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1st Network Correspondance & Documentation
Intro Letter to Advisory Board


Intro Letter to Advisory Board

First Network Advisory Group

FIRSTNetwork Advisory Group

Hello and welcome to the first meeting of the advisory group for FIRSTNetwork. While I’ll cover the basics of FIRSTNetwork (and that’s a working title only) later in this email, let me remind you that this United Way Highlighted grant project is designed to build a virtual community for parents and providers of children with disabilities, providing support, linkages and training. The collaborative partners on this project are Hamilton Center (HCI), United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of the Wabash Valley and Covered Bridge Special Education District (CBSED).

Thanks to all of you for agreeing to be part of this group. To save time and energy, both of which seem to be in short supply right now, we’re going to try to have some of these advisory group meetings via email. I hope this works out.

Please respond to this email so I know that your email address has been recorded correctly. If you want to respond to the whole group, use ‘reply to all’ button.

Before we get started, I’d like to take a minute to tell you who all is part of this advisory group. I know most of you, though some better than others. So, I’ll start introductions. Please feel free to fill in wherever.

Advisory Group Members

Jacquie Denehie is the Executive Director at UCP. In addition to finding funds and cast-off computers to help families get ‘linked’ to the internet, Jacquie serves as Chair of the local First Steps Council and is a master at fundraising. Jacquie’s email address is:

Peggy Hutson does preschool diagnostic testing and placement for Covered Bridge. Peggy and I have worked on a zillion projects together over the last few years and she gladly volunteered to serve as the Covered Bridge liaison to this project. Peggy’s email address is: . Additionally, Marilyn Faris, Executive Director of Covered Bridge will be part of our email list, participating when she can. Marilyn’s email address is: .

Liz Andres brings two perspectives to this project. Liz is both the parent of a child (Emily) with multiple disabilities and she brings a long history of working in family support projects and programs. Liz is also an adjunct faculty member at ISU, teaching Child Development and Family Life. Liz’s email address is:

Caroline Carvill is the Director of Service Learning at Rose-Hulman and a member of the English Dept. faculty. Caroline will help us link up with Rose techno wizards to really build our internet site. This saves the project a fortune! Caroline’s email address is:

Hans Eilbracht is the program manager of the Information Systems department at Hamilton Center and the tech guy on this end of the project. Hans will be doing lots of research and leg work and really pulling things together to make the hardware end of this project happen. Hans’ email address is:

Anita Lascelles, Director of Early Intervention / Healthy Beginnings at Hamilton Center will also be participating on our email list. Anita’s the expert on United Way, our funders, having had lots of experience with that organization. She’s also my boss! Anita’s email address is:

I’ve asked two non-Wabash Valley friends to participate as members of this advisory group. They both have expertise and experience with similar projects and/or a tremendous interest. Carla Adwell Webb is a consultant and trainer in San Diego, CA. She and I have worked on several projects designed to build virtual communities. Carla’s also a wiz at doing internet research and has offered her time to help find what we need to make this project happen. Carla’s email address is: Karen McKinney is Director of Early Head Start at Rosemount Center in Washington, DC. A longtime advocate for families of children with disabilities, Karen can bring both the family perspective and child care perspective to this project. Karen’s email address is:

You all know me. As the parent of a child with a disability, an old school teacher, and early intervention program manager, manager for this project and a true tech fan, I’m excited to finally see this project get the funding and start up it deserves. My email addresses are: and (Hey, I always have a back up!)


The FIRSTNetwork project overview

The summary of this project as written in the grant proposal is:

Project "FIRSTNetwork*" proposes to develop and implement an internet-based resource network, offering information on disabilities, health concerns, education, development and family issues, parent-to-parent and provider-to-provider links for support and ‘just in time’ training around issues pertinent to families of children with disabilities and special health care needs. This project will create a technology-based framework for:

  • Linking families of children with special needs to each other, both online and in person
  • Provide current and accessible ‘just in time’ general information about disability issues and specific information regarding the service delivery system within west central Indiana
  • Provide online, internet based training /learning opportunities to support and assist families in gathering the skills and tools needed to help their children reach their maximum developmental potential
  • Extend the information and supports to providers and educators who work with this population

There you have the basic information about the project and the advisory group. Please respond to this email to let me know that I’ve got your correct email address. I hope to set up an email group that will be easy for us to access and provide a place to store and share information that will make our roles as an advisory group functional.

Thanks again…. I’ll be in touch soon.



*Families Information Resources Support Training

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