Human InterestThe Examiner

Play Center to Hold Fun Family Evening for Scholarship Fund

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If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend and want to contribute to a cause to help families with young children, then visiting the First Congregational Church of Chappaqua late Saturday afternoon and evening would be a good choice. The church has scheduled a Fall FunFest, a family event with food and drinks, children’s activities, a silent auction with several outstanding gifts and live dance music by the Don DuPont Big Band.

But the best part of the event, which is co-sponsored by the Play Care Learning Center at the church, might be that it will serve as a fundraiser for the Mattias Edstrom Scholarship Fund to provide families with scholarships who might not be able to afford to send their children to the center.

“We’ve gotten some very, very generous donations and we’ve been able to award several families who have needed the scholarship,” said Rev. Dr. Martha Jacobs, the senior minister at First Congregational. “Also, if there’s a family who has a child that would benefit from more days than the family can afford, we try to help that way as well. We’re trying to be creative. The idea is not to horde the money, the idea is to use it for young people.”

Families that demonstrate financial need are eligible to benefit from the scholarship, she said.

The fund was created early last year in memory of Edstrom, who attended Play Care when he was of preschool age. He died in a hiking accident about two-and-a-half years ago at the age of 11.

Jacobs said a challenge for the center is that the families that can best use the help can sometimes find the school inaccessible. Many might be from Mount Kisco, Ossining or other communities that are not terribly far away, but don’t have a car to get to the site or they might have to be at work before the school opens.

“We have not been able to do that yet, but we’re trying to figure out creative ways to help them,” Jacobs said.

In keeping with the family-friendly theme for Saturday, the FunFest begins at 5:30 p.m. and continues until 8:30 p.m. For children, there will be facepainting, a balloon artist and crafts, among other activities.

There will be the Westchester Burger food truck for guests to buy something to eat. Most of the activities will be inside, although the church plans to set up some seats outside should the weather cooperate, Jacobs said.

Organizers originally considered setting up a tent outside, but temperatures often turn chilly after sunset in the latter part of October, even if it had been a pleasant afternoon, she said.

The event also provides the community with a chance to visit with friends and neighbors. With many people having been hesitant to jump back into socializing as they might have before the pandemic, it could turn out to be therapeutic for some.

“I feel like the community needs these types of events, but really what this is about is for people to have fun,” Jacobs said.

Admission is $20 for anyone over 12 years old.

To learn more about the event and the Mattias Edstrom Scholarship fund, visit The First Congregational Church of Chappaqua is located at 210 Orchard Ridge Rd. in Chappaqua.



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