MassFamilies Staff

Get to know our team

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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