About Betsy Geib
Betsy Geib is serving as My Village Northwest’s Board President. She comes to the table as the parent of a young adult with an intellectual disability. She wants her to have access to all that adult life offers: employment, friendship, leisure activities, leadership opportunities, education, and spiritual growth. She volunteers on the board because she is energized by the passion, dedication, humor, and friendship of the other board members.
About Michelle Shaw
After teaching for 10 years in both Special Education and Elementary Education, Michelle Shaw discovered her oldest had disabilities. Feeling isolated and alone, she discovered the community members of My Village NW and has developed many rich relationships that have not only benefited her life but the life of her 4 children, 2 of which have special needs of various degrees. She is passionate about creating events that bring families together and environments that families can feel safe with their children who have special needs and their siblings. She has also co-directed Special Santa, gathered sponsors for both Santa and the Can Do, and been the Can Do 5k Race Director for the past 3 years.
About Kim Rickelton
Kim Rickelton has been serving on the Board since 2011. She is the parent of a teenager with a developmental disability and is passionate about helping him be an active part of the community. Her goal has always been to encourage him in social & volunteer activities, sports, friendships, and, in the future, successful employment and independence despite his disability. Kim is proud to serve on the Board of My Village Northwest because it provides positive support, social activities and resources for families of children with special needs.
About Pilar Dowell
An accomplished art director and graphic designer, Pilar Dowell has been designing marketing materials for Northwest Special Families events since she joined the board in 2009. For over 25 years she has been working for companies such as Disney, and she says she has found her creative contributions to NSF to be the most rewarding. Pilar has also served on planning committees for Special Santa, Can Do, and Mom’s Spa Night.
Pilar and her husband, Robert, are the parents of 19-year-old twins Kevin and Chris, and 15-year-old Alex. All three sons are in the autism spectrum, and Pilar and Robert continue to learn patience and to expect the unexpected. NSF has helped them cross many challenging bridges. Pilar also credits NSF with giving her family more compassion and respect as they walk with other families who face similar or more difficult challenges. She is dedicated to helping develop social opportunities, and to advocating social inclusion, for children with special needs.
Prior to moving to Washington to be closer to extended family, Pilar was born and raised in El Salvador and was a long-time resident of Southern California. She is passionate about traveling both in the U.S. and abroad, and takes her sense of humor everywhere she goes.
About Amy Young
Amy Young is currently serving as the Treasurer of the Board. She and her family have enjoyed developing and participating in many of the events and programs offered by My Village Northwest. In 1999, Brian and Amy’s first child was born with Cerebral Palsy and was later diagnosed with Autism. Sam faces many challenges in his daily life, but he meets them with dignity and joy. As a parent, navigating the unfamiliar territory of raising a child with different abilities, is daunting, frustrating, and often very isolating. Participating in My Village Northwest has provided our family with support, information, social connection and the ability to become a part of our larger community. She looks forward to continued participation in My Village Northwest and developing new opportunities for individuals with different abilities and their families.
About Natalia Bynum
Natalia Bynum has been involved with Northwest Special Families since 2005, when their youngest son, Anthony, was in preschool. Anthony has a diagnosis of Autism, and his visit with Special Santa that year got the family hooked.
Her youngest son, Anthony, began early intervention services at the age of 18 months, before being diagnosed with autism at age 3, so she and her husband, Chris, have been travelers on the “special needs” road for several years. Natalia is an electrical engineer who left a successful 15 year career in 2008 to focus on what was next in her life’s work. She completed the Arc of King County’s ACT (Advocating for Change Together) Leadership Development training in 2009, received training as a mentor parent in the Arc’s Parent-2-Parent program, and is an active member of the Northwest Special Families Steering Committee and both of her sons’ school PTSAs. Recognizing the need for ABA home tutors, she also began working as a tutor for NBA in 2009, has facilitated NBA support groups and is currently the Lead Parent Mentor, delivering an Introduction to NBA Workshop to our new families. She and Chris have been active participants in several parent support groups, and from this experience as well as her work with other families in the community, she recognizes the importance of a support network when raising a child with differing abilities. She is focused on parent education and support, as well as disability awareness and inclusion opportunities.
The entire family has participated in NSF events throughout the years. Besides Special Santa, Anthony has attended YMCA summer camps through the NSF Summer Pals program and enjoyed many family outings organized by NSF, including pumpkin picking in the fall and snow tubing at Snoqualmie Pass. Now in 6th grade, Anthony has really enjoyed being part of the first NSF Tweens event at the Northshore YMCA pool this winter. His older brother, Topher, participated in our NSF Sibshops, and his older sisters have also been part of the NSF family – volunteering at SibShops and Special Santa. And the entire family looks forward to participating in the Can Do every year.
About Andrea Congdon
Andrea Congdon has been involved with this organization since she and her family first moved to the Seattle area in 2005. At that time, her son with special needs was just entering elementary school. The Congdons (Bob, Andrea, Benjamin and Matthew) welcomed the opportunity to get to know other families with a child with special needs through Northwest Special Families. Long-lasting friendships developed from those early connections. Since then, Andrea was the coordinator of Sibshops (workshops for kids who have a brother or sister with special needs) from 2007 - 2015. She is now happy to be a founding board member of My Village Northwest and looks forward to finding new connections, work, social and friendships, for our kids, as they enter into adulthood.