Meet the ECAC Staff – Beverly Roberts
What brought you to ECAC and tell us about your current role?
I was a parent of a preschooler who was about to start Kindergarten and I knew I needed to know more but didn't know what. I saw this flyer from ECAC about an upcoming workshop for families of children with disabilities. I went and instantly I felt at home. This was the first time I had been in a group with other families who had a child with disabilities and all of a sudden my husband and I didn't feel so alone in this journey. Connie Hawkins who was the Executive Director at ECAC and who would eventually become my boss) was the presenter and she told the group if you don't know what to say at an IEP meeting, whatever they say or suggest just ask why. I tried it, and not only did I get more information I felt more confident in the meeting and eventually became comfortable asking questions. This was the beginning of me finding my voice. Later I began volunteering at ECAC and then joined the staff a couple of years later. I have been at ECAC for about 31 years. I have just recently transitioned from full-time to part-time and I am the Family Engagement Manager.
Why do you love being a part of ECAC?
It's the people, my ECAC family, and the opportunity to help families like someone helped me.
What is the most memorable event you have attended with ECAC?
There have been many memorable moments, but I still get chills from the very first ECAC conference that I was involved in way back in 1993. It was the energy from all those families coming together and meeting each other and leaving feeling stronger and empowered!
What keeps you motivated and inspired?
The year that the law that gave children with disabilities the right to a free and appropriate education was enacted, I was a senior in high school. I don't remember hearing about the passage of the legislation. What I do remember was I was focused on homecoming, prom, graduating from high school, going to college, and the future ahead of me. I had no idea about the parents who worked long and tirelessly for this legislation and no clue that one day my family and my child would reap the benefits. I owe it to them to be motivated and to be inspired to help carry the torch forward.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give to the parents you work with?
It is ok to take care of yourself!
Tell us more about your life outside of ECAC.
I enjoy spending time with my family which includes the family cat “Coco”. I enjoy taking long walks in the quiet of the early morning. As a "senior citizen" I am now able to take classes free at the community college so I have just completed my first class in decades as well as taking advantage of volunteering opportunities. Moving towards the next adventure..... to be continued........
One thing people may not know about me…
I enjoy writing poetry. I can still remember the first stanza of a poem I wrote in elementary school. “Every morning every day, every hour in this way, I wake up with the morning sun, and work until the day is done.” I didn't know that I was working that hard, but it rhymed!