First Financial Asset Management (FFAM360) was grateful for the recent opportunity to contribute to the Colin Woodyshek Technology Program and is pleased to celebrate that the fundraiser’s goals have been achieved. This success means young adults on the Autism Spectrum will have access to needed technology equipment, software, and tools for improved communication and increased pre-workforce preparation and training. The nonprofit organization, B Colin Strong, spearheaded the fundraising effort aimed at serving the Palm Beach School for Autism.
B Colin Strong
B Colin Strong is particularly meaningful to executive staff at FFAM360 as it provides a relevant and valuable avenue to honor the life and continue the legacy of Colin Woodyshek, son of National Accounts Director, Michael Woodyshek. In addition to battling cancer with unflappable strength and positivity, Colin was among the beautifully neurodiverse students at Palm Beach School for Autism and would have celebrated his 18th birthday this year. This fund will directly serve the school which helped him thrive and serve the peers with whom he attended school as they prepare for the transition to adulthood.
Michael and his wife, Diane, founded the 501(c)(3), B Colin Strong, to fulfill a mission “to continue Colin’s legacy of strength, love, and courage and to help support other families struggling with both Childhood Cancer and Autism, just as Colin and our entire family had for 15 months and specifically with Autism for over 14 years.” The funds they raise go toward funding children’s Autism development programs, as well as family assistance programs for children fighting Cancer throughout South Florida. The organization has specifically directed fundraising efforts to Palm Beach School for Autism for four consecutive years with an annual motorcycle ride, Colin’s Memorial Ride, as the keynote fundraising event.
“We were honored to have the opportunity to support this program and stand with one of our own in providing valuable tools for success needed by students at Palm Beach School for Autism,” shared President and Chief Investment Officer Matthew Maloney. “FFAM360 strives to live intentionally and fulfill our company motto to go ‘above and beyond.’ This was a rewarding opportunity to simply join in with a wonderful organization Mike and his family have already developed and support those efforts. One of our core company values is to ‘empower the success of our people with the golden rule.’ There was no question that we would get involved and we look forward to continuing our support for B Colin Strong and its fundraising efforts in the future,” continued Mr. Maloney.
Palm Beach School for Autism
The Palm Beach School for Autism is located in Lake Worth, FL (Palm Beach County) and provides education for children and young adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or related learning differences. The school is a tuition-free charter school serving students ages 3 – 21 and specializes in incorporating and integrating therapies, social skills training, behavioral support, vocational training, and more into the educational curriculum to better serve the unique learning needs of its students.
“We will always have an affinity for the school due to the success we saw in Colin. The teachers and staff helped him make huge strides in his language and communication as well as his adaptability to different environments and situations, both of which can be a significant struggle for some students on the autism spectrum. It brings us joy to help support the current students and their learning needs with the funds raised by the event. We know Colin would be pleased,” shared Michael Woodyshek, Director of National Accounts at FFAM360.
As students at PBSFA transition from primary to secondary grades, the focus and emphasis (in addition to the core educational curriculum) is independence. Young adults may also continue their education in the post-secondary vocation-focused program, Project Next, up to age 21 to receive additional skills training to prepare for employment and independence. The Colin Woodyshek Technology Fund will benefit the young adults of the school specifically by providing increased access to mobile technology, connection to the community, and job training.
Autism in the Workplace
Several key elements can significantly increase advantages and preparedness for a successful transition from school to independence and employment, particularly for students on the autism spectrum. These include training in vocational skills, self-advocacy skills, “soft skills,” and self-management skills. PBSFA’s Project Next focuses on providing such training. With the help of the technology fund, the program will be able to build upon and increase these efforts. With the marketability of technology skills ever-increasing, the school looks forward to developing the technology-oriented job skills training program for its students to add to its existing workforce preparation programs in hospitality, culinary, recreation & leisure, and micro-enterprise industries.
Entry into the professional workplace is frequently a challenge for those on the Autism Spectrum. Common struggles with things like time management, effective communication, and navigation of delicate social nuances and expectations can become obstacles to achieving and maintaining successful employment. Autism-friendly employment programs, however, are still relatively rare and require flexible employers comfortable with accepting alternative approaches and sometimes providing support to varying degrees. Hence the importance of steadily boosting preparedness from a young age by growing areas of talent and skill, including technology, while developing areas of struggle with appropriate training and support.
If you would like to learn more about autism spectrum disorder, please visit the Autism Speaks website or learn more on TED Talks which has hosted a variety of interesting speakers sharing perspectives from a variety of viewpoints about autism spectrum disorder— from early interventionists to researchers to adults with autism.
For more information about First Financial Asset Management’s community involvement, please visit the FFAM360 News page.
About First Financial Asset Management (FFAM360)
The FFAM360 Alliance of companies deploys world-class people, operations, and technology to deliver revenue cycle solutions to their clients that optimize their credit and revenue lifecycles. Founded in 2002 with the vision of creating a best-in-class organization that provides comprehensive solutions across the Insurance Subrogation, Healthcare RCM, Financial Services, and Human Resource Staffing sectors, FFAM360 has achieved many significant awards and recognitions including being honored by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (“WBENC”) as a Certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise. They are headquartered just outside Atlanta, GA, with additional offices in Phoenix, AZ and Paso Robles, CA.