Amazing Grace Advocacy
Rachel Brown- President
I am the lucky mother to two amazing kids, one of whom has childhood onset schizophrenia. In the three years since her first major psychotic break, we have learned to navigate the often unfriendly waters of healthcare and insurance, learned how to find and access services, weathered eleven psychiatric hospitalizations, and continue to learn how to balance family life with a child who has special needs. I have become passionate about connecting with other families, advocating for policy change and increased services, and educating the community. As a homeschooling mom, I also strive to help others find appropriate educational choices that fit each child's unique needs.
Susan Keever-Vice President
I went to school at UNC Charlotte and graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor's Degree. I received a Master's Degree in 1995 from UNC Charlotte in Special Education. I have been teaching Special Education for 25 years. Prior to working full time in the school district I worked as a Case Manager and a Teacher in a Group Home. I started working at Jay M. Robinson High School in 2016.
Gwen Bartley-Founder, Executive Director and Integrated Care Navigator
Mother to five children through the blessing of adoption. Two of my children were abused and neglected in Foster Care prior to adoption, causing severe trauma which resulted in Reactive Attachment Disorder. In addition, both children have intellectual disabilities and mental illness. My son, has serious mental illness, which impedes his ability to function safely. Through determination, he is now successful in a purposeful life and our family is functioning. The most important skill a parent can posses is knowing when and where to get help; you can't do this alone. My struggles in finding appropriate services, educational settings and providers led me to become an advocate. I've taken my experiences to help other families become successful in raising children with Brain Disorders.
I serve on the following Local and State Committees to advocate for the rights and services for children with Brain Disorders:
Co-Chair of the Cabarrus Innovative Approaches Steering Committee, Co-Chair of the Cabarrus IA Medical Home Sub Committee, Co-Chair of Cabarrus System of Care Collaborative, member of the Cabarrus Child Protection and Fatality Team, member of the Cabarrus Trauma Task Force, 2017 Team Member NC Maternal and Child Health Cohort.
Families raising children with Brain Disorders are faced with one of the most difficult of childhood illness; there is treatment, but it's hard to access or afford, there is little or no support from family and friends and IT IS often a life and death situation. I chose the name "Amazing Grace Advocacy" because at the end of each day; God's "Amazing Grace" is all we have left. We often have very little energy, little hope and are full of worry. Our mission, is to be an extension of his "Amazing Grace" by providing hope, comfort and strength in the darkest of days.
Mary Ann Fandl -Secretary
Education: B.S. Business Administration/Finance - Villanova University
Employment: After graduating college, I worked in private industry for 5 years. I then stayed home with my two young children for the next 12 years. I have been an EC Teacher Assistant for 15 years. For the past 10 years I have worked for Cabarrus County Schools in a self-contained AU classroom.
Family: My husband Robert and I have been married for 30 years. We have two adult children. I have lived in each corner of the United States and moved from California to Concord, NC 10 years ago.
I am very excited to be a part of this wonderful organization that through its outreach helps so many people. here.
A Family Resource for Youth with Brain Disorders