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Meet Nika Arastoupour of Heart of Autism and The Helm ABA in DFW

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nika Arastoupour.

Nika has accomplished so much, it is hard to believe she could only be in her 30s. She is a proud SMU alumna, a successful real estate agent with Highland Park-based Rogers Healy, and a busy wife and mom of two young boys. But the reason she deserves to be recognized – and the thing that makes her an inspiration to myself and many others – is her absolutely tireless work on behalf of children and families on the autism spectrum. When Nika’s son Mazy was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 in 2012, Nika didn’t miss a single beat. She started researching therapies, meeting with specialists, learning about resources. What she found was that treating autism is very expensive, and for families with limited financial means, the options are limited.

That is when Heart of Autism was born.

Since then, the nonprofit has raised thousands of dollars to help children and adults with autism get life-changing treatment right here in DFW. Whether it’s in the form of financial support for organizations like Rainbow Kidz, Hugs Cafe or 29 Acres; donations of adaptive equipment to nonprofits like Hunter’s Autism Specials; or collecting toys for families on the spectrum at the holidays, Heart of Autism, thanks to Nika’s tireless dedication, has made an enormous impact across North Texas. In 2017, HOA set a fundraising record, bringing in more than $100,000 at its annual gala, in addition to thousands more raised throughout the year.

Earlier this year, Nika’s passion for helping families receive treatment led her to become partner with Dallas-area therapy center The Helm ABA and are now opening a new second facility in Allen. Because of her support, The Helm ABA’s therapists will be able to see twice as many children and adults as they have in the past. Nika herself will help by acting as a resource and adviser for parents whose children have just been diagnosed.

Despite everything she has done, every child or parent she has helped, she’s far from done. I know she will never stop being an advocate, a mama bear, an adviser and a friend to every family she can. She will continue to devote her passion and enthusiasm to helping children and adults – just like her own son Mazy – live their happiest, fullest lives.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I have always been in marketing and sales but running a non-profit is very different. You are literally having to ask anyone and everyone for support. At first it was a challenge, an unknown area to ask for donations from family, friends, strangers and businesses but thankful to a few generous donors early on, we knew our community was a great one and believed in us. More importantly, we knew we were asking for a local cause and knew 100% was going right back into the community. So there was no shame in asking for support and donations because we believed in our mission and the good that was being done. Our supporters saw that in us too and we continue to be a local grassroots organization with volunteers only.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Heart of Autism is a non-profit 501c3 Frisco organization whose primary contributions to the DFW community are through fundraising in support of the autism community.

Since 2013, Heart of Autism Committee members have raised $200,000. These funds will support Autism Research, Adult Services and Intervention Services to give families hope for a healthier future. Our organization’s ability to continue to raise money is due in large part to the kind support of individual donors who believe in our mission, as well as sponsorships and grants from generous establishments.

Funds raised will go towards research to help find the cause and cure for Autism and to fund scholarships to underprivileged families touched by autism who cannot afford therapy and provide grants for adult services via local businesses. We pride ourselves in being a local grassroots organization run by volunteers only and have raised over $200,000 in only 5 years for the autism community.

What were you like growing up?
LOL. Depends who you ask. My mom may tell you a bit sassy and my Dad would tell you, well I was Daddy’s girl so he would say perfect most likely if he was still around! LOL. Middle child and only daughter so maybe a bit spoiled! I used to love to dance with my dad; have so many pictures of us dancing!

I was raised in Germany and was Class Council in middle school for several years, received many awards and my worst grade on my report card was my handwriting and still is to this day! LOL. I’m very sarcastic in a humorous way and confuse my boys daily with my sarcasm. LOL.

I dreamt of becoming a criminal lawyer then Judge but was most fascinated with the FBI and still am if they want to hire me!!

I don’t take life too serious and try to enjoy every day. Laughter, family and great friends are what brings me the love to live the fullest each day. Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about so my life is no different than someone else’s and though I am an advocate for autism awareness, I do spotlight my family or my son Mazy.

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Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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