Meet The Board
I am Elizabeth Garza and I live in Murray, KY with my husband and 5 boys. I work at FNB Bank as a
commercial loan assistant and have been with the company for 6 years. Autism is still very new to us
as our son was diagnosed early 2021 at 4 years old.
We have seen the many struggles that come with finding resources, support, and advocacy for autism. When I was led to Families on the Spectrum I knew I
wanted to be a part of this amazing organization! I am honored to be on the board and look forward to
advocating and bringing the autism community and families together. I look forward to the many
opportunities and friendships that Families on the Spectrum will bring me and my family.
I'm Aimee Thorn and I currently work at CSI. My husband Aaron and I have two wonderful children. Autism has become a very passionate topic for our family as our youngest child was diagnosed in 2019. I am honored to serve on the FOTS board and continue to be an advocate for local families in our area. My goal is to help educate others and bring awareness to our community. This organization cares about our families and truly nurtures each and every person who is a part of our group. I'm so excited to be joining this journey and help to provide our personal experiences where it matters.
Hello! My Name is Jacob Rivera. I currently reside in Mayfield, Ky with my Daughter Ariana who is 8yrs old and was diagnosed with ASD when she was 2 years old. I have always had a passion for working with children and children with special needs, but this gave me a drive to help those who don't have a voice of their own in any way I can. When I was working at a local Dr's office and was told about FOTS I joined immediately as this was a safe space to talk and offer my guidance and my experiences with ASD that I have gone through with Ariana. I am glad to have this opportunity to serve on the board with so many amazing people and for something that I have always been passionate about personally and professionally!
Community Outreach Coordinator
My name is Kimberly Steele. I currently work as a Special Education Advocate for the western Kentucky/southern Illinois region. My husband and I have three amazing children, two of which have autism spectrum disorder. I have had the honor to serve as a board member for Families on the Spectrum since 2013. My commitment to doing my part in creating a wonderful community for my kids and others still continues to grow each and every year. I look forward to continuing my work in this awesome organization.
I am Melissa Warner and my family’s journey with autism began when my youngest daughter Zoey was diagnosed at 18 months. The news was overwhelming but also a tremendous relief because I was desperately seeking answers to explain the symptoms she was experiencing; symptoms that had been going on since she was 9 months old.
Seeking knowledge and support became my biggest source of strength and comfort. Families on the Spectrum was incredibly influential in helping me find peace, providing a safe place to talk about the challenges that come with caring for a loved one with autism, and for giving me hope. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the friendships I’ve made over the years with this wonderful group of people and for the continuing support they’ve given me through each chapter of my family’s autism journey.
I want to see FOTS grow and continue to be a beacon of support for our community. When I was given an opportunity to serve on the board of directors , I was both humbled and excited. Each of us are diverse in our own right, yet united in our efforts to bring awareness to this important cause.
I am fully committed to helping this organization and our community in reaching these goals.
My name is Anne Sisti and my journey with autism began many, many years ago. My mother was a special education teacher working primarily with autistic children. I used to beg her to let me go to work with her so I could play with the children in her class. I loved going with her and playing with the kids. I didn’t understand why some of them didn’t speak or had mannerisms that were different than me. My mother explained that those children were special and different. They didn’t look at the world the way I did. Her explanation was enough for me.
Years later, I worked with autistic children at a state-run facility in Huntington, New York. I worked with a great team of professionals trying to find ways to communicate with our children. We developed a program using music and ASL.
My niece Melissa has a daughter, Zoey who has autism. Zoey is the light and love of my life! When my husband and I lived in Florida, I spoke with Melissa daily. I hated that we were so far away; especially when she was having a rough day and just needed a break. I thought, if we were closer, I could help her! When my husband and I decided to leave Florida for a new adventure; Melissa suggested we come to Paducah. Neither my husband nor I had ever been to Kentucky; but it seemed like a good idea. So, on February 1, 2018 we arrived at Melissa’s house. We hadn’t seen her or the kids in a year. I was nervous Zoey wouldn’t remember me. When we came in, Zoey smiled and came right over to me. My heart melted. We now live about half a mile away and I get to see the kids often.
When Melissa told me about FOTS, I was excited that she found a group of supportive families who understood the daily struggles and who without judgement offer a place to talk, to exchange ideas and to help each other through the challenges that come from caring for someone with autism.
FOTS not only offers support to its members but it also offers hope and I am proud to be on the Board of Directors and to lend whatever help, compassion and hard work I can to assist anyone who needs it.
I am so excited to join Families on the Spectrum as a board member! I graduated with my bachelors degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice in 2013 and still have a passion for anything to do with both but truly found my place in marketing and design and love how my background goes hand in hand with that. My husband Josh and I have been married since 2013 and we have two incredible kiddos, Miles and Nora.
Miles developed neurotypically until age one and a half and then regressed significantly. After searching high and low for answers, feeling frightened and desperate, we were finally given our diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2018. We have grown, soaked in everything, become stronger, more patient and resilient, and so much more as we have and continue to navigate this world of Autism and Nora is an incredible little sister for Miles! I am so proud of how far we have come and love walking with others through seasons of uncertainty. We are in this together with every ASD family and I am so excited to see what we can do for our community!
Hey y’all, my name is Shay Tyler and I am so excited about serving on the board for FOTS. In 2000 I graduated from Paducah Tilghman High School and 15 years later I earned my Bachelors Degree from Murray State. In May of 2018 I graduated from Bethel University with a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice. I am currently employed by Paducah Public School as a Social Worker and I have worked in this district for 8 years. I am the proud single mother of two amazing boys Vic 18 and Kam 11. Kam was diagnosed with Autism at 18 months old so being apart of FOTS means a lot to us and we hope to meet some amazing people and families along the way.