“If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path.” ~ Buddha
My son Ravi is 32 years old and has severe autism. Unfortunately, he has long since aged out of the system to receive help. And while we have made incredible strides to create better programs for children and young adults with autism, there is a silent segment of the population that has scarce resources, if any, and a forgotten voice. For families with adult children with moderate to severe autism, help does not exist. For every adult who is higher functioning on the autism spectrum, and who can speak for themselves and lead productive lives, there is an adult with autism who cannot. Who cannot work, speak, make friends, or engage with the outside world because there are no safe environments for them and because people do not understand their needs. Because as a society, we have failed at inclusivity in the most basic form: psychological and physical safety for all.
I envision a world where I can walk outside – in peace – with Ravi; a world where his behaviors don’t scare people, where people are welcoming and loving, and where we all take care of one another so that it becomes the mission of the community – as a whole – to include every single family and individual in community life. It doesn’t have to be so lonely and isolating when you have a child with a disability. But it does take an entire community to make this happen.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Sherry SinghBoard President
George MercadoBoard Member
George Mercado is a true Jersey City (born and raised) entrepreneur. At the age of 12, he started helping out at a local flower shop, then grew up to learn and master the art form. After proudly serving in the US Army for many years, at the age of 27, George and Cathy opened their first flower shop named Bouquets & Baskets on Jersey Avenue in 1991. Currently celebrating 30 years in business.
George is a loving and dedicated husband and father of 4 beautiful daughters. His talents and generosity have earned him local and tri-state recognition, admiration, and awards, including “Puerto Rican Business Man of the Year 2015” and labeled “Master Florist” by the international group FTD. In 2017, George opened his second location in Jersey City, “Hudson Florist” on Bergen Avenue. He continuously works hard to provide for his family, community, and customers to the best of his abilities and attention. His stores’ reputations and quality of service have truly become a staple in Jersey City.
Brian MarkeyBoard Member
Kenneth CaulfieldBoard Member
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Kenny migrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1996 straight after finishing high school at 18 years old with $1700. He worked construction by day and in bars at night. Kenny moved to NYC to bartend on the west side of Manhattan. In 2001, less than 5 years after arriving in the USA, Kenny opened his first bar with his partner Mario. Kenny feels he was fortunate to have met Mario, who was an important mentor and Kenny attributes this early period putting him on his life path. In the years that followed Kenny developed and opened multiple venues throughout Manhattan, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Kenny today lives in New Jersey with his family, partner Theresa and their 3 children Kian, Keira, and Treasa. He currently operates The Ashford and Six26 in Jersey City. Six 26 is an LGBTQ lounge and rooftop- named in honor of the date of the federal legislation of same sex marriage, creating a safe place for the LGBTQ community.
A career in hospitality has taught Kenny that life is short. It’s important to celebrate and take stock of the special moments in people’s lives. Kenny believes that we should give back and try to have a positive impact on lives who are less fortunate and also create a community filled with camaraderie and fun.
Marietta ReynoldsBoard Member
Marietta Reynolds has lived and worked in Jersey City for over 15 years. Grew up in Brooklyn, New York to immigrant parents from the Philippines and earned a B.S. in Psychology from Brooklyn College. After a successful career in import/export and real estate, Marietta opened Downtown MedSpa in Jersey City in 2013 with her husband Dr. Eric Reynolds, who serves as its medical director. Marietta enjoys learning about the latest aesthetic technologies and helping her clients look and feel their best. Being of service to others is truly her motivating force and the foundation of her spa's success. Aligned with this philosophy of service is being present for her four young children Sydney 10yrs old, Madison, Latham and Berkeley 8yrs old and watching the miracle of their lives unfold. Her family is front and center to every aspect of Marietta's life and informs every personal and business decision.
Marietta is honored to work with Whole Spectrum Autism toward a kinder world where children and adults living with autism are fully supported and cherished for their unique gifts.