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 Pilar Dowell
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 Rachel Borrella
Rachel Borrella
About Naphtali Carlson

Naphtali Carlson 

About Trisa Harris
Trisa Harris
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.