MassFamilies Staff

Get to know our team

Co-Executive Directors

Photo: Sherraine Glover Diaz

Sherraine Diaz

Phone:
508-510-0337

Email:
sherraine@massfamilies.org

Bio

Sherraine is a mother of three children – two girls, one boy that are both neurodiverse, neurotypical, and on the autism spectrum. Sherraine is originally from Trinidad and Tobago and currently resides on the south shore of Massachusetts. Sherraine is an individual and a parent with a disability.

Sherraine currently works for MassFamilies as a co-Executive Director. She is committed to helping families and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities also diagnosed with autism self-actualized by giving them the financial and leadership tools to imagine a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

In her spare time, Sherraine enjoys being a financial disability advocate, mediator and facilitator, and an educator of business strategies. Her background is grounded in 30 years of building non-profit infrastructures, financial education, and disability awareness. Over the course of her career, she has worked for and partnered with non-profit organizations, and government agencies in the service delivery of advancing more just, equitable and liberated financial individuals and communities. She is skilled at developing youth entrepreneurial programming, accounting information processes, designing dynamic people-centered financial practices, and advancing cultural systems-change.

She is a LEND Fellow and currently holds a graduate certificate in Disability and Health Policy. Sherraine is currently working on her master’s in public administration to be conferred in ‘22.

Photo: Rania Kelly, MFOFC board member

Rania Kelly

Email:
rania@massfamilies.org

Bio

MassFamilies has challenged me to imagine better, taught me how to advocate for my family, how to access resources to support my family, and pushed me to dream big for my little guy. I am passionate about disability and chronic illness rights, as well as architectural/design accessibility (physical, intellectual, sensory).

I am new to the word of nonprofits but believe that my 20-years of professional experience in the private sector (specifically architecture, engineering, and marketing) brings valuable skills to the board and organization.

Currently I serve on the Commission of Disability in my town, completed The Commonwealth Seminar’s six-week program on legislative and state budget process for community leaders, and am enrolled in INP’s certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Tufts University.

I am inspired by the board’s talent, passion, and commitment, each bringing unique talent and skills. My colleagues have shown unwavering commitment to the families we serve, and the ability to rise to the challenge. It is an honor and pleasure to work beside them to help our families imagine better.

Statewide Coordinators

Photo: Ebony Flint, MFOFC board member

Ebony Flint

Outreach Coordinator

Email:
ebonyf@massfamilies.org

Bio
Ebony Flint teaches strategies to help others navigate and address mental health challenges. She is very passionate about this work, as a parent of a child with special needs and a person who has overcome traumatic experiences. Ebony is a Certified Peer Specialist, a Peer Group Facilitator for Alternatives to Suicide and Hearing Voices Network, and a Wellness Recovery Action Plan Facilitator for adults, young adults, and trauma survivors, working with populations both within the community and in hospital settings.  She is a graduate of Massachusetts Leadership Academy, which focuses on bridging the gaps between the mental health community and the disability community. Ebony has been a facilitator and trainer for Advocates, Inc., Central Mass Recovery Learning Community, and The Transformation Center.  She now works for Advocates, Inc as the Peer Program Coordinator for The Living Room. The Living Room is a 24 hour peer run crisis alternative located in Framingham, MA.

Photo: Keila Torres, MassFamilies Outreach Coordinator

Keila Torres

Outreach Coordinator

Email:
keila@massfamilies.org

Bio

My name is Keila Torres. I currently reside in Western Massachusetts. I’ve been a Special Education Advocate for over twelve years, focused on Autism, I/DD, and other areas. I studied Deaf Studies at Holyoke Community College and later expanded my studies to Associate of Arts with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. I recently joined MassFamilies as an Outreach Coordinator for Spanish-speaking families. I want to help families to find their voice in their community and advocate for changes that make them inclusive in services and support for their loved ones with disabilities. I am fortunate to have the support of my husband, my two sons, and my daughter, who have multiple (dis)-abilities. In my free time, I like to spend time with my family, listen to music, read and watch superheroes movies with them.

 

Mi nombre es Keila Torres. Actualmente resido en el oeste de Massachusetts. He sido defensora de la educación especial durante más de doce años, enfocado en el autismo, I / DD y otras áreas. Estudié Cultura y lenguaje de Sordos en Holyoke Community College y luego amplié mis estudios a Asociado en Artes con una concentración en Educación Infantil. Recientemente me uní a MassFamilies como coordinadora de alcance para familias de habla hispana. Quiero ayudar a las familias a encontrar su voz en su comunidad y abogar por cambios que las hagan inclusivas en los servicios y el apoyo para sus seres queridos con discapacidades. Tengo la fortuna de contar con el apoyo de mi esposo, mis dos hijos y mi hija, quienes tienen múltiples (dis)capacidades. En mi tiempo libre, me gusta pasar tiempo con mi familia, escuchar música, leer y ver películas de superhéroes con ellos.

Regional Coordinators

Regional Coordinators serve as volunteers on the Board of Directors and liaisons to the agencies that host the Family Leadership contracts in agreement with the Department of Developmental Services. Regional Coordinators and their respective Outreach Coordinators are responsible for facilitating training workshops and advocacy efforts within their respective regions.

Photo: Karen CLaudio, MassFamilies Southeast Regional Coordinator

Karen Claudio

Southeast Coordinator

Phone:
508-301-1753

Email:
karen@massfamilies.org

Bio

Karen is a graduate of the Family of the Leadership Series 2016-2017 class. During Karen’s series, she had a” light bulb” moment that allowed her to self-reflect and became self-aware of her own biases and barriers that were not allowing her child to fulfill her most tremendous potential. Subsequently, Karen immersed herself in professional development. Karen completed the Federation for Children with Special Needs Parent Consultant Training, became a SESP, passed the Council Of Parent Attorney and Advocates (COPAA) SEAT 2.0 Training, participated in Creating Our Commonwealth, now known as the Pathways to Friendship Initiative. Her passion for advocacy and desire to” never let a parent feel the way she did,” helpless, alone, overwhelmed, and isolated has driven her to re-establish the Taunton SEPAC in 2017 with another parent. She was Co-Chair for four years, leading to recognition from a local organization, Girls Inc. This Love of Life Award is given to individuals who commit to service and leadership in honor of Dr. Darlene Costa Brown. This drive, willingness to share, and speaking from the heart led Kathleen Amaral to ask Karen to join the S.E. Family Leadership Series as an outreach coordinator in 2018. She has recently stepped down from the role of Co-Chair to focus on her special education advocacy business and to allow other’s voices to lead the way.

 

Karen believes in welcoming everyone to the table and that all voices are influential. She enjoys being a conduit to knowledge, resources, and support that empowers family members and individuals. She attributes her ability to adapt to many personalities and situations to years of waiting tables and bartending. When asked “If a friend were to describe you, what would they say?” She responded with forthcoming, genuine, assertive, a good conversationalist, and someone who knows useless information.

Photo: Sue Crosby, MFOFC coordinator

Sue Crosby, MSW

West Coordinator

Phone:
413-782-2500 ext. 321

Email:
sue@massfamilies.org

Bio

I am a mother of two 18 year-old sons with autism, a former paraprofessional and parent advisory council member, and an active Parent/Caregiver Group member at the United ARC in Franklin County. I have also organized and attended numerous legislative events to discuss the needs of those impacted by developmental disabilities.

As a licensed social worker, I enjoy helping caregivers recognize their unique strengths, and discover ways to use them to help advocate for their families. I am always inspired by the spirit, resilience, and determination of parents and caregivers. I look forward to every opportunity to support and learn from them.

Lauri Medeiros

Metro – Boston Coordinator

Phone:
617-605-7404

Email:
lauri@massfamilies.org

Bio

I began my journey as an education, family and systems change advocate for children with disabilities and their families after attending the MFOFC Family Leadership Series in 1998. My real life journey continues to this day advocating for children with disabilities and their families to embrace, navigate, improve and integrate all systems including the educational, health care delivery and agency provider systems so that we can all work collaboratively toward a common goal. Equally important, I believe that the family’s voice should be heard and that the family’s expertise be valued and fully integrated in decision making at all levels including the level of care as well as in local, state and federal policy decisions. I believe that every child and their family should be able to live, play and easily access community, health care, family supports, a meaningful education and independent life options.

Photo: Haran Phaneuf, MFOFC coordinator

Haran Phaneuf

Central Coordinator

Email:
haran@massfamilies.org

Bio
I have always had a passion for education, empowerment, and advocacy. Before becoming MassFamilies’ Central Regional Coordinator, I worked in higher education for 15 years developing synergistic leadership programs for university honors students from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, I served for seven years on the National Honors Collegiate Council’s Education of the Gifted Committee promoting awareness within higher education about how to identify and educate gifted students with learning differences.

As an individual with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a parent of a child with autism (ASD), I know firsthand how important it is to connect with other families in order to cultivate a caring, informative, and responsive support system. As a past participant in the Family Leadership Series, I was inspired by hearing other families’ stories and motivated by our shared journey, igniting a desire to empower and support others navigating the challenges and complexities of having a special needs family member.

Photo: Maryann Welch

Maryann Welch

Northeast Regional Coordinator

Email:
maryann@massfamilies.org

Bio

I have a master’s degree in Literacy education and started teaching in 2003.  I’ve had the great opportunity to teach inclusion and special education in multiple states.  I have presented trainings on teaching, multiculturalism, and supported military families while living on the East Coast and Okinawa, Japan.

My passion for supporting and empowering individuals and families of individuals with disabilities grew when one of my sons was diagnosed at a very early age with autism and other complex needs.  I started my advocacy by pushing for inclusion and appropriate services for my child when I moved to Amesbury in 2012 and quickly expanded my advocacy to the local level.  I reinvigorated our dormant SEPAC, became the SEPAC Co-chair, then the SEPAC Advisor, and finally a School Committee member.  I continually support appropriate special education programming, vote for inclusive policies, and build support for the disabilities community.

I’m looking forward to sharing my passion on the state level and empowering families to do the same.  

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