Monday, September 25, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Debra Vines, founder of The Answer Inc., and her son, Jason, who is autistic. | Photo courtesy Debra Vines
Earlier this month, Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson presented Debra Vines, the founder of the Answer Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides support services for autistic individuals and their families, with a proclamation declaring Sept. 25 Autism Day in Broadview.
Thompson said that Broadview Trustee Tara Brewer was instrumental in getting the proclamation approved by the board.
“Trustee Tara Brewer was a big proponent of this because she has a son with a special need. So, thank you Trustee Brewer for making this happen,” Thompson said, during the Answer’s fundraising annual gala, held Sept. 16 at a banquet hall in Elmhurst.
The event, which fell this year on the organization’s 10th anniversary, helps raise money for the nonprofit’s range of support services, including young adult tutoring, an exercise nutrition and dance program, and bullying intervention, among others.
The proclamation passed by the Broadview Board of Trustees, declaring Sept. 25 Autism Day in Broadview. | Debra Vines/Facebook
State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th) recalled her first meeting with Vines inside of the former’s office roughly 11 years ago.
“About 11 years ago, I had a meeting with this persistent woman. My assistant said, ‘Debra Vines called to have a meeting,'” Lightford recalled. “I said, ‘Okay, we can schedule her.’ But before we could schedule her, she was at the door. She came in and it was the most real conversation I’ve had with someone who is so passionate.”
Lightford said that Vines’ idea to start a nonprofit was born, in part, out of that office conversation over a decade ago.
“Debra came into my office and she said, ‘Well, my son is impacted by autism.’ She said that she wanted to do something and we started brainstorming and she said, ‘What about a nonprofit organization? We thought that would be good because in the Proviso Township area a lot of communities do have programs for autistic children,” Lightford said.
“I did just bust in her door and say, ‘Here I am,'” Vines said. “I’ve found that some people call me agitative … I know in IEP meetings, they part like the Red Sea, because they know I’m serious about my families.”
Back in April 2013, the village of Maywood proclaimed April Autism Awareness Month in that village while recognizing The Answer as a local advocate. VFP
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