This month’s people that “echo” in Santa Cruz County choice is an individual who has dedicated herself to advocating for children and adults with autism. Michelle Rene Jacquez is president of the Southern Arizona Autism Association. She was born in Tucson, Arizona but raised in Nogales, Arizona. She is currently a parent leader for the Raising Special Kids Organization, and head of the Special Olympics AZ Adults Association.
“I am blessed. I have a child with high-functioning autism who has taught me a lot about autism and the importance of helping other families,” said Mrs. Jacquez. She is a mother of 6-year-old Gregory Isaac with autism. Mrs. Jacquez personally knows some of the challenges parents with children who have autism face. Services for children with autism in rural areas are scarce.
Southern Arizona Autism is a valuable resource to the community as they collaborate with local organizations to make sure children and young adults with autism are able to lead happy and productive lives. “As president of Southern Arizona Autism, I oversee the daily functions of the organization. Those include event planning and fundraising for the organization. I also facilitate meetings for local support groups. I conduct home visits to help connect families to local and state organizations to the services they need,” said Mrs. Jacquez.