At the most recent Board of Education meeting, a presentation was made to share how funds were raised from the Architectural and Real Estate House Tour which benefits our very own Special Services in Millburn Township Public Schools. Proceeds from the tour enabled 4 individuals to attend the Autism New Jersey main and transition conferences. Autism New Jersey’s main state conference was recently held on October 18th and 19th. The district’s three behaviorists received grants to attend the conference. The behaviorists don’t just help those with Autism, they assist anyone who has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). The fourth individual to receive a grant was a self-contained autism teacher from our district. They all shared their takeaways from the conference at the board meeting. To see a video of their comments, please see the following link.
For perspective, Autism Speaks is the Official National Autism Organization, while Autism New Jersey is the Official State Organization.
Background on Autism NJ:
It’s the largest statewide network of parents and professionals dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with ASD, autism spectrum disorder. This nonprofit organization is committed to providing information, education, awareness, and public policy work to NJ’s autism community.
Autism affects 1 in 41 children in NJ.
Background on the tour, which is the fundraiser to send our district professionals to the conferences:
It’s an architectural and real estate house tour in it’s 7th run and the idea came into play, by Melanie Rosenbaum and her husband, Matthew Rosenbaum. He is an architect and Melanie is a realtor with Keller Williams Premier Properties. Melanie also serves on the SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Committee). Architecture and real estate are definite passions for both Melanie and Matthew Rosenbaum. Many in this town seem to be similarly interested. The tour was a natural event to host, as a win win win for all.
It’s a unique tour that gives community members the chance to view high-end local homes all in one day. Tickets are $30. It showcases architecture, design, and provides a pulse on our local real estate market. The homes on the tour never disappoint with prices typically ranging from $1M to $5M. At each mansion, participants receive a light lunch, other treats, giveaways and door prizes along with literature about autism. Sushi was even provided in one of the houses by our very own Jon Lamkin, from Guaranteed Rate.
A very noteworthy sponsor was Anthony Verducci, Jr. with Sotheby’s International Realty, he jumped at the chance of supporting with adding one of the homes on the tour. He also provided a sponsorship which actually sent two of the 4 individuals that received the grants to the conference. Arlene Gonnella with Weichert Realty has always generously contributed. She tends to have some of the most expensive and interesting homes on the tour. Her sponsorship sent the other 2 district professionals to the conference. Architect Matthew Rosenbaum usually puts his own design/build high-end renovations and/or new construction homes on the tour. (He’s the architect of the new construction modern home at 171 Highland Drive in Short Hills). His sponsorship will send two district professionals to the Autism NJ transition conference occurring in early 2019.
The amount of money being raised seems to be growing each year, with almost $40K raised to date. Keller Williams Premier Properties is another generous sponsor and supporter. With that, additional monies have been slated for Jennifer Sowa, Director of Special Services for Millburn Township Public Schools to add to her parental and professional development programs. Keep an ear out for those programs as some topic presentations/seminars relate to the entire school district.
Front row: Dr. Christine Burton, Superintendent; Arlene Gonnella, Weichert; Melanie Rosenbaum, Tour Organizer; Dr. Christopher Mesopotanese, Behaviorist; Meghan Stenziano, Behaviorist, Jennifer Stracquadanio, Behaviorist; Catherine Benedetto, Behaviorist; Jennifer Sowa, Director of Special Service; Matthew Rosenbaum, Design/Build Architect; Jon Lamkin, Guaranteed Rate; Anthony Verducci, Jr., Sotheby’s International Realty; Back Row: Emily Jaffe, Board of Education (behind Melanie every step of the way)
Thanks to all those who assisted in making this tour a huge success! Hope to see you at the next one on April 28, 2019. April is Autism Awareness Month.
For Sponsorship opportunities, please contact the tour organizer, Melanie Rosenbaum, Melanie@RealShortHills.com or see the following link.