LemonAid Press Release

  • Collaboration for Early Childhood and Wonder Works Children’s Museum Selected by LemonAid as 2024 Beneficiaries

    JUNE 28, 2024



    Oak Park, IL – June 28, 2024 – The Collaboration for Early Childhood and Wonder Works Children’s Museum are delighted to announce that they have been selected as 2024 LemonAid beneficiaries! Proceeds from the 2024 River Forest September 11 LemonAid community-wide event will be split between the two organizations. LemonAid, now in its twenty-second year, was established in 2002 in memory of the September 11 attacks. LemonAid’s mission is to raise awareness and funds for local charities that serve children. Over the years, LemonAid has raised over half a million dollars for 24 local organizations. 

    This year, the Collaboration for Early Childhood will enhance developmental support for children from birth to five years old. This funding will help parents and caregivers identify needs and concerns and connect them with the resources they need to help their young children grow and thrive. This will include community screening days, a reprint of the Collaboration’s Watch and Help Me Grow Developmental Milestone Booklet, updates to the Developmental Referral and Services Directory, and the expansion of sensory kits, which are designed to support social-emotional learning and growth in young children.

    Wonder Works Children’s Museum is thrilled to be a 2024 LemonAid recipient. Focusing on ages 0-8 and their families, the museum’s mission is to offer play-based learning experiences in a non-traditional setting for ALL children. LemonAid funding will enhance the Museum’s efforts to combat inequity through multiple access programs, and remove attendance barriers for families with financial, sensory, or accessibility needs. Funds will also support exhibit enhancements and special programming to continue to make Wonder Works Children’s Museum a safe and inviting space for children to grow through play. 

    Another important value of the LemonAid initiative is to include kids in the decision-making process and the event itself on Wednesday, September 11, so that the event is truly “kids helping kids.” In addition to being a part of the September 11 community-wide event, the Collaboration for Early Childhood looks forward to welcoming LemonAid youth leaders at Collaboration volunteer opportunities throughout the year including assembling Baby Bundles, distributing Early Childhood Resource Directories, and staffing outreach events. 

    “I am absolutely honored and delighted that the Collaboration for Early Childhood’s work and mission resonated with the LemonAid Panel this year! LemonAid’s substantial, one-time investments to local organizations are absolute game-changers, and this year will be no different. With LemonAid’s support this year, we can deepen our early childhood developmental supports for families, providers, and most importantly, young children,” says Mary Reynolds, Executive Director of the Collaboration for Early Childhood.  

    “When we brought foam play to LemonAid last September, we were in awe of the energy and commitment of all the Bonnie Brae generations who bring awareness to local charities serving children. We are thrilled to partner with LemonAid in 2024. Our non-profit museum is small yet mighty and LemonAid has gifted us the opportunity of a lifetime. We are grateful and so looking forward to participating again this year. Wonder Works will be bringing the foam, the play, and the fun,” says Rachel Weber, Executive Director of Wonder Works Children’s Museum. 

    “I really believe in our philosophy of kids helping kids. It’s wonderful that so many of us come together every year to commemorate an event that happened before many of us were even born. It speaks to how dedicated the people of this community are, and how important it is to remember September 11, 2001,” says LemonAid teen co-chair Connor Chien. “Even though September 11 was a day everyone wanted to forget, I’m glad that we are able to turn such a sad occasion into something good. I have participated in LemonAid since I was 8 years old and have seen how far an impact LemonAid has has on the remembrance,” adds teen co-chair Mark Jung.

    “We believe that with the community’s support, we can make a significant impact on the lives of young children and their families. We’ve seen it happen for over two decades right here in River Forest,” says Chris Hauri, core member of the Bonnie Brae LemonAid team.  

    Community members, local businesses, and partners are invited to get involved and support the LemonAid community-wide event which will take place on Wednesday, September 11 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the 700 block of Bonnie Brae in River Forest. Watch for signs and opportunities to donate starting August 11. For more information on how to participate, please visit www.9-11lemonaid.com.

    About the Collaboration for Early Childhood

    The Collaboration for Early Childhood is a community-driven organization that cultivates the development of the whole child, birth to age five, by engaging families, local organizations, early childhood educators, caregivers, and health providers to create equitable, nurturing, and interconnected systems of support. Learn more at www.collab4kids.org

    About Wonder Works Children’s Museum

    Wonder Works is a Children’s Museum in Oak Park, Illinois and a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to changing lives through creative play. Wonder Works’ mission is to spark curiosity and creativity in all young children through positive play-based learning experiences. Learn more at www.wonder-works.org.