Janet Koch, executive director of nonprofit organization Life’s WORC in Garden City, NY, has underwritten an essay contest that raises awareness about autism and the effects of bullying on the autistic and developmentally disabled.

Students in public or private schools within Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties, grades 9 to 12, are eligible to compete.

The topic participants are to address:

“Why autistic and developmentally disabled people become targets of bullies, and how can my school and community prevent it?”

Life’s WORC, together with The Family Center For Autism, also located in Garden City, NY, are the sponsors, in association with The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation, located in Huntington, NY and the Queens Courier.

“I hope that this essay question will trigger an outpouring of critical thinking, constructive ideas, and perhaps, solutions,” explains Peter Klein, president of The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation. “Sadly, bullying and acts of thoughtless, irresponsible conduct targeting developmentally disabled and autistic people is at a point of crisis. How can schools and communities help to bring about new social improvements and bring an end to this form of prejudice and intolerance?”

The foundation Mr. Klein leads was created by the late Claire Friedlander, a Holocaust victim who immigrated from Nazi Germany to the United States. Ms. Friedlander was blessed with vast business success and prosperity, and entrusted her fortune to her investment advisor, Mr. Klein, to award grants relevant to social justice and human rights.

This essay competition will award students $3,000 for the First Place winner, $2,000 for the Second Place winner, and $1,000 for the Third Place winner.


Rules

All essays must be typewritten, double-spaced, and with a minimum of 400 words and a maximum of 500 words. A cover sheet with the name, grade, home address, e-mail address, home telephone number, school address and telephone number and name of a faculty advisor should be attached to each essay. The essay itself should not have any identifying information on it to ensure impartial judging.

Essays must be postmarked by May 1, 2017, and awards will be presented by June 1, 2017 at a presentation event at The Family Center for Autism in Garden City.

Essays should be sent to Life’s WORC, attention “ESSAY/Denise Byrne”

• By U.S. Postal Service: Life’s WORC, PO Box 8165, Garden City, NY 11530-8165

• By Federal Express or UPS: Life’s WORC, 1501 Franklin Avenue, Garden City, NY 11530

All essays must be postmarked by May 1, 2017 to be entered in the contest.

Contact Denise Byrne at 516-741-9000X12010 or Danny Frank at 212-279-1041 for additional details.


Judges for this contest event include:

—Peter J. Klein, president of the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation
—Dr. Gene Bernstein, CEO, Northville Industries Corp.
—Kelly McMasters, assistant professor, English; publishing studies director, Hofstra University
—Janet Koch, executive director, Life’s WORC

For 2016, 148 students submitted essays. Award recipients included:

—$3,000, Ryan Harvey, The Village School/Great Neck School District
—$2,000, Aleta Thomas, Herricks High School
—$1,000, Izzy Glennon, North Shore High School

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