008 – Jeff Aider and his wife open a new college prep school for special needs and dyslexic kids.
Molly Aider, Jeff’s oldest daughter, struggled in school with dyslexia and learning differences. At a conference with school counselors, Jeff and his wife, Jennifer Levine, were told to send Molly to a large school in the suburbs or to a boarding school. Instead, Jeff and his wife founded Walcott School in Chicago — a college prep high school for students with learning differences.
Dad To Dad 8 – Jeff Aider and his wife open a new college prep school for special needs and dyslexic kids.
Tom Couch: This is the Special Fathers Network podcast. The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process. New fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for fathers to support fathers.
Sometimes the mentor father is just there to answer a few questions. Sometimes they become good friends. It’s a proven support system for new fathers with special needs kids. If you’re a father looking for support or if you’re a dad who’d like to offer support, go to 21st century dads.org that’s 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: Hi, I’m David Hirsch.
This is the Special Fathers Network podcast. Stories of fathers helping fathers.
Jeff Aider: You know, I’ve got a lot of craziness. Mishegoss.
Tom Couch: That’s David’s guest, Jeff Ader. Jeff is a busy man. He and his wife, Jennifer Levine, started the Walcott school for kids with learning differences in Chicago.
Jeff Aider: We are going to build. The most attractive with the best curriculum and teachers,
Tom Couch: He’s opened Milts Barbecue for the perplexed, a kosher barbecue restaurant where all of the profits go to charity.
Jeff Aider: So when somebody has suggested barbecue for the perplexed. That’s perfect.
Tom Couch: Nearby he opened Milts extra endings, Delhi where profits also go to charity.
Jeff Aider: It’s a small place, but I have 13 special needs adults that work there in three different shifts. He started a Jewish baseball museum. I decided to focus on the history of Jews in baseball because I love history and he’s a mentor father in the special father’s network. If I have any knowledge that I can share with somebody else, I would love to do it.
Tom Couch: He’s an amazing guy, and he’s David Hirsch’s guest today on the special fathers network podcast. Here’s David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: Being a father is very important to me. Being a good father means being a successful role model for your child, helping them be happier, more fulfilled, and productive members of society.
I’ve started a number of charitable organizations. Designed to increase the role of fathers. One of them, the special fathers network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers, raising children with special needs.
Tom Couch: So let’s get to it. Here’s David’s conversation with special father Jeff Aider.
David Hirsch: We’re talking today with Jeff Aider, a real estate developer and social entrepreneur.
Jeff, thank you for taking the time to do a podcast interview for this Special Father’s Network
Jeff Aider: My pleasure.
David Hirsch: You and your wife Jennifer Levine. I have four children, Molly, Sadie, Clara, and George. And you live here in Chicago. Yep. So think about your dad a little bit. Is there some advice that he might’ve given you, um, verbally, or is something that, uh, he did by example without even saying something that really resonates with you when you think about your dad?
Jeff Aider: Yeah. I always think about, uh, the importance of your reputation. You don’t die with anything except for your reputation and the way you’ve treated other people. And I also remember that you had a time when I was struggling, there were a few things to point out about my strengths. He always talked about my honesty and how honest I was.
And it became a self perpetuating prognosis because you know, I’ve always. Held an incredible amount of. Uh, integrity and honesty and everything I dealt with because that’s what I was known for, to my father, and I never wanted it. Uh, I never wanted to let that down.
David Hirsch: So reputation, honesty, he didn’t mention the word integrity, but it sort of goes along with those.
Those are some of the lessons that your, your dad sort of helped, uh, nurture on you. Yeah. So were there other father figures. Along the way, when you were growing up, any men that you sort of admired or role modeled yourself after?
Jeff Aider: Well, uncle Milty, who we’ll talk about later, who is the, my uncle who I named my restaurants after, he was a a lovable near dwell.
He was the guy who, you know, he, he had millions of stories of all the. Opportunity he had that didn’t work out for him. Um, and he never had his own children. So during those years, when. My, my rebellion was in full, you know, full force. I spent a lot of time with my uncle Milton. He had a house up in the Catskills.
And so we used to go up there and gamble on the horse races and he had a special place.
David Hirsch: And what was the relationship as a uncle on your dad’s or mom’s side?
Jeff Aider: My dad’s. Okay. And he was a nonjudgmental about me. You know, he was the uncle role, so he didn’t worry about those parts of my life, which were spiraling in the wrong direction.
He worked, you know, we, we went to, we fished and we gambled and we did things. And that was the relationship.
David Hirsch: So if there’s one thing you think of when you think of your uncle melty, what is it that, what’s the big takeaway there? Um,
Tom Couch: he was extremely unpretentious. And self deprecating, which is, and he had a lot to be deprecating about, but, but I still think of him and he used to keep all of his clothes for 50 years and saying, this is going to come back and style once and people are going to say, you know, I was a man way ahead of my times.
David Hirsch: I was sort of curious now what role spirituality has played in your life.
Jeff Aider: Um, I think that, uh, spirituality has played a big role. I consider myself extremely spiritual. And when I look at things that have happened in my life, to me, I always look at it as part of a bigger picture. And so I am not a observant person.
Because in my view, the God or higher being really does not need to be praised all day long. They need to see you doing actions which are trying to make. Make the world a better place.
David Hirsch: So the old adage that actions speak louder than words,
Jeff Aider: I hope. I hope. Um, uh, I hope somebody up there is understanding
David Hirsch: that it’s a good life philosophy to live by.
It’s one that I have described to as well. So, um, where is it that you met your wife along the way then?
Jeff Aider: So my, uh, my best friend from college, from University of Richmond, uh, married her best friend from high school and we made it at their wedding.
David Hirsch: Really.
Jeff Aider: Yeah. Yeah. They were the maid of honor investment in our wedding.
David Hirsch: So Audi is fun.
Jeff Aider: Yeah. And, uh, she was working as a high powered corporate attorney, New York, and then, uh, she moved out here.
David Hirsch: Okay. And she still practices or not?
Jeff Aider: She had now she worked, uh, for a few years. She was an administrative law judge. She worked, uh, in turn in, uh. As for McDonald’s and now she is the president of the board of Walcott school and she’s there most days doing whatever needs to be done.
David Hirsch: Okay.
Jeff Aider: We come together to create something that really has never existed before. Walcott is a school for teenagers who are bright, talented kids seeking more than an education. I’m learning and I know what I’m learning, and it Millwoods articulated to other people. It’s an amazing feeling. Walcott will be an extraordinary tool to the kind of successful path that I’m talking about, but you go get them and don’t give up and don’t ever doubt your ability to succeed.
David Hirsch: So let’s talk about Walcott school then. You and Jennifer are co founders of Walcott school and independent college prep high school for those with learning differences that could apply to reading, writing, math, from what I remember you. Bought a building from the union or the union league club of Chicago boys and girls club.
Jeff Aider: It had previously been that, but it had been bought by a developer who went bankrupt. We bought it from the bank.
David Hirsch: Okay. So you bought it at a good price.
Jeff Aider: Good price. Okay.
David Hirsch: Excellent. So what was it that motivated you to do that?
Jeff Aider: Well, when, when my oldest daughter, uh, smiling when Molly was. In sixth grade, we were talking to a counselor about what, where she should be thinking about it for high school.
And they had said that, uh, giving her a learning profile that there’s really no great place here. You could move to the, to the suburbs where, and go into a, uh, large. School and she would be in the special education program there, or there are good boarding schools and boarding schools are fine if that’s what you wanted, but it clearly wasn’t what we wanted.
We didn’t want to move to the suburbs, and we also didn’t think that Molly would thrive in a large school environment. So we moved out to Deerfield and then she went there that her learning. Struggles. You know, she’s dyslexic, but she’s also had his visual processing struggles. And so NuvaRing herself socially in a large complex situation is just as tough.
So if it was a class with 30 students, or even if it was more than just walking through the halls with. Tons of people. I think it was a, it was a great, um, environment for her. So, um, at that point in time, my wife and I started doing research. She did a lot more of the research and found out that those dual reasons that it didn’t exist here in Chicago, except that nobody had taken ownership.
And at which point we decided that we would take ownership.
David Hirsch: Wow. So Molly is in sixth grade. Um, you’re sort of at a fork in the road with where she’s going to be tracking to go to high school, and you took it upon yourselves to do something, not just for your daughter, but you know, thinking that there must be other kids here in Chicago that, you know, would benefit from this type of learning environment.
Jeff Aider: Right. And that goes into, do you have this spirituality thing? And that is that, you know, I certainly believe that there is a. Yeah, there’s a reason for things. And so, uh, you know, people say that, um, you created the school for your daughter. And I said, you know, there would be a lot less expensive ways I could have dealt with in a very positive nature.
Her learning. Without having to start Walcott school. But I did become aware of it and we became aware of the need in Chicago for it. And we, at this point, we love Chicago and felt that, yeah, there are a lot of other people who are going to need this help and let’s do it.
David Hirsch: Okay. So, um, Molly’s situation enlightened you and Jennifer about.
Um, situation, uh, lack of this type of educational facility here in Chicago. And it took you how many years to go from sort of coming up to speed, educating yourself to, we’ll cut actually opening.
Jeff Aider: Um, it took us about a year to educate ourselves into, we visited a couple of different places. Jennifer went to a lot more than I did and saw what was out there.
And then we had parents and and people here in town who are specialists in learning displays. By the time we finished that, it was probably a year, a year and a half, and I had, I think about a year, year and a half left before she was to start high school. At that point in time is when we found a building.
My wife and I bought the building and started going. People had given us a lot of different advice about starting in the basement of a church and growing slowly and all that stuff. And, and you know, my idea was that, cause I also had struggled a lot in school and certainly had struggled with self confidence.
That I know I wouldn’t want him to be in the basement of a church. My high school years. We wanted to have a full experience who had a full high school experience for Molly and for the other students. So, uh, I said, we’re going to build the most attractive with the best curriculum and teachers and the best of everything that they had to offer.
Yeah. So my vision was that if you build something that is spectacular, it will be a success. If you do something which is which you compromise, then the students aren’t going to, are not going to want to be there. And I wanted to be at students who wanted to be at this place and thought that was cool and not felt that they were second class citizens.
David Hirsch: You know, I think it’s a, an amazing, um. Motivation on your part, and I remember visiting there a number of months back and thinking, wow, this is really a special place. Yeah. The kids seem to be very engaged, you know, wanting to be there, like you said, as opposed to like, you know, just think back to maybe when you and I were in high school, maybe that’s not the place you wanted to be.
It’s like your parents are making you go to school or society is making it go to. That’s cool. So there seemed to be something different going on there at Walcott. So you started, I think the first class was in 2013. Right? And you started with 33 students?
Jeff Aider: Yeah, it was a freshman and sophomore combined. Uh, we started with, and Molly actually did go to boarding school her freshman year.
Um, it was tough for us. It was tough for her. And we were thrilled that we got it open in time for sophomore year. Um, and you know, when you think about what we accomplished and the timeline it was, I would never, ever recommend it to anybody else. I mean, it’s only a, you know, a parent who refuse to accept the, no, who would have created that because it just.
Yeah, we started construction of it without having the money to complete it. To me, we just, every rule that you’re not supposed to do a, we did and it worked out and we’re very fortunate, but you know, clearly it was not the, you know, it was not the way anybody would recommend you. You start,
David Hirsch: well, that’s why I think of you in a positive way as a social entrepreneur.
Right? You know, you had this faith, whether it’s your spirituality, that type of faith, or just the belief. In yourself and the mission that you’re on to fall through. And I’m not the blindly built it and they will come like fill the dreams. But there’s some of that going on, which is that you know, you, you had this vision, you know, and Jennifer had this vision and you’re willing to act on it as opposed to spend a lot more time planning and thinking through everything and dotting all your I’s and cross familiar teas and whether it’s your personal will.
Or divine intervention or a combination of the above. You know, you can look back and say, well, there’s a little unorthodox about how we went about doing this at, uh, you know, I think the proof is in the pudding. So, um, how many students do you have now?
Jeff Aider: We have 125 students.
David Hirsch: Is that your capacity?
Jeff Aider: 150 is capacities. For next year we’ll have 143 and then the following year we’ll have 150 and that’s a, and we just completed in November, a brand new arts athletics center that we just built, which is state of the art theater. And the gym is spectacular. Uh, this year we won our conference in basketball, so we’re gonna have our first banner coming up.
We were nine in one. Great. Basketball team and it’s been, you know, spectacular. I should mention that the, uh, within each of these projects that I do, there is an, there is a one consistent theme, which was kind of our second objective and Walcott, and that is that it was to be inclusive. And we did not want to create a school for rich kids.
We wanted to create a school that served students of averaged above average intelligence with a diagnosed learning difference that we could help. And so we admit students, irrespective of their ability to pay. And once they’re admitted, we go out and try to find enough tuition assistance to. Um, for them to be able to attend, and 50% of the students are getting some sort of tuition assistance.
David Hirsch: Okay. So from what I’m ever hearing or reading, uh, the cost is about $37,000 a year.
Jeff Aider: I think it’s like $43,000 a year.
David Hirsch: Okay. And what you were referring to is what I remembered as your blind acceptance policy. Right? So you have these applications, you’re just looking for the students who would be the best fit.
For what it is that cut offers, and then, like you said, um, if they don’t have the means themselves, if their families don’t have the means, then you try to figure out how to connect those dots. Right. Do you know much about the family structure from the students that are attending Woolcott? You know, do they come from two parent families, single parent families?
Jeff Aider: Yes, they cover everything. Okay. I mean, there are a number of, uh. I don’t know the percentages, but there are a number of, um, two same sex parents. Uh, a lot of kids have a number of the adopted. Um, they come from a whole wide range. We’ve had people move from Malaysia. From Santa Fe, New York, Boston, all over, who’ve, you know, to come to the school, who found out about us and thought that it was the right place for their kids.
So it’s a wide, wide range of family structures. Um, single mothers who, uh, who were never married, who adopted, uh, uh, children. So it’s a whole wide range.
David Hirsch: Talk about the faculty because I remember this being like what I thought of is a world class
Jeff Aider: world class. Unbelievable.
David Hirsch: Like how do you attract those people?
Jeff Aider: It’s all mission oriented. Is that, you know, a couple of the other things that we did was initially when schools like this startup, they make compromises on their acceptance policies because they need to get people in there. They need to get full payers. They need to get all sorts of things. They take students that are not appropriate.
Um, our, our head of school, Miriam pike, I sold the board, told her day one that, uh, do not make any compromises because we don’t want to have to. Spend years recovering from, from trying to cut corners. And so we, we’ve been very, um, stringent on that. And Miriam dr pike is, is done an unbelievable job attracting just world class people.
And what is interesting is that the school was originally founded with my oldest daughter, Molly. In mind, my three younger kids, unbeknownst to me at the time, are all dyslexic. Oh my gosh. And so they’re all go to Walcott and they’re very all very different from each other. And each of them love the school, and they love the teachers, is clearly what they would tell you they love the most.
Uh, the small class sizes, the, they think it is absolutely spectacular. So I would never have guessed that all four by kids would have gone to the school. And that. With, given how different they are, that they all would have liked it.
David Hirsch: That is an amazing story. Thank you for sharing. Any surprises along the way, positive or negative?
Jeff Aider: Uh, absolutely. I mean, you know, the, uh, you know, you can, that my wife always says is that, you know, you plan everything. Um, and then you add the kids into the equation and then it’s all up for grabs.
David Hirsch: So let’s switch gears. Um, one of your other passions, because it’s not just about Walcott is Milts barbecue for the perplexed.
Jeff Aider: They make, um,
David Hirsch: kosher food
Jeff Aider: fun.
Jeff Aider: You got to come.
David Hirsch: I’m perplexed. Where’s the name come from? I know where notes comes from. That’s your uncle. Milty. Okay. What’s going on with the, for the perplexed?
Jeff Aider: Well, it was a. Um, a double entendre is that it? I mean, it has a lot of different meanings to me.
And so when somebody suggested barbecue for the perplexed, I’m like, that’s perfect. So, so there is a book written by a a 12th century, I think, a philosopher, my monities calling guide to the perplexed. And uh, there is, and my uncle melty, if you had to describe him in one word, it would have been perplexed.
And, and then having a restaurant, which is also because of the inclusivity aspect, is. Kosher nut, free, gluten free items, vegan items that everybody can eat there. So having a kosher barbecue is perplexing in and of itself. And so, you know, combining all these, uh, the name, when I heard it, I’m like, that’s it.
David Hirsch: But what motivated you to open up a restaurant. That’s, that’s what I’m not clear about.
Jeff Aider: So I was interested what is because of very proud of my, um, my Jewish background, a very, uh, a tremendous Zionist and lover of Israel. And I wanted to try to help build the community. Uh, the Jewish community in an area which did not have a observant community yet.
It’s small observant community, but not a large one, but one where a lot of people come after college. And I think that I was hoping we’d do a lot of educational things in speakers and I wish we had done with the restaurant at the restaurant. Yeah. I wish we could do more. Unfortunately, just you can only do so many things.
But I loved the idea of starting a restaurant where a hundred percent of the profits go to charity.
David Hirsch: That’s what I found very interesting. And it’s not one charity, but my recollection was that charity switches month to month.
Jeff Aider: Right. And that, and. So that was also about the idea of inclusivity. You know, we’re all part of this community, whether it’s the Lakeview community you define.
So we support, uh, supported the nettle horse school and the Lake view pantry and, um, share it, which works for KA, uh, Jewish cancer patients and, uh, the arc. And so they’re both. Jewish organizations, it’s done and we try to do projects with them. We try to call attention to their good work and let their people know about what we’re doing.
And I’m very interested in the idea about how success is measured. My father loves said to me after we opened for a while, so are you making money? And I said, you don’t understand. This is not what this is about. It is about, are we doing a lot of events with the community? Are we having con, I mean, there are a lot of other things that we’re trying to create.
Are we employing hard to employ people? Do we have special needs employees? Do we, you know, are we given to different charities and people are getting interests? Are there a lot of different things that we’re doing? Which is how. The success was to be judged, um, there, and we’ve been open five years now and we’ve been a tremendous success in my book.
And. It’s also been a success for me personally because I love, um, be more involved in the community. I love the people who I’ve met through it. I, uh, I love the effect on my children and my wife of being involved in it. And, uh, and so. You know, it is something that makes me happy, uh, every day, which seems almost impossible, you know, given how fickle the restaurant business can be.
But five years now, and you know. It goes strong.
David Hirsch: That’s awesome. You mentioned a, it supports a dozens of charities, literally a different charity a month. Yeah. And you mentioned the arc and you hitched hit a hot button for me. Um, my grandfather, Sam Solomon, who is my father figure growing up, I’ve spoken a lot about him, written about him.
And whose was my role model? I was a young man, and as a young adult for that matter, um, was a pharmacist at the arc. Um, and, uh, he was actually a pharmacist and his employment with he and his older brother, and they sold their business to the Cooper family and it was renamed Solomon Cooper drugs. So for 45 years in his retirement, he was a volunteer pharmacist at the arc.
And. Uh, they named the pharmacy after him, um,
Jeff Aider: 17 years ago
David Hirsch: When he passed away. So, um, what I love about the story or telling about milks barbecue for the perplexed is that the motive wasn’t a create a profit oriented business in the traditional sense, but, uh, really to build community. In so many different ways, bringing people together that wouldn’t otherwise come together.
And it’s sort of like a higher calling, a purpose, and I admire you for that. So that led to creating something called Milts extra innings was just this past year. So what was your motivation for doing that? What’s your vision?
Jeff Aider: Well, you know, once again, it was a. Uh, a combination of things. Uh, one is that an opportunity, um, was presented in the space next door to Milts became vacant, and there was a little restaurant there and I realized that, you know, people cannot live in barbecue alone.
Um, but also my sister. Has a daughter as a Hava who is a lovely 21 year old who had gone through the cashback program. Which is a organization that serves intellectually and developmentally disabled, uh, youngsters. And then she went to Israel for a couple of years, and my sister was talking about what was the next thing for Zahava, and they were talking about maybe there was a.
Program in Brooklyn or whatnot, that would be good for her. And, uh, and, you know, it was Hobbit as him didn’t want to go to Brooklyn. In my mind, now I’m projecting. Maybe it’s just I didn’t want it to go, you know, go overlay. And, uh, I also found out that 70% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed.
And so I said, well, that’ll be an interesting, because we’ve always hired employees from cashier, adult program at Milts, and these are people who have kind of aged out of the school system. And maybe what we should do is create a partnership with cache where we can. Uh, employ their youth. They’re young adults.
You know, it was a level work there and we can hire a lot more. And so, you know, that was what Milt tuck strings became. It said deli style, a lot of, uh, takeout foods. Uh, we deliver and it’s a small place, but I have 13 special needs adults that work. They’re in three different shifts. And it’s, it is exceeded my expectations as far as the amount of happiness that I get and they get from working together.
It’s also opened my eyes to their potential. Do you see somebody with a. Disability and you don’t see all of their strengths and you don’t see their aspirations and you don’t understand about what their potential is. And so being able to work with them and see it, you know, you, you understand that there’s that, that people want to work, they want to be relevant, they want to interact and all those sorts of things.
And so this new project is one which. Um, has opened my eyes, just like Molly helped open my eyes with a Walcott school. So as a hobby has opened my eyes here and, uh, you know, we still have work is only been open for a few months and I can still see that she has certain things need to be refined and whatnot, but it’s a guaranteed success.
And what I hope will happen next is that I will add in a group home. And have eight or so of my employees or people of similar statuses, them live in a group home so that people have as full life as possible. And what I’d like to do once I, um, and able to put all that together, I would then like to educate other communities about how they can do it.
So I’m very fortunate because Kesha has been. My partner in this, they do all the training of the employees. So cache has been wonderful and Cassian’s very interested in the group home. And so, you know, hopefully we can create something, which if it exists, I don’t know about, but we don’t keep on looking at places to see ideas and try to create something that’s innovative.
And. Uh, effective and powerful.
David Hirsch: Well, I love what you’re doing with Milts extra things. And I think part of identifying what people’s abilities are as opposed to what their disabilities are is what I heard you saying. And, um, certain people have. Gifts, but they might be masked by, you know, a physical disability or an intellectual disability.
And if you can identify what their gift is and make sure that that type of work is what they’re doing, they’re tasked to do, um, they can flourish. And, uh, I love what you were saying about, uh, doing something beyond just creating meaningful work, right? Which is part of how we define ourselves. Many ways how we define ourselves as by our work and to create some level of independence so they’re not just sort of sitting at home and dependent on their parents or their families.
Um, but they’re getting out of their house, they’re engaged in the community, they’re interacting with people. And then the second idea is to. Yeah. Create a living learning environment, uh, where you know, they can thrive and create some independence. It’s got to take a huge weight off of the parents’ minds too, which is, uh, and indirectly of assistance to your sister and her family to know that their daughter is able to.
Make a headway on the world. And, um, so you’re doing God’s work. It’s just amazing. Right? Right.
Jeff Aider: Well, my sister is a spectacular person and, uh, um, you know, she’s just an inspiration so many ways. And so, you know, to be able to have a family where my brother, sister and I are completely instinctive. Um, with each other, despite the fact we’re very different and that, you know, we’re looking, you know, we all have kind of a similar outlook.
David Hirsch: I love it. So the things that I skipped over, which I’d like to go back to is, um, you’ve created the Jewish baseball museum and
Jeff Aider: the eighth inning, Greenberg walloped that Apple, they see a Greek kid.
We got a Jewish first first baseman, but I didn’t know that that’s supposed to be a ballplayer if you’re Jewish, you know what I mean? Attorney or a doctor. But not a ballplayer.
David Hirsch: John was the one that put us in contact with one another. I know he’s baseball and Attica as well. So what is that and what motivated you to start the Jewish baseball museum?
Jeff Aider: Well, I think by now you probably, and anybody who’s listening to this probably has understood that, uh. You know, I’ve got a lot of craziness,
David Hirsch: a lot of different interests.
Jeff Aider: Mishigoss is how we going to say and that is that, uh, I, and, and, and you really would touch you only the surface. Um, and so I just become very obsessed with things.
And I have been a baseball fan. Well my life. I had baseball cards as a kid, and I at one point, collected every single Topps baseball card from 1951 until today. Then about a year or two ago, I sold it, uh, and I decided to focus on the history of Jews in baseball because as a, I love history and the more I read, the more interesting people they.
That I read about and a lot of lessons and a lot of people that I was very proud to be associated with. And so I decided that, uh, and then I, and there were the two largest collectors of Jewish baseball memorabilia. One because of a divorce, the other passed away, both part of selling me their collections.
Oh my God. And so I have 5,000 items. Of Jewish baseball memorabilia ranging from Sandy Kofax, his game used Jersey from 1963 to Hank Greenberg’s game used bat Al Rosens. Rookie bat. Uh, you name it. I have, uh, I have hundreds of bats, hundreds of uniforms. I have 2,500 cards, all but 10 cards that exist of Jewish baseball players.
I’m only missing 10. Do you know where to turn? They are, yeah. And I know he’s 10 and they have maybe one copy of each of them or two or three copies that exist. Um, and I’ll get them eventually. But if, if you’re one of those people listening who have one of those cards, you know, take it easy on me on the price.
David Hirsch: Because this a physical museum or a virtual museum, or what’s your vision?
Jeff Aider: So that Jewish baseball museum.com, it is a virtual museum on that site, which is extensive. We’re actually. And May 6th, they’re doing an opening of an exhibit of life stuff in New York at a synagogue for five month, uh, exhibit. I was just talking to the lady last night who wants to do that. Um, and then in the restaurant, Miltex trainings is all adored with my Jewish baseball memorabilia as a
David Hirsch: place to display it.
Jeff Aider: I display a small piece of it, but, uh, and I still, you know, as there are auctions of. Of anything. That’s interesting. I still bid on everything.
David Hirsch: Okay. I love that. That’s so inspiring. So Hank Greenberg, Sandy called facts. Jerry Reinsdorf, Theo Epstein, I’m remember saying something about each of them on the website as well.
Jeff Aider: Um, Steve stone. Uh, Alan Rosa was one of the triple crown. And then this year is a world series, had jock Peterson and Alex Bregman. Both of them hitting home runs, uh, first time two Jewish plays played against each other and each hit home runs so.
David Hirsch: Well. Uh, just amazing story. So, um, why did you agree to be a mentor father, as a part of this Special Fathers Network?
Jeff Aider: If I have any knowledge that I can share with somebody else. Um, I, I would love to do it.
David Hirsch: Yep. Excellent. Well, thank you for being part of the group. Is there anything else you’d like to say before we wrap up?
Jeff Aider: No. The only thing that I, well, the only thing I would say is that, you know, when people hear about what I do and things that I’ve done.
They, you know, questioned, you know, why I don’t play more golf or this or that, and I don’t do want to be viewed. As a martyr in the sense that everything I’m doing is because I love doing it. And so I am very much blessed that even a bad day at JDI Realty or at Milts or Walcott, it’s still a great day.
And I don’t, uh, I can’t think of any time I’ve gone home saying, I wish I hadn’t done that or wish I wasn’t involved in this. And I have gotten way, way more out of. Being involved, I’ve taken more out than I’ve given. And so while I would say to to people when they’re trying to look at meaning and whatnot, is.
Find something that you love to do, and that is, you know, to me is the key. If you love to do it, you’ll be good at it. People will follow you because you have passion and you’re going to have a fulfilled life.
David Hirsch: I think the way John, I mentioned it when he introduced us was that, uh, you’re a hall of fame match.
That’s how he referred to it. I think that is a compliment. Um, so on a very high order. So if somebody wanted information on Walcott or melts barbecue for the perplexed or external things, where would they go?
Jeff Aider: Miltz is miltsbarbecue.com. Walcott school is Walcotschool.org.
And the Jewish baseball museum is thejewishbaseballmuseum.com. Um, and actually we have, we’ll have another one soon cause we’re starting up a resale shop to support scholarships at Walcott. And then I think it will be movecycle.com. So I have a lot of, uh, websites.
David Hirsch: Keeping some web developers very happy with extra employment as well.
Right. Jeff, thank you for taking the time and many insights. As a reminder, Jeff has just one of the dads. He was a great to be a mentor. Father is part of the special father’s network, a mentoring program for fathers, raising a child with special needs. If you’d like to be a mentor father, or are seeking advice from a mentor father with a similar situation to your own, please go to 21stcenturydads.org. Thanks again.
Jeff Aider: Awesome.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process. New fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for fathers to support fathers.
Sometimes the mentor father is just there to answer a few questions. Sometimes they become good friends. It’s a proven support system for new fathers with special needs kids. If you’re a father looking for support or if you’re a dad who’d like to offer support, go to 21stcenturydads.org that’s 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And thank you for listening to this Special Father’s Network podcast, stories of fathers helping fathers.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network podcast was produced for 21st Century Dads by Couch Audio, and again, to find out more about the Special Fathers Network, go to 21stcenturydads.org 21stcenturydads.org.