Great Friend to Kids Award

Each year, the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum solicits nominations for its “Great Friend to Kids Award” to celebrate the individuals and/or organizations of the Hudson Valley who are advancing the well-being of children through education, health and/or community building.

2017 Great Friend to Kids Award

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.


Past Award Winners


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.