Visiting the Scattered Books bookstore for a special “Reading with Rabbit Storytime” in downtown Chappaqua was the highlight this week for a group of children from the Sunshine Children’s Home–a full-time residential care facility for children with medically complex needs or life-threatening illnesses, located in the Town of New Castle and nearby Ossining.
Simple pleasures that many kids take for granted — like visiting a book shop — can be harder to come by for the kids at Sunshine, many of whom have very limited mobility. Fortunately, a growing number of local businesses and charities in New Castle and Ossining are showing their commitment to finding creative ways to bring these enriching experiences to their most vulnerable young neighbors – the children at the Sunshine Children’s Home.
Says Jeannine Killenberger, a Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES teacher at the Sunshine Children’s Home: “It’s so wonderful for the children to have these opportunities to be exposed to a new and different environment where they can feel like they’re part of a neighborhood and have a connection to their community (Town of New Castle).”
The Mike Risko Music School-Band also joins this growing number of local businesses and community members in New Castle and Ossining that have been showing their support, kindness and generosity to Sunshine. Nine very special preschool graduates enjoyed a very special performance this month when Ossining’s Mike Risko Band gave a live musical performance for their preschool graduation ceremony.
“When we realized that the Sunshine Children’s Home preschool graduation would fall on Make Music Day, which is a global celebration of music, we knew we had to do something really special,” says Miriam Risko. “While we had musicians doing pop-up concerts all over the community that day, I knew this was one performance I wanted to do myself. It was an honor for me and our band to be able to perform for these kids.”
Recently the trendy Chappaqua retailer Hip Kids Lounge held its first “Creative Kids’ Market” featuring the arts, crafts, jewelry created by local artists, which benefited the Sunshine Children’s Home aquatics program.
The Chappaqua Cares community group that supports a variety of charitable causes, planted flower boxes at the home last spring. And, many residents of the surrounding communities are active volunteers at Sunshine.
“We are so appreciative to be part of the warm, generous and supportive community of New Castle,” says Linda Mosiello, Sunshine Children’s Home administrator. “Many of the businesses here have been reaching out to us, and many residents of neighboring communities volunteer here.”
“It feels so good to all of us, especially to the children and staff, to be accepted as an integral part of this wonderful Westchester community of kind-hearted people,” she added.
The mission of the Sunshine Children’s Home and Rehab Center is to create a loving and supportive environment that provides the highest level of quality pediatric care for children who require post-acute medical care and/or rehabilitative therapy, combined with psychological and developmental interventions. For more information, visit www.sunshinechildrenshome.org.