CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- Kids from Ossining's Sunshine Children's Home -- a full-time residential care facility for children with medically complex needs or life-threatening illnesses -- recently got to visit Chappaqua's Scattered Books for a special "Reading with Rabbit Storytime."
A growing number of local businesses and charities in the area are showing a commitment to finding creative ways to bring these enriching experiences to their most vulnerable young neighbors. 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.
"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," said Jeannine Killenberger, a Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES teacher at Sunshine.
Ossining's Mike Risko Music School has also lent its support. Nine preschool graduates enjoyed a very special performance this month from the Mike Risko Band, 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."
The trendy Chappaqua retailer Hip-Kid has also gotten in on the helping. It recently held its first "Creative Kids' Market," featuring arts, crafts and jewelry created by local artists, to benefit the Sunshine Children's Home aquatics program.
Also, the Chappaqua Cares community group, which 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," said Linda Mosiello, administrator of Sunshine Children's Home.