On August 5th, 2011, the New York City chapter of Autism Speaks to Young Professionals (AS2YP) held its third summer event on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Over 800 guests gathered at the NYSE to taste a few cocktails from sponsors Barbadillo, Firefly and Perrier, listen to music played by DJs Caleb Loftus and Nick Russo, and to show their support for Autism Speaks. The floor provided a stunning venue for guests to mingle among screens displaying the Autism Speaks puzzle piece, factoids about autism and photos of many of the young professionals present at the event with their loved ones on the spectrum. Event Co-Chairs Amanda Niederauer and Danny Ryan, joined by Autism Speaks President Mark Roithmayr, made remarks about their own personal experiences with autism, and thanked the crowd for being there to show their support. Guests were afforded the opportunity to take a photo with friends on the historic NYSE bell podium, and guests vied for a chance to win US Open tickets among other wonderful prizes in the evening’s raffle. To-date the AS2YP event series in New York City has raised over $272,000 for autism research and awareness, with over $66,000 coming in from last night’s event. Check out our event photos here, with more posted online at : http://guestofaguest.com/galleries/2011/8/autism-speaks-to-young-professionals-event/
Manhattan is a competitive landscape for just about everything, from career path to sample sales to SoulCycle spinning classes (yes, I too have frantically refreshed my computer as classes for the coming week are released). When I embarked on fulfilling my New Year’s resolution last year to give back to the community, I found that even philanthropy in Manhattan was yet another application process. As I sifted through applications and interview schedules and tentatively committed to Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m in business casual to help empower women in the community, I soon realized I could not maintain such a rigorous schedule and keep my day job. It became quickly apparent that I would never be able to compete with the ladies who lunch (who should really be rebranded as ladies who lunch and volunteer).
After taking a much-needed step back I realized I was approaching the process too scientifically. No one should need approval or admittance to give back to their community. The search should be far more organic. What do I care about? What cause needs attention, especially in my age group? If I barely have time to take my dry cleaning out of the plastic, do I have time to volunteer and where can I make a difference?
These answers are completely personal to the individual, but I soon realized I cared most about helping children – maybe because they cannot help themselves or maybe just because I know I will be a mother one day and have children of my own. As for a topic that lacks attention among my age group (for the record I am twenty-something, that’s all I will divulge), I found autism to be a perfect candidate. There are mothers and fathers who are pioneering for education, awareness, and support for autism today, but this is not a disorder that typically garners awareness among the youth of Manhattan. We are the parents of tomorrow and any disorder that is statistically growing this rapidly should be something we fight for today.
The Autism Speaks to Young Professionals (AS2YP) initiative gave me the perfect opportunity to help change my future. The committee provides different levels of volunteerism to ensure that everyone involved is able to give back whether it is weekly, monthly, or yearly. As a member of AS2YP I learned that some very hip and happening individuals in New York City have been touched by autism. This translates to us hosting our fundraisers at locales you generally cannot get into on a standard Thursday night (without buying a table for the price of a minivan). Or sometimes, events are hosted in a space so completely unique you could find yourself partying on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange – like our first event last year.
All AS2YP events generally end with droves of young professionals being slightly less professional on the dance floor. I expect no less from Round Two at the New York Stock Exchange on August 5. Come join us from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. for cocktails and dancing for this pertinent and fabulous cause. Some dance moves are better than others, but hey, it’s for charity! If the DJ doesn’t stop taking my requests like last year, we will even play a little Britney for you (don’t lie, you love it). Hope to see you all there.
Tickets are available online, starting at $75. Ticket price includes admission, passed appetizers, open bar, dancing and the opportunity to support Autism Speaks while meeting other New York-area young professionals.