USC UCEDD Consumer Advisory Committee
Parent/Family Member Organization Representatives:
Bertha Monterrey, Parent Coordinator, Fiesta Educativa, Inc.
Bertha is the mother of two school-aged children who have both been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She began at Fiesta Educativa as a parent participating in their Autism Parent Education Program. After participating in the training, Bertha found value in the work that Fiesta Educativa provides for the community, and began to volunteer with them in 2014. She is now a Parent Coordinator at Fiesta Educativa for the San Gabriel Valley. As a Parent Coordinator, she is responsible for providing support and information to families through presentations, face-to-face, by phone, by text, by email, and through home visits. During her time at Fiesta Educativa, she has been able to lend support, education, and empowerment to many families who have children with Special Needs, in Spanish and in English. Bertha takes great joy in helping equip families on their journeys by providing them with support, knowledge and hope.
Sylvia Thompson, Family Member, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Westside
Sylvia Thompson earned her dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in developmental psychology and theatre from Marymount Manhattan College. She pursued graduate-level coursework in special education at the City College of New York and has earned her certification as Care Manager Certified (CMC) from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers (NACCM). She is a Client Consultant and certified Care Manager with LivHOME where she uses her special needs background to provide care management and advocacy for many adults who are challenged by disability, providing guidance to concerned families and professionals with inquires about services and resources within the community. She is a Family to Family teacher for NAMI Westside.
Victoria Berrey, MPA, Director, Family Focus Resource Center, California State University, Northridge
Victoria has a Bachelor’s degree from UCSB and a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Non-Profit Sector Management from CSUN. She is the proud parent of two children on the autism spectrum and enjoys hiking, visiting museums and outings with her family. She serves as Program Manager at the Family Focus Resource Center at CSUN, an Early Start Family Resource Center and Empowerment Center that serves the North Los Angeles region. Among her special interests are legislation and policy for individuals with disabilities.
Veronica Moser, Board of Directors, South Central Los Angeles Regional Center
Veronica Moser is the mother of an adult son with an intellectual disability. She is a member of the SCLARC Board of Directors and a former president of the board. She also sits on the Blue Shield Health Consumer Advisory Board. She is particularly concerned with independence for adult consumers and services for them as they age out of services and ensuring accommodations throughout society.
Maia Pawooskar, Inland Regional Center Self Determination Advisory Committee
Maia Pawooskar is the mother of a young adult son with on the autism spectrum. She has Master’s Degree in Geography, with an emphasis on Geographic Information Systems and Urban planning and has worked in the high tech industry for over 20 years. She speaks English, Hindi, Konkani, Marathi; understands Punjabi and Gujarati and has a working knowledge of French. She provides support to mono-lingual East Asian families and is a member of many committees including:
- Inland Regional Center Self-Determination Advisory Committee (Chair)
- Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) – State Council on Developmental Disabilities, San Bernardino
- Council of Public Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA) Diversity Committee
- Autism Society Inland Empire (Group Leader)
- CAC For Local School District
- Inland Empire Disabilities Association
She is particularly concerned with transition from school to adult services and disparities.
Janet Rivera, Fragile X Association of Southern California
Janet Rivera is the mother of a teenage son with Fragile X syndrome. She is involved with Fragile X Association of Southern CA where she is active in recruiting supporting Latino families. Ms. Rivera speaks Spanish. She is particularly interested in raising the visibility of the USC UCEDD. She brings her skills as a bi-lingual parent and her ability to engage parents and plan events. She also brings experience with Independent Living Centers.
Rita Vasquez-Meza, Parent, Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK), Project Director, Region 1
Liz Spencer, Parent, Westside Regional Center Family Resource and Empowerment Center