'Are you My Sister?' Encourages Women to Cooperate instead of Compete

Newburgh, NY – On January 26, 2013, rowers and coaches from Newburgh Rowing came out to support one of their own, Natasha Vega, as she and her mother and co-author, Dr. Michele Winchester-Vega, read from their self-published new children’s book, “Are You My Sister?” at the Newburgh Barnes & Noble. The book, filled with illustrations from local school children, is about girls cooperating rather than competing with each other.


More than 60 people attended the reading, including families from the Balmville School and Gardnertown Fundamental Magnet School. Many of the children in attendance had illustrations in the book, prepared under the guidance of Newburgh artist and teacher, Liza Mills. "The art work is absolutely beautiful and beyond our wildest expectations," said Dr. Winchester-Vega.

“Natasha rowed for the Newburgh Rowing Club for 5 years, she’s one of our best,” said Newburgh Rowing Programs Director and NFA Varsity Crew Head Coach Ed Kennedy. “I was not one bit surprised when I was told she would be rowing for the Penn State Crew Team. Natasha is an example of a Newburgh girl who is making her hometown proud.”

Natasha Vega, a freshman at Penn State University, founded her own not-for-profit, Kidz4Causes, Inc. in the 7th grade. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to local charities. “Over 40 organizations are already being assisted with proceeds from book sales,” said Dr. Michele Winchester-Vega. “If any organization would like to do a fundraiser and benefit from book sales, they can contact me at mwinchestervega@yahoo.com."

“It is so touching to see so many young collaborators working together, with big smiles on their faces,” said Natasha Vega, “and it was great to see my former coaches and the rowers come out and support this effort.”

Several organizations are selling the book to benefit their organizations, including the Newburgh Rowing Club, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Safe Homes, YWCA, Nora Cronin Presentation Academy, Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Center, Kidz4Causes, and VETSFMA.

The Book Reading and Signing was part of Nora Cronin Presentation Academy’s Annual Barnes & Noble Book Fair, in celebration of National Catholic Schools Week, and several students from NCPA were on hand throughout the day to greet guests.

Any organization looking for more information about doing a fundraiser to benefit from book sales of “Are You My Sister?” should contact Dr. Michele Winchester-Vega at mwinchestervega@yahoo.com.

For more information about the Newburgh Rowing Club, including scholarship programs, contact Coach Ed Kennedy at (845) 541-2313 or Team Mom Juliana LoBiondo at Juliana@LoBiondoLaw.com.

Photo 1: Natasha Vega (right) chatting with Nora Cronin students before the book reading.

Photo 2: (L-R) Eric Stewart (Assistant Coach, Newburgh Rowing), Natasha Vega, Dr. Michele Winchester-Vega, Kerry Kennedy (NFA Varsity Crew Team), Christian LoBiondo (Newburgh Rowing), Coach Ed Kennedy (Programs Director, Newburgh Rowing and Head Coach, NFA Varsity Crew Team), Edwin Cunningham (Head Coach, Newburgh Rowing).

Photo 3: (L-R) All from the Balmville School: Ina Segnit (Music Teacher, who also collaborated on the artwork), Beverly Johnson (Principal), Riley Lee (5th grade), Natasha Vega, Dr. Michele Winchester-Vega, Tatiana Zapata (5th grade), and Jo DeMeo (Librarian)

Photo 4: All from the Gardnertown Fundamental Magnet School: Grace Soto (5th grade), Cassidy Woodward (5th grade), Natasha Vega, Lindsay Dando (Kindergarten), and Haley Dando (5th grade).

Photo 5: Kim Sendelbach (who has two children on Newburgh Rowing, Luke and Anya, not pictured), with Katie Sendelbach at the Book Reading.