Joy is the mother of two beautiful children, one of which has autism. Since getting her son’s diagnosis, she has been active in the world of disabilities for many years. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics and a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Technology Management. Her training in disabilities includes VCU’s program for Parent Navigators, Person-Centered Thinking Certification, and the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities specialized training to be a Partner In Policymaking (class of 2011). Joy is also a Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) Mentor helping families explore biomedical options for treatment of autism. In her spare time, Joy serves on the Executive Board for the Autism Society of America – Tidewater Chapter. She is also the CEO of the Moms In Motion sister company, Ability Unlimited, which helps people connect to Assistive Technology and Environmental Modifications through Medicaid. She has been doing Service Facilitation with Moms In Motion since 2011 and is a proud mentor and advocate for families trying to get waiver services. Her passion is in helping people with disabilities and their families get the services they need to have the best possible quality of life.
Heather is originally from Alexandria, VA but moved to the Shenandoah Valley seven years ago. She has two young daughters. She is the former owner of The Caterpillar Clubhouse where she worked with children in a preschool setting, some of whom had disabilities.
Heather's six year old daughter was diagnosed with Autism at the age of three. She worked closely with therapist and doctors to get the best care she could for her daughter. She understands the struggles that parents and caregivers go through on a day to day basis, and she is looking forward to continuing to learn about disabilities and helping families in the area.
Melissa is a proud mom of her son, whom she adopted through foster care. She has an abundance of experience working with children with special needs. Her son has ADHD, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Developmentally Delayed, and OCD.
Melissa has enjoyed being a stay at home mom and watching her son make leaps and bounds. She is very excited about working with other families experiencing some of the same road blocks as she. Melissa is friendly, outgoing, compassionate, and willing to give a helping hand whenever and wherever she can.
Keri has been active in the disability world since she suspected her son had autism, in 2007. Along with getting many services in place for him, she navigated his enrollment in the EDCD Waiver. She personally experienced the road blocks to getting these services in place, but also the invaluable benefit they brought her family. Keri began educating other families regarding VA Medicaid Waiver application processes and the benefits of enrolling. She so enjoyed assisting other families, that she created Moms In Motion to allow her to devote herself full-time to this effort. Since the beginning of Moms In Motion in 2009, she has watched it blossom into an organization full of over 100 competent advocates who have touched thousands of families’ lives.
Keri’s training in disabilities includes VCU’s post-bachelor program Va-LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) (2013) and their Parent Navigator training, the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities specialized training Partners In Policymaking in (2011) VaAccess’s SSI/SSDI workshops, etc. Keri is a board member of her local Arc and United Way, she is also active in many local support groups, her local SEAC, etc.
Keri is proud that Moms In Motion is able to support our local communities by sponsoring events such as the VA Arc’s annual convention, the Harrisonburg and ASACV 5Ks for Autism, the DSAGR’s Step Up for Down Syndrome, etc.
Lauren is an active advocate in her community through leadership as the Director of Special Families of the Roanoke Valley and on the Board of Trustees with Hopetree Family Services. She is the proud mother of three girls. Lauren is a member of the Partners in Policymaking Class of 2013. She also holds a M.A. in Political Science from Virginia Tech and a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Roanoke College.
Laura lives in central VA, outside of Richmond, with her husband of 23 years and her two sons. She is a 1995 graduate of Hollins University with a major in Sociology, a minor in Child Psychology, and her certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has worked with numerous children with CP and has a nephew with Autism, so she truly understands the need for organizations such as Moms In Motion. Laura is thrilled to be a part of the Moms In Motion family and cannot wait to see what the future holds.
Megan is happily married to her husband, Chris, and has been blessed with two active boys. As young parents, Megan and Chris were quickly introduced to the special needs community when their first son was diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, and Intellectual Disability. Megan’s second son came into this world with severe respiratory issues that have kept her involved both personally and professionally in the medical field. She has been very active in the special needs community for years and has been watching family advocacy grow within Roanoke. Megan is heavily involved with her children's extracurricular activities, therapies, and activities within the community.
Megan is excited to become apart of the Moms In Motion family, as well as help educate and encourage other families in the ever-growing special needs community.
Lynn and her husband have three small children in South Central Virginia. She has a B.S. in Psychology from Shenandoah University, as well as an M.A. in Human Services from Liberty University. Lynn also holds a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Cincinnati.
Lynn has worked in the world of special needs for several years as an Attendant and Behavioral Therapist. Through this work, she developed a passion for working with children with Autism which brought her to know Keri in her early work with Moms In Motion.
Lynn began working for Moms In Motion in 2013 and has held several positions within the company in that time. She has grown with the company and is excited to see where this growth will continue. Lynn is so proud to be a part of Moms In Motion and have the opportunity to work with such an amazing team.
Mara Espi Colazo
Nothing prepared Mara more for a life of service and advocacy than watching her own child be excluded and struggle. Mara is supportive, compassionate, and giving by nature. After swimming through a sea of red tape and mountains of paperwork, Mara turned to Moms In Motion to assist her in navigating and obtaining all the best services that Virginia has to offer. She found invaluable resources and support that gave her strength during the storms, and decided to pay it forward by joining Moms in their mission to empower families.
Kristin was born and raised in Arlington, VA. After high school, she attended Virginia Tech, where she obtained her BS in Family Financial Planning and met her husband. She worked briefly in Richmond for Ameriprise, then returned to the mountains to live in Covington with her husband. There, they were blessed by the birth of their first son who has Spina Bifida and a Chiari II Malformation. He changed their lives forever with his complex medical needs and delightfully sunny disposition.
Kristin has spent the last eight years focused on advocating for her son's medical, developmental, and educational needs. She has since returned to the Richmond area and currently lives in Chesterfield, VA with her husband and three beautiful children. Kristin is excited to be part of the Moms In Motion team, helping them to provide the care, support, and resources that those with disabilities and their caregivers need.
Ivy is a self advocate and serves as the moderator all of the Moms In Motion Social Media platforms. She also assists with creating our online newsletters, editing resources pages and advocacy newsfeed. Ivy has participated in many self advocacy training courses, including Partners In Policymaking, advocacy groups at Independent Living Centers and peer mentor trainings at the Arc of Virginia. Ivy has many years of experience with managing Personal Care Attendants and has a wealth of knowledge on the subject.
Polly lives in Newport News with her husband and two sons. Her youngest son was born with Cytomegalovirus (CMV), which has led to multiple special needs. Upon learning more about her son’s needs, she signed up to be the area representative for Stop CMV. This has allowed Polly to better help other parents in the area cope with the challenges and questions they had when their children were born with CMV.
Polly is so happy to work with Moms In Motion in this capacity, and hopes to help those in need through her own experiences to get further faster.
Dawn is an Army Brat who married a Marine and has four energetic kids that keep them very busy. The family officially became part of the disability world when their youngest child stopped speaking at 15 months. Their pediatrician immediately became concerned and encouraged them to start Early Intervention. The Speech Therapist realized after a few visits that Dawn's son could be eligible for the Medicaid wavier and put her family in touch with a mom who helped guide parents through the Medicaid wavier process. Dawn and her family will forever be grateful for the kindness this mom showed them in guiding them into this new world.
Dawn has her Bachelor's in Social Work and her Master's in Human Resource Management and Instructional Design. She brings many years of HR and recruiting experience to Moms In Motion. As the Recruiting Specialist, she strives to hire exceptional individuals to join this amazing team.
Candi is a proud mother of three children and lives in rural Southwest Virginia with her husband of thirteen years. Candi’s oldest son, Cole, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at the age of two. Her journey into the world of special needs began long before his actual diagnosis. She has been an advocate for Cole since he was born in July of 2006. She knows personally how difficult it can be to navigate through the system to obtain necessary services.
Candi graduated from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in 2005 with a Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration. She is excited to bring her personal experience and professional knowledge to help other families through the process while achieving successful outcomes. She considers it a privilege to be a part of Moms In Motion!
Sarah lives in northern Virginia and is happily married to the love of her life. She graduated from George Mason University in 2013, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree. Since she was a child, Sarah has had an affinity for technology. She is a fast learner and always eager to learn new things. She will go many lengths to accomplish her goals and enjoys working on challenging tasks.
Sarah has learned so much through Moms In Motion and she looks forward to what the future has in store. She feels so blessed for the opportunity to give back to the community and help those in need.