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Calls to Action

Autism Speaks, Staff Member Honored with "Champions for Children" Awards

November 15, 2007

On Friday, November 2, Jaclyn (Jackie) Merens, South Florida Regional Director of Autism Speaks, and Autism Speaks each received a "2007 Champions for Children" Award from the Nova Southeastern University's Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies. Roni Leiderman, Interim Dean at Mailman Segal, presented the awards to recipients who "exemplify the spirit of service, leadership, caring and commmitment" at the 42nd Annual Snowflake Gala Luncheon. The event helps raise awareness about autism and honors community leaders who understand the importance of protecting our nation's most precious resource, our young people.

Jackie became involved in the world of disabilities 20 years ago when her then-three year old son, Daniel, was diagnosed with autism. For the past six years, she has been the South Florida Regional Director for Autism Speaks, responsible for helping local volunteers raise more than 4.3 million dollars to support the Autism Speaks mission. Senior Regional Director, Southeast, Kelley Lesperance, accepted the award from Roni Ledierman and Ray Ferrero, on behalf of Autism Speaks.

From L to R: Roni Leiderman, Jaclyn Merens, and Ray Ferrero, Jr.

From L to R: Roni Leiderman, Kelley Lesperance, and Ray Ferrero, Jr.