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Children’s Museum Offers Financial Equity-based Membership Model

(PHOTO: The Westchester Children's Museum on the Playland boardwalk.)
(PHOTO: The Westchester Children’s Museum on the Playland boardwalk.)

The Westchester Children’s Museum on the Rye Playland boardwalk announced what it says is the Westchester region’s first financial equity-based museum membership model. Calling it the Family Access Membership (FAM), the offering breaks down the economic barriers for the region’s most at-risk and underserved families by ensuring ongoing accessibility to the Museum and all programming.

(PHOTO: Thomas Sullivan is the new executive director of the Westchester Children’s Museum in Rye.)
(PHOTO: Thomas Sullivan is the executive director of the Westchester Children’s Museum in Rye.)

“Our goal at the Westchester Children’s Museum is to make learning in our playful, hands-on exhibit environment accessible to every child, regardless of any challenging socioeconomic circumstances,” said Executive Director Thomas Sullivan. “With the launch of the Family Access Membership, we are taking a decisive step towards ensuring that everyone in this region feels welcome to visit regularly and to share, collaborate, problem solve, and play in our vibrant learning space.”

These families are otherwise unable to participate in regular Museum visitation’s profoundly impactful learning experiences. For only $25, FAM offers the benefits of the premium level of Museum membership ($250 purchase cost), representing a 90% discount to eligible qualifying families.

The Westchester Children’s Museum focuses on play as the primary building block for childhood development. The interactive learning space empowers children through hands-on exhibits, fostering critical thinking, social-emotional development, problem-solving, and STEAM skills. Despite Westchester County’s reputation for affluence and quality schools, one in 10 children lives in poverty, with over 22,000 children in the region lacking access to playful learning experiences.

“[The FAM program] is an inclusive way for children and their families to have consistent, impactful cultural learning experiences,” said Kathy Halas, executive director of The Childcare Council of Westchester. “Westchester Children’s Museum’s FAM program will create a long-lasting impact on those who need it the most by offering experiences, opportunities, and access to the children in our community.”

In its first year of program implementation, the museum aims to provide 1,000 FAM memberships to underserved families. The museum actively seeks grants and private funding from corporations, local businesses, individuals, and foundations to support this program. Chubb Insurance – North American Global Citizens Fund is the first corporate supporter of the program, allowing the Museum to work with The Childcare Council of Westchester to identify three family-service organizations: Collin Allen Child Development Center in Mount Vernon, Family Services of Westchester, and the YMCA, to open the opportunity to the families they serve in their programs, to become the first FAM members.

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