OUR MISSION

Above the Clouds brings joy and hope through the wonder of flight to children and teens who have a serious illness or disability, are underserved, or facing other serious adversity. ATC’s programs provide important relief for kids under tremendous stress and inspire disengaged youth to participate in making their dreams come true. ATC engages dedicated volunteer pilots, ground crew and “joy makers”.

The non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization accomplishes its mission through its programs: Dream Flyers and Discovery Flyers. Our squadron of volunteer pilots and dedicated volunteers make it all possible. Above the Clouds flies out of Norwood Memorial Airport in Norwood, Massachusetts.

Learn how our Dream Flyer program works!


TEAM

Board of Directors

Greg Bongiorno, Chairman & Volunteer Pilot (Pilot & Director of Safety, Coordinate Operations LLC)

“Seeing the kids that come through really forgetting about what’s going on at home, relaxing and having fun is an amazing experience for not only them but all of us volunteering at Above the Clouds.”

Hew Crooks, Executive Committee (Co-Founder & CFO, Ridgebury Tankers)

Mark Hanson, Executive Committee & Volunteer Pilot (FAA Safety Team Representative)

Christopher Donovan, Jr., Director & Volunteer Pilot (Boston Executive Helicopter)

Hamid Haider, Director (Bristol Myers Squibb)

Katharine Cronk, MD, Director (Neurosurgeon)

Matthew Sheehan, Director & Volunteer Pilot (American Airlines Pilot)

Tara D’Alessandro, Director (Lawyer, Experion)


OUR FOUNDER

photo 2-4Above the Clouds was founded in 2013 by Gary Oberstein, Senior Counsel, Nixon Peabody, LLP.  Gary and Martha Oberstein devoted their time and energy for years to provide Dream Flights to children facing serious illnesses and adversity.  Gary is the former managing partner at Nixon Peabody’s Boston office and an instrument-rated private pilot. As a practicing labor and employment attorney for 30 years, he has been legal counsel to dozens of charitable organizations. He has sat on the boards of several charities that serve the needs of children as well as on the board of IMC Club, International, an organization serving instrument-rated pilots. Gary has lived in the Boston area since 1986 and has had the joy and privilege of flying out of Norwood Memorial Airport for the past 15 years.

Above the Clouds was born out of Gary’s desire to pair his passion for aviation with his wish to help seriously ill, disabled and underserved youth and other children facing serious adversity. Gary and a growing squadron of volunteer pilots have volunteered their time to provide airplane rides for Above the Clouds. Along with his wife, Martha Oberstein, Gary launched Above the Clouds with a huge heart and a passion for aviation.  Years later, thousands of at risk youth have been served by Above the Clouds programs and the organization continues to grow.  Gary served as a devoted Executive Director -and, Martha as the Director of Operations, until 2021.


HOME BASE NORWOOD

It all started at Norwood Memorial Airport with Above the Clouds’ first flight on May 4, 2013. Today Home Base Norwood runs 8-10 Dream Flight Days annually – and serves as the hub for numerous Discovery and Cadet flights.

Conveniently located just outside of Boston, ATC’s Home Base Norwood serves kids from Massachusetts and other New England states. Our close proximity to Boston’s highly-rated universities, research and teaching hospitals, and a wide breadth of school and social service organizations; enable us to be an accessible resource for children facing all kinds of adversity.

Above the Clouds has grown dramatically, having flown its 500th Flyer in 2019. The Norwood Pilot Squadron is made up of volunteer pilots based at Norwood Memorial Airport, as well as many other pilots who fly in from local airports and even surrounding states to participate in all three Above the Clouds Programs.

ATC’s Home Base Norwood is also the hub for its volunteer Board of Director to meet and maximize ATC’s outreach and impact to bring joy and hope to children facing serious adversity.