Running for Our Beloved Parkside!


This year, we are TEAMING UP!  Three parents (Dot Cates, Katie Holliday, and Lief Nielsen), running separate running events in the fall are fundraising together for this amazing school, the Parkside School on NYC's Upper West Side. On Sunday October 7, Katie Holliday will run the Chicago Marathon, on Sunday, October 14, Lief Nielsen will run the Brooklyn Greenway Half Marathon.  Finally on Sunday, November 4, Dot Cates will round out the fundraising efforts by running the New York Marathon.  All proceeds benefit our beloved Parkside.  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.  

Our goal of $19,000 is a very deliberate one.  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 $19,000 per student, and the gap continues to grow every year as the cost of education continues to rise. Many of the students at Parkside 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. We hope our runs will inspire people to help us support a school we have grown to love, as we watch our children and students thrive and grow with each passing day.  With this fundraiser, we hope to bridge the $19,000 gap for at least one child at Parkside. 


Oliver has struggled with learning basic tasks and life skills since he was a baby.  First we found ourselves in feeding therapy, then Early Intervention, then we received services through the Committee on Special Education, and finally he matriculated into elementary school. There is no official diagnosis for the cause of Oliver's struggles, but we know he struggles with expressive and receptive language, academic skills, attention, sensory integration, and self-care skills.

Our family 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 rising fourth 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.  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.

I hope my 10th (!) NYC Marathon run in November will inspire those who know and love our family and our boy to donate generously to this amazing school.

 If you go to the Parkside website , you will learn that Parkside is a school that helps children with a variety of language based learning difficulties.  In reality, Parkside is SO much more to each child that attends.  

My daughter Emmy has a micro-deletion of the 10th chromosome.  This means she has developmental delays, a motor planning deficit, and expressive and receptive language delays.  

Things that come easy to most children require a lot of extra effort on Emmy's part.  She needs a lot of support to learn.  To say that Parkside provides that support is an understatement.  At every annual team meeting, it never ceases to amaze me how well everyone at Parkside "gets" her.  What motivates her, what frustrates her, what works to keep her engaged and encouraged -- everything at Parkside is individualized to help every child grow and learn how they grow and learn best.   

Parkside is a state-funded, non-public school.  Currently, the gap between what the state reimburses Parkside and what it costs to educate each child is $19,000 per student.  Parkside is operating at a deficit and donations are crucial to its future.

By the time the Chicago Marathon is over, I will have run 435 miles in training- that's approximately 75 hours of training.  ALL FOR THIS WONDERFUL SCHOOL.  Please help me as my run my heart out in Chicago on October 7th!

My daughter, Sonakshi, is entering the Parkside School ( as a kindergartener this fall, and we couldn’t be more excited to get her in an environment especially suited to children with speech and language disorders.  My wife, Uma and I adopted her from India at 2, so she’s had a linguistic strike against her from the outset. Many additional challenges, however, have compounded the delays.
Sona lived those first two years in an orphanage in Mumbai.  While she received love and care, she wasn’t bounced or tossed in the air, the necessary physical input that helps regulate a child’s vestibular system.  She wasn’t given ample opportunity to walk, climb and run to strengthen her muscles and fuel her balance.  Nor was there much audio and tactile input, which made it impossible or her at the time to naturally integrate stimuli.  This resulted in a sensory disorder that has made language development and processing especially difficult for her.  That is one of the many kinds of speech and language delays in which Parkside specializes.  

Here is the problem:  As a state-funded, non-public school, Parkside is operating at a deficit.  The gap between what the state reimburses the school and what it costs to educate each child is $19,000 per student.  Hence donations are crucial to its future.  

I’m running the Brooklyn Greenway Half Marathon this October in support of Parkside, and any financial help, large or small, would be so appreciated.

Thank you.
  • Christine Cincotta 
    • $27 
    • 34 mos
  • Melissa Soto 
    • $50 
    • 35 mos
  • Courtney Retzler 
    • $50 
    • 35 mos
  • Kennedy Cogan 
    • $100 
    • 35 mos
  • Leah Johnson 
    • $25 
    • 35 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Parkside Rocks! (2)

Dot Cates 
Raised $2,328 from 32 donations
Brooklyn, NY
Lief Nielsen 
Team member
Raised $410 from 7 donations
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