. . . Bringing Joy and Hope Through the Wonder of Flight. . .
Spring Newsletter
May 2021
Exciting Announcement: ATC Reaching New Heights! 
... A Message from the Founder/Executive Director
It is with tremendous excitement and pride that we announce the hiring of ATC’s first non-founder Executive Director, Susan Tufts Kagan! With her first day on June 2, Susan will bring to ATC her wealth of experience serving in executive director and other senior leadership roles for youth-oriented non-profit organizations, and we're thrilled to report that Susan exudes that special “ATC Joy!"
Martha and I, together with the ATC Board, have been busy for the last year or so planning for ATC’s continued growth. We’ve come a long way from our early days in 2013 when a Dream Flight Day involved literally ONE Dream Flight with two or three volunteer supporters! From the very beginning, our dream has been to build a lasting organization that will grow, and, thanks to all of you, that dream is being realized. We incorporated ATC on December 20, 2012, and are now in our ninth year leading and operating ATC, each year flying more kids than the year before. Martha and I will continue to be an integral part of ATC for years to come. At the same time, we believe it’s time to bring on an experienced non-profit organization professional as ATC’s first non-founder Executive Director to help propel ATC to new levels of growth, consistent with our “joyful” culture and mission. Martha and I will work closely with Susan to effectuate a smooth transition. I want to assure you of our continued commitment to be very much involved with ATC now and into the future.  Please join us in welcoming Susan to ATC!

Blue Skies and Tailwinds,

Gary Oberstein,
Founder & Executive Director

Programs & Events
Norwood Airport has been way too quiet, and we have missed seeing kids and families in person. 

2021 is shaping up to be an exciting year, as Above the Clouds is moving forward to resume the Dream Flyers and Discovery Flyersprograms that return kids to the skies! We anticipate ATC's Cadet Flyers program will come back online in 2022.

Our Season Opener will be a series of Dream Flyovers in June. As those plans are finalized, details and volunteer opportunities will be emailed to the Joymaker Ground Crew and Pilots.
Dream Flyers and Discovery Flyers programs will continue to focus on bringing joy and hope through the wonder of flight (from the copilot seat!) for kids who face adversity.  ATC is adding extra in-person precautions, but, as always, Flyers will be invited to develop a flight plan with their Pilot and then fly in the copilot seat of a small aircraft. 
Dream Pilot Matt Sheehan is once again planning to honor his mentor by generously hosting the annual "Remembering David Willey" event in September to benefit Above the Clouds.

Matt was in high school when Cape Air pilot David Willey urged him to think big, and far beyond his summer job at Logan Airport. With David's encouragement, Matt earned a degree in aviation science from Bridgewater State University and now loves his career as a Piedmont Airlines Captain, who will be flying for American Airlines in the fall. Matt says that David Willey changed his life, and he will forever be grateful for his mentorship.

Thank you, Matt, for paying it forward for ATC's kids. Look for details on the Remembering David Willey Event on ATC social media and email.

Determined to FLY!!
As a high school freshman at Excel Academy in East Boston, David Palacio admired the planes flying overhead but never dreamed that he may someday pilot a plane.   Dream Pilot Jimmy Abdalla helped to change all that during David’s first ATC Discovery Flight.  They flew over Gillette Stadium, Cape Cod, and David’s school, and the world began to feel more connected.  Flying with Jimmy and other ATC Pilots expanded David’s hopes and horizons and inspired him to apply to the Cadet Flyers Program.

David’s Discovery and Cadet Flyer experiences solidified his passion for aviation as it strengthened his confidence. When the pandemic interrupted David’s flying lessons in 2020, he remained laser focused on earning his pilot license. 

David will graduate from high school this June after spending his senior year learning remotely.  On June 27th he will fly to Washington to attend the Air Force JROTC Flight Academy summer program at Walla Walla University. David was awarded a full scholarship for this competitive 8-week program, where he will earn college credit and have the opportunity to earn his private pilot certification / license! David plans to continue building his aviation skills and eventually fund some of his college expenses by working as a certified flight instructor. He will be attending Boston University.

You may have the opportunity to meet David when he volunteers on the Joymaker Ground Crew for an ATC Flyover mid-June before he flies off to his next adventure.

David describes his experience with ATC as “life-changing" and says, “everything I am doing now started with Above the Clouds. ATC is amazing.” We know David will continue to soar!

After its first ever fully Virtual Rodman Ride in 2020, Above the Clouds is thrilled to participate in the 31st Annual Rodman Ride – which will include a scaled down bike ride with 25-mile and 50-mile options on September 25th.

Above the Clouds’ goal is to engage at least 53 participants in order to exceed our $55,000 fund raising goal (qualifying us to earn monetary incentives from Rodman for Kids.) 
Help ATC meet our 2021 Ride goals!  


** Become an Above the Clouds “Virtual Rider” and create your own adventure: Walk, run, ride, swim, dance, exercise, bake, kayak, fly, paint...whatever you enjoy. Set your activity and fund raising goals to be completed between now and November 1st
      ** Create your own adventure Suggested Fundraising Minimum 
          $500 (adults) $250 (kids)

** Request a bib to participate in the 25-mile or 50-mile Rodman Ride for Kids bike route on Saturday, September 25th, in Foxboro.
      ** Bib Rider Required Fundraising minimum: $1,500

Host an ATC fundraiser online or in person with friends, family, or colleagues. Host a yard sale or scavenger hunt; “round up” by setting aside the change from your purchases; relax and donate the cost of your caffeine fix one day a week to “lift up” ATC kids. Be creative!

For more information, contact Mary Gorman 
mary@abovethecloudskids.org   or  617-678-5874.
Norwood Memorial Airport
125 Access Road
Norwood, MA 02062

This month’s new “DONATE” button was designed by Maria A., a senior at Concord, New Hampshire High School through a partnership between Above the Clouds and the Concord Regional Technical Center (CRTC) Graphic Design and Creative Media Program. Thank you Maria!