All Eve Woodfin wanted for Christmas was $80,000 to save the early childhood program which opened recently in Tarrytown. She didn't get her wish so now it's down to making resolutions for 2012. "I have six months," she said.
The director of is both desperate and hopeful that she will win enough funding to keep the already popular center open by the June cut-off date given by its operating organization The Guidance Center.
One year ago, the Center took over the decades-old Parents Place and subsequently moved them from White Plains to their new location in Tarrytown. In White Plains, they had been renting a space from a church that they could only use for two hours a day -- the same rate they found here for a space that is theirs to use all day.
The program has grown into their new digs on Central Avenue, adding a Family Fun Day for parents with autistic children, and offering birthday party packages (of which they've already booked two). But as of next week, they will be cutting a day off their daily programming in the hopes they can do something different on Thursdays that might generate more funding.
There's no shortage of patrons, who pay $8 per family to come play, snack, sing and craft for two hours each morning. "We have 140 parents registered. Our numbers are great, but the money we get from parents does not by any means support the program," Woodfin said.
The money that really runs the place comes from grants (the United Way is a big sponsor), state funding, and private donors, all of which they could use more of. "We need help," Woodfin said.
It took a year to get the program Early Intervention-certified and by then it was too late in the state budgeting process to win the funding they had anticipated for the services they offer to children with special needs. Now the window of time the Center afforded them to generate enough dollars is running out.
Woodfin is planning a benefit brunch in March, date to be determined, for $50 per person at the venue. She hopes to accrue some "big ticket" items to raffle off like…a car, or at least something coveted like an iPod. She urges anybody in the community with something special to donate for the raffle to please contact her.
Woodfin wanted to stress that though Parents Place is equipped to help students with special needs, all are welcome. Her vision of attracting all types of families has come to fruition, as evidenced by the diverse crowd of all income levels, many races enjoying this cheerful space. "It's like the United Nations in here," she said, adding, "To close the program would be devastating."
For more information, contact Parents Place at (914) 631-2513 or Director Eve Woodfin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow this link to their website.