The Parents’ Place of Maryland began in 1990 as a grass-roots effort of families, professionals, and community leaders determined to provide resources, support, and information to parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs. Our philosophy of “families helping families” reflects our commitment to supporting families of diverse backgrounds. Today, the Parents’ Place offers a variety of programs and services that continue to support families of children with disabilities and special health care needs. Serving as Maryland’s Parent Training and Information Center and Family-to-Family Health Information Center, Parents’ Place supports thousands of Maryland families each year. Parents’ Place, staffed primarily by parents who have faced these challenges, believes that experienced parents are a key source of knowledge and support to help other families become effective voices for their own children. Please continue to explore the website to learn more about our staff members, programs, services, and resources.
Our mission is to empower families as advocates and partners in improving education and health outcomes for children with disabilities and special healthcare needs with a commitment to diversity and equity.
We help families obtain education and health care services for their children with disabilities; work to improve education and health care for all children; train and inform parents and professionals on a variety of topics; and connect children with disabilities to community resources that address their needs.
Parent Educator/Data Manager | Southern Maryland
Missy is a Parent Educator working with families in Southern Maryland. She facilitates workshops and study groups on a variety of topics. Missy is active on many regional, state, and national councils and boards focusing on children with special needs. She has also been a guest lecturer at Towson University, Johns Hopkins University, and The College of Southern Maryland on parenting a child with autism. Missy is on the Board of Directors for the Learning Disabilities Association of Maryland. She is an active member, and former Chair, of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA). Missy is the parent of a daughter on the autism spectrum.
Rene is the Executive Director at Parents’ Place of Maryland since June of 2017 and prior to that she worked as the Regional Technical Assistance Co-Director for the OSEP funded parent centers in the mid-south region. She has held a variety of roles in the field of special education – Parent Educator, Early Childhood Behavior Specialist, Evaluator, and Charter School Administrator. Rene has a undergraduate degree in Psychology and a masters in Organizational Change Management. She is the parent of two grown daughters who are deaf.
Charvette is a Parent Educator working with families in Baltimore City. She previously worked as a Family Navigator assisting families with complex needs access services. Charvette also served as a Plaintiff’s Representative working with parents, the Maryland Disability Law Center (MDLC), and other agencies to protect the rights of students with disabilities. She serves on a numerous city, state, and national committees and boards working to improve outcomes for children with special education and healthcare needs. Charvette is a parent of four children, two with disabilities, and her oldest son passed away as the result of sickle cell disease.
Brandi has a BA in sociology with a concentration in gerontology from Towson University. She is a social worker with experience in long term care, and worked for over a decade at non-profit medical day care. Brandi has worked with seniors with complex medical issues and with adults with mental health diagnoses. She has three children, including a son with a visual disability and a daughter who has Down syndrome. She was born and raised in Baltimore City, where she currently lives with her 3 children and 4 dogs.
Allie started working for PPMD as an intern while finishing her undergraduate degrees. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Deaf Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Human Services from Towson University and is now PPMD’s Program Assistant. She enjoys supporting families of children with diverse needs, specifically those who are deaf and hard of hearing, as she is proficient in American Sign Language. Allie lives in southern Anne Arundel county with her family.
Keisha is a working with families in Metropolitan Maryland. She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan where she worked with a diverse population providing training, support and advocacy. She graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology concentrating in childhood and families. She previously held a variety of roles assisting youth with mental illnesses and responding to crisis situations. She resides in Prince George County with her husband and son. She is a proud aunt to her 2 year old niece, who was born prematurely and now has developmental delay.
Early Childhood Specialist
Mai Kapuao`ihilani Mei-Lin Hall a Parent Educator was born and raised on Oahu, Hawaii. As a former educator and mentor in preschool and grades K-6, a program manager, data analyst, grant writer for non-profits, and parent volunteer for the Hawaii PTI and Department of Education Special Needs Consortium, Mai brings a diverse perspective and over 14 years’ experience to the field of early learning and non-profit work. Mai received both her B.Ed. and M.Ed. in Early Childhood and Curriculum Studies from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. As a mom of two children with disabilities, her eldest daughter has Asperger’s, ADHD, APD, and dyslexia with a side of anxiety and teenage angst. Her son has Autism, ADHD, hypotonia, and energy like no one can imagine.
Parent Educator, Lower Shore
Leilani has twelve years experience in the medical field specifically in Pediatrics both administrative and clinically. She also has a background in case management which includes assisting individuals with mental health and intellectual disabilities. Leilani’s passion for the medical field is currently on hold until her children are grown. She has three boys, two of which are twins who were premature and had several health and learning delays, and all three have disabilities. Leilani enjoys spending time with family, attending her children’s sporting events, traveling, the beach, cultural foods, and couponing.
Director of Operations
Randi is a former wedding and event planner who has turned her focus to working in the non-profit world! Before her 15 year career in hospitality, Randi was Chief of Staff of an International Trade Firm in Washington, D.C. Born and raised in New York, Randi received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Business with a focus on Global Trade and International Business from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. As a parent with a child with learning disabilities, Randi has always had a passion for social work and hopes to one day go back to school to receive her Master’s in Social Work. Randi Lives in Howard County with her husband and 2 daughters and 1 son.
Vastine comes to the Parent’s Place with 18 years of lived experience managing children with significant mental and physical health needs. She has 6 children, 5 of whom have epilepsy and ADHD/ADD, and the oldest 2 have developmental delay and mental health issues. She has spent the better part of the past 18 years as a single working mother, balancing doctor’s appointments, medication management, the public-school system, Social Security, Social Service, and social stigma. Vastine is from Annapolis, Maryland, where she discovered a love of helping people while working with the elderly. Vastine found her passion in helping others get through the struggles that she has already gone through. Due to the significant physical and mental health challenges of her children, Vastine became a stay-at-home mother where she obtained a wealth of practical knowledge. Today, Vastine lives in Glen Burnie with her children, all of whom are happy, healthy, and most importantly, stable.
Parent Educator | Eastern Shore
Bonnie is a Parent Educator working with families on the Eastern Shore. She is a graduate of the National Leadership Institute on Developmental Disabilities and has served as a Maryland Partner for Policy Making. Bonnie is a trained mediator and a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Psychological Disaster Training focusing on the special needs population. She has also worked as a Natural Resource Police Reserve Officer incorporating outreach to children with special needs. Bonnie is a Reiki Master and the parent of a child with multiple disabilities.
Marlo Denise Lemon
Parent Outreach Coordinator
Marlo received her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Coppin State University and Masters of Teaching and Administration from Loyola University. As an adjunct professor, she teaches the “Working with Families of Students with Disabilities” course at Towson University. In her most recent position, she served as a Parent Coordinator for Baltimore County Schools -Birth to Five office. In this position she encouraged, empowered and gave support to families of children with disabilities. As a Professional Development Facilitator she has trained and mentored teachers on literacy for Johns Hopkins University and Howard County Public Schools. In her position as Educational Specialist for the Maryland State Department of Education she worked in Title I schools, early childhood and special education. She is thankful for her years of teaching for Baltimore City and Baltimore County Public School Systems because it allowed her to impact so many children and families. She is a relationship builder and believes ALL children, can achieve. However, she is most proud of her role as wife for over 20 years and mother of her three children, one who has autism and another with learning disabilities.
Bilingual Parent Educator/Parent Partner
Rosa Lily works with families in the University of Maryland NICU and with Bilingual families in the Baltimore City area as a Parent Partner/Parent Educator. She is fluent in both English and Spanish. For over 15 years, Rosa was an Operations Manager for a large medical laboratory in Maryland. After giving birth to a medically complex child she found her passion in sharing her daughter’s story and assisting other parents through their journey. Rosa’s daughter is a 4-year-old with congenital heart disease, Epilepsy, bilateral hearing and Cortical Vision Impairment who attends preschool at the Maryland School for the Blind. Rosa is an active member of her daughter’s school community and the Baltimore City Hispanic community. In addition to her daughter, Rosa lives in Baltimore City with her husband and two other children.
Director of Training & Education
Heather is fluent in American Sign Language as her youngest child is Deaf. She is also the parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum and a child who is Gifted. She previously worked for the Anne Arundel County Infants and Toddlers Program as the Family Support Coordinator. Heather has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and holds a Master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame of Maryland. Her husband has been in the Navy for over 20 years. Heather advocates nationally to raise awareness about the use of Restraint and Seclusion in public schools. She has been featured in Propublica, NPR, Associated Press, and the Washington Post about the issue.
Bilingual Parent Educator
Gicel has been supporting underserved and diverse communities in a variety of roles for several years. For the past ten years she has worked as a Para Educator with Special Education students in Prince George’s County. Gicel is currently working on her undergraduate degree in social work and brings her expertise and passion to PPMD as a fluent Spanish speaker to serve MD’s Latino population. As a parent of a young child on the Autism Spectrum she understands first-hand what bilingual families experience. Gicel lives in Prince George’s county with her husband and her two sons.
Health Information Specialist
Yetta is the mother of teenage son with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability diagnosis who has attended non-public schools in Maryland since 2008. She is the Founder and President of DC Autism Parents (DCAP) and served as the Community Outreach Coordinator at Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD) at Children’s National Hospital from 2016-2019, and currently serves as CASD’s Community Engagement and ECHO Autism Manager. In 2019, she was appointed by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to serve as a member of the DC Developmental Disabilities Council. Additionally, she serves as the Co-chair of the DC Family Support Council. She is also is a member of the Got Transition National Family Health Care Transition Advisory Group. She has served as the Act Early Ambassador to the District of Columbia since 2016. She deeply believes that parental involvement is key to obtaining quality services for all children, and that an informed parent is an engaged parent.
Jill is a former language arts teacher who taught several years at the middle school level. She has participated on many committees and groups related to special needs children at mt. Washington pediatric hospital, including chairing the family advisory counsel. Jill has advocated for children’s hospitals, the ketogenic diet, and for other numerous issues and programs relating to families with children who have special education and healthcare needs. Jill educates and supports families who are starting the ketogenic diet. She is the mother of two daughters, one of which has a rare genetic disorder resulting in epilepsy and multiple disabilities.
Kathy Schiaffino has over 30 years of experience working in the field of Early Childhood Development. During the course of her career she has worked as an Assistant Director, Director of School Age Services and Teen Leader advisor for the YMCA and recently as a Preschool Teacher and Assistant Principal where she dedicated her time to work with families and children. Kathy has an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Development and is currently continuing training in Special Education. She is a member of Maryland State Child Care Association and the Afterschool Association. Kathy has experience with the IEP process that benefited her daughter greatly. Kathy resides in Catonsville with her daughter and two cats.
Jazmone has held a variety of roles in the District of Columbia and Delaware Parent Training Centers in positions involved with strategic planning, community relations, leadership training, communications, grant management, development and organizational leadership. As a seasoned professional who has worked to empower families of children with special education and special healthcare needs, Jazmone has dedicated her life to ensuring that all children have equal access to their education. Jazmone is an active member of the American Counseling Association, holds a position as the Newsletter Assistant Chair for the Maryland Counseling Association, is a Board Member of the national organization Parents PLACE, and holds many other leadership positions, both in the state and region, in the field of mental health.
The Parents’ Place of Maryland is a 501©(3) non-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who represent Maryland’s diverse makeup. The majority of our Board are parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs.