Bike Ride, Golf Outing Highlight NYC Autism Events
By Arielle Pierre, Markets Media Life
It’s hard to not know someone affected by autism, whether it’s a son or daughter, niece or nephew, or the child of a friend or colleague.
Those afflicted with autism face many challenges and unknowns. Thankfully, there is a lot of support out there, much of which comes from firms and individuals working in capital markets.
Wall Street Rides for Autism Research
Bryan Harkins, co-founder of Wall Street Rides for Autism Research, sees hope for the future of Autism Research amid the exponential increase in the number of individuals diagnosed with this disorder. Set for October 8, the 2nd annual Wall Street Rides FAR will take place in Westchester County, New York. Bear in mind, this is not your typical fundraiser. When else will you get the chance to see some of Wall Street’s finest in biking spandex rather than suits? “You’re going to have a lot of fun,” said Harkins, whose day job is head of U.S. markets at Bats, a leading exchange operator. “It’s going to be a fitness challenge but its also going to be a lot of networking.”
Regarding the event’s objectives, Bryan said, “First and foremost, to raise awareness for a growing societal concern: the unprecedented rise of autism. Right now the latest research shows that 1 out of every 68 kids in the U.S. are now diagnosed somewhere on the spectrum, and it has been getting worse. It’s our belief that hopes for autism and finding a cause really lies in scientific research.”
This bike ride will bring people together in a fun and meaningful way. “I want to raise awareness at this event and I want people to have fun so they come back every year,” Harkins said. All proceeds will go to the Autism Science Foundation, a nonprofit that provides funding and various services to scientists and institutions who conduct and facilitate autism research.
Bryan noted that there are ways to participate beyond serious pedaling, including donating or volunteering. “This is a family-friendly event where there are distances of 62 miles down to four and eight miles.”
Everyone knows someone who is affected by autism. “People in my extended family are affected by this. There’s a full scale — some are a lot more social and some folks need full time help their entire lives. And I’ve seen not only the effect it has on children, but also the families that dedicate their lives to providing better care.”
Visit www.wallstreetridesfar.org/ for more information
Autism Speaks seeks to unite the global community and urge the government to take proactive measures to address autism. This organization focuses on providing funds for biomedical research regarding treatments, prevention, causes, and a potential cure. The underlying objective of Autism Speaks is to bring hope to all of those affected by this disorder including the individual, their family, and our society.
The Autism Speaks Celebrity Golf Challenge is a highly anticipated event that raises more than $1 million annually for autism research. This year, the Winged Foot Golf Club hosted the 18th annual Golf Challenge on June 20 in Mamaroneck Village of New York.
Corporate sponsors included American Commodities Brokerage; Amherst Pierpont, an institutional broker-dealer; and BNY Mellon, a large and diversified financial firm.
Participants included Chris Jackson, star of the Broadway hit Hamilton, CBS
This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell, WCBS-TV sports anchor Otis Livingston, NBC News correspondent Harry Smith and many more. This event is sponsored by more than 50 organizations that all have one goal in mind: to spread awareness, provide hope, and encourage generations of individuals to get involved. Its event co-chairs, Susan and Kevin Murray strive to make this charity bigger and better every year and with the help of volunteers, donors and participants, they were able to make that happen on a Sunny June afternoon in Westchester, NY.
Kevin and his wife Susan Murray are Co-Chairs for the Autism Speaks Winged Foot Celebrity Golf Challenge. We spoke to Kevin Murray about his personal interest in autism research and awareness. Hes said, “Susan and I have three sons, including Owen who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. In 1997, we formed the Autism Coalition for Research and Education with other concerned parents, which eventually became Autism Speaks in June 2005. Thanks to the work that Autism Speaks has done, there is so much more awareness and access to resources now, than when our son was diagnosed. At the same time, there is so much more that needs to be done to improve services across the lifespan and invest in meaningful research.
What I found to be unique about this establishment is the importance placed on aiding people with autism beyond their childhood years. The Adult Services Initiative concentrates on essential adulthood functions like housing, employment, post-secondary education, and community life. Kevin added, “This year’s Autism Speaks Celebrity Golf Challenge attracted more than 350 attendees and raised nearly $900k towards Autism Speaks’ mission.” Autism Speaks understands that while these kids will eventually grow up, this doesn’t mean that their disorder goes away. Our every day institutions fail to accommodate for those beyond the age of 21 and this is exactly where Autism Speaks prevails.
Autism Speaks Credits Jin S. Lee
Atlas Foundation for Autism
The Atlas Foundation for Autism aims to revive the dimmed light of kids and parents whose everyday lives are affected by autism. The AFA is an organization that provides a safe place for kids with Autism to learn, explore various levels of creativity, and discover their individual potential. AFA provides a generous list of services for its benefactors. Some of these services include education, art, music, therapy, and life training.
The AFA, with headquarters on West 29th Street in Manhattan, truly encompasses the community atmosphere that these kids (ages 3-21) are owed. Those with all forms of sensory, behavioral, and cognitive challenges are guaranteed the appropriate accommodations. Parent training is another admirable organizational program. This foundation acknowledges the importance of family and the never-ending battle that parents face daily.
Clients who cannot afford services will have access to the open play and art sessions at zero cost. Every other Saturday, AFA opens its doors to the community for kids and parents to enter a safe and accommodating environment from 10am- 12pm. Here, at Open Play, individuals will have access to sensory friendly classrooms and the sensory gym. On Saturday July 2nd and July 16th, members of the New York Community will be granted the opportunity to join forces with AFA and take part in something truly special.
The Open Play sessions offer kids with Autism the opportunity to depart an environment of isolation and acquaint themselves with their community.
Visit www.atlasforautism.org/ for more information.