our blog


help us turn our sadness into awareness and answers

Jan 24, 2011 was a very sad day at apple seeds. We lost one of our most present kids. His name was Liam. He spent most afternoons at apple seeds.  He came flying in on his orange scooter, ran around our playground with his sister Ella, sang on the mic during songs for seeds concerts and picked science as the theme for his apple seeds birthday party. He was just like our kids and yours…gorgeous, loveable, huggable, kissable, fun, funny, friendly, curious, happy and amazing.  He was 6 ½ when he died. It was tragic. It was tragic for his mother, for his father and for his little sister. It was tragic for his teachers, for his friends, for his nurses and his doctors. It was tragic for the local firemen who gave him an honorary locker and for the pizza guy that made him special pies with a ton of extra melted cheese. It was tragic for everyone that knew him and for those that did not but heard about him.
Today would have been Liam’s 11th birthday.  There are 40,000 children like Liam actively battling cancer right now.  Liam’s family has made it their life’s mission to protect other kids and families from suffering the same tragedy they faced. They have started an organization called Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

In 6 years, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has funded almost 50 childhood cancer research grants resulting in 9 promising new treatments now in clinical trial.

With cookies. Specifically…bake sales.
The amazing part is that you and your kids can make an impact, together, with a bake sale.

It really is so simple.
o   Gather a bunch of friends and their kids…or a bunch of kids and their parents -- or go at it with just your kids.
o   Each family or group bakes a certain amount of treats (can be anything in your wheelhouse).
o   Use Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bags, twist ties and stickers to wrap the goodies.
o   Make signs.
o   Choose a high traffic location.
o   Set up a table.
o   Sell like you have never sold before.
o   Make a difference with your kids, for all the children, like Liam, fighting this monster of a disease.

Easy to use event starter kit here

More about the incredible Cookies for Kids’ Cancer org here

Quick link to donate to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer

Thank you for your support.

Alison, Allison, Bobby & Craig and the entire apple seeds team


Nepal needs our help!

Dear families,

The numbers of people affected by the massive earthquake that hit Nepal this past Saturday are staggering.

More than 4,800 people dead.
Over 9,200 injured.
Eight million affected across Nepal.
One million children urgently in need of help.
Sadly, each day, these numbers keep rising.

We all want to do something, anything to help. We live so far away.

Alison Qualter Berna took a trip to Nepal one year ago and stood at many of those destroyed sites. She has reached out to the friends she made while there – some she has been able to reach, others have yet to reply.

Alison wrote an apple seeds blog last year upon her return from Kathmandu describing the Nepalese people as “gentle and resilient.” It is with this strength of character that we hope they might endure the tragic loss of life and their world as they know it.

Read Alison's blog post here.

If you would like to help, you can go to any of these organizations below to find various relief agencies accepting donations for Nepal, many of them focused on the children.

Thank you,
the apple seeds team

www.unicefusa.org - The United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, is providing supplies like water purification tablets, hygiene kits, tarps and nutrition supplements for children and families affected by the earthquake, and working with the government and other partners to meet children’s immediate needs.

www.ajws.org – American Jewish World Service is dedicated to fighting for human rights and against poverty and raising money to distribute to aid organizations in the hardest-hit areas of Nepal.

www.wfp.org - WFP has started emergency operations with staff from around the world by providing common services for the entire humanitarian community - from storage facilities to supporting the transportation of not only food, but other crucial relief items.

www.internationalmedicalcorps.org - International Medical Corps emergency response team is on the ground in Nepal, trying to provide critically needed medicines and supplies, including hygiene kits and water purification tablets, to survivors. Teams of doctors, nurses and logisticians will try to operate mobile medical units in the hardest-hit areas.

www.handicap-international.us - Handicap International has been working in Nepal since 2000 and has 47 volunteers on the ground distributing wheelchairs and other mobility aids, and providing help with rehabilitation and logistics.

www.crs.org - Catholic Relief Services and its partner organizations have begun procuring emergency relief materials, like shelter kits and sanitation and hygiene materials.


Want to own your own business (and bring your kids to work…)?

We would like to share some exciting news.  We are franchising our award winning music program and most popular class, songs for seeds, so that we can bring the songs for seeds magic to communities across the country. 

You can be a part of the fun and join the songs for seeds family!  For more information about songs for seeds franchising, check us out at www.appleseedsplay.com/songs-for-seeds/franchising or watch our songs for seeds franchise video here.

This has been a carefully thought out journey that began in 2012. We partnered with an apple seeds mom who had been bringing her twins to songs for seeds classes from the time they were 6 months old until they were 4 years old to create a franchise prototype.  The goal was to capture all the music and fun from our songs for seeds classroom and bring it to another location in NYC…then ultimately other communities across the country.   To make the class more portable, we took all the equipment, instruments, activities and props and fit them into a mobile unit we now call “the roadie box”.   Two and a half years later, our first franchisee is selling out her classes at the Downtown Community Center in Tribeca and looking for an additional space uptown.  Based on the incredible success of this first location, our confidence in the program and our positive experience teaching and supporting others in how to launch and run a songs for seeds business, we are ready to expand the program outside of NYC.

We want to thank you all for the support you have given us and the love you have shown songs for seeds over the past 6 years.  Every time we heard one of your children sing “songs for seeds…” or wave a magic wand saying “zickity wickity doo”, we felt we had something special.  After two years of testing the songs for seeds franchise model and rocking out with the kids of Tribeca, we now know we do.   We look forward to continuing to sing and dance with you in songs for seeds classes in Chelsea, on the UWS and at Oval Kids as we expand and bring songs for seeds to the kids in other neighborhoods – near and far.

This advertisement is not an offering. An offering can only be made by a prospectus filed first with the Department of Law of the State of New York.  Such filing does not constitute approval by the Department of Law. 


April Employee of the Month - Cassie Orzano Haviland

Congratulations are in order for Cassie Orzano Haviland - our April Employee of the Month! 

This past month, Cassie managed a record breaking month for the birthday department at apple seeds (WOW!) without even breaking a sweat (if she did, we didn't see it). Cassie tackles everything thrown at her with grace, a smile, and her signature giggle. Her knowledge of apple seeds and EVERY department is not only impressive, but greatly appreciated.

Cassie - Thank you for keeping us all on track and helping run and grow apple seeds. We would be lost without you!


Women Helping Women concert

by Alison Qualter Berna

My unbelievably generous mother-in-law, Dr. Maria Boria, started a women’s health clinic on the Eastern Shore of Maryland 10 years ago this month. Over the last 10 years, she has worked entirely for free, providing health care to the poorest of citizens, mostly to the uninsured and to many of the immigrants who work the farms in her rural community.

Dr. Maria Boria with granddaughters, Madeleine and Sydney Berna
Her selfless acts prompted Carla Massoni, a big hearted art gallery owner in town, to organize a benefit concert 10 years ago at The Garfield Center for the Performing Arts in Chestertown, MD. The proceeds each year have gone to basic medicine and supplies that are needed to continue the clinics.

This past Wednesday, Mach 18th, we celebrated Maria’s incredible spirit at another sold out event, the 10th annual Women Helping Women concert. Our daughters Madeleine and Sydney were extremely proud to be an integral part of the ensemble of 25 musicians and artists who played music, read poetry and sang original songs.

Sydney Berna performing "Rainbow Connection"

Madeleine Berna performing "Stay"
I’m super proud of my two girls who, at 9 years old, walked up on that stage without sheet music and played and sang as if there weren’t hundreds in the crowd. The songs they chose to play and sing brought hope and soul to the event, and I sit in awe of them! 

To see Sydney play and sing The Rainbow Connection, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jj_zYinZU4

To see Maddie play and sing Stay by Rihanna, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOfw7mkbYXA

The event ended with the benefit’s theme song written by Pam Ortiz, reminding us that angels don’t always have wings…they are often right here with us, with two feet firmly on the ground.