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Film by David Schwittek

July 18, 2013

Bronx Children's Museum Dream Big for Our Rivers Environmental Day Made a Big Splash!




U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor attended Dream Big for Our Rivers Environmental Day at Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx on July 17th, spending time with the children at their workshops in the morning, then joining them all after lunch in a closing reception and celebration of the day. We had another special guest, Cáthia, who made it to the top 16 on the NBC show, “The Voice.” She sang for the children to rave reviews! 
Dream Big for Our Rivers Environmental Day was a great day for the children in the Bronx Children’s Museum’s Dream Big summer program now in its fourth year. The morning featured an activity, Meet Wiggly Worms, and three engaging workshops: Become A Scientist: What are Macroinvertebrates?, Move With Nature and Meet Bronx River Animals. Smaller in scale and much more intimate than previous years, the day really focused on children’s learning about the Bronx River and its natural wildlife. 


A talented singer, songwriter and musician, Cáthia is a graduate of Fiorello LaGuardia Performing Arts High School where she trained and developed her voice through classical music. At only 19 years old, Cáthia has performed on some of the biggest stages including Carnegie Hall and the renowned Apollo Theater where she placed first in Three Rounds of the Amateur Night Competition. Cáthia was most recently seen on The Voice Season 4, 2013. Cáthia has also participated on the X Factor (2011) and has won multiple scholarships and music awards, including a Young Arts Award for Vocal Performance.


Dream Big For Our Rivers, this summer’s Bronx Children’s Museum’s Dream Big program, centered around the life of the Bronx River. Ninety children from Abraham House, C.S. 211, and Kingsbridge Heights Community Center learned about the story of the Bronx River and explored its habitat. The Museum provided children with 12 sessions including arts instruction (drama, dance, or visual arts), a visit from the Museum’s Rivers On the Go! bus exhibit on its purple bus; this day of fun and learning on July 17th called Environmental Day at Fordham University; a field trip to the Bronx River, and a closing celebration at their camp site or the River.


Our partners in Dream Big For Our Rivers included Abraham House, Bronx River Alliance, Children’s Aid Society, Fordham University, Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, New York Botanical Garden, Trout in A Classroom, and Community School 211 ― with special thanks to Fordham University and to our funders Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Montefiore Medical Center and the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund. 


Special guest Cáthia said, “My love of the arts, nature and the Bronx have always inspired me from the time I was a Pre-schooler. It's so important to encourage children in the arts as well, and I could see myself in every child I met today. If given the inspiration, encouragement and support I received, I know they will all find their voices and make the world a better place. They just need to have the right support, work hard and follow their dreams!” 


“The Bronx Children's Museum has chosen another invaluable Bronx asset to highlight this summer as part of its Dream Big Summer program series. As the greenest borough in the City with over 25% of its space being parkland, and one of 10 counties in New York State that exceeds current federal air quality standards for fine-particle pollution, it is essential that we teach our children how to protect and value their natural environment. What better way to learn about oneself and honor our natural resources than through the arts and first hand encounters. Thank you, Bronx Children's Museum, for providing our children with a summer-long interactive classroom experience that will change their lives forever,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.


Our board is very proud to have Justice Sonia Sotomayor with us once again, for our 4th Dream Big Day.  We are also pleased to welcome the Bronx's own contender from The Voice, the very talented Cáthia, to help us mark another milestone in our growth. We continue to be fully committed to delivering comprehensive summer programming to Bronx camps that is relevant, meaningful, inspiring and most of all, fun.  Having both the Justice and one of the Bronx's talented young artists is a wonderful way to celebrate and honor our children,” said Board President Hope Harley.
Congressman José E. Serrano said, “This year’s Dream Big theme, the Bronx River, is very dear to me and to the Bronx.  Through this year’s programs, the Museum has helped inspire the next generation of environmentalists and scientists by teaching them about the restoration and rebirth of the Bronx River.  Once inundated by pollution, today the Bronx River is once again the home to various forms marine life, birds, and even a beaver. The rebirth of the Bronx River is a Bronx success story, and it is just wonderful that the Bronx Children’s Museum is highlighting this important story.” 


Deputy NYC Mayor for Legal Affairs Carol Robles-Roman said, “providing children with a hands-on opportunity to explore and Dream Big is crucial for creating a generation of future leaders in the Bronx. I want to congratulate the Bronx Children's Museum on kicking off their fourth annual summer Dreaming Big series today with a fun and exciting way to learn and to take responsibility for their health and the health of our planet.”


“Our children work hard all school year and we want them to keep their minds active during the summer,” New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott said. “It is a great time to read a favorite book and to participate in educational programs around the City like those offered by The Bronx Children’s Museum, a mobile museum with programs for children in the natural sciences, the arts and cultural enrichment. I want to thank the Museum for offering programs that help children keep motivated to learn during the summer so that they are ready to excel when school resumes in September.”


Founding Executive Director Carla Precht added, “This year we are using the theme "Dream Big for Our Rivers" as a metaphor for taking care of oneself and one’s neighbor. Most of the children we work with have never been to the Bronx River or to a river at all. By exposing children to the actual river habitat and its ecosystem of living organisms, they develop empathy and a comfort level for all living things and communities.  Learning is also heightened when children are engaged on many different levels ― cognitive, physical, and creative ― from reading to expressing oneself through the arts and to going on field trips with real live encounters with nature. Dream Big for Our Rivers does all this and more.”




"The Bronx Children’s Museum had a great impact on the learning of second and third graders who attended Summer Quest 2013 at C.S. 211.  Students were able to experience hands-on, age appropriate activities through engaged lessons and field trips that encompassed the “My NYC” theme.  Students attended three different field trips, which were led by The Bronx Children’s Museum staff.  These trips focused on and revolved around The Bronx River.  Students visited The Bronx River Bus, which gave them a fun way to explore and learn about nature and wildlife around the Bronx River. They also hiked through the Botanical Gardens to experience the Bronx River first hand. And they visited Fordham University where students were able to intermingle with their Bronx peers to gain more information about the Bronx River through songs, dance, art and worms! Students also met and interacted with Bronx natives Supreme Court JusticE Sonia Sotomayor, and singer, Cathia. They both led inspirational discussions about following dreams and never giving up while integrating The Bronx River Theme. All three trips were well planned, engaging, interesting and a fun learning experience for the children. The Bronx Children’s Museum provided teachers with materials and manipulatives for classroom use. This further enhanced the learning and discussions about the Bronx River for the children.  They were able to make connections to field trips and their experiences using the provided materials. The Bronx Children’s Museum gave students new experiences they may not have had otherwise. They are now better equipped with more knowledge about their community and additional life experiences to help them become more successful in their academic careers.”  -Tara Fridkin, Teacher at C.S. 211


“This summer Abraham House had the privilege of working with the Bronx Children’s Museum for the third consecutive year. This year’s theme “Dream Big for our Rivers” afforded our participants the opportunity to learn about the Bronx River, its different ecosystems and natural wildlife. The children loved making clay sculptures of the different animals found in the river. Having an end project that they could showcase to their peers and family gave them a sense of accomplishment and pride. Canoeing down the Bronx River was such an exciting experience, and for many of them, it was the first time they had ever done so. Through our partnership with BCM, our children have had the honor to interact with Justice Sonia Sotomayor interviewing her and doing crafts projects with her. Having Justice Sotomayor support this event every year, lets our children know they have people rooting for them and willing to invest their time and efforts to assure their success. Our kids love working with the BCM staff and look forward to it every summer.”

- Kirza N. Sanchez, MSOL Abraham House After School Program Director


Dream Big 2013

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