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Opening local hearts and homes



While a student at Bedford Hills Elementary School, Gabrielle Sussman was given the following writing exercise:  Describe a time when you were shocked at how someone treated you. As volunteer hosts for children of women incarcerated at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, her family had become intimately connected with several inmates. Sussman’s essay explained that she always thought people in prison were mean. Not anymore.

Our area is full of opportunities for families to serve as hosts for visitors from a wide variety of backgrounds. But no matter the circumstance, the result is typically the same:  everyone benefits. 

As Hour Teen Program Coordinator at the prison, Sussman’s mother, Rebecca, oversees summer homestays for inmates’ children. Over the course of a full week, kids visit with their mothers during the day, then stay with local hosts overnight. The program grew out of necessity since children aren’t allowed to spend the night at the prison. With hosts involved, the kids can extend their time nearby. And the positive effects are felt long-term. 

Rebecca Sussman says, “During short visits no one wants to bring up touchy subjects, because they don’t want the day to be ruined. With the whole week, there’s an opportunity for meaningful family dialogue. It’s very special for these kids to say to their mothers, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow.’”  

Bedford also provides a nice backdrop for The Fresh Air Fund, a national non-profit that provides low-income youth with a free week of summer fun. Several local families have developed deep relationships with their kids and have been instrumental in passing on new skills like swimming and riding a bike. For host parent Cristina Magidson of Bedford, it’s a family affair. 

She says, “My husband’s parents hosted two children and so did his brother. Something that’s so little for us makes a huge impact.”

For Chris Fernandez of the Bronx, the mastery of a new skill has set his life on a completely new course. In 6th grade, Fernandez was tapped as a team member of CitySquash, a program that introduces the typically uber-preppy racquet sport to inner city kids. CitySquash teammates travel all over the east coast, Bedford included, attending tournaments and staying with host families rather than hotels. Having never before been away from home, it took him some time to adjust.

Fernandez says, “The first couple of times it was hard to sleep, but my parents talked to the families, and we built trust in each other. Now I have all these people supporting me like we are one big family.” And this big family has had many opportunities to share in Chris’s success. Most recently, as co-captain of the St. Lawrence University varsity squash team, he was the first urban player to appear in a collegiate national championship. 

CitySquash Executive Director Terence Li says, “Ultimately, the goal is to create academic opportunity, but college can be a foreign environment. The transition to campus life has often been more seamless for our kids because they already know how to build relationships with people of different backgrounds.” 

Perhaps nothing is harder to imagine than being on the frontlines of war. Every fall, Tzahal Shalom of Northern Westchester, brings a group of young soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to share their stories with our community. While staying with host families, the soldiers’ busy schedules include stops at local high schools and synagogues, as well as individual dinners. The connections they make locally are what Tzahal Shalom co-founder Anita Greenwald calls “magical.”

Mom of four Kate Paletta, of Bedford Corners, agrees. She has been a host parent for the prison’s program for over 14 years and says, “It’s so good for my children to see how other kids live. It teaches all of us to be grateful.” And when the differences are stripped away, everyone simply enjoys each other. As Paletta says, “They want to hang out and have fun. They’re just kids.”

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December 2018

The magic of the season is tangible throughout the Rosen House! Take part in Caramoor’s great tradition of holiday music with charismatic musicians, festive decorations, and tea service in...

Cost: $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

Sunday, December 9th at 3:00 PM. Open to all ages. Come to watch several short silent comedies at this fun event hosted by renowned silent film accompanist and historian Ben Model. Ben Model...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

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Meet friends and neighbors at the KMA for a day of fashion fun! Show off your wearable art at a Pop-Up Runway Show directed by artist and author Lesley Ware. Enjoy activities throughout the Museum;...

Cost: Member price: Free Non-Member price with Museum admission: Free

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah , NY  10536
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Sponsor: Katonah Museum of Art
Telephone: 914-232-9555

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On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

James Lancel McElhinney, journal-artist, author, Yale alumnus and  Pollock-Krasner Grant recipient will unfold the epic story of painted books, from the Age of Exploration to the digital era. He...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Library
Telephone: 203-438-2282
Contact Name: Laurie McGavin Bachmann
Website »

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The magic of the season is tangible throughout the Rosen House! Take part in Caramoor’s great tradition of holiday music with charismatic musicians, festive decorations, and tea service in...

Cost: $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Using graham crackers, icing, and candy we'll create fun little gingerbread houses for decoration! Ages 6-10 Registration required - call 914-864-0130 Sponsored by the Friends of the Mount Kisco...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
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Telephone: 914-666-8041

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Ayurveda advocates seasonal detoxing to strengthen your immune system and help your body function at its best. Weather shifts can wreak havoc on your entire system. “Spring-summer-fall-winter...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Castle Public Library
19 Wippoorwill Rd E
Yellow Monkey Village
Armonk, NY  10589
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Sponsor: Dr. Kaushik's Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Clinic
Telephone: 914-875-9088
Contact Name: Dr. Kaushik
Website »

More information

The magic of the season is tangible throughout the Rosen House! Take part in Caramoor’s great tradition of holiday music with charismatic musicians, festive decorations, and tea service in...

Cost: $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

Join Us for Botanical Jewelry Making - Great Holiday Gift! Tuesday, December 11th 6:30pm to 8:30pm Create your own wearable succulent art. These botanical bracelets make beautiful and...

Cost: $100

Where:
Kahlo
65 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: KAHLO
Telephone: 917-604-5596
Contact Name: Tami McCarthy
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

You'll have fun welcoming winter when you cut out your very own snowflakes using model clay and cookie cutters! Materials will be provided.  Ages: 6-12 Registration required - call 914-864-0130...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
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Telephone: 914-666-8041

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Wednesday, Dec. 12. The Bedford Chamber Concert Series continues its 2018-19 season, featuring an all-Vivaldi holiday program. Anthony Newman and the Bedford Chamber Ensemble will perform “The...

Cost: $45 per person

Where:
St. Matthew's Church Fellowship Hall
382 Cantitoe Street
Bedford, NY  10506
View map »


Sponsor: St. Matthew's Music Committee
Telephone: 914-522-5150
Contact Name: Anthony Newman
Website »

More information

The magic of the season is tangible throughout the Rosen House! Take part in Caramoor’s great tradition of holiday music with charismatic musicians, festive decorations, and tea service in...

Cost: $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

Sign up for this community workshop to get important year-end info.  www.martinhouseworkspace.com/event-listings

Cost: no charge

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The magic of the season is tangible throughout the Rosen House! Take part in Caramoor’s great tradition of holiday music with charismatic musicians, festive decorations, and tea service in...

Cost: $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

Attend 1, 2 or all 3 of this three part series giving you to the tools to help find you the right job!  Session 1-How to Nail that Job–Thursday, November 29th–5:30-6:45 pm Session 2–Resume...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Mario Tacca – Music Director Mary Mancini Tacca – Artistic Director/Manager OUR MISSION STATEMENT: To have fun and gather with friends! To make great music together! To...

Cost: $33.00

Where:
Taormina Restaurant
59 Hudson Avenue
Peekskill, NY  10566
View map »


Telephone: 914-737-8872
Contact Name: Mary Mancini
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Please join us Friday, December 14, 2018 at 7pm for our annual concert of joyful Christmas music at the Church of the Assumption in Peekskill, NY.  Performers include Internationally Acclaimed...

Cost: $17

Where:
Church of the Assumption
131 Union Avenue
Peekskill, NY  10566
View map »


Sponsor: Church of the Assumption
Telephone: 914-737-2071
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us as the Traveling Lantern Theater brings a beloved classic Christmas story to life - The Story of Ebenezer Scrooge or: "A Christmas Carol". Light refreshments will be...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Telephone: 914-666-8041
Website »

More information

This a cappella vocal quartet brings their exquisitely blended voices to the Music Room in Sing Thee Nowell, a program of sacred Christmas music spanning seven centuries. The Rosen House,...

Cost: $25, $35, $50, $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

This a cappella vocal quartet brings their exquisitely blended voices to the Music Room in Sing Thee Nowell, a program of sacred Christmas music spanning seven centuries. The Rosen House,...

Cost: $25, $35, $50, $65

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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