As we head into the last month of 2012, the Belmont Child Care Association looks forward to one of its signature events and a national honor, and back at a year of accomplishments in serving the children of the people who take care of the horses.
Having opened two new classrooms in 2011, Anna House is full to capacity, with a waiting list for infants; though many day care centers won’t accept infants, Anna House does, and children stay until it’s time for kindergarten, beginning their early education with Anna House teachers. Because Anna House opens at 5 a.m. every single day of the year, parents don’t have to worry about a safe place for their children when they go to work, hours before most child care centers open.
While the little ones are served in the morning, this year Anna House opened its doors in the afternoon to older students, offering elementary and middle school tutoring programs, the latter sponsored by the Race for Education.
Earlier this year, the BCCA raised nearly $200,000 at its annual Saratoga fundraiser honoring Stonestreet Stables’ Barbara Banke, who along with her late husband Jess Jackson is a long-time Anna House supporter. Banke donated $32,500 to Anna House from her Saratoga stakes wins and donated generously to the auction.
In October, BCCA executive director Donna Chenkin and board president Fay Donk were invited to a party at the Genting Resorts World Casino New York City, marking its first year of operation at Aqueduct. To their surprise, Genting presented them with a check for $5,000.
In August, owner Mike Repole inquired about purchasing the Travers canoe painted in his silks after Stay Thirsty’s 2011 win. The New York Racing Association declined to take Repole’s money but said that he could have the canoe in exchange for donations to racing charities. The Repoles chose the Belmont Child Care Association as a recipient, and thanks to their generous $5,000 donation, Anna House children now enjoy the physical and mental benefits and challenges of a climbing wall.
A variety of other donors made possible new computer stations, which help the children increase their readiness to enter school.
This Saturday, the BCCA will hold its 11th annual holiday party for the children. Having outgrown its previous home at Anna House, it will be held at the Turf and Field Club overlooking Belmont Park. Usually home to trainers and owners, on this day the room plays host to children of all ages who come to pick out presents to give their family members for Christmas. Though the children can choose a gift for themselves, the focus is on giving, not receiving, and even the most cynical would believe in the spirit of Christmas if they could see the gravitas and thoughtfulness with which the children choose gifts for their loved ones.
2013 will open auspiciously for the organization as it accepts on January 5 the Thoroughbred Charities of America Industry Service Award and $5,000 donation in Lexington, Kentucky. As a member of the BCCA, I’ll be honored to represent this ground-breaking organization that night.
It’s not too late to contribute to this weekend’s holiday event; you can donate here or by sending a check to:
The Belmont Child Care Association
2150 Hempstead Turnpike
Elmont, NY 11003
On the web form or on your check, you can designate your contribution for the holiday party.
The success of Anna House is due to its tireless leaders, Michael Dubb, Fay Donk, and Donna and Stuart Chenkin; its committed board members; the generosity of NYRA and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association; the donations of countless members of the racing community; the time and efforts of its volunteers. Together, they make it possible for the children to play and learn, to be safe while their parents work and get ready for school.
At a time of year when we stop, give thanks, and count our blessings, the BCCA is high on my list of things I’m grateful for. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to the children and supported our events this year.
Click here for coverage of the 2011 event at NY1.