Running for Our Beloved Parkside

Dedicating my run to Parkside:
For the third year in a row, I will run the NYC Marathon in honor of Oliver's incredible school, the Parkside School on NYC's Upper West Side. The Parkside School is a school dedicated to supporting children with significant Speech and Language challenges: children who need a small, intimate setting to address their delays.

Each year, Parkside struggles to cope with a growing state funding / tuition gap. The current gap between Parkside’s state funding and the actual cost of a Parkside education is $22,000 per student, and the gap continues to grow every year as the cost of education continues to rise. Many of the students at Parkside (Oliver included) are funded by NYC's Department of Education, making an amazing education for children with Speech and Language Impairments accessible for families from all socioeconomic statuses. I hope my marathon run will inspire people to help me support a school I have grown to love, as I watch my son thrive and grow with each passing day.

For those of you not familiar with Oliver's history:
In a nutshell, Oliver has been in the NYC system for children with special needs since he was an infant. Early Intervention therapies rolled into into the city's CPSE (Committee for Preschool Special Education) program, at the age of three. Oliver continued to grow and develop, but his challenges continued and the gap between Oliver and his typically developing peers grew.

As kindergarten loomed, we scoured the city for the right school. Where would Oliver go? What school would be the right setting for him? Where would they appreciate and love our charming but infuriating little guy? What school would have the right teacher to student ratio and the tools to help him feel safe, meet his myriad needs, and help him LEARN? Sidled with significant anxiety, focus concerns, expressive and receptive language delays, gross and fine motor delays and social delays, we were scared. We needed to find an incredibly special place. Did it exist?

Oliver Today:
We hit the lottery when Oliver was accepted into the Parkside School, and the NYC DOE agreed it was the right setting for him and agreed to fund his tuition. He is a third grader now in a class of 8 children with 2 teachers. He receives OT / Speech and Social Work therapies all within the context of his school week. All the teachers are a team of individuals. He is loved, appreciated, and nurtured at school. He can write his name! He is starting to sight read a few words. Every evening, I ask him his favorite part of the day. Every evening he tells me it is school. The beautiful, joyous smiles on this photo tells it all. Oliver LOVES school.

At Parkside, Oliver is being given the tools to succeed. He is a more confident, more social, happier child than the boy who walked through Parkside's doors in 2014. Parkside is a life changing experience - for our son, and for all 80+ children who are lucky enough to attend this amazing school. We are already so indebted to these talented, passionate educators, and are so thankful Oliver has another 2+ years to go.
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Organizer

Dot Cates 
Organizer
New York, NY
Parkside School 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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