The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum’s “Great Friend to Kids Award” recognizes and celebrates individuals and/or organizations in the Hudson Valley who are advancing the well-being of children and families through their activities in the areas of education, health and/or community building.


Past Award Winners


The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum recognized The Council of Industry with the “2019 GREAT FRIEND TO KIDS AWARD” for its role in helping connect MHCM with local companies committed to science education and to developing tomorrow’s STEM workforce.

The Council of Industry is a founding member of the Science Center @ MHCM, the Museum’s early STEM gallery that opened in February 2016. Since this time, the Council has been instrumental in helping MHCM plan a new science center by bringing new corporate partners to the table for visioning sessions and assisting MHCM in assessing our region’s future workforce development needs in the area of STEM education.


The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum presented its 2018 Great Friend to Kids Award to Hudson River Housing, Inc., in recognition of its work in community revitalization, supporting local families through innovative housing solutions, and supporting children through their transitional housing programs.

Since its founding in 1982, the organization has grown from one program designed to house the homeless, to over 25 separate programs offering housing solutions and supportive services across a range of needs, addressing homelessness, emergency housing, home ownership, and community development.  Hudson River Housing, Inc., also provides a variety of services to populations with mental health issues, chemical dependencies, victims of domestic violence, and low- and moderate-income households in general.


The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum presented Ms. Ozie Williams, Public Health Nutrition Educator for the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health, Public Health Nursing Division with the 2017 Great Friend to Kids Award on September 13.

By partnering with local schools and not-for-profit organizations, Ms. Williams works tirelessly in our local community to promote comprehensive wellness from birth through adulthood.  She is personally dedicated to working with families with young children of all backgrounds to advance understanding about optimum nutrition.


In 2016 the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum honored educators who are transforming lives through their work with young children and/or families:

Beth Doré is a fifth grade teacher and Garden Coordinator at Austin Road Elementary School in the Mahopac Central School District. With over 20 years of elementary teaching experience in the district, she spearheaded the creation of a school garden and outdoor classroom space five years ago for the school’s 620 students. Ms. Doré also oversaw the integration of garden-based teaching into the school’s curriculum and events.

Christine Fitzgerald is a special education teacher with Dutchess County BOCES who works with autistic children in grades 6 through 8 in the special education classroom at Union Vale Middle School. In her work, she focuses on teaching basic life skills and self-sufficiency in performing daily functions so that her students may better prepare themselves for the world and to one day enter the workforce.

Shelley Squires-Trani is currently the Head Teacher at the Dutchess Community College Lab Nursery School in Poughkeepsie. In this role, she is the lead classroom teacher for children enrolled in the preschool program and is responsible for classroom oversight, curriculum and building relationships with individual families. Ms. Squires-Trani also serves as an academic advisor to Dutchess Community College students enrolled in the Early Education Program.

Andrea Moriarty is the Principal at G.W. Krieger Elementary School in Poughkeepsie. In this capacity, she oversees approximately 600 students in grades 1 to 5 , and 70 staff . Previously, Ms. Moriarty was the Principal of the Early Learning Center at Smith School, which is dedicated to educating pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students in the Poughkeepsie City School District. In this capacity, Ms. Moriarty helped to forge an ongoing collaborative pre-K partnership with the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum in which every child enrolled in Smith School’s Universal Pre-K Program visits the museum for free monthly field trips and receives free museum memberships during the academic year.

Montgomery Nursery School was incorporated as a non-profit in 1967 and continues to be a model of a small-town education center supported by local parents, community contributors and teachers who are very much part of the Hudson Valley and its traditions. The School serves as a collaborative agency for Valley Central School District’s Universal Pre-K program since UPK’s inception in the district in 2008. Montgomery Nursery School offers preschool classes to 3 year-olds and “Mommy and Me” classes for caregivers and children as young as 18 months.


Dr. David Crenshaw (Individual)
Dr. Crenshaw is a renowned child psychologist who is best known for his pioneering work in the area of play therapy and the use of facility dogs in trauma informed child therapy.  Dr. Crenshaw is currently the Clinical Director of the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie.  He was previously the clinical director at the Astor Home for Children.

Newburgh Armory Unity Center (Organization)
NAUC promotes civic unity among people of diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds and conditions. NAUC focuses on educational programs for K-6th grade reading, athletics, and health and wellness, and programs leading to naturalization including English as a Second Language, GED, computer usage, and preparation for citizenship.


Shirley Adams
Through her work as executive director at Catharine Street Community Center, Ms. Adams has helped to provide Pre-K and Afterschool enrichment programming to more than 2,000 children from low-income households annually since 1996.