About Autism Rescue Angels

APPROACH


Autism Rescue Angels is here to provide real help right now right here in Houston, Texas and the immediate surrounding areas.

We are keeping it local and our board consists entirely of special needs parents and a professional development director volunteering her time so we know the real struggles autism families face and how to best use the funds we raise.

We have very little overhead and intend to keep it that way so that more families can be helped.

There is a great deal of autism awareness out there and many providers of services in our area but the missing piece is how do families pay for the extremely expensive costs of caring for a loved one with autism?  We are here to make it possible for people with autism get the medical, therapeutic and respite help they need.

FOUNDER’S STORY


Lisa Graham-Garza and Penelope Khuri met in 2009 while their sons attended the Westview School, a private school for children with autism.  Like most autism moms do, they bonded instantly as special needs moms trying to care for their children. Lisa and Penny found a great source of strength and friendship in each other.

As a member of Katy Autism Support, Lisa counsels many newly diagnosed parents as well as parents new to town on the many therapy and educational resources available in the Houston area.

At the end of the conversation the question was always asked: but this is all so expensive how do I pay for it? How do I afford all this for my child especially since insurance does not cover very much with an autism diagnosis? The idea to connect these families struggling to afford the huge expenses of autism with those who could help was born.

While Penny’s son Gregory was in a public school special needs program, she saw many parents struggling to navigate the system, often without language skills, higher education or financial resources.  She often felt overwhelmed herself and wondered how other parents could afford services and get the help their children needed.

Later, at the Westview School, Lisa watched Penny successfully chair galas and coordinate large fundraisers. She knew who her partner in this adventure needed to be, and they began Autism Rescue Angels in the early spring of 2014.

Elaine and Jim Turner met Lisa and Penny shortly after the ladies began work on the nonprofit and they were excited to join the board as cofounders.

Being special-needs parents themselves, they understand the enormous costs a diagnosis of autism can bring on a family and they were eager to help.

Rounding out the founding board members are Jenny Jumonville Thompson, a former professional development director of a special-needs private school; Martha Rivera, a licensed speech pathologist, with experience with children with all types of disabilities; and Leslie Mogil, a former educator, community and school volunteer, and parent of a son with autism.

Autism parents are often described as warriors.Each day can bring new moments of great joy, great pain and it can be emotionally exhausting.

Our hope is that Autism Rescue Angels can provide relief and support for families coping with autism.