Board Of Directors
Founding Board Members
Autism Rescue Angels was formed in 2014, with founding board members Leslie Mogile, Martha Rivera, Jenny Thompson, Penelope Khuri, Lisa Graham-Garza, Elaine Turner and Jim Turner.
Current Board Of Directors
Dr. Lisa Graham-Garza is a graduate of Texas A&M University and the UT-Dental Branch and is married to Dr. Rick Garza who is also a dentist and is a specialist in Endodontics and owner of Katy Endodontic Associates.
Lisa received her Doctor of Dental surgery degree in 1998 and enjoyed being part of a group practice until 2010.
At that time it became necessary for her to take time off from dentistry to be able to meet the needs of her two sons, both with special needs. Her younger and more severe son was diagnosed with autism in 2004 at the age of 20 months. Her older son had delays as well and was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia and ADD and currently attends the Briarwood school.
For the last decade, Lisa has volunteered to assist other autism families with the knowledge she has learned navigating the school system, therapies and other medical resources available for those on the autism spectrum.
What became apparent to her very quickly was the enormous financial burden a diagnosis of autism brings on a family. Her dream to be able to provide a source of financial assistance to help these autism families was realized with the creation of Autism Rescue Angels.
“Together, we can greatly improve the lives of autism families and help prepare those with autism to be contributing members of our local community.”
Jennifer Jumonville Thompson is a graduate of University of Oklahoma. She received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She taught 3rd grade for eight years before moving into the Development Department for four years at St. Francis Episcopal Day School. Jenny went on to be the Development Director for The Westview School, which serves children on the autism spectrum.
She has a heart for the community and volunteering. Jenny also serves on the Camp Janus (Camp For All) board for children who suffer from burns on their body. Other community involvement includes Daughters of American Revolution (DAR) Member, Grace Bible Church, Junior League of Houston, Pi Beta Phi Alumni Association of Houston, South Africa, Mexico & Guatemala mission trip, University of Oklahoma Alumni Association of Houston.
Jenny has volunteered her time to many worthy causes including Memorial Herman Hospital – Kids Floors 7, 8, 9 & 10, Aids Foundation Houston – Saturday Stone Soup, Camp John Marc – Children’s Heart Camp & Upper Limb Differences Counselor, Camp for All – Children’s Burn Camp Counselor – Camp Janus, Children’s Museum Family Night, Texas Children’s Hospital, YMCA Camp Rainbow – Diabetes Day Camp Counselor.
Autism Rescue Angels is so fortunate to have Jenny provide her extensive knowledge and expertise on fundraising and non-profits and although she is not a special needs parent herself has devoted her time and talents to those who will benefit most.
“I am honored to serve and be a part of this board. Autism Rescue Angels is special to me because these women/friends showed me how to be people for others, overcome struggle, hardship and to live life faithfully and honestly no matter what your circumstances may be.”
Leslie Mogil is the mother of three children one of whom is 12 and has autism. Since her oldest son’s diagnosis with autism at the age of two, she and her husband Todd have been non-stop crusaders and volunteers in autism causes.
Leslie received her BA from the University of Texas at Austin and M.Ed. in early childhood education from the University of Houston. She currently is the president of the parent group at the Westview school.
Leslie had taught both kindergarten and pre-k, taught undergraduate classes in assessment in the education department at the University of Houston, and is working on her doctorate in education.
As a parent who has experienced the overwhelming emotions and expense an autism diagnosis brings on a family, she is passionate about being part of Autism Rescue Angels and helping other families who are struggling.
Martha Rivera holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Texas A&M University, a Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction-Reading Studies from the University of Houston – Victoria, and a Masters in Communication Disorder from Texas Woman’s University.
She has been a bilingual classroom teacher in grades PK, K, 1, 2, and a Reading Recovery Teacher in several school districts within the Houston area.
As a teacher she has seen the differences of each child. “As educators it is our job to take the strengths of each child and use their strengths to maximize their learning capacity.”
As a speech pathologist, Martha has the training and knowledge to identify and work with the individual’s strengths and weaknesses to function in the world around them.
Her personal and professional experiences have become the driving force in her belief that education, diagnosis and support of the families are the keys to helping children with communication disorders and their families experience a happy and joyful life.
Autism Rescue Angels is honored to have a professional such as Martha serve on our board.
Leah Bennett was appointed President of Westwood Trust, Houston in March 2018. Prior to joining Westwood in 2016, Ms. Bennett was Co-Chief Investment Officer at South Texas Money Management, where she shared responsibility for overseeing the investment strategies of the firm. Prior to that, she was a Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at King Investment Advisors, Inc. and a Research Analyst for Capital Research & Management.
In June of 2017, Ms. Bennett was elected to the CFA Global Board of Governors, where she serves on the Audit and Risk Committee. She is a former President and Director of CFA Society Houston and is a Co-Founder of the CFA Women in Investment Management initiative and the CFA Institute Global Research Challenge of the Southwest.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, on the Wright Fund Oversight Board at Rice University and on the Advisory Council of Executives (ACEs) at the Bill Greehey School of Business at St. Mary’s University. Ms. Bennett earned her Bachelor of Science in economics from Texas A&M University.
Lorien Martinez attended Texas A&M University and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Science. She then went on to attend nursing school at UTMB in Galveston, graduating in 1998.
She worked at Texas Children’s Hospital in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Diagnostic Imaging from 1998-2008. In 2008, she started school nursing in Katy ISD. She is currently the school nurse at Williams Elementary. She has worked on several campuses with autism programs and loves working with these students.
She married Mario Martinez in 1999 and they have two children, Evan and Sophia. She knows that having a child on the autism spectrum can be challenging and costly. Her son Evan was diagnosed with HFA (high functioning autism). He has attended years of social skills groups and speech therapy and today is a well-adjusted young man in high school looking forward to what the future holds. Lorien was very humbled to be asked to be on the Advisory Board of Autism Rescue Angels.
Cynthia Reece has been the president of Katy Autism Support, a non-profit organization since 2011 and an Autism Rescue Angels advisory board member since 2015. Cynthia has a son with an autism spectrum disorder who was diagnosed in 2003, now a young man transitioning to adulthood. He has graduated high school, is employed and is continuing his educational goals.
Cynthia is originally from Santa Cruz, California where she attended Cabrillo College majoring in Liberal Arts and moved to Houston, Texas more than 25 years ago to work for Cardinal Health, a Fortune 19 company in the contract pharmacy management services field.