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AFN BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Cathy Martinez

Cathy Martinez, President

Cathy has owned and operated a daycare in northeast Lincoln since 1993. She has a degree in psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Cathy, and her husband Cesar, have four children. Their youngest child received an autism diagnosis in 2005. She has served as president of the AFN board since 2008. Cathy has been appointed twice to the governor's advisory committee for developmental disabilities. Cathy has been recognized for her community work with the following : 2014 autism speaks national advocate of the year, 2016 arc of Lincoln advocate of the year, 2017 arc of Nebraska advocate of the year, 2019 Lincoln journal star inspire excellence in non profit management winner. Cathy has also been an active member in the following organizations: Served on autism society of Nebraska board 2008, Autism speaks Nebraska advocacy ambassador 2013-present, State advisory board for DD for governors Heineman and Ricketts, Member of Nebraska state autism collaborative, President of Advocacy Partnership for people with special needs 2016-2019, Arc of Lincoln board member 2011-2019.

Janelle Smith

Janelle Smith Mattox, Vice President

Janelle joined the Autism Board in 2015. Janelle is a Registered Nurse completing her degree in 2011 and then returning to school to complete her Bachelors of Nursing degree in 2015. She works with the pediatric population in the rehabilitation unit at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, NE. She has a teenage son that was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. She first joined AFN as a parent looking for a way to involve her son in community events. After witnessing the joy in her sons eyes at an AFN sponsored event, she decided to become a board member. Janelle is dedicated to enriching the lives of all individuals with disabilities.

Lindsay Stanley

Lindsay Stanley, Secretary

Lindsay is a Nebraska Licensed Mental Health Practitioner and a Nebraska Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated with a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from St. Cloud State University. Over the past 20 years she has facilitated support for families and children with autism and behavioral challenges. Lindsay is the Director of Operations at Behaven Kids as well as the lead BCBA supervising over all Behaven Kids’ Autism Services. Lindsay is a Lincoln, Neb., native. She and her husband, Jeremy, are parents of two girls.

Allison Foreman

Allison Foreman, Treasurer

Allison currently functions as an Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Operations. Ms. Fredericks graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Business Administration. Her professional background includes working within the financial services, marketing and manufacturing industries. Allison has been a part of the Autism Family Network for over 5 years and recently increased her involvement by joining the board of directors of AFN, serving as Treasurer. Allison has a child on the Autism spectrum and is dedicated to helping children and families like hers find the resources and community support needed for those with disabilities.

Amera Nix, Board Member

Bio Coming Soon...

Todd Beam, Board Member

Bio Coming Soon...

Colby Coash

Colby Coash, Board Member

Colby has spent his career working with and for people with disabilities. He has worked for area providers as a direct support professional, supervisor, and administrator. He often states that "Working with people with disabilities is not a vocation that you choose, it is a vocation that chooses you." He now spends his time working with companies of all kinds sharing his message of relationships and passion for the work. Colby spent 8 years in the Legislature where he focused much of his time in advocating for vulnerable populations. He carried and worked on bills that impacted the lives of children, people with disabilities and the elderly. It is that wok that he is most proud of. Colby lives in Lincoln with his wife Rhonda and son Cole.

Melissa Blakemore, Board Member

For the past 20 years, Melissa has been involved in the special needs community. She was originally a DSP and now is a director of the Lincoln ACN office. She has also worked for LPS in the special education department. She volunteered for 10 years, coaching special Olympics. Her passion is changing the world and opening doors for individuals with disabilities. She feels inspired by the work of the AFN board of directors. Melissa is excited to contribute to the mission of the Autism Family Network. 

Jake Dwinell

Jake Dwinell, Board Member

Jake is a recent graduate of Lincoln East High School. At the age of 18 months, Jake became suddenly non-verbal. He found his voice again around 3 years old but was not diagnosed until Kindergarten with an ASD as well as ADD and OCD. Despite the challenges Jake graduated this spring from Lincoln East High School – even making honor roll without accommodations his senior year. Jake’s interests include helping those with bigger challenges than his as well as continuing to hone his French. Jake has an older brother, younger sister and parents who work local radio. He hopes to begin a woodworking business out of his home this summer in Lincoln.

Christina Evans, Board Member

Bio Coming Soon...

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Daniel Young, Board Member

Daniel Young is the owner and operator of Service Call, a local remodeling and home repair business. He joined the AFN board in September of 2021. Daniel’s ten-year-old son, Beau, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and he has been advocating for individuals on the spectrum ever since. He started the Jullia Rose Foundation in 2014 with his wife in memory of their niece who passed away in 2011. Through the Jullia Rose foundation they have started the Cake My Day program for underprivileged children in Lincoln. Also, through their foundation and the help of generous donors, Dan played an integral role in bringing Project Lifesaver to Lincoln and Omaha. Daniel is the 2021 recipient of the Help is Hope award from the Autism Action Partnership in Omaha for his efforts with Project Lifesaver. Daniel lives in Lincoln with his wife Marianne, son, Beau and daughter Adelaide.

Marcia Lepinski, Board Member

Marcia is an advocate for autism awareness, acceptance, and is especially passionate about Applied Behavior Analysis. Marcia and her family are highly involved in a very effective ABA program for their son, and have appreciated great progress for him. She has contributed her service to FEAT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment) of Nebraska and worked to bring staff and services to the area. Her background is in education, and her interests going forward is transitional and adult services for individuals on the spectrum.

Sue Boring, Board Member

Bio Coming Soon...

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Mary Nixon-Hahn, Board Member

Mary is a veteran and owner of Ausome Angels Awareness and Inclusion, author, married to her best friend.

 

Mary is the mother of 3 sons who are all on the spectrum. She has been involved in teaching and training parents on how to bridge the transition gap from high school to workforce.

 

As an adult with autism, it is her passion to share her knowledge and experience. She continues to create a path so that others have something to follow in the future.

Mary is excited to join the AFN board.

Dwight Stolte

Dwight Stolte, Board Member

Dwight started volunteering with Autism Family Network in 2009 when they sponsored their summer camp that his son participated in. He became a board member in 2011. At that time he also started supporting the Autism Family Network web site. Dwight has a degree in Computer Science from Montana State University. Dwight, his son along with a friend of his son also volunteered with one of the local high school bands helping move band equipment for half time shows and band competitions as both boys were managers for the band. He was active with Boy Scouts for 16 years, as a scout leader, committee chair, Wood Badge participant and Wood Badge staff member.

Brooke Fine, Board Member

Bio Coming Soon...

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Vicki Depenbusch, Project Lifesaver Coordinator

Bio Coming Soon...

The current Board appoints these positions. The Board meets every other month, with weekly communication by e-mail.​