Shannon Schafer, Executive Director
For over 25 years, I have worked with the special needs community including many private special needs schools and a number of public schools in the Mercer County area with special education programs. I also work closely with Special Olympics of NJ and POAC, Autism Services, both of which are non-profit highly respected organizations that do great things for kids, adults and their families.
Community service, giving back and paying it forward is engrained in every part of my career and life. I can’t imagine doing anything more worthwhile. Starting a non-profit for families of children with special needs has been a life dream fueled by so much passion and inspiration.
I have been touched by so many families over the years. Some of the unfortunate feedback is that families can’t find programs, recreational facilities won’t work with their children, or the cost is unaffordable. It breaks my heart to hear these stories. I vowed to make sure parents would have a welcoming and inclusive place to bring their children.
Allison Ryan, President
Allison has a wealth of experience with managing varied youth programs, staff performance, client satisfaction and marketing at Schafer Sports. She has also worked with students of all ages. When doing so, she is dedicated to instilling fitness, teamwork, and positivity with all those she works with. She is an active mother of two and spends much of her free time volunteering in the community. Allison is excited to be involved with We Care Special Sports and will add enthusiasm, organization and great ideas to the team.
Other Board Members
Jodi DiClaudio, Secretary has a son on the Autism Spectrum that has worked with our Executive Director, Shannon Schafer for the last 5 yrs, which make her ideal for our board as she has a personal connection to the mission of 'We Care Special Sports'. Jodi knows all too well how challenging it can be to navigate finding programs that can be affordable and willing to work with her son.
Christine Stier, Board Member brings a wealth of knowledge to our team not only as a parent of a son on the Autism Spectrum, but also as an educator. Christy has advocated for her son on many levels as a parent and now she is just as passionate about paying it forward to fight for the rights of others. She will be a valued resource for many who are trying to navigate the world of special needs challenges and opportunities.
Hillary Freeman, Board Member: Hillary is deeply committed to her work representing people with disabilities and their families. As the sister of a man with autism, she is able to combine personal experience with her legal training to help families advocate for services and supports. She has experience representing clients in special education and Section 504 issues, higher education issues including accommodations on high stakes testing and graduate school admissions tests, guardianship matters, estate planning and adult services. She was named a Rising Star℠ by Super Lawyers & Magazine for 2013, 2014 and 2015. She recently has been honored with Robin Sims Trailblazer Award in 2015. She holds a JD from Widener University School of Law and practices in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Terry Swope, Board Member