Parent to Parent of New York State Staff Members

Mariela Adams

Parent Group Facilitator

[email protected]

Mariela Adams is a former Regional Coordinator for Parent to Parent of NYS. She is a 2018 graduate of the LEND program and a parent of a young man with severe non-verbal Autism. She is a passionate advocate for her son and has dedicated much of her professional life to empowering families to reach a better quality of life through education, self-advocacy and parent to parent support.

Tina Beauparlant

Regional Manager and Education Specialist

[email protected]
(518) 381-4350

Tina Beauparlant has 34 years of experience working with families of children with special needs and the professionals who serve them.

She is a parent of a 35 year old son, who has a diagnosis of Down Syndrome.  

She realizes upon her personal experiences and the knowledge she has gained over the years while navigating the special education system in NYS and the OPWDD adult systems to connect with and provide assistance to parents and professionals.

Tina began her vocation in the field of Educational Advocacy after her son, David, was born with Down Syndrome. When her son started in school there were few agencies to help her. She felt the world had moved her family aside and that they were all alone. She was told by a friend to call Parent to Parent of NYS. When she called she found a kind voice on the other end of the phone that said YOU ARE NOT ALONE. WE ARE HERE TO HELP! Tina has a true passion for what she does and is committed to educating parents and professional to insure that ALL children with special needs receive “A Free and Appropriate Public Education.” Tina lives in Schenectady County with her husband Ronald and their two children David and Ronald II.

Christopher Brewster

Fatherhood Coordinator

[email protected]

Chris Brewster is the Fatherhood Engagement Coordinator for Parent to Parent of New York State, covering the entire state.  Chris has a BS degree in communications from Brockport State College and an AA in Liberal Arts from Corning Community College.  His background is in media, marketing and public relations.  Chris is the father of a son with Angelman Syndrome.  Raising a child with Angelman Syndrome prompted Chris to become more involved with families who have children with developmental delays and special health care needs.  Chris is married and also has a wonderful daughter and another wonderful son.

Valerie Colavecchio

Family Support Services Program Manager

[email protected]
631-434-6196 xt. 12

Valerie has worked for Parent to Parent for over 10 years, gaining experience first as a Regional Coordinator for our Long Island office, then as the Project Director for our Text4Caregivers initiative and now as the statewide Program Manager for Family Support Services. As the Program Manager for Family Support Services, her goals include helping our Regional Coordinators reach as many families as possible to provide resources, guidance and support. Valerie takes pride in helping parents, ensuring that every parent is heard, and understands they are not alone. As the Program Manager, she is passionate about advancing care and support for special needs families. Valerie knows that while the disability or special need may be different, the experiences are often very similar.

Valerie’s passion for connecting with special needs families started the birth of her son, who was born with a visual impairment, the genetic disorder galatosemia and later received an autism diagnosis. Having a child with both physical and developmental disabilities motivated her to get involved with her local special need community, to advocate for not only her child and herself, but all children and all families. Over the years Valerie has served on several boards that support children and adults with special needs and is actively involved with her son’s school district.  When Valerie isn’t busy working at Parent to Parent, you can find her spending time on the water with friends and family.

Angie Cuevas

Regional Coordinator

[email protected]

Angie Cuevas is the Regional Coordinator for the NYC office of Parent to Parent. Her journey into the special needs community began when her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. She has first-hand experience navigating large, complex organizations, including the NY State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), NYC Board of Education, and community programs to secure resources for her son to lead an independent, self-directed life. This life experience propelled her to coach parents and caregivers on how to advocate for their children with special needs.

Angie worked 10+ years in the hospitality industry in private events. She holds a BA, Fashion Merchandising from SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology. She hails from California. When she’s not advocating for parents, she can be found hiking in the great outdoors or relaxing beachside with family and friends. She currently resides in Queens with her husband and two children.

Dodie Daniels

Regional Coordinator

[email protected]
631-434-6196 ext 13

Dodie Daniels is a Regional Coordinator in our Long Island office. Dodie is always willing to speak to parents and enjoys offering help and support. For over 5 years Dodie volunteered as a support parent. Prior to her current role Dodie worked for Popearth, a non-profit organization which provides holistic programs for individuals with disabilities.

As a support parent and in her current position she uses her experience as the mom of two young Adults with Autism to provide support, guidance and information to parents. Being able to help other parents has been a passion of Dodie’s for years. Helping other parents get the support they need, find the information and resources to engage their children in the community and find programs their children can participate in and enjoy, has always been important to Dodie.

Dodie is an active member of the town of Brookhaven Disability Task Force
and continues to volunteer with Popearth and Rolling Thunder.

Dodie has a Master’s Degree in Education specializing in family and community service from Ashford University.

Maryalice Fegeley

Regional Manager

[email protected]

Maryalice Fegeley is a Regional Manager in the Staten Island office of Parent to Parent of NYS. Prior to her work with Parent to Parent – where she started in November 2009 – Maryalice worked in New York City in various fields, including a non-profit organization, an advertising agency and a financial services organization. Maryalice is currently a co-chair of the Staten Island Developmental Disability Council’s Education Committee and is on the Executive Board of the SIDDC.

Maryalice became involved in the disability community on Staten Island after her then 4-year-old son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. She and her husband were blind-sided by the diagnosis and, over the upcoming months (and years), Maryalice immersed herself in the world of therapies and counseling, and quickly learned the challenges facing a parent who has a child with special needs, as well as the uphill battles they must fight – sometimes on a daily basis — in the best interests of their children. The one thing that helped Maryalice the most were the moms she met along the way. She learned where to go for everything from social skills programs to dentists for children with special needs. It is this knowledge that she now shares with the families who reach out to Parent to Parent.

In her time at Parent to Parent, Maryalice has worked hard to offer support and comfort to families of children with developmental disabilities and/or special health care needs. She understands that when parents are at their lowest point, getting a compassionate, understanding voice on the other end of the phone can sometimes make all the difference. Maryalice partners with other organizations to co-host a parent training series, as well as other informative workshops. In addition, she presents an Education Records Organizer workshop.

Maryalice resides on Staten Island with her husband and their 14-year-old twins, who are in their freshman year of high school. Her daughter, who is a fantastic writer, is a fan of the NY Giants and the NY Mets and enjoys going to games with her father. Maryalice’s son is a Boy Scout who has his eye on becoming an Eagle Scout and who loves all things technological. In the summer, Maryalice and her family enjoy spending time at her family’s home in upstate New York.

Barbara Hoffman

Assistant Coordinator

[email protected]

Barb Hoffman has been a per diem employee of Parent to Parent of NYS since 2012 working in the Western, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and North Central regions. In her per diem role, Barb supports our regional coordinators in a geographically large and diverse coverage area. Barb has also been a support parent for many years, relying on her knowledge of raising two children with developmental disabilities in a rural area.

Barb’s sons are now 32 and 30 and live at home with support in community settings through self-direction. Barb and her family are seasoned travelers and are looking forward to resuming their adventures post-pandemic.  Barb is a member of OPWDD’s Family Support Services advisory board for the Western North region.  Barb also represents Parent to Parent of NYS and the families we serve  in the Medicaid Matters committee and the Guardianship  Alternatives and Transfer of Rights Advisory Board for New York State.

Michele Juda

Executive Director

[email protected]
(518) 381-4350

Michele is the parent of two boys, the youngest adopted from foster care, both of whom were born prematurely. She navigated the NICU of a hospital more than 125 miles from home when her oldest son was born. Her youngest son has a developmental disability and history of skilled nursing needs. After years of advocating for, and eventually with her son, in various health, education and community-based service systems, they are now navigating post-secondary transition during the COVID-19 pandemic. A proud 2020 graduate with a hard-earned local diploma, her son is attending a residential transitions program with the goal of competitive employment and supported apartment living.

Prior to working at Parent to Parent of NYS, Michele worked as a bachelor level social worker in long term care settings. Her responsibilities required that she have significant knowledge of health care financing systems to advise both administration and family members of insurance coverage and related financing issues.

Michele has been with Parent to Parent of NYS since 2008, working for the Family to Family Health Information Center, and then briefly as the statewide Director of Programs, before being named Executive Director in 2014. Michele is committed to ensuring that Parent to Parent of NYS reaches underserved families so that all families in NYS have access to quality, family-centered, and coordinated health and community-based services.

Michele completed the Maternal Child Health—Public Health Leadership Institute fellowship in May of 2014 and has been appointed to serve on both the Title V Maternal Child Health Block Grant and Developmental Disabilities Advisories Councils (DDAC), serving as Vice-Chair of the DDAC. She is Co-Chair of the DDAC’s Systems Committee and has been involved in the establishment of a Medical Taskforce within the DDAC’s Health and Wellness Committee. Michele has also served as a federal Title V Block Grant reviewer.

Sharon Linne

Regional Coordinator

[email protected]

Sharon Linne is a Regional Coordinator for Parent to Parent of NYS and is based in Rochester, NY. She supports our Finger Lakes, Western New York, Southern Tier, and North Central regions. Sharon has a son on the autism spectrum who is non-speaking, and she is also the legal guardian of a young man with autism, FASD, and anxiety. She is a passionate and dedicated advocate for her children. After experiencing the support and encouragement that parent-to-parent connections bring, Sharon began volunteering as a support parent to help other parents.

When her children were in school, Sharon also volunteered as a parent member for CPSE and CSE meetings. After her son transitioned from public education into day treatment, she often was asked by the agency social worker to talk with parents who were considering educational and/or residential placement. She has also volunteered to speak at agency board meetings and at local legislative events to advocate for both people with developmental disabilities and those who care for them. Sharon is also a graduate of Partners in Policymaking and a regular speaker at the Monroe County Crisis Intervention Training for law enforcement officers and first responders.

Outside of Parent to Parent, Sharon teaches college English and literature online. She has a BS in English and an MA in Literature from SUNY Brockport.

Julia Luppino

Regional Coordinator

[email protected]

Julia Luppino is a Regional Coordinator in the Staten Island office of Parent to Parent of N.Y. State. She enjoys speaking with parents, caregivers, and professionals. She is always willing to offer help and support.

Julia has been a passionate advocate and involved with the developmental disability community since 2007, when her youngest child was diagnosed prenatally with Down Syndrome and a congenital heart defect. From her own experience, Julia knows how important it is for families to have resources and support as they navigate and face challenges that come with raising a child with a developmental disability and/ or special healthcare need.

As a Support Parent and in her current position she uses her experience as the mom of a teenage son with Down Syndrome (and congenital heart defect) to provide information, support, and guidance to parents and caregivers.

Julia is happy and excited to contribute to the work and mission of Parent to Parent.

Nancy Marmet

Education Advocate

[email protected]
518-381-4370, ext. 25

Nancy Marmet joined Parent to Parent of NYS as an Education Advocate in November 2021. She is the parent of a 13 year old son, Alex, who has cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder and CVI. With her own son, she works on getting through the physical barriers that make full participation difficult for him and others with similar needs as he has a strong desire to be athletic.

Prior to Parent to Parent, Nancy spent the last thirty nine years of her professional career working in public education as a doctorate level school psychologist and a Committee on Special Education (CSE)/Committee on Preschool Special Education Chairperson. She has a strong desire to work with and support parents in their advocacy for their special needs children.

Namita Modasra

Education Advocate

[email protected]

Namita Modasra is an Education Advocate for the Capital District office of Parent to Parent of NYS.

She has more than 15 years of experience in helping parents gain knowledge, skills and be empowered to successfully advocate for their children and themselves. With this experience she has gained a well-developed skill set allowing her to effectively work with families to identify their needs and appropriately connect them to the resources they need.

Her work in this field was recognized by College of St. Rose, School of Education and awarded her their first ever ‘Outstanding Community Leadership Service Award’ in the year 2019.

She is a graduate of the New York State Partners in Policymaking program offered through the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC). She has dedicated her career to advocating for inclusive education and community opportunities for students with disabilities. She has served on several statewide advisory committees, which includes serving three terms ( a total of nine years) on the Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for Special Education at the New York State Education Department. She currently serves as a parent member on Schenectady County Local Early Intervention Coordinating Council and is an active member on her school district’s SEPTA.

Her passion for this field comes from being a parent to four wonderful children, including a 23-year-old amazing young woman who happens to have Down syndrome as one of her attributes. Her family’s advocacy journey started when their daughter entered preschool. They faced many unexpected barriers and needed to learn the skills and strategies to work effectively with teachers, and service providers.

Parent to Parent of NYS is one of the organizations that they turned to for help. She has experienced, firsthand, the consistent high quality of service that Parent to Parent of NYS provides to a diverse group of parents and families.

As is the mission of Parent to Parent, she firmly believes that empowering parents with the tools, knowledge and support needed to navigate the Special Education system results in better outcomes for students and individuals with disabilities. Working as an Education Advocate gives her the opportunity to do that for which she is very grateful.

Patricia Mullin-Washburn

Education Advocate

[email protected]
(518) 381-4350 ext 23

Trish Washburn is an Education Advocate with the Capital District Office of Parent to Parent of NYS. Prior to working with Parent to Parent of NYS, she worked at the Capital Region Child and Adolescent Mobile Crisis Team. Trish has a son and a daughter on the autistic spectrum. She is very passionate about helping parents with a children with various types of disabilities. Her motto is “Knowledge is Power.”

Dianne O’Connor

Regional Coordinator

[email protected]
(518) 381-4350

Dianne and Mickey’s family is a blend of adoptive and birth children and is a huge sense of pride for them both. They have been married for 45 years and have nine children, several with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. They also have six grandchildren, two of which they have joint custody of.

Dianne started to advocate for the children in foster care and the foster care families in the 1980’s becoming vice president of a New York State Foster and Adopted Parents Association and working with NYS Citizens’ Coalition for Children. At this time, she was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to represent New York State at the National Office of Child Abuse Conference in Washington DC as an adoption and foster care family advocate. Dianne became a trainer of the curriculum “Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting” (MAPP) for new case workers statewide as well as foster parents in the Capital Region. She helps develop foster and adoptive families training curriculum and videos for the Center for Development of Human Services out of SUNY Buffalo State.

In early 1990s, Dianne was named as the statewide adoption and foster care family member for the NYS Coordinated Children’s Service Initiative State Level Tier III (CCSI). This multi-agency approach was tasked to reduce out-of-home placements of children with emotional and developmental disabilities by creating locally coordinated systems of care. During the same time, Dianne was honored as a mental health child advocate of the year for Families Together Inc.

After giving testimony to a town hall meeting in Buffalo on FASD and foster care, Dianne was asked to apply for the NYS Research Foundation of Mental Hygiene at the NYS Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services who was implementing a sub-contract for SAMHSA on the Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). She became a certified FASD trainer through the Center for Disease Control and has been a national speaker and advocate for families who have loved ones with FASD. In 2005, Dianne received  the  New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner’s Service Award for her work on FASD prevention from Acting Commissioner Shari Noonan. She also worked with Leigh Ann Davis, The National Arc, to develop SAFA, Self-Advocates for FASD In Action. Through development of initial training, trained adults with FASD and their support persons from around the country were asked to attend national conferences  to speak out for those with FASD.

Dianne joined the Capital Region office as a Regional Coordinator for Parent to Parent of NYS in October 2014. She works with all families dealing with systems of care for their loved ones who have developmental disabilities, outreach, webinars and helps individuals through the application process for waiver services. Dianne continues to work with NYS Department of Health, NYS Office for Children and Family Services, NYS Office for Addiction Services and Supports, NYS Department of Education and the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities to promote systems collaboration for children in need of diagnosis and multiple service supports who have been identified as having been prenatally exposed to alcohol. She has developed a webinar to educate families and professionals for Parent to Parent of NYS and for the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities on FASD. A statewide discussion group o FASD will begin in January 2022.

Rocio Zumaya

Regional Coordinator

[email protected]

Daughter of a single immigrant mother, before becoming a parent of four daughters, Rocio Zumaya had the opportunity to engage and work with children at various stages in her life. At the age of ten years old, Rocio was already babysitting for other families, including one of her siblings who at that time was a special needs student. Little did she know that interpreting and translating meetings, messages, phone calls and IEP documents for her mother and other families were life skills that would be beneficial for her to be an advocate of her own children and be able to provide support to families experiencing a similar journey as a parent of a child with disabilities.

From being granted permission as a teen to coordinate youth groups and collaborate in school activities, what seemed only as fun experiences to Rocio, were in reality opportunities to learn from children with different needs and abilities. During high school, between working part time jobs in hospitality, assisting with interpretation and translation, soccer practices, school and babysitting in her spare times, Rocio realized many families were poorly underserved. After graduating high school, Rocio has continued her education by taking several courses in education, special needs, early childhood while working full time as a caregiver and volunteering during her free time. Rocio has been able to demonstrate her abilities in collaborating with many organizations by advocating for families from diverse backgrounds throughout different opportunities.

While expecting her firstborn, Rocio was confident with all she had learned during her prenatal classes. Nurturing and seeing her daughter go through every milestone as a baby was exciting until her daughter turned two years old. Rocio could sense something was different about her daughter. Although her concerns were shared and expressed with professionals and family, no one was able to really provide the right support to get the needed evaluations or a diagnosis.

As a parent of children with special needs, Rocio has used every tool in her personal experience to empower and advocate for more families who need assistance navigating from health care to getting referrals for better services. Participating in advocacy support groups, community boards, Developmental Disability councils, organizing events and activities for a diverse community, continuing education, switching careers to be an early childhood educator and being part of the LEND Parent Trainee program has been part of the gaining skill to continue engaging and serving families during work and volunteer time.

Working and serving families as a coordinator under the F2F HIC at Parent to Parent of New York State, Rocio can continue to provide support to families statewide. Her devotion is to continue helping families navigate through the proper channels with the understanding of a parent who can relate and share the sentiment parents face day by day with all the challenges that include being the parent and or caregiver of a child with disabilities, special needs and or who is medically fragile.

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