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Elizabeth Mascia's Contribution to Children

The center that holds her name is a special place for over 100 children.

When Elizabeth Mascia passed away last week, many citizens and organizations mourned her loss.

Wrote one commenter on Patch in response to an obit that listed her important role in so many organizations and lives, “She can be found under the word for C-L-A-S-S.”

Among the condolences on the Coffey Funeral Home's website was Dr. Allen Dozor of Armond V. Mascia, MD Cystic Fibrosis Center at the Maria Fareri Children''s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center and New York Medical Center (named after her husband), who wrote: 

Libby was an amazing person, and extraordinary member of our community. I count myself so fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know Mandy and Libby, at least a little. They remain powerful role models for me in my career and more importantly in my life. The exemplified the quiet commitment to giving back to our community that characterize the truly blessed among us.

Perhaps no organization feels the blessing more of Mascia on a daily basis than the child care center she co-founded in 1968.

The now-named Elizabeth Mascia Child Care Center hardly resembles its original. It began in a church basement with a handful of children, said assistant director Helen Murray, and has since been housed through various expansions at Marymount, at the former Pierson School on Broadway (now condos), the YMCA, Morse School, on Beekman, and so on.

Currently they serve 110 children, many who receive grants and scholarships, in their digs on Sheldon Avenue in Tarrytown where they've been since the 1980s. What does still hold true to Mascia’s vision is their efforts to provide “a safe secure environment for children to grow and learn,” said office manager Susan Franco.

At the time, there really wasn’t such a thing as a child care center. It was through the Junior League that a group of women got together and saw a need. 

Mascia didn’t stop with just being a founding member. “Through the years, she’s been our best supporter. A tireless fundraiser,” said Franco, so much so that about 25 years ago they changed the name of the place to honor her. The center celebrated Mascia's 90th birthday with her not long ago.

She will be missed, but the center knows they are in good hands with her progeny. Though Mascia’s own children didn’t go here, they did become very involved, said Franco. The staff knew the family well through the years, with children and even now a granddaughter on the board.

“It’s pretty amazing that she realized when it started it how important it would be,” said Franco. "The family will continue her legacy."

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Joanne Kantrowitz November 02, 2012 at 12:18 AM
I remember when the center was relatively new and was greeted with much skepticism and disapproval in some quarters of town. There was even a town government (?) session on it. I spoke in its favor; so did Bill Crosby who was then active in local politics. It took some lobbying to get the support it needed. Day care centers were very controversial in the beginning...along with the women's movement. This all sounds so respectable now....so goes new ideas become old hat. Best wishes, Joanne Kantrowitz (Chicago)

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