TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Hundreds of supporters of The Child Care Council of Westchester packed a meeting room at the DoubleTree By Marriott to honor eight Westchester "Champions of Children" at the organization's annual awards breakfast on Friday, June 6.
The Child Care Council annually recognizes individuals and organizations that demonstrate an unwavering commitment to bright futures for children by creating or funding life-changing programs and initiatives.
"We are proud of all the award winners and volunteers who are here today because they do so much for our children," said U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, who made the opening remarks. "In Congress, I deal with a whole range of issues, but what does my heart the most good is when I visit child care centers and schools, I am convinced that we must invest in early education to give our children the chance to shine and grow."
Yonkers Mayor Michael Spano, Phelps Memorial Hospital Center President and CEO Keith F. Safian and TD Bank were honored with the Champions of Children awards.
"I appreciate this award but really have to thank all those in the Yonkers community who do the work each day with our children," said Spano, who has made child education a priority with the city's Strive Together Cradle to Career program.
The council's Joey Award, which is presented to professional care providers and community leaders who make outstanding contributions to child care and quality of life for children and working parents, was given to county Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, Mamaroneck Community Nursery School's Mary Ann Becker, Basia Kinglake of the Westchester County Department of Mental Health, Susan Matos of the Imagination Family Day Care in Tarrytown and Anna Villacres of the Port Chester Carver Center.
"I want to thank my sister for surprising me and bring my 96-year-old mother here today," said Becker, an early childhood teacher. "She is my role model and inspiration. There is no better job in the world than caring for young children. In what other profession do you start and end each day with a hug and 18 smiles."