Tina Beauparlant is a Program Assistant and Educational Advocacy Specialist with the Capital District office of Parent to Parent of NYS.
As Technology Support Specialist, Sandra Bigelow helps Parent to Parent of NYS best utilize modern technology to carry out its mission. Sandy began her career with Parent to Parent in December 2000 and served as a regional coordinator for ten years. With an office in Canton, Sandy continues to assist the North Country Regional Coordinator in providing service to the St. Lawrence County area. Prior to working for Parent to Parent, Sandy created a newsletter for families raising prematurely born children which she published for five years. Sandy began learning about personal computers and using the internet while publishing the newsletter and quickly learned she had a natural ability for working with technology.
Valerie Colavecchio is a Regional Coordinator for Parent to Parent at the Long Island office located in Hauppauge, NY. Before joining the staff at Parent to Parent, her involvement in the disability and special needs community began several years ago, with the birth of her son. Valerie's son was born with a visual impairment and rare genetic disorder called Galactosemia. Having a child with special needs motivated Valerie to become involved with helping other parents in similar situations.
My name is Kerbanoo D'Rozario, my husband and I are the proud parents of a 23 year old son and an 18 year old daughter. I would like to share my experience of what brought me here today to be a part of Parent to Parent.
Mary Beth Fadelici is a Regional Coordinator and Medicaid Service Coordination Family Educator in the New York City office of Parent to Parent of NYS. She covers all five Boroughs and travels to speak to large and small groups. Mary Beth enjoys meeting and talking with people and feels comfortable in most situations. Without even realizing it, Mary Beth first began advocating for her own children at school and then for her nephews. Working for Parent to Parent of NYS has allowed Mary Beth to advocate and educate people in a way she had never imagined. Mary Beth feels that the best part of her job is not just having the correct information for a family, but to watch that family grow and discover their own advocacy skills.
Mary Beth and her husband live in Brooklyn where they have raised two children. She is most proud of her children as they are strong, independent and kind people, each employed and living on their own.
Maryalice Fegeley is a Regional Coordinator in the Staten Island office of Parent to Parent of NYS. Prior to her work with Parent to Parent – where she started in November 2009 – Maryalice worked in New York City in various fields, including a non-profit organization, an advertising agency and a financial services organization. Maryalice is currently a co-chair of the Staten Island Developmental Disability Council’s Education Committee and is on the Executive Board of the SIDDC.
E. Yvette James has joined the staff of Parent to Parent of New York State as Director of Programs. Yvette is a recent recipient of a Masters of Arts degree in Public and Social Policy from Empire State College/SUNY. Previous to her position with Parent to Parent, Yvette managed various anti-hunger initiatives including W.I.C. and SNAP outreach programs. She has five years’ experience in the emergency preparedness arena working for FEMA as well the American Red Cross. Additionally, she has ten years’ experience in working with adults with disabilities in residential settings. However it is her role as sister to a differently abled adult that attracted her to the Parent to Parent organization and its’ mission.
Michele Juda has been appointed Executive Director of Parent to Parent of NYS effective January 1, 2014. Employed by Parent to Parent of NYS since 2008, she was initially responsible for directing the work of the Family to Family Health Information Center prior to assuming the role of Director of Programs in 2013. As Executive Director Michele will be responsible for all program and operational functions, ensuring Parent to Parent of NYS is able to fulfill its mission of building a supportive network of families, reducing isolation and empowering those who care for people with developmental disabilities or special healthcare needs to navigate and influence service systems and make informed decisions.
Jacqui Liebman is the Regional Coordinator for the Finger Lakes office of Parent to Parent of New York. In this position, she provides support, information, and referrals to families of children with developmental disabilities and special healthcare needs in Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, Wayne, and Yates counties. As part of a family touched by developmental disabilities, Jacqui feels passionately about helping individuals with special needs and their families.
Sharon Marrella is the Regional Coordinator in the Southern Tier for Parent to Parent of NYS, a position she has held since September 2005. She became the Regional Program Manager for the Western NY Region (Western, Finger Lakes, North Central and Southern Tier) as of December 2014. Sharon believes she has a good working understanding of this organization since she worked her way through different facets and positions from her initial request to be matched with another parent to where she is today.
Ellen Mc Hugh has been employed by Parent to Parent of NY State since 1995. Parent to Parent of NY State’s New York City office began as a one person office in Brooklyn and has expanded to six employees in the NYC area. Our new offices are located at 25 Beaver Street, in downtown Manhattan.
Alissa Morris is a Regional Coordinator for Parent to Parent at the Long Island office located in Hauppauge, NY. In this position, she provides information, guidance, and support to families of children with developmental disabilities, drawing from her own experience as the mother of two boys with autism. Connecting with other special needs parents has gotten Alissa through the most difficult and isolating of times. These connections have opened up countless opportunities for her family, and have helped her learn how to be a strong advocate for her sons. She is thrilled to be able to connect fellow special needs moms and dads with the support and resources they need in her new position.
Dianne O’Connor came to the Capital Region office of Parent to Parent in October 2014. Prior to working with Parent to Parent, she worked for the NYS Research Foundation of Mental Hygiene at the NYS Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services implementing a sub-contract for SAMHSA on the Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). She is a certified FASD trainer through the Center for Disease Control and has been a national speaker and advocate for families who have loved ones with FASD. Over the years she has helped her children to also advocate for themselves and has brought them with her on many New York State and national speaking engagements. In 2005, Dianne received the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner’s Service Award for her work on FASD prevention. Dianne’s passion to help those with FASD and the families who love them has kept her going. She tells families, “Don’t stress if you don’t get it right or fall back on old parenting ways. It’s OK. Our loved ones have memory issue so you get a ‘do over’ to try it again.”
Lindsey Pensabene is a Regional Coordinator in the Capital District office of Parent to Parent NYS. Lindsey holds degrees in both Business Administration and Culinary Arts, and is a parent to two young children. Lindsey has a passion and thirst for knowledge about developmental disabilities, with the purpose of helping other families to become greater advocates for their children. Lindsey feels strongly that knowledge is power. She believes that given proper support, parents of children with special needs can present the best version of themselves to the world. Lindsey feels that being a part of the community of special needs parents has been essential to her family’s well-being throughout their journey.
Lin Perry is the Regional Coordinator for Parent to Parent of NYS in the South Central Regional Office located in Vestal, NY. Lin holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Binghamton University, a BA in Economics from SUNY Cortland and an AS in Business Administration from Broome Community College. Prior to becoming a parent, Lin enjoyed a career in public and private Finance. Lin is a problem solver and enjoys helping people navigate complex systems. Having children with special needs has led her to use her skills on a different career pathway.
Tanja Peters is the Housing Coordinator and the WNY Regional Coordinator for Parent to Parent of NYS. She has 20 years of experience working in all types of certified residential sites for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). She is a mother of two and her daughter has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Tanja has a Bachelor in Business Administration, is a Graduate of Partners in Policymaking and is in the 2013/14 Family Scholar Program through the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP).
Gwen Riker is the Regional Coordinator for Parent to Parent of NYS in the South Central Regional Office located in Vestal, NY. Gwen holds an AS in Applied Science, MLT. Currently Gwen is working towards her goal of dual Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology. Prior to becoming a parent, Gwen enjoyed a career for over 10 years in human and veterinary medicine as a Medical Laboratory Technician. Gwen is a doer and a problem solver and enjoys helping people navigate complex systems. Having a child with special needs has led her to use her skills on a different career pathway.
Silvia Verga is a Regional Coordinator for Parent to Parent of NYS who is passionate to advocate for special needs families. She has earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Psychology from Nyack College and her Master’s degree in Human Services from Liberty University. Silvia has done many researches on autism and related disabilities during her academic career. As a behavior specialist and a fervent advocate for inclusion, she is always encountering families who need support and help to navigate the special education system. She was drawn to Parent to Parent due to her prior experience volunteering and advocating for special needs families.
Trish Washburn is an Education Advocate with the Capital District Office of Parent to Parent of NYS. Prior to working with Parent to Parent of NYS, she worked at the Capital Region Child and Adolescent Mobile Crisis Team. Trish has a son and a daughter on the autistic spectrum. She is very passionate about helping parents with a children with various types of disabilities. Her motto is “Knowledge is Power.”