NEW YORK, NY - Two organizations dedicated to helping children who face extreme challenges, joined together in the New York Stock Exchange for a special evening fundraiser on Wednesday.
The NYSE Euronext Foundation hosted the event as the first of many benefiting two organizations. CEO Duncan Niederauer explained his goal in the event was to bring two like-minded organizations together in an exciting venue, celebrating all those involved with these groups.
Camp Nejeda, located in Stillwater, N.J., educates children who deal with the challenges of Type 1 Diabetes on a daily basis. Their time at camp allows them to have fun with new friends who understand their diabetes, and campers feel free without having to explain the injections and treatments common to all at the camp.
In 1958, doctors and parents founded Camp Nejeda with the goal of giving kids a chance to be kids, and to give parents a break from the constant demands of monitoring a child with diabetes.
According to the Camp Nejeda website, “This normalizing of their condition combines with both formal and informal educational moments to promote good diabetes management and healthy, active living.”
“The camp is a non-profit organization, and we charge less for camp than it costs to run the camp,” Philip De Rea, Executive Director of the camp, said.
The NYSE event provided an opportunity to raise necessary funds to run the camp with a silent auction and individual donations going to both Camp Nejeda and More Than Me.
De Rea explained the constant challenges of diabetes. “Type 1 Diabetes is as relentless as many handicaps. [For example,] As a diabetic, I can’t just go hiking whenever I want. I have to plan ahead to bring a backpack with insulin and snacks.”
During their time at camp, campers do not worry about packing these things, because the trained counselors and nurses bring backpacks. Kids have time just to be kids.
Marilyn Geydoshek, Health Center Director, said, “My goal is to send them back to their parents as healthy as they were before, but tired, dirty and happy, which is the way kids return after any camp.”
“The camp works through peer comparison,” De Rea said.
One camper may see another camper giving himself his insulin injection and wants to learn. If he later decides he is not ready, the trained staff will always monitor and help him when he is ready.
Some parents worry that others will not be able to take care of their child in the same way. Geydoshek ensured the excellent staff provides even more attention for the child than they receive at home.
“Each group of eight campers is assigned to four counselors and one nurse. Through the buddy policy, campers are never alone throughout the week at camp,” Geydoshek said.
The More Than Me organization from Bernardsville, N.J., works with young girls in Liberia, getting them into school and off the streets. Founder Katie Meyler said Liberia is the third poorest country in the world, and has been through terrible civil wars, leaving the country torn apart. Because of the rise of sex trafficking, young girls must get off the streets and receive an education.
“Through my organization, I want people to start thinking outside of themselves and realize there’s more than me in this world,” Meyler said.
Growing up poor in Somerset County, Meyler did not have the opportunity to travel until she was 17, through a trip to Haiti with her church. After raising the funds and traveling to this poor county, Meyler realized she was the rich and wanted to help the many countries like Haiti.
Another trip brought her to Liberia, where she fell in love with the people, and the country. This country has an 89 percentilliteracy rate, and many families cannot afford to send children to school. Meyler saw the need for education, especially for girls, and began the More Than Me organization.
The President of Liberia donated three buildings to the organization, and they recently broke ground on their own school, with plans to open a boarding school.
Both of the organizations featured at NYSE Euronext provide opportunities and education for children, whether informal education about diabetes, or the formal education of schooling in Liberia.