The White Plains Examiner

Lois Bronz to be Honored at Friendly Gathering Irish Sing-Along and Dinner

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Lois Bronz
Lois Bronz

The Friendly Gathering 2013 continues a tradition of Irish festivities and goodwill with an Irish sing-along and corned beef and cabbage dinner (with all the fixings) after the White Plains St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 9.

This year’s recipient of the Monsignor Ed O’Brien Community Service Award is Greenburgh resident Lois Bronz.

Bronz has been acknowledged as a woman of compassion for her work on racial harmony, child abuse, domestic violence and resulting childhood trauma, acquiring open spaces and parks in Westchester and adult day care.

Bronz, who was born and raised in New Orleans, moved to Greenburgh to pursue a career as a teacher. She later served on the Greenburgh Town Board, became the 8th District’s County Legislator and was first vice-chair and then chair of the County Board of Legislators. She was the first woman and first person of African-American descent to hold this office.

Having retired from public service in 2009, Bronz now serves on the board of the Lois Bronz Children’s Center (30 Manhattan Avenue, White Plains) a children’s day care and education center serving over 200 children from the ages of six weeks to 12 years.

Formerly known as Union Child Day Care, the center was later named for Bronz because of all the outstanding work she has done for the community and its children, said Dr. Michael Rush, current director of the Lois Bronx Children’s Center.

“Lois Bronz is very active in raising funds for the center as well as in helping to take it to the next level both educationally and socially. She comes by often,” said Rush. “We are currently rebranding as ‘Developing the genius in every child’,” he added.

Once serving only as a day care, under Bronz’s initiative the center has become education focused.

The Lois Bronz Children’s Center is a recipient of a portion of the money raised at this year’s Friendly Gathering.

Using the Head Start creative curriculum, early reading and computer ready classrooms, the center is able to help children begin to discover their own special talents.

According to Rush, the educational focus is on children ages two to four years. There are also programs before and after school for older children. “We are now developing a chess club,” Rush said.

Similar to the concerns of other early child care professionals in Westchester County, Rush says that 90 percent of the parents with children at the center are on subsidies and he sees the work as especially important for those children in developing a foundation on which they can develop and grow.

Referring to a fourth grade failure syndrome, Rush explained that if a child does not do well educationally, they will most likely drop out later in society. “If you don’t see progress by the time a child reaches third grade, it is imperative to focus attention for a solid foundation,” he advised.

The Sisters of the Divine Compassion and the RDC Center sponsor the Friendly Gathering for Counseling and Human Development, also a beneficiary of the proceeds for the fundraising event.

The Friendly Gathering is held from 6 to 10 p.m. in the Kearny Gymnasium, Good Counsel Campus, 52 North Broadway, White Plains. There is free parking on site. Tickets are $45 at the door ($35 for seniors). Music is performed by Brian Conway with Liz McNicholl, Felix Dolan and guest musicians. Entertainment by White Plains’ own O’Rourke Irish Dancers. Raffles include two round-trip tickets to Ireland, Waterford Crystal and Belleek pottery as well as a dining package. A silent auction offers sports memorabilia and golf outings around Westchester.

Call 914-798-1106 for more information.

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