I was born in New Orleans, La. I attended Loyola University in New Orleans. I have lived in St. Tammany Parish for approximately 22 years. My husband, Jeff and I have been married for 15 years. I have two sons. Robert, 27, a graduate of LSU and Ethan, who is 12 yrs old and in the seventh grade. I worked in the health field for 25 years, 15 of which was primarily in Medical Management. I am now a full-time wife and mom. I actively volunteer at Ethan’s school and have also donated time to SOAR (Strengthening Outcomes of Autism Resources) and The Blood Center of La. as well as reaching out to the community to secure donations for various fundraising events in St Tammany Parish.
Ethan was diagnosed with Autism along with other co-morbidities in 2011. In 2012, I became a graduate of Partners in Policymaking, a national leadership training program for people with developmental disabilities and parents of young children also with developmental disabilities. It provides the most current knowledge about disability issues and develops the competencies necessary for effective advocacy to influence public policy at all levels of government.
I am a member of LaCAN (Louisiana Council’s Advocacy Network) who provides information and support to individuals wishing to effectively advocate for systems change in the areas of home and community-based services, education, and employment. We hold Disability Rally’s on the Capitol steps and also communicate with state agency officials, legislators or the Governor if necessary throughout the year and during crucial legislative sessions where our testimonies are heard.
I am also a member of the Exchange Club of West St Tammany (whose platform is Child Abuse Prevention) and was recognized as the New Member of the Year for 2015 for Outstanding service. With the help of the Exchange Club, I brought the Buddy Bench Initiative to the St Tammany Parish Public School system providing 60 buddy benches throughout the elementary and middle schools and was awarded the 2015 Superintendents Award for Outstanding Character and Citizenship. In January 2016, I was also awarded a Certificate of Recognition from our Parish President, Pat Brister and the St. Tammany Parish Council for my contribution to the implementation of the Buddy Bench program.
My passion is to advocate for all people with special abilities by educating others and spreading the message of inclusion and acceptance. NFHF has been an integral part of my journey beginning 6 years ago when Ethan was diagnosed. I am very happy to be a part of an organization that I believe is an invaluable asset to the community.