MFOFC Staff

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: Haran Phaneuf, MFOFC coordinator

Haran Phaneuf

Central Coordinator

Phone:
508-918-4059

Email:
hphaneuf@hmea.org

Bio
I have always had a passion for education, empowerment, and advocacy. Before becoming MFOFC’s 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. Currently, I oversee HMEA’s Family Leadership Program in Central Massachusetts and I am also the president of my local Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC).

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: Laurie Madeiros, MFOFC coordinator

Lauri Medeiros

Metro – Boston Coordinator

Phone:
617-605-7404

Email:
rjmede@aol.com

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: O. Sophia Johannson, MFOFC coordinator

O. Sophia Johansson

Northeast Coordinator

Phone:
617-935-2264

Email:
o.sophia.johansson@gmail.com

Bio
I first connected with Mass Families in 2013 when I attended the Family Leadership Series. I entered as an economically vulnerable single parent to a young child who had recently been diagnosed with a developmental disability. Two years later, I was happily partnered and welcoming the birth of my second child — and rolling out the inaugural round of Advocacy Bootcamp! The family and life I have now is a direct result of the visioning process I underwent through the Family Leadership Series. In my role as Board Chair (hopefully soon to be accompanied by a co-chair!) and Northeast Regional Coordinator, I am in the position to empower other families to articulate and realize their own visions. I bring to this work my life experience as both the child and parent to an individual with disabilities, a passion for social justice, and a talent for bringing people together to accomplish individual and shared goals.

Photo: Kathleen Amaral, MFOFC Regional Coordinator

Kathleen Amaral

Southeast Coordinator

Phone:
508-999-4436

Email:
kathleenamaral@nemasketgroup.org

Bio
Kathleen is a 2008 graduate of the Southeast Family Leadership Series. She lives with her family in Dartmouth and is the proud mom to Emma, Liam and Mae. Her passion for advocacy and supporting families began in 2005, when her son received a rare diagnosis of Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation. Navigating life for him, and his complex needs, ignited her passion for assisting families who find themselves on a similar journey. She instinctively held a vision for her son to live a life as natural and typical as his sisters, and it was her experience in the Family Leadership Series that added a level of credibility to her vision.

In addition to her role as Southeast Regional Coordinator, she works to support families eligible for DDS in the greater New Bedford area. Kathleen remains current on disability initiatives by attended trainings, conferences, workshops and professional development courses on a large variety of topics offered within.

When she’s not working, or spending time with her family, watching sports or other recreational activities; she enjoys serving her community and being a part of effecting positive change locally. For several years Kathleen has been a Dartmouth town meeting member, and held a seat on her local Disability Commission. She’s volunteered her time on school council boards, chaired the Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). She currently holds a seat on the Dartmouth School Committee. Statewide, she was appointed as a citizen member of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) in 2015, where she’s able to contribute to addressing the most important issues affecting people with developmental disabilities.

Kathleen is committed to continuing the effort in the Southeast Region to provide sustained advocacy and leadership training in pursuit of high quality, individualized community support and service options, including family support, for people with disabilities and their families

Photo: Sue Crosby, MFOFC coordinator

Sue Crosby, MSW

West Coordinator

Phone:
413-782-2500 ext. 321

Email:
susancrosby@mcsnet.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.

Photo: Mandee Spittle, MFOFC Statewide Coordinator

Mandee Spittle

Statewide Coordinator

Phone: 774-855-6001

Email:
mfofc@mfofc.org

Bio
Mandee Spittle is the mom of two amazing and fierce twin girls – Emma and Sophia – who have kept her very busy for the past four years!

As a classically trained psychotherapist, Mandee worked for many years in mental health as a school counselor and an emergency room psychiatric clinician at NSMC Salem Hospital before coming to MFOFC. Mandee been advocating for people for more than 20 years and is passionate about helping people.

Her eldest twin, Emma, was born with Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome). The girls were born significantly prematurely and Mandee had to leave work to care for them. Throughout the first two years of the girls’ lives, Mandee came across MFOFC and the valuable work they do. Between MFOFC’s philosophy, mission and Mandee’s strong background in advocacy, it was clear there was a mutual match and she was hired in October 2015 as the Statewide Coordinator.

Mandee resides in Salem with her twins, her husband, Jeremy, and dog, Flynn!

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