Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego’s mission is to help parents and advocates in the special needs community overcome challenges of the family’s journey by bringing together people, information and resources.
Local people from the special needs community came to our for-profit company, San Diego Family, and asked for help. There were many resources available in the community but they were not accumulated or accessible in a single resource. The community wanted and needed one collective place to access resources in our community. We wanted to help the special needs community, so we accepted this challenge and created the annual publication Flourishing Families. For the community’s convenience, we’ve also posted these resources at www.SNRFSD.org/category/special-needs-resource-list-san-diego. Advocates use Flourishing Families to inform parents of all the resources available in the community and to point them in the right direction for help.
We’ve received so much positive feedback and want this publication to continue to grow. In January 2014, we filed as a California nonprofit corporation, Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego. By creating a nonprofit we are allowed to apply for various private, local, state and national grants. In addition it enables us to accept charitable donations and seek out individual and corporate sponsorships for our fundraising activities.
President: Sharon Bay has been the President of Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego since its inception. She is also the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of San Diego Family Magazine, a monthly parenting publication; Out & About, an annual family adventure guide to San Diego County, and Flourishing Families, a resource guide for parents of children with special needs. She purchased San Diego Family Magazine in 1985, changing its format from a newspaper to a glossy covered magazine. This award-winning, free publication is available to 85,000 San Diego County families every month.
Sharon has been a contributor to the community of San Diego through membership in organizations that make a difference. As member of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Sharon participates on the Education & Workforce Committee. Having been a member of the San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary club since 2012, she has been on several committees, including chair of the vocational committee and involvement in the fundraising projects of the club. She has volunteered on many Rotarian projects. She has also been a board member of Parenting Media Association, a trade association for parenting publications across the United States, Canada and Australia for many years.
She was raised in the North Platte area of western Nebraska and she graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Home Economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She lives in San Diego with her husband, has two grown children and five grandchildren.
Secretary: Michele Hancock, daughter of Sharon, has been part of the San Diego Family team since 2007. Michele is a graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with an Undergraduate Degree in Business and a Masters Degree in Marketing. While at San Diego Family, she has managed the Marketing Department, re-developed SanDiegoFamily.com into an award winning website and integrated social media into the marketing mix. She has been heavily involved in the starting of the nonprofit company, Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego. A native of San Diego, she resides in Scripps Ranch with her wonderful husband and three children.
Treasurer: Linda Bay is the daughter-in-law of Sharon. She has worked for San Diego Family since 2004. Linda manages the Distribution and Payroll departments and oversees numerous special projects. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with her Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Physiology and received her Masters Degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 1993. Originally from Minnesota, Linda has lived in San Diego for over 20 years. She, her husband and two children live in Scripps Ranch.
Rachel Ackerly is the Founder of Cecily’s Closet, a 501(c)(3) focused on improving the lives of children with special needs in San Diego. Founded in 2010, Cecily’s Closet, a volunteer-led organization, provides decorative room makeovers for children who spend a considerable amount of time at home due to their disability. In addition, Cecily’s Closet recycles durable medical equipment to children in need and offers free protective belly bands for children who rely on feeding tubes for their sole source of nutrition. An active mother of three young children, Rachel dedicates her free time to improving the lives of children with medical, developmental and physical disabilities in her community. In addition, Rachel works part-time as a marketing professional providing product marketing and program management for IT security companies.
Emily Dolton is a local mural artist and mom of two sons, one with 22Q 11.2 Deletion Syndrome. She is married to a wonderful school-based occupational therapist. Together they tackle the biggest challenges of today’s childhood with the understanding that no two brains are wired the same, and no two bodies are built quite alike. Emily is a past member of Area Board XIII, the California State Council for Developmental Disbailities and the SDUSD Medi-Cal Collaborative. She is a current member of the IEP Day committee, PTA member for two San Diego schools, a contributing writer with San Diego Family Magazine and a regular Project Lead and Contributing Artist for Cecily’s Closet. Emily and a group of fellow IEP Day committee members drove the initial idea of creating a guide for the families of children with special needs out of the shared experience of struggling to become aware of resources in our community.