Tag Archives: Andrew Baumann

Woodhaven graffiti cleanup will also help local charity


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Woodhaven Residents' Block Association

This summer’s Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) graffiti removal campaign will do more than just make the neighborhood more beautiful.

The civic group, which annually paints over graffiti found on local mailboxes across the community, will use the effort to raise funds for the NYFAC Foundation in Howard Beach, which supports families and children affected by autism.

On July 25, WRBA volunteers plan to scatter across the neighborhood to repaint more than 100 vandalized mailboxes. The organization will supply all the paint and tools necessary to get the job done, but local residents can pledge donations for the NYFAC Foundation per repainted mailbox. They may cap their pledges at a certain amount, such as 50 cents per mailbox up to a maximum of $25.

“Over the last few years, many of our members have pitched in on efforts to fight graffiti and make our community neater, but this event will be special,” WRBA President Martin Colberg said in a statement. “We expect to reach every corner of Woodhaven while attracting new volunteers who are interested in supporting a deserving charity.”

Ed Wendell, a WRBA director, hopes that partnering with the NYFAC Foundation not only gives local volunteers the incentive to participate, but may also convince local vandals to think twice about messing up the volunteers’ hard work later.

“It’s a nice way to turn it from a negative to a positive story,” Wendell said. “Hopefully, some of these taggers, when they see this, may make them feel a little bad about [the vandalism].”

Andrew Baumann, longtime president and CEO of the NYFAC Foundation, expressed gratitude for the WRBA’s efforts.

“We are very grateful — and very humbled — that the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association would select us as the beneficiaries of their fundraising efforts,” Baumann said. “The association’s efforts will go a long way toward helping us ‘better the lives of those with autism’ and toward beautifying the community.”

Anyone interested in donating to the campaign is encouraged to email the WRBA at info@woodhaven-nyc.org, or visit the WRBA’s next town hall meeting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, at Emanuel Church of Christ, located at the corner of 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. Those who wish to volunteer during the cleanup should email the WRBA or call 718-296-3735.

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NYFAC pays tribute to seven honorees at 17th annual dinner dance


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) foundation has been serving families in southern Queens for almost 20 years, but they could not do it without the help of people from the community, said Andrew Baumann, president of the board of trustees for the foundation.

And NYFAC held an award ceremony on Thursday to honor those special people who have helped the organization grow.

“We started off with five families,” said Baumann. “But with your help we’ve been able to grow and help more children around our area.”

Over 300 people came out to Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach as NYFAC honored six people for their involvement in the foundation. They gave awards for man of the year, community service, advocate of the year, the hero award, community partnership award and the guardian angel award. Along with a trophy, each person received a proclamation from the state Assembly, a citation from the state Senate and a proclamation from the City Council.

“Folks like Andrew and his wife are what makes a community great,” said Borough President Melinda Katz, who accepted the guardian angel award.

Katz also named Feb. 26 “NYFAC Day” in the borough of Queens after her acceptance.

Baumann was elated because of the honor and said he was so happy he has been able to help so many children throughout the years. He showed a commercial he had made for the foundation, which gave statistics of autism cases such as how one in every 68 children is diagnosed on the spectrum.

The video ended with what Baumann said is the sole purpose of NYFAC: “Helping parents help their children, one family at a time.”

Councilman Eric Ulrich was one of the people in attendance and was grateful for all NYFAC has done in the community.

“This is the only organization in this part of Queens to provide these great services,” he said. “They inspire children to work towards their full potential and help people live good and happy lives.”

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20-mile bike ride benefits local nonprofits


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYFAC/Dominick Totino Photography

SALVATORE LICATA

More than 200 cyclists came out on Saturday for the inaugural “Loop,” a 20-mile bike ride that raised nearly $15,000 benefiting the New York Families for Autistic Children Foundation (NYFAC) and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

“It was a great ride. We had a good time,” said Joe Mure, who sits on the board of directors for JDRF and is also a trustee of NYFAC. “I think this was a great cause and a great reason to come out and get a little exercise.”

Riders started their route at the NYFAC building on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach. After the ribbon was cut by state Sen. Joe Addabbo and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, riders took off and journeyed over three bridges in two boroughs and then back to the NYFAC building where there was a celebratory barbecue.

“Our first annual Loop was a great success,” said Andrew Baumann, president and CEO of NYFAC. “So we’re already getting ready — mark your calendars for next July.”

 

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Bikini Bike Wash in Flushing benefits autism nonprofit


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYFAC Foundation

SALVATORE LICATA

The Bikini Bike Wash, hosted by Harley-Davidson of NYC, was shining up rides for a glowing cause on Northern Boulevard in Flushing on Saturday.

Bikers with big hearts came out to get their motorcycles cleaned and give back to the New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) They were greeted by three bikini-wearing volunteers who went whole-hog scrubbing down the bikes to benefit the community.

“We are extremely grateful to Harley-Davidson of NYC, as well as to the riders and the volunteers for helping NYFAC,” said Andrew Baumann, president and CEO of NYFAC.

Harley-Davidson of NYC is hosting Bikini Bike Washes all summer long to benefit different organizations in the city.

NYFAC is also hosting “The Loop,” a 20-mile bike ride, on Saturday, July 26, to benefit both their organization and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. To sign up or for more information on the event, click here.

 

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Autism expert says there’s still hope Avonte Oquendo will be found


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Close to six weeks have passed and although Avonte Oquendo’s whereabouts are still unknown, the search continues as hope in finding the autistic teen remains strong.

Avonte, 14, was last seen at the Center Boulevard School at 1-50 51st Avenue in Long Island City around 12:38 p.m. on Friday, October 4. There have been conflicting reports on how the Rego Park teen, who cannot verbally communicate and is supposed to be supervised at all times, managed to leave the school.

The NYPD and volunteers have been searching daily for the boy, whose family says loves trains. Police have searched for him by helicopter, with divers, and in patrol cars and search vans with loudspeakers echoing Avonte’s mother’s calls.

The command center for volunteers and family searching for the boy is now operating out of an RV located on the side of The Riverview School on Borden Avenue and Center Boulevard.

According to Andrew Baumann, president and CEO of New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC), this is not an isolated case. Children with autism are prone to running and throughout the country there have been many cases of children disappearing, he said.

“I don’t believe that anyone should give up hope on finding Avonte alive and in good condition,” Baumann said. “I don’t believe in giving up, these kids are really resilient.”

Baumann also said the teen’s family had no control over what happened because they trusted the school to take responsibility. He believes school security agents should hold back any child attempting to leave and report the incident to the principal.

“I don’t care how old the child is, no child should ever be allowed to walk out of the school during the school day,” Baumann said.

Last week Senator Charles Schumer called for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to both create and fund a program which would provide voluntary tracking devices for children with autism or other developmental disorders.

According to Baumann, these devices would and do work great, but there should be ways to make sure they are 100 percent effective and cannot be removed if the child were to take off their clothes.

“Now we need people to take action, if they see him they should stay with him until the police come,” said Baumann. “The reward is nothing. It shouldn’t be about the money and the reward, it should be about doing the right thing.”

If anyone sees Avonte, they should follow him and keep him within eye contact and call 9-1-1, said Baumann.

Since Avonte went missing, the reward to find him has increased to $95,000.

Avonte was last seen wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. He is 5’3” tall and weighs 125 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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