Mary Frees (front center) was recognized for her work serving individuals with autism and their families at “Faces of Autism” on March 5. Left to right: Heidi Terselic, Donna Ernst, Jane Miller, Lara Ferrer, Joe Frees, Taylor Reid, Mary Frees, Dr. Kathryn Lorenz, Dr. Amy Crouse, Helen Jones, Michelle Grafflin and Jennifer Forren.
Loveland, Ohio – The Regional Autism Advisory Council (RAAC) of Southwest Ohio celebrated its 20th anniversary in March with “Faces of Autism”- an event presented in collaboration with Autism Society Greater Cincinnati to recognize autism “ambassadors and unsung heroes” in the region. Mary Frees, an intervention specialist at Loveland Elementary School (LES), was among those honored for their work serving individuals with autism and their families.
“When I learned about this special recognition, I was shocked, but felt so valued for doing what I love,” said Frees. “This just motivates and energizes me to continue to accomplish more for my students with autism and other special needs. My students make my job enjoyable each day and push me further to continue to learn more about this ever-changing field of special education.”
The Faces of Autism Unsung Hero nominees were selected for going above and beyond the expectations of their jobs in advocating for acceptance, community inclusion, relationship building, and community impact. 12 educators were recognized, two of whom represent public school districts – Loveland and Sycamore Schools.
“Mary is an outstanding educator who works tirelessly for her students, going above and beyond on a daily basis,” said LES Principal Jen Forren. “She works to ensure that her students and their families have an excellent experience at LES, both academically and socially. She established an ambassador program that matches her students with other students in the building to help them work on their social skills and it has been very impactful for everyone involved.”
Faces of Autism was presented by RAAC and the Autism Society Greater Cincinnati in partnership with several other organizations, including Cincinnati Children’s, Linden Grove School, and the Heidt Center of Excellence by The Children’s Home, among others.
About the Autism Society Greater Cincinnati and the Regional Autism Advisory Council (RAAC)
The Autism Society Greater Cincinnati is a leading resource and advocate for the local autism community, working to improve the lives of all who are affected by autism through education, support, and services. RAAC leads community partnerships to plan, develop, and implement a vibrant continuum of services that meets the lifelong needs of individuals with autism, their families, and those who serve them. The Advisory Council facilitates task forces on a range of subjects, such as early intervention, educational identification, and adult services.