Division 3: West Central Virginia
Brett is the father of two amazing children. The oldest, remains nonverbal due to autism. The youngest talks enough for both children combined. Brett learned to advocate for his son after first seeing the necessity for it in the school system and seeking the mentorship of others. He began seeking out parents of children with similar needs in order to offer them assistance in advocating for their own children creating a network. He shares his own family’s story as a form of advocacy through social networking where he applies his belief that his sense of humor about himself can occasionally be an advocacy tool.
Brett is a very active community member and advocate. Brett became involved in his local Special Education Advisory Committee after being told of its existence while attempting to start such a thing. Brett assumed the roles of child care coordinator and mentorship/advocacy coordinator. The mentorship/advocacy program continues to operate independently of the SEAC. He is also a member of Shenandoah Valley Autism Partnership (SVAP) and Community of Professionals in Autism. Brett also networks with the ARCs of both Augusta and Rockingham counties. Brett continues to expand his knowledge base by attending workshops such as; Wrightslaw advocacy training, VCU’s Parent Navigator Program, and VB-MAPP assessment seminars.
Brett has taken his advocacy skills to the capital where he has addressed his Delegate and Senator at local meetings on budgetary and disabilities issues. He continues to travel to Richmond to stand with other citizens for the chance to lobby Virginia General Assembly members. Brett has been quoted as an advocate and parent in the Staunton Newsleader and the Washington Post. He has also appeared on local news channels.
It was at an SVAP sponsored Medicaid Waiver training from Moms In Motion that Brett first heard about the EDCD Waiver. As with all resources that could benefit others, he eagerly spreads the word and shares his knowledge on this subject. Brett considers himself blessed by each and every one of his clients from young to old and considers them all to be personal heroes.
Marcie is the proud mother of four children. She is a veteran of the U.S. Army and has been working in the mental health field for eleven years. Marcie has worked as an ID Support Coordinator for Rockbridge Area Community Services in the past. She has also worked at two residential facilities specializing in treatment for those with mental disabilities.
Marcie enjoys being an advocate for those in need, as well as making sure everyone has the best care available. She believes in supporting the families too, as it can sometimes be difficult to understand all outlets and help that can be received.
Marcie enjoys teaching children's church at her local church. She also enjoys volunteering her time to community programs that help families who are less fortunate.
Sandi has been involved in helping since she began volunteering with Big Brothers/Big Sisters at age 13. She worked summers for the ARC and, as an adult, owned and operated a non-conventional preschool for special needs kids in the neighborhood. She volunteered for several years in the hearing impaired classroom to keep up her skills while working one on one with students who needed extra support.
Sandi is the mother of two grown children and has been married 29 years. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, hiking, crafts and traveling. Her education includes an associate’s degree in education, various credits at JMU, and the completion of an autism spectrum disorders program.
Melynda comes to Moms In Motion from several different perspectives. She is the mother of two grown children. When they were younger, she was actively involved in their school and community activities. More recently she was a driver for special education students in Augusta County, ensuring their safety and wellbeing both to and from school. She has also worked as a sales representative for a promotional needs company which offers her a unique insight into the corporate world.
Melynda is so excited to continue helping her community through Moms In Motion by using her combined knowledge of the waiver system and its processes.
Mary has experience working in a community oncology center and has worked there for over ten years. She has had the opportunity to care for some amazing patients and gotten to know them and their families
on a personal basis. With this experience, Mary looks forward to being able to help families within her
community to ensure they are getting the best resources possible. She thinks it's truly wonderful that she can help families through Moms In Motion.
Maria has worked in the mental health field since she moved to Staunton from Puerto Rico in 2008. In the past, she has served as a missionary in several countries in South and Central America. She has used her compassionate nature to advocate for the Hispanic community in the Shenandoah Valley working as a Spanish Interpreter for several agencies, such as Social Services, CPS, APS and DARS.
Maria obtained a BA in Art from Seton Hill College in PA. She has worked as an Art Program Coordinator at Woodrow Wilson Rehab center in Fishersville , VA, which gave her a hands-on experience in Recreational Therapy and Art Therapy. She has also worked as an Employment Consultant and Job Site Coordinator for Career Support Systems providing supportive employment for individuals with disabilities. Maria has a servant heart and enjoys providing support to those who are in need.
Chastity previously worked as a driver for Augusta County for fourteen years transporting children with special needs to and from school. She developed special bonds between the children she transported, as well as with their parents. She was always encouraged when she saw the great progress they made from year to year - and even day to day.
Chastity looks forward to meeting and helping new people through her work with Moms In Motion and couldn't be happier to continue helping her community.
Andrea is the parent of three children, two with multiple disabilities. Andrea’s journey to advocacy began with the birth of her second child. From the beginning, Andrea recognized that she would have to be an advocate for her child in all areas including education, healthcare, direct services, and mental healthcare. She has fought to keep her child eligible for waiver services and direct care services, despite numerous challenges. Andrea’s proudest moment was seeing her child walk and talk despite what doctors had projected.
Andrea brings over 25 years of disability and social justice advocacy to Moms In Motion. As a former parent advocate for families of children with disabilities, Andrea was trained as an IEP specialist through Wrightslaw. She has also worked with Easter Seals, The Arc, Pilot Parent, Parent Navigator, and Parent2Parent programs in Texas, Washington, Nevada, and Virginia.
Andrea continues to work in her local community as a Diversity and Inclusion advocate. Her work has taken her on travels throughout Virginia to speak publicly, mentor others, and to provide support to those in need. Using her personal experience to share the realities of raising children with disabilities, Andrea has been able to speak to lawmakers at the state and national level. Having the opportunity to share her experience and knowledge with others is a gift that she looks forward to passing on.
Anne is the mother of three children ranging from age 11 to 21 years of age. She is no stranger to working with persons with disabilities, and currently works with children who are learning to live with multiple disabilities in community settings. In the past, Anne has worked with adolescents of varying abilities experiencing psychiatric crisis. Anne hopes to improve the lives of others one family at a time, using her past and current experience in the field.
Maria has worked in the mental health field since 2004. She has worked in different positions in those years, but has maintained an affinity for helping those who cannot help themselves. She has used her inquisitive and compassionate nature to educate individuals on their rights and available services, thus enabling people to live the best life possible. She has experience in supported employment, group therapy, recreational therapy, as well as extensive experience dealing with mentally ill children in crisis. She is very excited to coordinate with Moms In Motion to ensure that individuals receive the best service facilitation available. She is self-motivated to empower those with disabilities to thrive.
Heather lives in Waynesboro with her husband and three children. Her oldest daughter was born with agenesis of the corpus callosum which has led to numerous disabilities. Ever since her daughter's diagnosis, Heather has become passionate about children with special needs. She has learned so incredibly much from her daughter through the years. It is because of her that she decided to leave her full-time job to become a stay at home daycare provider, which she has been doing for the past six and a half years.
Heather enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading, knitting, cooking, and camping.
Suzanne moved to Amherst, VA in 2000 after finishing her PhD in cell biology at the University of California at Davis. For her very first job, she worked as a biology professor at Sweet Briar College. She has also worked as a researcher, as well as a diagnostic lab technician.
In the Fall of 2016, Suzanne's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and Suzanne decided that the best step for her family was for her to leave her full-time job as a scientist, so that she could be available to care for her mother. Suzanne is dedicated, not only to the well being of her mother, but also to the well being of all elders who might not otherwise have an advocate.
Suzanne's hobbies include horseback riding, cooking, and gardening. She enjoys sharing these activities as best as she can with her mother, as her mother is the one who taught Suzanne to have a great passion for enjoying life to its fullest.