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Contact us at 1.800.9.AUTISM

our constituency board

 

Jairo Arana is a resident of Miami-Dade County and began his journey as a self-advocate after receiving his diagnosis and participating in UM-NSU CARD’s Job SEEKers Program. He participated and graduated from the UM Mailman Center for Child Development Project SALT (Self-Advocate Leadership Training) Program. After graduating, he became a trainer for Project SALT and a consultant for the UM Mailman Center for Child Development. He was also the UM Mailman Center for Child Development’s first LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) Self-advocate trainee. He holds Bachelor’s Degrees of Arts and Science in Communication/Motion Pictures and in English/Creative Writing, from UM and works fulltime at the UM Mailman Center as a Clinical Program Coordinator.

Leandro Beer, (Board Chair) and his family have been clients of CARD since 2011, when his son was diagnosed with ASD. Leandro has been very active in CARD and the autism community and has served on the Tropical Nights' planning committee since 2015. He also serves on the School Board at his son's school, The Tikvah Center at The Gordon School. Mr. Beer is an entrepreneur in the area of Online Education for Hospitality and Tourism and has extensive experience in the Digital Economy. He graduated with a BA in International Business, earned an MBA from Erasmus University and received a second Master's degree from ESIC in Madrid. 

Mercy Cañas, (Board Secretary) the mother of a child with autism, has long been active in the Miami-Dade autism community. As a parent volunteer, she was actively involved as Blue Lakes Elementary from 2007 to 2015. Mercy was instrumental in building a playground with partial cover for special needs students and she’s been a regular organizer of class events and field trips. Each year, she is part of the Autism Speaks Walk Committee, for which she handles organizational and financial duties. Mercy has served on our Tropical Nights' Committee for the past 3 years and has been very involved with the auction. She is employed as a Logistics and Customer Service Coordinator of Exports for a South Miami company.

Julliana Carranza, a resident of Broward County, is the proud mother of a teenager on the autism spectrum. She and her family currently live in the Pompano Beach and have been clients of CARD since 2008. Julliana and her family are active in their community promoting autism awareness and autism acceptance by keeping their son involved in different activities such as religious education, self-advocacy, community involvement, arts, etc. Julliana previously served as an Autism Ambassador for the Autism Society of Broward County. Besides being a very active mom, she works in banking and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management from the Universidad San Martin de Porres in Lima, Peru.

Kitty Dumas, (Board Vice Chair) is manager of the Ryder Charitable Foundation, which oversees global corporate giving at Ryder System, Inc. She is also a writer who has focused on highlighting issues impacting the autism community. In addition, she previously worked as a communications consultant, specializing in content and media strategy for corporations, government entities, and not-for-profits including Baptist Health South Florida and Ryder. Her son Connor, a college junior, is on the autism spectrum and has been an advocate for people with autism.

Kenneth Duvall, a resident of Miami-Dade County, is an attorney at the Miami law firm of Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP. Ken practices commercial litigation and has been named to the Super Lawyers Rising Stars List for several years. He and his spouse Kelly, who is a former teacher and is an active member of The Junior League of Miami, have one child. The Duvall family has received services from CARD since 2018, and both Ken and Kelly enjoy attending the parent support groups.

Pastor Fuster Jr, a resident of Miami-Dade County, has been a UM-NSU CARD constituent since 2018, a supporter of Tropical Nights, and a frequent attendee at the ‘Just for Dads’ support group. A proud father of two beautiful children, Joshua and Natalia. He and his wife, Adriana, received Joshua’s diagnosis of ASD in the summer of 2017 (he was 3 years old). Pastor is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Practitioner and practices at his own firm in the Miami Lakes area. He focuses on retirement planning, estate planning, investments, and insurance. Pastor is pursuing the Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC) designation to help families navigate the complexities of financial planning for individuals with special needs. Pastor is a part of the Miami Lakes Chamber of Commerce, has served as Director in various organizations within the church community, and was recognized by FIU with a Medal of Distinction for his civic engagement.

Pablo Garfunkel is a resident of Miami-Dade County, married to Sharon, and father to Ethan and Yonathan, twin boys diagnosed at 2.5 years of age with PDD-NOS. The boys have been progressing through different special education placements, all within Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Pablo grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina and immigrated to Israel at the age of 14. In 2007, he relocated with his wife and children to Aventura where he has since resided. Pablo works as Manager of Sales Operations at Kaseya, a software company based in Brickell, where he governs the commercial and technical compliance of the company's sales and manages its sales compensation planning. He has extensive background in sales operations, planning, and project management and over 15 years' experience in the telecom industry during which he has worked extensively with customers throughout most of the Americas and Europe. Pablo is fluent in Spanish, Hebrew, and English.

Lorraine Grobarek, is a full-time mom of a flourishing 12 year-old on the autism spectrum. Lorraine is active in CARD’s local parent support group and co-administrator of the Key West ASD Facebook page.  She currently serves as president of the PTO at The Basilica School of Key West and previously was president of the School Advisory Council at Gerald Adams Elementary. Lorraine has spent countless hours as a classroom volunteer helping ESE students. Her previous work experience includes National Sales Manager with a Fortune 500 company. Currently, Lorraine is dedicated to seeing her son and others on the autism spectrum achieve their maximum potential in life. 

Ysela Heim, founder of Special Education Advocacy Services, LLC, has been a tireless advocate for students with disabilities in South Florida for over 16 years. Ysela has always been a supporter of UM-NSU CARD and serves many of our families in need of first-rate advocacy services. In addition to her professional advocacy work, Ysela is a former Chairperson and member of the UM-NSU CARD Constituency Board and has also chaired Tropical Nights and Autumn Moonlight. In addition, through the years, Ysela has served as a past board member and co-chair for NAAR, Autism Speaks, Autism Society of Broward County, and SFACS. She has served as PTO/PTA President for the Baudhuin School and SFACS. Proud mother of 3, her 19-year old son Chandler was diagnosed at the age of 2 with Autism and at the age of 16 with Epilepsy. In addition to all her work in the community, she is a community philanthropist and supports various organizations. Ysela is excited to be back and looking forward to work alongside this amazing board. 

Ted Miller is the father of a 5-year-old son with autism, diagnosed in April 2019 at the University of Miami Autism Assessment Clinic (ASAC), and is a current client of CARD. Ted and his wife Chrissy have been active in their support of CARD and recently graduated from the PCIT study. Ted is a PR and social media executive that currently consults for technology and cruise industry clients. He worked previously at Royal Caribbean, as Associated Vice President of Public Relations and Social Media and spent 8 years on the senior PR team at Apple working on global product launches and key initiatives in health and accessibility. Ted has been instrumental in securing high-visibility media opportunities for CARD’s Autism Friendly initiative and brings his wealth of communications experience to the Board for on-going efforts to raise awareness for the organization, its programs, and its partners.

Hilda Mitraniis a marketing communications consultant specializing in healthcare, advocacy, and community engagement. Her son, David, is a student in culinary arts. David was diagnosed with autism at age two. Her daughter, Andrea, is a doctoral student in occupational therapy. They reside in Hollywood, Florida.

Melinda Mizrachi, resident of Miami-Dade County, has been a CARD member since 2005 and a Board Member since 2015. She currently serves as the Constituency Board Secretary. Previously, she served as a treasurer for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. After having her son and finding out about his autism diagnosis, she became his full time teacher, mentor, caregiver, supporter, motivator and most importantly his ambassador of making those aware and accepting of him.

Mathew Ryan Morin, resident of Broward County, has been a CARD member since 2001. Growing up with PDD-NOS, Chronic Motor Tic Disorder and ADD, Mathew has overcome various obstacles in his life. Mathew has been hard at work building an online network of valuable resources for parents, caregivers, educators, and individuals like myself on the autism spectrum.

Haley Moss, has been part of the CARD family since 1997, when she was first diagnosed with autism at 3 years old. Haley has been actively involved in the autism community and is the author of two books geared towards helping middle school students and college students on the autism spectrum. She has also written about her experiences and autism for Huffington Post, The Mighty, Elite Daily, and other publications. Haley also enjoys drawing and painting and using her artwork as a way to give back to the disability community. She recently graduated from the University of Miami School of Law, and resides in Coral Gables, Florida.  

Blake Sandois the proud father along with his wife Jennifer of three wonderful children, Lizzie, Blake Jr., and Teddy, who happen to have Autism.   Blake and Jennifer have been constituents and supporters of the UM-NSU CARD Family since Lizzie was first diagnosed in 2008.  Blake and Jennifer were the past chairs of the UM-NSU CARD Tropical Nights Gala in 2016. Blake has been a litigator since 2004 at the Miami law firm of Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A., where he practices professional malpractice defense. He has served as the former President of the Coral Gables Bar Association, the Chair of the City of Coral Gables Advisory Board for Disability Affairs, and on the Parish Council for The Church of the Little Flower.

Laura Weinkle, a resident of Broward County, is an educational consultant, global field supervisor, and director of global recruitment for School Choice International, which provides school placement for worldwide relocating families. Her family has participated and appreciated UM CARD since its earliest days (1997) to source best options and therapies for their son, Max. Laura attended Tulane University and received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications. She has been active in her community by helping other special needs families with their personal challenges and educational options.

Hermine Wilson, resident of Miami-Dade County, has received services from CARD since 2008. Previously, she served two terms as Chair of the Children's Medical Service's Family Advisory Board and as a March of Dimes Ambassador. She is a zealous advocate for her nine year-old son, who is on the autism spectrum. Hermine successfully collaborates with community partners to ensure her son's inclusion, and that he accesses the highest quality education.

 

 

 

 

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Newsletter Archives

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EVENTS

08.17.20
Surviving & Thriving

Parents, caretakers, teachers, and therapy providers - drop in for a weekly chat with your UM-NSU CA... More

08.18.20
Move Along with UM-NSU CARD

This group will incorporate fitness & nutrition tips along with resources to stay active & create he... More

08.18.20
IEP at Home

This 3-part mini-series serves as a follow-up to "Easy as IEP" although not a requirement. Each of t... More


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