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Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Support for Families

Auction and Gala
Friday, September 28, 2012
6:00 - 10:00 pm
SF Design Center Galleria
101 Henry Adams Street, San Francisco, CA 94103


Halloween and Holiday ad

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Inclusion and Support for Families, Providers, and the Community

Over the years, Support for Families has worked with the city of San Francisco to promote and support the inclusion of children with disabilities and special health care needs in programs with their typically developing peers. These initiatives include professional development provided by the San Francisco Unified School District, High Risk Infant Interagency Council (HRIIC), the Child Care Inclusion Challenge Project, and the Special Needs Inclusion Project. These efforts always functioned within the framework of the school district's and the city's existing services to advance the common goal of inclusive practices.

With this focus in mind, two new programs have been funded to create a unified system of inclusive services for young children birth to 5 in San Francisco, SF Inclusion Networks: The Center for Inclusive Early Education* and Inclusion Access/Family Support. These programs aim to infuse best practices around inclusion throughout the city, and add to SFCD's comprehensive support and services to families, providers, and the San Francisco community.

SF Inclusion Networks: The Center for Inclusive Early Education
SF Inclusion Networks logoAs part of its commitment to ensure that all young children (birth to five years), including those with disabilities and special health care needs, have access to high quality early care and education settings, First 5 San Francisco and the Human Services Agency of San Francisco awarded Support for Families of Children with Disabilities a grant to create the SF Inclusion Networks: Center for Inclusive Early Education. The Inclusion Network is a professional development program with the goal of building the capacity of staff in early care and education settings to provide high quality, evidence-based, developmentally appropriate inclusive practices. The primary activities of the Center include:

Citywide Training

  • Open to all early care and education programs serving children birth to five years (e.g., Preschool for All, Family Resource Centers and Family Child Care Centers)
  • Audience: direct service staff, families, administrators, mental health consultants
  • Training and follow-up support on the ASQ developmental screening
  • Workshops on inclusive practices focusing on access, participation, and supports

Coaching & Technical Assistance

  • Available through an initial consultation with the Center's inclusion coach
  • Needs assessment and individualized technical assistance plan developed with each site
  • Available beginning October, 2012 and provided over a six-month period

Demonstration Sites

  • 3 model demonstration sites selected through an application process in consultation with the funders.
  • Individualized support and services plan developed for each demonstration site
  • Intensive training and technical assistance provided to site staff and administrators
  • Transdisciplinary team works with each site
  • Provide real world examples of inclusive practices at work

    A transdisciplinary team (early childhood special educator/early interventionist, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist) will be available to provide consultation and services at the demonstration sites and short term sites.

Collaboration and coordination with other early childhood initiatives throughout San Francisco, including the High Risk Infant Coordinating Council, to increase inclusive early care and education opportunities for young children with special health care needs in San Francisco.

For more information, contact Dee Hayden, Director, SF Inclusion Networks: Center For Inclusive Early Education, dhayden@supportforfamilies.org, (415)282-7494x106

Inclusion Access/Family Support
Support for Families received funding through First 5 San Francisco, Human Service Agency and the Department of Youth and Families for Inclusion Access/Family Supports to implement the following activities:

Information, Referral, Education and Peer Supports

  • Information and referral to all families with a focus on early education opportunities, inclusion, childcare and respite, information about screening and assessment, health and therapies, and assistance with navigation of those service delivery systems
  • Information and referral to providers working with families about resources and systems navigation, whom to call within systems and assistance in partnering with families
  • Workshops for families and providers include topics such as early education, inclusive practices, assessment, early intervention, self-advocacy, transition to preschool and kindergarten, special education, parent-provider partnering
  • Peer supports to all families through their connection to Community Resource Parents, all of whom are caregivers of children with special needs, as well as through parent mentors, support groups and networking opportunities at workshops and family events
  • Ongoing information updates through newsletters, resource packets, listservs, and library

Case Management

  • Short term case management services and support for families
  • Problem solving with families and providers
  • Consultation with providers regarding navigating the systems of care for families with complex needs

Round Table

  • Multi-agency case review with parental consent of individual child's developmental, medical, social, psychological, and/or educational needs
  • Individual Action plans developed with parental input to identify service objectives, next steps and person or agency responsible for each

High Risk Infant Interagency Council

  • Provider and stakeholder group composed of representatives from public and private agencies and organizations in San Francisco that provide services to young children
  • Identification and resolution of gaps in screening, assessment and access to services for children 0-5 with suspected or identified special needs

To learn more about the Support for Families' Inclusion Access and Family Support, please contact Nina Boyle, Family Resource Center Program Director, at (415) 920-5040 or nboyle@supportforfamilies.org.


*This article has been updated to reflect the current name, "San Francisco Inclusion Networks: Center for Inclusive Early Education." The Fall 2012 print version lists an old version of this name, "The Center for Inclusive Early Education."

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Parent Mentors Rock!

By Joan Selby, Parent Mentor Coordinator

Parent Mentor Graduation 2012

Support for Families' Parent Mentor Program is one of the organization’s oldest programs, starting prior to 1989 when it was originally called the Parent Outreach Program. Parent Mentors are volunteers who are an additional resource for families. They provide support to parents looking to connect with another parent regarding specific concerns.

This past May, the Parent Mentor Program (PMP) had 22 parents combined from the English and Spanish programs graduating from its eight-month Special Education training series. In June, a total of 14 parents from the English (1 day training) and Spanish (2 half-day trainings) programs completed the Parent-to-Parent training.

In the Special Education series of the PMP we covered various areas, including evaluations and assessments, the IEP Process, and Related Services to help Parent Mentors get a perspective of the Special Education system. The Parent-to-Parent (P2P) training of the PMP provided helpful information such as positive listening techniques, coping skills, and understanding resources in order to be an effective Parent Mentor.

Interested in becoming a Parent Mentor?
If you are interested in becoming a Support for Families Parent Mentor, please contact us. We are currently registering parents for the next eight-month Special Education training series which starts this September 2012 and will be completed by May 2013. For information or to register, please contact a PMP Coordinator:

Joan E. Selby (English)
Phone: (415) 282-7494, x113
Email: jselby@supportforfamilies.org

JoAnna Van Brusselen (Spanish)
Phone: (415) 282-7494, x141
Email: jvanbrusselen@supportforfamilies.org

Note: Registration with Joan Selby or JoAnna Van Brusselen is required. Thank you.

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Technology: Helping Us Learn and Do More

by Joe Goyos, Education Manager

Boy looking at iPadAssistive Technology (AT) has become a bit more visible recently, in large part due to the the creation of the iPad and the subsequent discovery of its applications in edu­cational settings. But AT is much more than an iPad or a communication device. Assistive technology is changing the world as we know it. It has added new possibilities, opened new horizons, and allowed for individuals with disabilities to do much more for themselves.

Assistive technology is any device that helps a person with a disability complete a task of daily living. One of many areas where AT can be extremely helpful is in our schools and classrooms. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA – U.S. Special Education Law) defines the term `assistive technology device' as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired com­mercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capa­bilities of a child with a disability” [IDEA Definitions Sec. §602(1)]. Federal regulations mandate that the “IEP team must … consider whether the child needs assistive tech­nology devices and services” [34 CFR § 300.324(a)(2)(v)].

IDEA has remained silent as to who can benefit from as­sistive technology; that decision is made on an individual basis at the Individualized Education Program (IEP) level. The IEP team determines whether AT is needed in order to ensure that a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is provided in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). If it is determined that AT is needed in order to ac­cess education, then it must be included in the IEP and provided at no cost to the child.

Parents should remember that they are an equal member/partner of the IEP team and that it is never too early to consider AT for their child.

AT can refer to many different things. In an educational setting, AT can be used help students access the cur­riculum. So when it comes to writing, AT can be a pencil/tool grip, wrist weights, dictation software, and/or raised lined paper. When students struggle with reading, they can have book holders, enlarged text, screen readers, and highlighter tape. For other students with studying, learn­ing, and time management issues, picture schedules, post -it notes, PDAs, hand held recorders and visual timers can help make the educational environment more accessible. When it comes to written composition needs, handheld spell checkers, tape recorders, talking word processors, and graphic organizing software can assist in achieving annual goals. When a student is having trouble accessing the math curriculum, counters, calculators, math soft­ware, graph paper, and other tools can be used to facili­tate the learning process.

This is not meant to be all-inclusive, but merely a set of examples to get you thinking about AT and how it can help students learn better. There are also AT devices that can be used around mobility issues, communica­tion needs, vision deficits, hearing complications and for needs associated with activities of daily living.

Families should learn about the latest and greatest gad­gets, but remember that many problems have low tech/tech lite solutions. So families should keep abreast of all types of AT devices, even older or less sophisticated equipment, to find the best fit for their child.

If you want to learn more about tablet devices and AT, stay tuned! In the late Fall, we will offer a workshop that will explain AT and IDEA, and focus on tablet devices and apps available to help children with special needs.

Also, if you’d like to explore how AT can benefit your child, you can call our warmline at (415) 920-5040. One of our Community Resource Parents can help you figure out what types of AT devices can help your child be more suc­cessful in school and in life.

Helpful Resources about AT

Support for Families Resource Guide: supportforfamilies.org/resource2
Joan Cassel Memorial Library, Support for Families; titles include Family Information Guide to Assistive Technology
Center for Accessible Technology (Berkeley, CA): cforat.org
The Family Center on Technology and Disability: fctd.info
The AT Network: atnet.org
Bridging Apps: bridgingapps.org/funding-sources-directory
The Simon Technology Center, PACER: pacer.org/stc
The Geek SLP: geekslp.com
Squidalicious: http://www.squidalicious.com/p/ipads-and-autism.html

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Helping Your Child Cope with School Transitions

By Leah Davies, M.Ed.

Children report moving, leaving friends and changing grades or schools as being highly stressful. To assist them with transitions the following ideas may be helpful:

  • If the family is moving, take pictures of friends and familiar places and offer ways to keep in contact with close friends via phone, email, and letters. Help your child talk about what he or she will miss and about what will be new and different.
  • Encourage your child to discuss the future transition by asking questions such as, "What have you been thinking about your new school?" Make a list of your child's concerns and together try to find answers to the questions. Many schools have in­ternet sites that describe procedures, show virtual tours, and answer common questions.
  • If you have a choice of schools, listen to your child's ideas about what is important to him or her. After visiting various schools, openly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each. Although the final decision is yours, it is important that your child feel included in the decision making process.
  • Help your child get to know the new environment before­hand. When possible visit the school together. Even viewing it from a car or seeing a photograph of the building is better than leaving the first day to the child's imagination.
  • Let your child know it is natural to feel apprehensive. He or she may be fearful of not being accepted by peers or about mastering the logistics or academics of a new grade or school. Share childhood memories of times when you were worried about a new situation. Relate the good things that happened like how you met your best friend or that your new teacher was one of your favorites.
  • Keep the days leading up to the transition as positive as pos­sible. Stress that his or her class will offer many new experi­ences. The night before the first day, have your child lay out everything needed for school. The next morning allow time to get ready in a calm manner.
  • Buy school supplies and required materials. Go over the walk to school or to the bus stop. Empower your child by discuss­ing actions he or she can take if a problem arises. Ask, "What concerns you most about school?" Listen and then ask, "If that happens, what will you do?" Help your child think of construc­tive ways to deal with a difficult situation.
  • Expect the transition to be ultimately successful. Yet, remem­ber that adjustments take time and the first days in a new school are often overwhelming. Your attitude can help your child; let him or her know you are confident in his ability to adjust well.
  • Attend the school's orientation, open house, and/or tour the school with your child. Be involved by asking for a copy of the school's calendar and handbook. Join the Parent-Teacher Organization or parent advisory board. Get to know other parents, especially parents of your child's new friends.
  • Be available after school starts. Understand that your child may need extra time, attention and support. When there is a change, he or she may regress to an earlier developmental stage. Plan time for family fun because when transitions oc­cur, families are a necessary source of love and support.
  • Invite your child to express his or her emotions. Even when a concern seems minor to you, be respectful and know that it can be a major crisis to your child. Try to put yourself in his or her place and understand the feelings expressed. Ask open ended questions like, "How's it going?" or make comments like, "You seem sad." Then listen carefully and avoid giving advice unless your child asks for it.
  • Help your child explore ways to cope with concerns, and continue to be available for further discussion. Be ready to problem-solve with him or her. You may want to role play a situation that is causing anxiety.
  • Encourage your child to try new things by participating in one or two extracurricular activities. Help him or her understand that trying is what is important, and that one does not always have to be successful.
  • Continue to foster your child's organizational skills and assist him or her in becoming responsible and independent. Stay interested and provide rules and structure. Yet, allow your child to have input into what the rules are.
  • If after an adjustment period of time, your child is reluctant to go to school or seems truly unhappy, seek help. Identify your concerns and meet with your child's teacher and/or school counselor. Together, perhaps with the child being present, work out a plan of action.

Used by permission of the author, Leah Davies, and selected from the Kelly Bear website [http://www.kellybear.com/ParentTips/ParentTip8.html]

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Donald Strickland Event a Touchdown

Kids and youth with disabilities or any kind of heathcare need tried out football drills, danced in the football zone, and learned how to cheer at this fun mini-football camp, sponsored by The Donald Strickland Foundation, on the beautiful green turf at Candlestick Park on July 7th.

Donald and pro-football players Dwight Lowery, Mike Adams, Ashley Leslie, Greg Ervin and Chris Culliver were there to take photos with the kids, sign footballs and be an inspiration to all who attended. Having grown up in the SF Bayview district, and having attended high school at Archbishop Riordan High School where he was a dedi­cated student and standout athlete, Donald has set-up a foundation to give back to his community. This mini-foot­ball camp was part of a weekend of fun events to kick off his foundation. Thanks to everyone who volunteered their time and talents to make the event possible:

Coach Fred and the SF
Warriors Football
Mission High football
Riordan High football


Individual Volunteers:
Mariel Kemp
Laura Brownfield
Jesse Tepper
Nick Than
Tiffany Robles
Jacob Menis
Soledad Sullon
Daniel Sullon
Reinaldo Acosta

Evelyn Granados
Jessica Batres
Ramon Granados
Kevin Wong
Jesse Romero
Frank Schlier
Aaron Schlier
Sara Watson
Maddy Gerlach
Jim Riley

Boy catching football

Little boy running with footballLittle girl with Donald Strickland

For more photos of the event, visit our Facebook page! www.facebook.com/supportforfamiliessf

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Reviews from the Joan Cassel Memorial Library

Common Sense Guide book cover

The Common Sense Guide to Your Child’s Special Needs, When to Worry, When to Wait, What to Do,
by Louis Pellegrino, MD

This is a new version of a book in our library titled When Your Child Has a Disability. The author wrote this book to update medical research and to make his prior book more understandable to parents and caregivers. The chapters are richly illustrated and contain, tables, drawings section headings and textboxes. For example, chapter 4, “When Your Child Has Trouble with Social Skills”, includes an early social milestones chart, several FYI text boxes, kernels or wisdom boxes, possibilities of related disabilities like autism, red flags, interventions and a summary. I like the order of the information: the chapter on problems with learning is followed by a chapter on when your child needs extra help (considers, IEP, doctors, special ed – yes or no). I used the index and resources to research sensory disorders in the book and on the internet. Parents use this book to read about your child’s disability or possible developmental problem.  You do not need to read the whole book.


Comprehensive Guide book cover

The Comprehensive Guide to Special Education Law: Over 400 Frequency  Asked Questions and Answers Every Educator Needs to Know about the Legal Rights of Exceptional Children and their Parents
by George Giuliani

This guide addresses the problem of understanding special education law to help your child get the best education possible. The author has an excellent background for special education law. He has a law degree, a doctorate in psychology and teaches Special Education Law at the university level. Note he uses the acronym IDEIA  and this is the correct for the 2004 IDEA reauthorization. Again this is not a read cover to cover book. The Contents page chapter titles, the IDEIA Glossary, References and Alphabetical Index will direct the reader to the correct section needed to answer a question of what the law says for a particular disability, etc. It is easy to read and comprehensive in its scope and understanding of the special education law.

Feeding Challenges book cover

Feeding Challenges in Young Children, Strategies and Specialized Interventions for Success,
by Deborah Bruns & Stacy Thompson

This is an accessible textbook that can be used by parents, professionals and college students equally. I like the format of the book. Each chapter begins with a listing of the material covered by the chapter. This followed by Food for Thought, a family story of feeding problems. Any testing or age or disability milestones are displayed in a Table. The illustrations are photos. The chapters end with a Summary, Table Talk (another short story), Discussion Questions, Feeding Nuggets (Bibliography). There are developmental milestones for feeding, red flags, cultural implications, importance of family interactions, breast feeding (how to’s), a tube feeding chapter and so much more. The book comes with a CD-ROM that contains all the appendices.

Transforming Behavior book cover

Transforming Behavior: Training Parents and Kids Together,
by Mary Cook

The author has developed a toolkit in the form of this book. The premise is that there are more children with behavior problems and not enough staff or money for individual treatment. She uses PACK (parenting approaches for challenging kids) and MaPS (mastery of psychosocial skills) to train the parents and children together to achieve acceptable behavior goals. A teacher has 11 modules designed to teach the PACK system and 11 modules to teach the MaPs techniques. All the materials needed in the courses are included. A convenient CD-ROM containing these materials accompanies the book. The author suggests that schools, churches, clubs, libraries, medical and other social gathering groups provide the courses. It has many possibilities in this time of mental health budget cuts.

Special Needs Advocacy book cover

What You Can Do Now to Advocate for Your Exceptional Child’s Education: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book,
by Rich Weinfeld & Michelle Davis

Advocacy is an important skill for anyone working with a child with special needs. Even the school-aged child should become involved if possible. There are three major goals for the book: parents need to learn advocacy skills to help their children. The second one is teachers and other professionals need to develop communication skills to help the child and avoid breakdown of communications with the parents to help the child. Part three is about skills the reader needs to teach advocacy skills to others or to become a professional advocate. There is a glossary of terms and references at the end of the book. The lack of an index does not hurt the book because of a comprehensive Table of Contents and good paragraph headings. It could serve as a good textbook for a class on advocacy as all materials needed are part of the book.



Reviews by Elaine Butler, Librarian

Each of these books has been personally researched and requested for review purposes by me for introduction to you, the reader.

Support for Families maintains the Joan Cassel Memorial Library which is a lending library for families and professionals, comprised of multi-lingual books, reference materials and media related to children with disabilities and special health care needs. The library is open during regular business hours.

If you have the title or author of a book you’d like to read, please go to our website and do a search. Go to this link and enter the title or author or subject and click search. If we have the item, call us and the librarian will hold the item for you until you can come to the office to pick it up. Try the online catalog or come and browse the shelves by category, new items added weekly.

Visist our library online at: http://www.supportforfamilies.org/library.html

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Reprint from Summer 2012 Newsletter: Special Education Services - Assignments and Contact Information

sfusd contacts

Download PDF Version [pdf]

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Support for Families gratefully acknowledges gifts from the following individuals, groups and businesses, received May 1, 2012 through July 31, 2012. We apologize for any omissions or misspellings; please contact us so we can correct our records.

Businesses, Groups:

Charles Schwab Foundation
Steppin'Out Dance Studio
The Junior League of San Francisco

Murray Cahen and Jane LaPides
Tara Donohue
Alida Fisher
Hans Hansson
Celia Jones
Darnee Lansangan
Linda Stevens

Workplace Gifts:
Anonymous, Allstate Giving Campaign and corporate match
Anonymous, PG&E Campaign for the Community
Nersi Boussina, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Annual Appeal
Michael Kapulica, United Way Bay Area
Angela Wong, Chevron Humankind

Tributes and Memorials:

In honor of Jake Gamboa's 8th birthday:
Correy Bernal
Crista Martin Goldman, Sachs & Co. Matching Gift Program
Marianne Wong-Sorani
Antoinette Wythes

In honor of Rachel Simon:
Mary Hill

In memory of Zachary Kloomok Smith:
Eve Bernstein
Eileen Goldman
Darren Kloomok

In-Kind Donations:
Janice Arakawa-Hoyt


Wine + Design sponsors and donors will be listed in our Winter 2012 issue

Kaiser Half Marathon 2012

The Pamakid Runners

Scott Ackemann
Ernie Aguilar
Aileen Albertson
Gregory Alby
Rigoberto Alvarez
Mark Anasco
Luke Anderson
Christine Angeles
Christopher Apolinario
Agustin Araya
Catherine Arthur
Chris Asher
Kristin Bailey
Alexander Ballesteros
Mary Elisa Balmonte
Gino Baltazar
Carol Bautista
Sara Beaini
Marcy Berding
Daniel Bird
Christina Briley
Chi Buckley
Olga Burch
Jylynne Burnette
Ellen Cabalu
Glenella Camacho
Nathan Campbell
Joseph Caputo
Irene Casanova
Joy Catolico
Jeff Chaplin
Suzanne Charon
Irene Chavez
Manuel Chavez
Miquella Chavez
Boris Chen
Michael Chung
Tatum Clarke
Clinton Cleveland
Grace Cooper
Laurie Cotulla
Robert Crenshaw
Andrea Cruz
Marianito Cuaresma
Itatiaia Daniel
Walter Daniels
Bella Datangel
Tina Demartini
Frank Denis
Carolyn Dingwall
Carmalita Doss
Andrea Duff
Patricia Duffy
Rachel Dusek
Maigread Eichten
Elaine Ellis
Heidi Eschweiler
Edwin Estrella
Jeff Everett
David Ewart
Debra Farris
Henry Felker
Misty Fimple
Venesse Francisco
Lauren Fratto
Mark Friese
Guadalupe Garcia Macdonal
Lisa Gardner
Mukesh Garg
Greg Garrity
Sarah Grant
Josh Greene
Julia Griggs
Mette Hansen Seager
Anne Hardy
Keara Hays
Lindsay Hearne
Glen Hertelendy
William Ho
Kaori Ishikura
Nancy Jacobson
Robert Jacobson
Ginger Javier
Bradley Jones
Tracy Joseph
Mark Jules
Jennifer Kistner
Anne Kolker
Patricia Lai
Caroline Lee
Katy Leung
Susanna Leung
Kenneth Lewis
Ashley Lopez
Nicole Lusignan
Margaret Mack
Maritess Madrinan
Linda Mai
Kirsta Martino
Brandy Martinoli
Eileen McCarthy
Marilyn McEnhill
Dylan McGrath
Paris Mijatovich
Juliao A Monteiro
Simon Morris
Wendy Morrow
Lisa Navarrette
Joan Ngando-Agbor
Kenny Nguyen
Russ Nishikawa
Neil Noguera
Elisabeth Noland
Evelyn Odango
Alvin Otani
Alfred Palma
Rushina Patel
Colin Patton
Molly Petersen
Cathleen Pham
Margaret Pometta
Harriet Prensky
Julie Price
Rachel Pyrdol
Alisa Rafter
Oliver Ralph
Vasundara Ramarajan
Ron Rasing
Ruth Ricci
Jill Richardson
Emily Riley
Kadi Ringness
Rowena Robles
John Rodriguez
Eso Romero
Matt Romig
Andrea Rosenberg
Elza Rossi
Judith Rowlings
John Roxas
Lorenzo Ruiz
Robyn Rutledge
Sudersan Sampath
Juergen Schmerder
Mary Schriner
Anne Scott
Kimberly Scott
Roger Seaman
Marita Seulamo-Vargas
Saarika Sharma
Ciaraline Shepherd
Tony Singh
David Smith
Laurie Smith
Carole Somma
Megan Sopko
Mauricio Sosa
Susan Spears
James Storey
Kevin Sullivan
Francis Tanjuatco
Marie Tanjuatco
Lora Thomason
Michelle Thompson
Christine Tiongco
Daniel Tran
Kellyn Trummer
Jonathan Turner
Karel Urbanek
Brendan Van Der Vossen
Kira Vargas
Shannon Varunok
Montira Warran
Barbara Weldon
Lee Ann Williamson
Amie Yudice
Evelyn Zara
Anita Zieba
Donald Zimmanck
Michael Zyracki

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