Connecting for Kids Honors Local Residents Who Support Area Families

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On February 27, 2015, Connecting for Kids will honor three individuals who fulfill the organization’s mission to provide education and support for area families with questions or concerns about their child’s development.  Natalie Fior, Principal of Erieview Elementary Schools in Avon Lake, Todd Meany of Fox 8 News, and Julie Norris, Parent Mentor, will be recognized during the Connecting for Kids Annual Fundraiser at Ahern’s Banquet Center, 726 Avon Belden Rd. in Avon Lake.

“This is the first time our organization will be honoring some of the people who have truly made a difference in the lives of area parents and their children with special needs,” said Sarah Rintamaki, Executive Director of Connecting for Kids.  “Each person has been selected because he or she has made a unique contribution to our community and has gone above and beyond to be of service to parents concerned about their child’s development whether it is physical, emotional, communication, adaptive or cognitive.”

Professional/Educator of the Year: Natalie Fior, Principal of Erieview Elementary School in Avon Lake.  Fior is a resident of Amherst

When approached by a parent with the suggestion of putting a Buddy Bench on the school’s playground, Fior took the idea to the teachers facilitating a Kids in The Community group and supported the fundraising and implementation of the project.  The Buddy Bench fosters friendships on the playground by providing children with a tool to identify those that need a peer to play with and encourages those already engaged in play to invite others to join in the fun.  After installation of the bench, Fior arranged for school-wide training to teach students how to embrace the Buddy Bench.  Fior’s excitement over the project was evident, especially when she surprised Erieview Elementary students with Buddy bracelets served on silver trays!

Media Person of the Year: Todd Meany, Fox 8 News

Meany is a resident of Fairview Park

Todd Meany has always been an advocate for children with special needs.  Not only does he cover stories that help local parents improve their parenting skills, but he has also raised awareness of the resources in our community available to children with developmental disabilities.  Meany has been an been an outstanding supporter of Connecting for Kids having covered the first Meet & Greet event in 2013 and continually advocating for television segments involving professionals within the special needs community.

Parent of the Year: Julie Norris, Connecting for Kids Parent Mentor

Norris is a resident of North Ridgeville

Though she is a busy mom to Austin (age 8) and Kate (age 5), Julie Norris always finds time to help other parents in need.  As a Parent Mentor for Connecting for Kids, she has spent countless hours on the phone talking to parents who have received a new diagnosis, offering ideas on how to help their children be more successful at home and in school.  She also provides input and support on the organization’s Facebook Chat Group. Norris always is open-minded and adheres to confidentiality when dealing with parents.

Tickets for the 2015 Connecting for Kids Annual Fundraiser are $45 per person which includes dinner, cocktails and dessert.  To reserve a ticket, visit or call 1-440-250-5563.

The Connecting for Kids mission is to provide education and support for families with questions or concerns about their child’s development.  We are targeting families with children from birth to twelve years of age who have some concern about their child’s development (including behavioral concerns).  We are serving all children; including both children with and without a formal diagnosis such as ADHD or an autism spectrum disorder.  We also offer programs for children who may be described as shy, anxious, impulsive or quick to anger.  We serve all areas of child development whether it is physical, emotional, communication, adaptive or cognitive.  We are focused on the west side of Cuyahoga County and the east side of Lorain County.

For more details on Connecting for Kids or its events, visit, 440-250-5563 or  Connecting for Kids: “For families with questions and concerns about childhood development.”

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