Gitenstein honored by Kidsbridge

College President R. Barbara Gitenstein was honored at the Kidsbridge Humanitarian Awards Celebration yesterday for her work in tolerance and diversity both at the College and within the community, Lynne Azarchi, executive director at the Kidsbridge Children’s Museum, said.

“Dr. Gitenstein is committed to diversity appreciation. She has a commitment to bring diversity on campus via scholarships,” Azarchi said. “We are teaching tolerance and this is something that she is passionate about.”

“I am humbled and flattered to be considered deserving of the Humanitarian Award from the Kidsbridge organization,” Gitenstein said via e-mail. “The mission of the museum is near and dear to my heart because it focuses on the education of young children in their learning of difference and their rejection of prejudice.”

The first annual humanitarian awards, which also included a silent auction, was held on Oct. 23 at Jasna Polana in Princeton. Along with Gitenstein, four others who have “made major contributions to both Kidsbridge and to the community” were honored, according to a Kidsbridge press release.

The honorees were selected by Kidsbridge board members. Kidsbridge plans on continuing each year with four other honorees, according to Azarchi.

Gitenstein was honored for her interaction with the museum and commitment on campus and community diversity, Azarchi said.

The College and Kidsbridge have been working together for the last two years. Forcina Hall is the host of the Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum, which features the exhibit Face to Face: Dealing with Prejudice and Discrimination, focusing on diversity appreciation and character education. “Select students from the College and their professors interact with approximately 2,000 elementary and middle school students, day campers, scouts and leadership groups each year,” according to the press release.

Gitenstein was originally approached by a Kidsbridge board member for a temporary space for the museum. The idea of a partnership between the College and Kidsbridge grew from these initial conversations, Gitenstein said.

“I am hoping to continue to see the collaboration between academic programs, particularly in the School of Education, with the museum,” Gitenstein said.

The Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement and the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education have also worked closely together with the College and Kidsbridge to create a learning lab for young students of all backgrounds within the on-campus museum, according to the press release.