This October, Bloomingdale board members, teachers, staff, parents and Bloomingdale friends came together for the first event in person since the beginning of the pandemic, and it was a special night. Honored at the event were Borough President and long-time Bloomingdale friend Mark Levine, and Sandy Roche, whose extraordinary involvement with our program began over 60 years ago.
While he was City Council Member for District 7, Mark Levine was available and helpful to us on issues of facilities, city funding, and advocacy for early childhood education. Mark began his career as a middle school teacher in the Bronx, and has long been an advocate for equity in education in New York. As Manhattan Borough President, he remains a voice for children and families in our city.
A few words from Mark about Bloomingdale: “The Bloomingdale Family Program has been a beacon of creative, inclusive early childhood education since its inception. As a model for Head Start, Bloomingdale has impacted generations of children and families nationwide, and 60 years after its founding, it’s no surprise that Bloomingdale continues to be one of Manhattan’s best early learning communities.”
Sandy Roche was described by Board Chair Georgia Levenson Keohane as a “lifelong New Yorker, lifelong champion of children, and the lifeblood of the Bloomingdale Family Program.” Sandy was a Bloomingdale parent in its early days, and became a dedicated volunteer, using her skills from her former employment in advertising to raise funds for the growing program. Once Bloomingdale was on a secure footing, Sandy turned to other ventures including a degree in early childhood education, a stint as Executive Secretary of the Early Childhood Education Council, and starting in 1975, many years as the Principal of the Little Red Schoolhouse Lower School. Once she retired, she returned to Bloomingdale as a Board member, then Board Chair, and undaunted fundraiser and advocate for the program.
From Georgia’s presentation, “Now at 90, she claims she has stepped back from active engagement in program governance, but continues to provide guidance, historical perspective, and support in every way possible. Thank you, Sandy, for your tireless devotion to Bloomingdale, to thousands of children and families whose lives are richer for your commitment and work.”
We also welcomed new members to our Board: Hui Chen, Jason Clark, and Bloomingdale alumni and parent Aya Taveras. Many thanks to Board member Grace Offutt for opening her home for the event.
Enjoy photos from the event below:
For a longer look at Sandy and her relationship with Bloomingdale, see our video that includes an interview with her here