The Westchester Children’s Museum (WCM) will pay tribute to its supporters, educators, and children at their upcoming annual benefit on Friday, May 6, 2011 from 7:00 to 10:00 pm at The Ritz-Carlton, White Plains, NY. This year’s event, titled Cheers!, will help build the WCM’s Museum Without Walls program, an educational program which provides enriching, hands-on learning experiences to children and families across the region who need it most. Additionally, the annual Milton A. Williams, Jr. Scholars in Education Award will be presented to Jeffrey Cole. The award was established by the Westchester Children’s Museum to recognize outstanding and inspirational educators in the Westchester region.
A lease agreement with the County for site control of the 22,000 square-foot Playland bathhouse space, a historic landmark, is currently pending. Until the brick and mortar children’s museum is built, the Museum Without Walls program is offered at various locations including the Port Chester Carver Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of New Rochelle, Greenwich and Northern Westchester, and the White Plains YMCA & YWCA. Launched in March 2010, the program has completed more than 100 exhibits for over 2,000 children ages 3-18 from low- to moderate-income families.
Funds raised at Cheers! will be used to further the impact WCM has already made with Museum Without Walls and help make their goal of reaching 5,000 children in 2011 a reality. “The success we’ve achieved in the first year of Museum Without Walls is a testament to the relevance and need for such programs in our area,” said WCM Executive Director Tracy R. Kay. “This year’s benefit will allow us to continue our efforts to grow and meet that need. It’s only the beginning.”
Kay continued, “Interactive educational programs are the cornerstone of the children’s museum experience. As school budgets are cut and funding declines, it is imperative that out-of-school programs provide impactful educational opportunities that nurture our future leaders and innovators.”
Museum Without Walls programs are supported by donations and grants from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Donors include the Beyer Family Foundation, Con Edison, Junior League of Greenwich, Junior League of Pelham, Junior League of Westchester on the Sound, LEGO Children's Fund, TD Charitable Foundation, and Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation. Current event sponsors for Cheers! are The Ritz-Carlton Westchester, Crop Vodka, Serendipity Magazine, Whole Foods, YL Event Design, and Chatham Imports, Inc. Museum Without Walls is administered by over 40 Committee members compromised of current and retired classroom teachers and career professionals in the fields of science and the arts.
“Our educators and volunteers provide invaluable learning experiences for thousands of children each year, none of which would be possible without the support of our visionary donors” said WCM President Corinne Zola. “In addition to honoring our supporters, we’re also pleased to honor this year’s Scholars in Education Award recipient, Jeffrey Cole, who is an inspiration to his students and fellow educators alike.”
The Milton A. Williams, Jr. Scholars in Education Award recognizes the invaluable role that teachers play in the lives of our children and honors recipients for their positive impact on education. The award was created in partnership with Helen Williams, an educator, in memory of Milton Williams, father of celebrity resident Vanessa Williams, who serves on WCM’s Advisory Board. Mr. Williams was a beloved music teacher, mentor, and administrator for 43 years at the Alice E. Grady Elementary School in Elmsford. This year’s award recipient, Jeffrey Cole (of Yorktown Heights, NY), was recommended for the honor by Dr. Bettye Perkins of Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers who works with the Museum and Mrs. Williams to identify honorees annually.
Mr. Cole began his teaching career 10 years ago. Currently an 8th grade special education teacher for the Seven Bridges Middle School in Chappaqua, NY, Cole also serves as the Extended School Year teacher/coordinator, Department Head for Special Education, and is a member of the principal’s leadership cabinet.
In addition to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, the WCM benefit will include a silent auction and raffle to win an exclusive Ritz-Carlton Westchester Overnight Suite Bed and Breakfast Package. An after-party will follow the festivities at 42 The Restaurant, located on The Ritz-Carlton’s 42nd floor where 10% of all beverage proceeds will be donated to WCM.
Individual tickets for Cheers! are $200 or $1,750 for a party of 10. Sponsorship packages and e-Journal ads are also available. The event is chaired by WCM Board Member Carolyn Carr Spencer of West Harrison, NY. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact info@discoverWCM.org or 914-421-5050. To learn more about WCM and its Museum Without Walls program, visit www.discoverwcm.org.