Donna Chenkin, executive director of the Belmont Child Care Association, has a commentary in today’s Blood-Horse online. Her article details the history of the development of the Association and of Anna House, acknowledging major contributors and recounting success stories. More than praising itself, though, the article calls on racetracks around the country to develop similar services, noting the unique needs and economic disadvantages of backstretch workers.
Having visited Anna House on a number of occasions, I have seen first-hand the services provided by the teachers and other workers. Newborns have their own nursery, while older children have developmentally-appropriate playrooms and classrooms. The work of their parents inevitably and naturally informs the interests of the children; reading the three-year-olds a story about life on a farm, I had a hard time keeping the interest of the nine or so children gathered around me…until I turned the page and the children saw a horse. “Caballo! Caballo!” they cried, literally crawling over me to point to the photo of likely the only farm animal they’ve ever seen close up, except for maybe the roosters who inhabit the Belmont backstretch.
The next big fundraiser for Anna House comes on Thursday, June 5th, two days before the Belmont Stakes. “The Rags to Riche$ Belmont Bash Casino Night” will benefit both the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and the Belmont Child Care Association; it will be held at Meadowbrook Pointe in Westbury, NY, on the site of the old Roosevelt Racetrack (a moment of silence, please). It’s a pricy ticket at $250 per, but BCCA parties are pretty fun and your money is going to two terrific causes.
And those of you who will be in Saratoga this summer, stay tuned for info on the August benefit…