Big Board Traders Launch Fundraiser to Build School for Autistic Kids
Traders Magazine Online News, May 3, 2012
Big Board traders in a few days will be doing something magical. They will be working to make life better for autistic children and children who have bi-polar disorders.
The traders will hold their first "Working on a Dream" event. They expect it will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for an expanded Newmark School in New Jersey, which educates autistic children.
Newmark officials are working on a unique school in Scotch Plains. The school, which now operates from two different campuses in the Garden State, will be special in several ways: It will provide a K-12 education for autistic children under one roof.
Anyone who wants to buy tickets for the event or contribute to the school should go to Newmarkschool.com. Tickets are $150. The link for the event is on the right side of the page.
"This will be a lot different than most schools. It will bring together all sorts of different programs in one place to help children," says Dan Ryan, a senior floor official and managing director with E&J Securities. Ryan, who has an autistic son, has been active in fighting autism and serves in various organizations.
Newmark School is now split up in Carteret and Plainfield, N.J. It is one of the few schools that provide a special environment for autistic children. Newmark is a hybrid school. It is a "state approved, private school," according to Dr. Regina Peter, one of its founders.
But the new school will also help those who want to devote a lifetime to fighting the problem. The school will also train teachers in how to work with special needs children.
How did the Big Board adopt the school as one of its charities?
NYSE Euronext Chief Executive Officer Duncan Niederauer has a teenage son whose life has been changed for the better by Newmark School. Fourteen-year old Liam Niederauer, the same as other autistic youth, had trouble adjusting to public schools that found teaching special needs children to be a daunting task.
It was his wife Alison who discovered the boy's problem, insisting against doctor's advice, that he needed special help. "I give her all the credit. She understood his problem better than anyone," Niederauer said. Newmark School has helped his son and many other autistic children.
The school helps children with Autism, ADD/ADHD, Anxiety, Asperger's Syndrome, Bipolar, PPD-NOS, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Sensory Integration Disorder.
The new facility will capitalize on Newmark School's teaching methods provide a statewide Teacher Training Institute, as well as a Regional Special Needs Community Center for Children and families facing common challenges, according to the school.
Niederauer is grateful for the school's accomplishments. So he has become the school's champion at the Big Board. But it is an exchange with a history of supporting institutions that help autistic children. But he didn't canvass fellow traders to contribute to Newmark School. He started raising money himself.
However, a number of colleagues at the Big Board noticed that he wore a Newmark School pin and asked about it. A few months ago, several traders decided it was time to hold an event to help the school. Peter Kennedy, a market maker with Getco Securities, is credited by colleagues with formally proposing the event.
Niederauer was delighted. "I never asked for it. Traders just decided they wanted to help," Niederauer said. "It is another example of just how generous traders can be," he adds.
Things started moving quickly and now Niederauer hopes the event, which will include several auctions, could raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the new school, whose price tag is expected to be about $10 million.
"People were saying Duncan's involved so why don't we all get involved," explains Joseph Quintilian, an upstairs commodities trader with Axiom Partners. Quintilian, who sits on the committee that runs the May 9 event, praises Niederauer. However, he disagrees with him on one point.
"I expect that we will raise a lot more than $200,000," he predicts.
The new school is expected to open in the summer of 2013.
E&J Securities' Ryan says, "There's a big problem with many school districts not knowing how to deal with these children." When autistic kids, who are often quite bright, are put in environments where their differences stand out, that can lead to teasing and then problems compound. Being with other autistic children, in a supportive setting, can mean the difference between a happy and a miserable child, he says.
"What happens in New Jersey is some of our kids' needs are greater than what the public schools can serve," adds Cynthia Allman, a co-founder of Newmark School. "And what these kids need is a much smaller, more specialized, more nurturing environment to get them to the next step in life."
So what do the dollars accomplish that Niederauer and other trading officials raise?
The goal of the school, says Dr. Peter, is to guide children into a well-adjusted adulthood, avoiding the traumas of untreated illness. The result is the realization of human potential.
"We have kids who go to college," she says. "We have kids who are going into post-graduate work. We have kids who are going to be functioning adults, but they just need something different than what the public schools can offer."
For more information on related topics, visit the following channels: