DARIEN, Conn. - Rhonda Kiest will be one of the six women honored at the YWCA Darien/Norwalk’s Fifth Annual Women of Distinction Awards at the Woodway Country Club on May 29.
At Stepping Stones Museum for Children, Kiest is responsible for creating quality, interactive environments where children can learn about the world through play, according to a press release from the YWCA Darien/Norwalk. It’s not a responsibility she takes lightly, and she has collaborated with hundreds of public and private organizations over the years to create programs that improve children’s lives in literacy, health and the environment.
In 2006, Kiest helped to start Healthy Children, Healthy Communities, an initiative of more than 50 organizations, including area businesses, government agencies, hospitals and schools, to promote the health and well-being of children and families. The museum’s popular Healthyville exhibit, the cornerstone of Healthy Children, Healthy Communities, will be traveling to other children’s museums and science centers throughout the country.
She also led a strategic planning initiative for Norwalk ACTS, a support network of 60 community leaders and organizations—including Stepping Stones—working to better the lives and futures of Norwalk children and youth from the cradle to career learning continuum. This led to the development of the Early Language and Literacy Initiative in 2012, founded in partnership with Norwalk Community College, the Norwalk Housing Authority and Literacy How.
Stepping Stones now operates the ELLI Lab School for children ages 3 to 5, offering full- and half-day learning programs that promote healthy growth and development of young children as well as providing teacher training and parent programs.
Kiest serves on the advisory board of the Junior League of Stamford-Norwalk and served on the search committee for Norwalk’s Superintendent of Schools. She has served on the Connecticut team for the Children’s Outcome Project based in Washington, D.C., and is a board member of the Association of Children’s Museums as well as a national peer reviewer for the Museum Assessment Programs of the American Alliance of Museums.
Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased at the YWCA Darien/Norwalk office at 49 Old Kings Highway N. in Darien, by calling 203-655-2535, or by visiting ywcadariennorwalk.org .
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