression and anxiety are simply things we struggle with every single day. They’re as real to us as breathing. Today, I still battle depression and anxiety, although it looks and feels much different when hormones aren’t involved as much.

Your depression affects everyone around you, whether you realize it or not: your family, your children, your friends, your job. Sometimes people understand, but most of the time, they don’t. If you’re lucky, someone will see you struggling, and they’ll reach out to you. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find a place within yourself where healing can begin on its own – where you can realize how much the people in your life need you – and you can learn to be you again.

May 2024 | Westchester Family 17
2.375″ x 3.625″ Planning Catering Coordinating Services Offered: Staffing assisting clients to enhance their events

Specialty Camps & Summer Programs

Summer is near, and you may still be searching for the perfect camp for your child. We get it! We all want that memorable experience for our kids. Summer is about creating memories, connecting, and making new friends. It is about providing your child an opportunity to build on a hobby or skill or introducing them to something new that you know will be an incredible adventure.

We have unique specialty camps and programs in the Arts, STEM, sports, and theatre right in Westchester worth checking out!

2nd Nature Skateboarding

1 Highland Industrial Park Peekskill NY


914-402 4624

info@2ntr.com 2ntr.com

Skater owned and operated since 2004, 2nd Nature Skateboarding is the premiere skate shop and skate park in Westchester County. They stock the best brands with years of knowledge about skateboard setup, repair and instruction. Their Summer Camps are running July through August and the experienced instructors ensure a safe environment to learn while providing a fun, unforgettable experience. 2nd Nature offers weekly rates as well as day passes plus different options for flexible drop off and pick up times for all camps. Check out their website www.2ntr.com to get more information on all they have to offer or give them a call (914) 402 4624. They are one hundred percent dedicated to keeping Skateboarding alive and well in the community.

Amadeus Conservatory

201 King Street, Chappaqua Bedford Location

St. Matthew’s Church

382 Cantitoe Street, Bedford 914-238-0388

amadeusconservatoryofmusic@gmail. com

amadeusconservatory.com/programs/ summer-camp

Amadeus is a performing arts, musical theater, music and art camp for ages 5 to 14. Kids will sing, dance, act, study instruments like piano, voice, violin, guitar, drums, and more with Amadeus faculty, plus create fine art, design and paint sets. Each camper gets their own role in the show and the freedom to create it. Have fun with outdoor play, sports, arts and crafts. Camp culminates in

18 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024
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Summer Musical Theater Camp featuring MATILDA

Spring & Summer Lessons Sign Up Now






KAC’s camps are one week long with morning, afternoon and full day options.


40 Radio Circle Drive Mount Kisco, NY 914.232.4843



Traditional summer camp for rising 6–9 graders at FASNY’s Village Campus (145 New Street, Mamaroneck) that will cover a variety of different sports (basketball, soccer, baseball, volleyball, etc) and activities (art, nature walks, crafts, etc).

Each week will have at least two off-campus trips and every day will have fun additional games such as slip and slide, water balloon toss, drip, drip, drop, and more!

Trips this year include; Brownstone Adventure Park, Playland Park, Grand Central Scavenger Hunt, Natural History Museum, Central Park, and more! Open to FASNY and Non-FASNY students.


June 26th – July 26th 9:00 am – 3:30 pm*

Week 1: June 26th – June 28th

Week 2: July 1st – July 5th

Week 3: July 8th – July 12th

Week 4: July 15th – July 19th

Week 5: July 22nd – July 26th

*No camp July 4th/5th

Choose as little as one week or as many as all 5!

*Drop Off Begins at 8:30 amLate Pick up 4:00 pm

No daily registration is available. Must register weekly

May 2024 | Westchester Family 19

a performance of the show in a professional theater - this year kids will perform MATILDA. The campers experience the joys of self expression and creativity, and make close friends. DATES: Session 1 is July 1 to 19. Session 2 is July 22 to August 9, and the 6-week session is July 1 to August 9.

Camp Level Up

48 Pocono Springs Way East Stroudsburg, PA 18302 gamer@camplevelup.com camplevelup.com

Camp Level Up is a 1-week sleepaway camp experience for campers entering 4th to 11th grade who want to improve on their gaming skills, all while enjoying the traditional camp activities that a sleepaway camp facility can offer. Located and powered by the team at Pocono Springs - a premiere private sleepaway camp in the Poconos (75 miles from NYC), Camp Level Up offers a hybrid program of esports gameplay and traditional camp activities. Campers spend 50% of their day participating in competitive gaming and the other 50% immersed in an assortment of traditional camp activities including sports, adventure, arts and aquatics/lakefront. Campers of all gaming skill levels are welcome!

Challenge Camp

Iona University

715 North Avenue New Rochelle, NY 10801 914-779-6024

info@challengecamps.com challengecamps.com

Challenge Camp is an ACA accredited day camp focused on STEM and Arts enrichment for creative children ages 4-15 at Iona University. The Challenge Camp advantage is parents and campers customize a program based on the child’s interests, and students follow their courses for an entire session. Challenge offers over 120 STEM and Arts project based electives to engage and inspire campers. Courses range from 3D Printing, Art, Chess, Coding, Cooking, Drones, Dungeons & Dragons, Escape Room, ESports, Fashion, Filmmaking, Game Design, Lego, Magic, Minecraft, Photography, Robotics, Rocketry, Theater, and more! Active sports options, including swimming, allow campers to challenge their minds and bodies. Hot lunch / snack included. Transportation, early drop-off/ extended day options available. Their 44th Summer of Fun & Learning, too!

Destination Science

Multiple Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Camp Locations 888-909-2822



Destination Science is the fun science day camp for curious kids, with over 15 STEM activities and make-and-take projects weekly, three science stations per day, plus games, challenges, silly songs and all the friendship and fun of camp! Destination Science’s energetic, professional educators make learning fun. Summer STEM learning through science-based activities promotes year-round learning. Choose 1, 2 or all 3 exciting hands-on, science camps! At Superhero Physics Fun Camp, kids build a souped-up superhero car and dive into superpower science; at DinoBot Builders & Crazy Chem Lab, kids build a motorized dino-robot and stir up chemistry fun; at Space Base Astronaut Camp, campers build an astro space colony and a solar motorized Mars rover. Enroll today for early bird and multi-week discounts.

DNA Learning Center Summer Camps

1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor 516-367-5170



The DNA Learning Center is the world’s first science center devoted entirely to genetics education. They offer fun and challenging camps for science enthusiasts entering 6th–12th grades. Guided by experienced instructors, students use sophisticated laboratory and computer equipment to perform experiments several grade levels ahead of their peers. In-person summer programs at their facilities in Brooklyn, Sleepy Hollow, and Cold Spring Harbor, New York include hands-on labs that give learners the opportunity to use modern molecular biology techniques and tools. Their science camps are more than just fun activities. They incorporate technology used by real scientists in their experiments, allowing students to develop their understanding of biology and genetics concepts through lab investigations. The next scientific adventure starts at a DNALC camp!

Grand Prix New York Racing

333 N Bedford Rd, Mt Kisco



Step into a world of excitement at an allinclusive summer camp where adventure knows no bounds! Unlike traditional camps, Grand Prix offers an electrifying blend of activities guaranteed to thrill every young adventurer. Picture this: roaring go-kart races around an elevated and illuminated custom-built track, followed by strikes and spares at a state-of-the-art bowling alley. But the fun doesn’t stop there – kids challenge themselves on their exhilarating ninja course, test skills in the arcade, and refuel with a delicious lunch served with a side of laughter and camaraderie. At camp, every moment is packed with action and unforgettable memories. Join for a summer experience like no other, where the thrills never end and boredom is simply not an option!

French American School of New York

145 New Street, Mamaroneck




Kids will have a summer adventure at FASNY Adventure Camp! Open to FASNY and nonFASNY students, this traditional summer camp for rising 6-9 graders will cover a variety of different sports (Basketball, Soccer, Football, etc) and activities (Crafts, Games, etc). Each week will have a theme and two trips off campus. This year’s trips include: Brownstone Adventure Park, Playland Park, Grand Central Scavenger Hunt, Natural History Museum, Central Park, and more; plus every day will feature fun games like balloon toss and slip and slide. Camp runs June 26 to July 26. Weekly registration is available; choose one week or all five (full week registration only). No French is required!

JCC Mid-Westchester

999 Wilmot Road, Scarsdale jccmw.org/camps


914-725-7300 ext. 878

JCCMW is introducing three new specialty camps this summer! Through hands-on activities and creative projects, children ages 7-10 will discover the wonders of STEAM, from robotics to Dinosaurs and beyond! The summer STEAM Camp runs July 1 to July 26. At the Summer Arts Camp, children ages 7-10 will take their creativity to the next level, learning about great art, artists, and cultures around the world through artistic techniques including mixed media, collage, painting,

20 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024
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Gymnastics Classes

• Develop Strength, Flexibility, Balance, Coordination & Confidence

• Ages 20 mos & Up • Boys & Girls

• Beginner – Advanced


• Competitive and Non-competitive Team Program


Full & Half Day Camp • Boys & Girls• Ages 4–13

Sign up for one week, multiple weeks or all 8 weeks!




Another layer of athleticism and fun for our camp day! Campers run their hardest to get up the warped wall and test their balance, strength and problem solving skills to make it through the many obstacle course options!

Our goal is to build a physical and mental foundation for ALL sports and to promote athleticism and good health through participation in gymnastics. We specialize in beginners!

May 2024 | Westchester Family 21
At Equalize Fitness GymCats Gymnastics & Birthday Party Center One Odell Plaza, Yonkers (Exit 9 off Saw Mill River Pkwy)
IS LIMITED SIGN UP NOW ! 914-965-7676 • info@gymcats.net www.GymCats.net Ask about our BIRTHDAY PARTIES! NEW YORK RACING & ENTERTAINMENT

and sculpture. Camp runs from July 29 to August 16. The Summer Performing Arts program will feature classes in dance, music theatre, and drama for ages 10+. The program runs July 8 to August 2. Kids will have an unforgettable summer of fun, friendships, learning, and discovery!

KAC Kisco Art Center

40 Radio Circle, Mt. Kisco 914-232-4843



The Katonah Art Center offers a great alternative to full day summer long programs with weeklong camps and morning, afternoon and/or full day options. Camps are available for ages 3.5 to grade 12. Camps will run all summer long, from July 1 to August 30 with extended day option. Mornings are from 8:30-9:30am and afternoons 4:305:30pm. Find all camps listed on the KAC website. Sign up early to reserve your child/ teen’s spot.

No Limit Ninja

222 Lake Avenue, Floor 4, Yonkers 914-714-9814



No Limit Ninja’s Summer Camp is the place to be when school is out. NLN offers full and half day camps, where campers can learn the sport while making new friends. The Ninja obstacle course comprises 10,000 square feet of state-of-the-art equipment, including obstacles seen at popular competitions. The sessions are coach led so that campers learn each of the Ninja obstacles. After warm ups, the coaches unlock a ton of fun activities, including more advanced obstacles, competitions, open gym time, games, and more. No Ninja experience? No problem. The course is designed to appeal to Ninjas of all ages and abilities. The kids will have so much fun, they won’t even realize they are exercising!

Pine Brook Fitness

130 Rhodes St., New Rochelle 914-636-1019


Adventure awaits this summer at Pine Brook Fitness! Kids will put on their climbing shoes, grab a harness, and gear up to climb at The Rock Club. Young climbers will discover

adventure as they scale the walls, learn climbing techniques, and participate in fun games all while building confidence, focus and teamwork skills. Right down the hall from The Rock Club is tennis camp at The New Rochelle Racquet Club, where campers will participate in challenging drills and funfilled tennis games designed to teach and help players appreciate the sport for a lifetime. Combine climbing and tennis into a one of a kind full day camp experience at Rock ‘N Racquet.

The Play Group Theatre Summer Camps

One N. Broadway, White Plains 914-946-4433




Kids will get in on the act this summer with The Play Group Theatre’s innovative performing arts Programs! Choose from a wide range of 1 and 2 week programs - or combine programs for a 3 or four-week experience: Improv, Sketch Comedy, Playwriting, Design/Tech, On Camera, Circus and Dance Ensemble, and Musical Theatre. Each day includes classes and rehearsal, with every program culminating in performance. Visiting Artists and special events complete the PGT Summer experience. PGT’s professional staff is dedicated to providing an artistic haven for children and teens of all ages and levels of experience. PGT’s beautiful theatre complex is vibrant and spacious, with two theatres, scene and costume shops, multiple large rehearsal spaces and outdoor space.

Scarsdale Fencing Center

303 Central Park Avenue, 2nd Fl., Scarsdale




Start your child on the path to excellence at Scarsdale Fencing Center’s Youth Summer Day Camp! Beginner students are encouraged to join and learn the basics from former olympian coaches. They will enjoy a fun, challenging and unique summer activity for select weeks starting June through August. The camps run from 10am-3pm with lunch

break 12-1pm. The camp will include fencing games, footwork, conditioning, coordination, development of proper technique and skills, as well as competitions at their brand-new facilities featuring the latest technology in fencing floor design! Equipment available to rent. SFC has been recognized nationally and internationally for training, coaching and is the home of the World Champion!

The Wayfinder Experience

61 O’Neil St Kingston (Camp Office only, Locations vary in the Hudson Valley)




Wayfinder offers the chance to engage with stories in a new light! Campers build characters and play out fantastical adventures, slaying dragons, saving the world, and making friends along the way. Set in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Wayfinder is sure to provide campers with a unique summer camp experience. Helping them to build problem solving skills, learning to make lasting relationships, and building themselves up all through the fun and magic of LARP. They have day camps starting at age 6 and overnight camps starting at 11. Voted Best In The Hudson Valley 7 years in a row!

Westchester County Parks parks.westchestergov.com/childrencamps


Westchester County Parks’ specialty children’s camps and programs offer youngsters and teens plenty of choices to build their skills, make new friends and enjoy the summer. Kids can hone in on their athletic skills at their sports camps: Slam Dunk Basketball, HEAT Baseball and Hole-in-One Jr. Golf Camp! Explore and discover the natural environment of Westchester County with fun, hands-on experiences at their nature centers, Lasdon Park and Muscoot Farm. Each camp will focus on different aspects of nature and teach youngsters about animals, insects, plants and more: Lasdon Explorers, Nature Camps, Muscoot Young Wranglers and Young Farmers. Finally, children (and adults) can Learn to Swim at one of their county pools. There’s something for everyone.

Visit westchesterfamily.com to explore our site and sign up for our weekly newsletters!

22 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024
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The Play Group Theatre presents

June 2-9

May 12-19


914 - 946 - 4433 .

PGT Summer Camps

Improv, Design/Tech, Sketch Comedy and more enrolling now at playgroup.org

Preparing Kids for Every Stage in Life

May 2024 | Westchester Family 23
Westchester’s Family Theatre

Westchester Launches Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce

While gun violence is not a huge talking issue in Westchester County it is in the United States and is becoming more important to address in all cities. Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Westchester County Legislator Shanae Williams recently joined forces to announce the start of the new the Westchester County Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce (WCGVPT).

The new Westchester Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce will collaborate and unify efforts and programs to combat gun violence. Read on to learn more about this new task force and what it entails.

the Gun violence Prevention taskforce

During a recent press event in White Plains, Latimer signed a document about the task force. This will include 21 members, some of which are appointed by the Board of Legislators and others by Latimer.

Shanae Williams spoke about gun violence in New Rochelle during COVID when a young man shot at police officers who attempted to avoid an arrest. This happened outtside of her home, and, thankfully no one was hurt. She added, “this is a public health crisis.” In Westchester, she added “our rates are the lowest in the region.” However, she mentioned how (as NYC’s neighbors) that it is important for Westchester to hold ourselves accountable for being a part of the solution.

The task force will follow a holistic approach across all agencies. This includes Westchester counties, towns, cities, villages, and law enforcement agency.

Additionally, the gun violence prevention taskforce will work with organizations who are making strides in rooting out gun violence and foster collaboration.

Additionally, the group will work to leverage each other’s resources. The task force aims to identify and implement best practices to prevent and ultimately eliminate gun violence from Westchester County.

Hezus R, founder of S.I.C Film School also joined the press conference who spoke about changing the gun narrative and understanding the individual psychology. He noted, “gun programs in the past have failed because they focus on the gun. Additionally, he spoke about focusing on the individual to empower youth. He added, “we need to reach the hearts and minds of the youth to provide real opportunity and alternatives.”

i mportance of the task Force

“The safety and well-being of every resident in Westchester is our top priority. Through the establishment of the Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce, we are taking proactive steps to address this critical issue head-on. By bringing together diverse voices and expertise, we will develop comprehensive strategies to create safer communities for all,” Latimer noted.

Partners of the task Force

James Nolan spoke about his family was impacted by gun violence when his brother was killed in Yonkers. He wants to collectively work with youth groups, church groups, and police groups. Additionally, Westchester County Legislator Terry Clemens spoke about approaching gun violence. She added, “establishing a gun violence violence will expand on the work we are already doing in toward preventing gun violence on our streets in our homes and schools.”

He added, “when I was in office over six years ago the first thing we did was to eliminate the gun show.” Thus, it was important to not have guns in the culture (of Westchester).

Latimer spoke about putting county money beyond existing programs as well. He signed the executive order during the conference and noted how the community could be involved.

Goals of the Westchester Gun violence Prevention:

• Change the social conditions and address the influences that lead young people to resort to gun violence.

• Foster collaboration across all agencies and levels of government, including county, town, village, city and law enforcement agencies.

• Facilitate collaboration between nonprofit and for-profit businesses already engaged in this work.

• Engage the community in meaningful dialogue, including victims and perpetrators of gun violence.

• Develop prevention and intervention strategies tailored to eliminate gun violence.

• Advocate for the necessary resources to support these efforts.

• Finally, the task force consists of volunteers representing various backgrounds as well as people of different cultural backgrounds.

For more information on the Westchester County Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce, please contact Deputy Director of Operations Emily Saltzman or (914) 995-2912.

24 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024
in the news
t he new westchester county launches Gun Violence prevention taskforce

WestchesterFamily.com provides a rich array of local resources, useful content, directories and interactive tools to help families meet and celebrate the challenges of parenting. Visit us online today! WestchesterFamily.com

May 2024 | Westchester Family 25
www.newyorkfamily.com/ParentEdTalks Your online resource for all things parenting

Glow Maven Latham Thomas

on The Soft Space, advancing maternal health via community and academia, watching her young adult son soar, and how she is an Open Nest, not an Empty Nester

Our cover this month is by happenstance. Latham Thomas of Mama Glow unveiled a stunning new space and I was eager to feature it. The Soft Space embodies community, education, and support, among other things—but more on that later.

Our New York Family team had quite the agenda on the day of the shoot at this new space. Our Events Editor, Shara Levine, kicked off her day celebrating Women’s International Day in a movement class. Then, our crew arrived to photograph the space and our April mom. While our cover mom, was getting glammed up, photographer Yumi Matsuo and I got to work, absorbing the energy of the space, capturing its loveliness and Latham’s infectious energy.

After we saw the captured pics, we couldn’t resist featuring this new space and celebrating Latham on the cover.

A champion of maternal health through advocacy and teaching- Latham knows support is crucial at the beginning of becoming a mother and even more vital as we journey through the many phases of being women.

We are excited about this new space and one doesn't have to live in Brooklyn to enjoy the space. The community is for all and is there to support you.

I chatted with Latham about expanding Mama Glow, watching her young adult son soar, and how she is an Open Nest , not an Empty Nester.

For all the parents new to Mama Glow,

can you share how Mama Glow supports mothers and families?

I’m the founder of Mama Glow, a global maternal health and education platform that educates and professionally develops doulas and nurse care managers to serve in our healthcare system to improve maternal health outcomes. We have trained nearly 3,000 doulas across the USA and 6 continents. Our market leading training program, the Mama Glow Doula Homeschool Professional Training Program is the first of its kind to be embedded as an Ivy League University course where I was appointed Visiting Professor of the Practice of Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brown University. My commitment to advancing maternal health is grounded in community and academia. We recently wrapped a national Doula Competency training program we designed for CVS Health and Aetna nurse care managers for CEUs. This means that nurses are also learning how to integrate the doula model of care to support families.

We offer doula matching services to families in different ways, some are private pay, others come to us through the Mama Glow Foundation for pro bono doula services. We also offer educational programs for parents.

The Mama Glow Foundation leads efforts in education, advocacy and the arts as well as research and scholarship. At the Foundation we welcome and mentor University fellows through our partnership with Brown University and support Doula clubs on 5 campuses, supporting university doula collectives. The Mama Glow Foundation also provides pro bono doula services across the country

through partnerships with companies like Carol’s Daughter and the Love Delivered Initiative, and through the Citywide Doula Initiative, where the Mama Glow Foundation is the largest provider of pro bono doula services in New York City.

It’s been a deep pleasure to elevate and celebrate this work through our platform, including: The Doula Expo by Mama Glow, our annual culture shifting festival that celebrates a vision for the future of birth work, this past Spring, we held the Doula Expo at Hudson Yards in a 60,000 square foot space and welcomed nearly 2,000 guests. This is how we show up in the community and now folks will be able to also join us for lectures, workshops and events and community support at The Soft Space by Mama Glow as well.

Any advice for an overwhelmed mother on how she can make space for herself?

It’s really important to listen to your body. Self-care is about checking in with yourself on a moment-to-moment basis and meeting your personal needs. Community is so critical as we navigate the challenges of new parenthood. I encourage folks who are feeling overwhelmed to tap into their support system, your sister circle, and practice asking for help - by the way; it can be difficult to ask for help when you’re the person everyone depends on. Having a group text check-in having some folks you can ask to come over and watch the kids while you go for a walk alone, can be really helpful in reducing stress. All of the self-care and stress management tools I use are free: I journal, practice deep breathing, turn on the music and move my body, I water my plants, I go outside

26 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024

for a walk… all of this helps me stay calibrated. I would invite you to pour energy into the small things that bring you pleasure and punctuate moments of pleasure throughout the day, even those of us who are busy can choose to make this time for ourselves.

It is no secret that New York Family loves you; this is your third cover! Your first cover featured you and your then-tween son. How is parenting evolving for you as your son transitions into adulthood?

I’m honored for my third cover! Parenting

is amazing at every stage. My son is now 20 years alive and I have an Open Nest. I wrote a post when Fulano headed off to school where I spoke about the potency of this new life phase and what it was like to move away from birthing and caring for someone for nearly two decades and then sending them out into the world. My son went on to attend Berklee School of Music in Boston and is now a junior in college. While it’s just a 3 hour train or car ride away from Brooklyn, it’s still far enough away that I am reminded of the distance. It’s good for him because it allows him to spread his wings. I learn so much as a parent about trust. When your children begin to soar, you have to activate your trust and faith in ways previously unimagined, you have to trust that all of the lessons you gave and the messages you shared were encoded. You have to believe that you have raised a person who carries their values in their heart and makes good decisions without your direct and daily influence. And that mutual trust is the pulse of your relationship. I am an evolved version of myself, I became anew when I gave birth to my son and I shed a layer of myself when he entered this new life phase. I don’t say ‘Empty’ nest because I don’t feel empty; I feel whole, alive, and full. I have been so creative during this time, and I’ve given birth to so many projects during my open nesting phase. Open nesting is a rite of passage that I honor and celebrate.

What types of programming are available at The Soft Space?

The programing is really special, we have everything from our professional doula training programs, to wellness and self-care programming like, Full Moon Sound Baths, Crystals for Fertility, Sacred Belly Dance, Womb Healing and more. What’s been really great is that a lot of brand partners have come to the space to activate, so we have hosted events with folks like Juliane Hough and KINRGY, CVS Aetna, where we hosted a retreat for their Women’s Health team, Nanit hosted a day long activation for parents. We are hosting a Retreat for Doulas and Caregivers, something we love to do most, is pour into our community. The space is really versatile and we look forward to bringing even more amazing offerings to the community as we head into the Summer months! Stay tuned to our site and mailing list for program updates!

Handles: @Glowmaven, @thesoftspace.bk @mamaglow

May 2024 | Westchester Family 27
Photo by Yumi Matsuo



Play unstoppable Festival

WheN: Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 7 pm, Mondays-Fridays,, 11 am – 5 pm, through May 27.

Where : LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester, Ridge Hill Mall, 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers

aGes: All

What: Take your imagination on an adventure of limitless discovery and build alongside a master builder, see the brand new LEGO Friends 4D movie, join an epic dance party, and more.

WaNt to Go?: Tickets start at $24.99. legolanddiscoverycenter.com

archery tournament

Whe N: Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 12, 9 am – 12 pm & 1 – 4 pm.

Where : Greenburgh Nature Center, 99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale

aGes: 10 and older

What: Show off your skills at this tournament open to everyone from beginners to pros.

WaNt to Go?: $30. greenburghnaturecenter.org

New york catstravaganza!

Whe N: May 4-5, Saturday and Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm.

Where : Westchester County Center, 198 Central Avenue, White Plains

aGes: All

What: This un-fur-gettable experience features beautiful cats strutting their stuff, meet & greets, shopping, and the opportunity to learn about animal rescues and charities.

WaNt to Go?: $30; $27 ages 5-17 and seniors 65 and older. (914) 995–4050, countycenter. biz

yonkers art Weekend at the hrm!

Whe N: Saturday, May 4, 11 am – 5 pm

Where: Hudson River Museum, 511 Warburton Ave., Yonkers aGes: All

What: Enjoy family-friendly activities, a “Bubble Extravaganza”, art workshops, games, and more.

WaNt to Go?: Free; Planetarium shows are an additional cost. hrm.org

yonkers ymca annual healthy kids Day

Whe N: Saturday, May 4, 11 am – 3 pm

Where : JFK Marina & Park, 1 John F Kennedy Memorial Dr., Yonkers

aGes: All

What: Take part in this national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids and families with bounce houses, food, music, games, community organizations, and much more!

WaNt to Go?: Free. yoymca. org

Family Day: symbols, stories, and self

Whe N: Saturday, May 4, 12 – 3 pm

Where : Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay Street, Katonah aGes: All

What: Construct, create, and reflect alongside artist Damien Davis while exploring ideas of self, community, and art!

WaNt to Go?: $12; $6 seniors, students, and children ages 12 and younger. katonahmuseum. org

holi Festival

Whe N: Sunday, May 5, 11 am

Where : India Center of Westchester, 174 Brady Ave., Hawthorne

aGes: All

What: Celebrate the festive holiday of Holi with food, music, color, entertainment, games, raffles, and prizes!

WaNt to Go?: Free admission. indiacenter.us

rosie revere, engineer & Friends

Whe N: Sunday, May 5, 11 am –12 pm & 2 – 3 pm.

Where : Emelin Theatre

aGes: 5 – 8

What: See this fun musical based on the books “Rosie Revere, Engineer;” “Iggy Peck, Architect;” and “Ada Twist Scientist” by Andrea Beaty, which spotlights the STEM curriculum.

WaNt to Go?: $29; $24 child, emelin.org

2024 Family artsbash

Whe N: Saturday, May 11, 11 am – 3 pm

Where : ArtsWestchester, 31 Mamaroneck Avenue, 3rd Floor, White Plains

aGes: All

What: Enjoy a day of arts and fun with hands-on creative workshops, a visit from the ArtsMobile, face painting, puppet show, and more.

28 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024
rosei revere engineer & friends comes to the emelin t heatre on may 5.

WaNt to Go?: $10. artswestchester.org

mother’s Day tea Party

Whe N: Saturday, May 11, 1 – 3 pm

Where : Hudson Park Children’s Greenhouse

aGes: All

What: Enjoy a joyful and elegant tea party with refreshments, crafts and a photo booth.

WaNt to Go?: $25; $5 per child ages 2-12. hpcgreenhouse. org

sheep shearing Festival

Whe N: Sunday, May 12, 11 am – 3 pm

Where : Muscoot Farm, 51 NY-100, Katonah

aGes: All

What: Head out to the farm for a day of live sheep shearing, activities, vendors, and more!

WaNt to Go?: Free. muscootfarm.org

sPca Westchester Dog Walk and Pet Fair

Whe N: Saturday, May 18, 10 am – 1 pm

Where : Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, 2957 Crompond Road, Yorktown Heights

aGes: All

What: This day is for the dogs and everyone else with music, food trucks, a Kids Zone, demos, dog contests, and more!

WaNt to Go?: $20. spcawestchester.org

70th anniversary celebration

Whe N: Saturday, May 18, 12 – 3 pm

Where : Cross County Center, 8000 Mall Walk, Yonkers

aGes: All

What: Celebrate the Center’s birthday with themed music and entertainment, dancers, strolling entertainers, selfie stations, a pop-up roller rink, and more!

WaNt to Go?: Free. (914) 968–9570, crosscountycenter. com

Peter and the Wolf & other excerpts

Whe N: Saturday, May 18, 2 pm.

Where : Chappaqua Performing Arts Center, 480 N

Bedford Road, Chappaqua aGes: All

What: This delightful onehour program features three classical performances, all highlighting the talent and versatility of Westchester Ballet Company’s youth dancers.

WaNt to Go?: $25; $15 children. chappaquapac.org

Family concert: sonia de los santos

Whe N: Sunday, May 19, 2 pm

Where : Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, 149 Girdle Ridge Road, Katonah aGes: All

What: This bilingual performance features songs about migrating birds, friendship, chocolate, and more!

WaNt to Go?: $30; $15 child. caramoor.org

laurie berkner: the Greatest hits solo tour

Whe N: Sunday, May 19, 3 – 5 pm

Where : Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, 1008 Brown Street, Peekskill

aGes: 8 and under What: See bestselling, awardwinning children’s recording artist, Laurie Berkner, live, as she performs kid favorite songs!

WaNt to Go?: $28.50$38.50; $101 VIP. paramounthudsonvalley.com

valhalla memorial Day Parade and ceremony

Whe N: Monday, May 27, 9:30 am

Where : Parade steps off behind Valhalla Methodist Church, 200 Columbus Ave. Valhalla

aGes: All

What: Honor the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country at this parade and ceremony.

WaNt to Go?: Free. alpost1038ny.org


Japan Parade

Whe N: Saturday, May 11, 1 pm

Where : Parade begins at W, 81st Street and Central Park West, Upper West Side

aGes: All

What: Celebrates the friendship between NYC and Japan with floats, music, performances, and more.

WaNt to Go?: Free. japanparadenyc.org

Family art Project: Flowers for mother’s Day

Whe N: May 11-12, Saturday and Sunday, 10 am – 1 pm.

Where : Wave Hill, 4900 Independence Ave., Riverdale aGes: All

What: Create a bouquet of paper flowers.

WaNt to Go?: Included with admission: $4-$10. wavehill.org

Fleet Week

Whe N: May 25-27, all day; Friday, May 24, 7 pm; Monday, May 27, 10 am.

Where : The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, New York

aGes: All

What: Come out for musical performances, activities, and demos from the military.

WaNt to Go?: Free. intrepidmuseum.org

Pop into spring

Whe N: Weekdays, 1:30 – 3 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am –3 pm, through May 17.

Where : New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Belmont aGes: 3-10

What: Explore the wonders of spring by learning about bees, flowers, and pollination and create a seed ball to grow Bee Balm—a pollinator-friendly plant for your neighborhood.

WaNt to Go?: Included with admission: $4-$35. (718) 817–8700, nybg.org

May 2024 | Westchester Family 29 MAY calendar
s onia de los santos plays caramoor on m ay 19. t he leGoland discover center hosts it play unstoppable festival this month.

What is BookTok?

and what parents need to know

BookTok, a niche community on TikTok focused on books and literature, has been gaining traction recently. Its reach has even expanded beyond the app: you can find displays in Barnes and Noble’s and other book stores dedicated to showcasing BookTok’s current favorites.

With over 29 million videos posted to the BookTok tag, more people than ever are getting book recommendations from TikTok, including plenty of young adult readers.

But there’s no real way of controlling what books get put on your child’s For You Page, and many of the most popular books on BookTok may not be suitable for young adult readers.

What do parents need to know about BookTok? And how involved should parents be in what their children are reading, especially as they get older?

We sat down with Dr. Erin O’Connor, chief of education for parenting platform Cooper, to talk about BookTok, how to find appropriate books, benefits kids of reading books of all kinds and more.

How the rising popularity of BookTok is impacting young adult readers

O’Connor says one of the best things about BookTok is that it’s getting teens and adolescents to read.

Reading helps teens and adolescents develop important emotional and cognitive skills. It allows kids to process more emotionally sophisticated content more easily than if they were accessing this content on the ever-moving world of social media, for example.

There are countless benefits that come with pleasure reading for teens and adolescents, so “there’s just a huge upside” in creating a space “where it’s cool to be discussing books and be engaging in these sorts of interactions,” O’Connor says.

While BookTok is beneficial because it’s getting teens and adolescents to read, it should still be approached with caution.

Like many other social media sites that teens and adolescents use, there’s not a lot of control

over what content is put in front of users. As a result, book recommendations from BookTok don’t have the chance to be vetted by parents.

“Some of these books have a lot of adult, mature themes around unhealthy relationships, violence, things like that, that are hard to judge outside of the context of reading,” O’Connor says.

How much should parents be involved in what their kids are reading

The degree of how much a parent should be involved with what their child is different for every family. But it can never hurt to have knowledge about what your child is choosing to read, especially for adolescents and young teens.

O’Connor recommends sites like Common Sense Media if you’re looking for a more researched opinion on what a book contains.

Or, you can get on BookTok yourself and see what’s out there.

“That’s a good way to just get a quick sort of understanding of what your young adult is seeing and what their interest is in a book,” O’Connor says.

It’s also important to remember that even when young adult readers start to gravitate towards more mature books, O’Connor says it’s “not always the content that we’re worried about that they’re interested in.”

“[Adolescence is] a challenging time in terms of friendships and identity and sexuality and all these things that children are often seeking information out about anyway,” O’Connor says.

When dealing with teenagers, give them some space and privacy about what they’re reading.

“If they seem to be enjoying the book and able to handle the content, you can talk to them

about some of the themes, but you don’t necessarily have to be reading along with them,” O’Connor says.

But for younger children, reading the same book at the same time as them can be a great way to start a conversation with them about themes they may be reading about.

O’Connor recommends being aware of series or books by the same author, where the maturity level and themes might “ramp up” as they go on. For example, maybe the first two books in a series are okay for your 13 year old to read, but you may suggest that they hold off on reading the next books until they’re 16.

While there may be temptation to shield children from more mature themes, remember that censoring what they read may not stop them from encountering them. “A lot of these themes and topics, they’re going to be seeing them on Youtube, TikTok, Instagram,” O’Connor says. “And reading is a good way to digest that material in a little bit more of a removed way.”

O’Connor says it’s important to, as a parent, encourage open communication and be ready to discuss these mature themes when teens and adolescents come across them.

There are many benefits of letting young readers read books of all kinds

O’Connor says reading a variety of books can help with empathy development, especially in teen and adolescent readers.

“I think it’s really the exposure to not only diverse voices in terms of the authors, but also diverse experiences in terms of the characters, and seeing and understanding the thought processes that they go through as they make decisions,” O’Connor says. “And thinking about yourself and how you make decisions can be very viable.”

30 WestchesterFamily.com | May 2024

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