Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. Raises Over $65,000 at Annual Benefit, Honors Award-Winning Author, Jonathan Mooney, Lead Educator, Mark Perkins and Youth Achievement Award Winners

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Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. raised over $65,000 at its 2008 Annual Benefit, which also honored award-winning author, Jonathan Mooney, and lead educator, Mark Perkins. Jonathan Mooney, co-author of Learning Outside the Lines, a book about learning disabilities, received the Smart Kids with LD Community Service Award. Mark Perkins, former Head of The Forman School in Connecticut, a top-ranking college preparatory school for students with learning differences, received the Smart Kids with LD Professional Achievement Award. Evan Paul, a dyslexic who turned his passion for video games into a game-swapping site, eGamePlace.com, received the Smart Kids with LD 2008 Youth Achievement Award. Major sponsors of the event, recently held in Stamford, Connecticut, included The Churchill School of New York City, Deloitte & Touche USA, and Lindamood Bell Learning Processes.

We want to ensure that no child with LD or ADHD is made to feel stupid

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. raised over $65,000 at its 2008 Annual Benefit, which also honored award-winning author, Jonathan Mooney, and lead educator, Mark Perkins. Evan Paul, a 19-year-old dyslexic who turned his passion for video games into an e-commerce business, received the Youth Achievement Award.

Jonathan Mooney, co-author of Learning Outside the Lines, a book about learning disabilities, received the Smart Kids with LD Community Service Award. Mooney, who did not learn to read until he was 12 years old, is a graduate of Brown University. He holds an honors degree in English Literature.

Mooney co-published his first book, Learning Outside the Lines, at age 23, despite being what he describes as a "dyslexic writer." The book, considered part memoir and part guide to alternative study skills, won the Marek Award, given by the New York branch of the International Dyslexia Association for best book on the subject of learning disabilities.

"I was taught to think that I'm stupid, I'm crazy, and I'm lazy," he said. "I was put out in the hallway every day. The only people who spoke to me were the school secretary and the janitor."

He talked about students with dyslexia "What I say is that these kids aren't suffering from dys-lexia or any other dis-ability," he said. "These kids are struggling with what I call dys-teachia."

He added. "You have to stop fixing and start accommodating and empowering kids who think differently."

Mark Perkins, former Head of The Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut, received the Smart Kids with LD Professional Achievement Award. Under his 13-year tenure, The Forman School grew from 130 to 185 students and became one of the top-ranking college preparatory schools for students with learning disabilities. 95% of the students go on to college.

Throughout his nearly 40-year career as a lead educator, Perkins keenly loved sports, coaching football and lacrosse. In 2008, he was awarded the Connecticut Lacrosse Association Sportsman of the Year Award.

"As part of human kind, we should honor and respect all of creation," he said. "There is only one rule we need to live by - do unto others as we would have others do unto us."

Perkins graduated from Hobart College. He holds a masters degree from Dartmouth.

Evan Paul of Lynnfield, Massachusetts, received the Smart Kids with LD 2008 Youth Achievement Award. He struggled with dyslexia all his life but was undiagnosed until ninth grade. As early as eight, he started playing video games in frustration over school failures.

By age 15, Evan Paul had started a video game business, juggling work and school. Today, his game-swapping site, eGamePlace.com, boasts 30,000 games and 18,000 subscribers.

This fall, he will be a sophomore at the University of Arizona. He recently launched the Dyslexic Dreams Foundation. The Foundation will provide scholarships to schools, aimed at helping dyslexic students reach their potential.

Evan Paul spoke briefly to the students at the Annual Benefit.

"Find your strengths and embrace them," he told them. "Find something that you're passionate about, and do it!"

Honorable Mention Youth Achievement Awards were given to Erik Neumann of Trumbull, Connecticut; Alexandra Herrera-Schneider of Huntsville, Texas; Jaclyn Noble of Potomac, Maryland; Anthony Pape-Calabrese of Bethesda, Maryland; David Siegel of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Ross Hardigan of Savannah, Georgia.

Jane Ross, Executive Director, spoke briefly about Smart Kids with LD and its "silent partner" role with parents.

"For the coming year, we are committed to becoming the silent partner for parents not only in the 49 states in which we currently have members but for parents everywhere," she said. "At Smart Kids, we've worked hard and will continue to work hard to provide the most meaningful information to parents."

Smart Kids is revamping its website to make its full archive of information available to parents around the globe.

"We want to ensure that no child with LD or ADHD is made to feel stupid," she said.

The Churchill School of New York City, Deloitte & Touche USA, and Lindamood Bell Learning Processes were the major sponsors of the event. Each contributed $5,000.

About Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.:

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering parents of children with learning disabilities (LD) and attention-deficit disorder (ADHD). Its mission is to educate, guide and inspire families dealing with disabilities and to change the perception of learning disabilities as a stigmatizing condition. David Neeleman, founder and former Chairman of JetBlue Airways, serves as its Honorary Chairman.

Contact:

Jane Ross, Executive Director
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.
203-226-6831
http://www.SmartKidswithLD.org

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