Westchester Children’s Museum Honors District Attorney Janet DiFiore

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Donors, new volunteers, exhibit designs will be celebrated at ‘We’re Almost Home’ Benefit

Westchestser Children’s Museum (WCM) announced it will honor Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore at its annual benefit at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester at 7 p.m. Friday, May 11, 2012. This year’s event will raise critical funds as the museum moves closer to opening in the historic North Bathhouse along the Rye Playland boardwalk.

“The excitement grows every day now that we are so close to building the museum,” said Corinne Zola, WCM Board President. “We have never let up on the idea that we could open a children’s museum in Westchester, and to have such a prominent and dedicated group of people working to make it happen shows just how vitally important it is for our region.”

The museum – which is entirely supported by donations and grants from individuals, foundations and corporations – will feature state-of-the-art exhibits that encourage children to explore the wonders of science, art, culture and much more. Since the Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously voted to grant the museum a home at the landmark bathhouse, more than $1 million in cash and pledges has been raised.

Moving full speed ahead, WCM has completed its architectual and exhibition designs and has pledged to invest more than $5 million toward making the Bathhouses habitable, directing privately-raised money toward installing the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems in the county-owned Bathhouse. As Westchester County considers plans to redevelop Playland, WCM is seen by many as a vital first step toward reviving the park and alleviating the burden that it places on taxpayers each year.

A total of $15 million ultimately will go into opening the museum with complete exhibits, and WCM is halfway toward meeting its goal. One of the museum’s worldclass attractions will be a unique climbing structure built by designer Thomas Luckey, who has created renowned playscapes at the Long Island and Boston children’s museums. WCM will be bursting with colorful, vibrant learning stations filled with water play, hidden worlds, interactive art and science experiences and much more.

“As I travel throughout all corners of the County and the topic of the Westchester Children’s Museum comes up, you see the smile on people’s faces grow because there is an immediate recognition that this is just what the children and families of Westchester need,” DiFiore said. “For most of us, we intuitively know that a child needs rich educational experiences in life. If you’ve ever taken a child to a children’s museum, you can see how excited they get about the process of learning. I’m very pleased to be involved with Westchester Children’s Museum and I look forward to opening day.”

Elected in 2005 and reelected in 2009, District Attorney DiFiore is the chief law enforcement officer of Westchester County. As such, she is a strong advocate for children, families, and education, and is an influential member of the WCM Board of Directors. In this position she has combined her public experience of working with families in crisis with her personal commitment to making sure children of all backgrounds have a safe environment to learn, play and grow.

Most recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed DiFiore as Chair of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which was created to address major inadequacies in the state’s ethics system and to restore public trust in government. She also serves as the 2011-2012 President of the District Attorney's Association of the State of New York.

“Westchester Children’s Museum is so grateful for the support Janet DiFiore has provided over the years, and we thank her for being a true leader when it comes to supporting children and families,” Zola said. “We share her goals of protecting our children and making sure that everyone has an opportunity to enrich their lives through education.”

WCM is also looking forward to congratulating its newest board members and thanking its growing number of volunteers. WCM’s board and volunteer base includes supporters from across Westchester County, reflecting the ethnic, economic and social diversity of the region as a whole. Newly appointed to the board of directors this year are Sherri Brown Francois of Bedford, Lloyd Mandell of Greenwich, and David Simon of Scarsdale.

The WCM benefit will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a treasure-filled silent auction. Individual tickets are available and parties of 10 or more will receive a special discounted rate. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact rsvp(at)discoverWCM(dot)org or 914-421-5050.

About Westchester Children’s Museum
Westchester Children’s Museum (WCM) will be a learning laboratory providing children, families, and school groups throughout Westchester County and the surrounding region with the opportunity to nurture curiosity, enhance knowledge, and ignite imagination through hands-on exploration. WCM is committed to broadening knowledge of the arts, the environment, multiculturalism, and the local and global communities in an educational and recreational atmosphere. The Westchester County Board of Legislators recently granted WCM a home at the historic Rye Playland North Bathhouse, where families will learn and explore through state-of-the-art exhibits. Until its physical home is built, WCM is dedicated to fulfilling its educational mission through its Museum Without Walls program, which has brought hands-on educational programs to more than 6,000 children since launching in March 2010. For more information about WCM or to support the museum through a donation, please visit http://www.discoverWCM.org.

Barbara Wollenberg

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