Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Elects Anne Ford as Honorary Board Member; Announces Michael Sullivan as First Associate Board Member

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Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, a nonprofit, elects Anne Ford, well-known author and children’s advocate, to its Honorary Board and announces Michael Sullivan, young professional and GIS analyst (Geographic Information Systems) for Western Connecticut Council of Governments, as its first Associate Board member.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. announces Michael Sullivan as its first Associate Board Member

My learning disabilities helped me to persevere and excel in school, to think outside the box. Why shouldn't I apply my unique experience and skill set to challenges facing our region and our state?

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. elects Anne Ford, well-known author and children’s advocate to its Honorary Board. Michael Sullivan, a cum laude graduate, Binghamton University in New York, also joins the nonprofit as its first Associate Board Member. In 2009, he received the Smart Kids Youth Achievement Award for overcoming his struggles with dyslexia and other learning disability issues.

Anne Ford, daughter of Henry Ford II, is the best-selling author of four books. Her first, Laughing Allegra, is a memoir. It depicts the challenges and joy of raising her daughter, Allegra, who has severe learning disabilities. Her latest book, The Forgotten Child: If She Is Special, What Am I?, talks about the issues parents face as they try to balance the needs of a child with learning disabilities and the needs of their other children.

Turning her own struggles into positive action, Anne Ford became a strong advocate not only for her own child but for all children with learning disabilities (LD). For 12 years, she served as Board Chairman of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). She also became, and still is, an avid spokesman on LD issues, addressing schools, radio and TV audiences, corporations and national conferences.

“I have long admired the work of Smart Kids with LD,” reported Anne Ford. “I believe strongly in their mission to empower parents so they can, in turn, help their children. I am pleased to become an Honorary Member of their Board.”

Anne Ford joins three other Honorary Members of the Board – Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy; Benjamin Powers, Headmaster, Eagle Hill School Southport; and Henry Winkler, award-winning actor, director, author and Honorary Board Chairman.

Michael Sullivan brings an eclectic background to his role as the first Associate Board Member of Smart Kids with LD. In fact, he only recently started his first job as a GIS analyst (Geographic Information Systems). However, he has spent his whole life helping others, despite his own challenges with dyslexia, motor coordination and other issues.

At age 10, he joined “Rock & Wrap It Up,” an anti-poverty program, helping to feed the poor with backstage leftovers, rescued after band concerts. By age 12, he was an activist, starting his own “Sports Wrap” Program at Nassau Coliseum.

Twice, he received the “Passback Star” Award, given by the U.S. Soccer Foundation for collecting used soccer equipment for needy kids in Iraq and Haiti.

By age 17, he was a semi-finalist in the Intel Talent Search, a pre-college science competition. He was a two-sport varsity athlete and graduated an AP scholar with awards in World, European and U.S. History.

Today, he is a cum laude graduate of Binghamton University. Further, he has a master’s degree from Lehman College, graduating with a 3.9 GPA.

His college career represents his diversity of interests:

  •     Student Mentor for Johnson City Mentors Program
  •     USSF Certified Referee for Long Island Soccer Referees Association
  •     HEP-GIS Intern for USDA Forest Service
  •     GIS Intern for Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, United Nations

“My learning disabilities helped me to persevere and excel in school,” said Michael T. Sullivan. “They forced me to think outside the box. That proved an advantage in my job interview as a GIS analyst with the Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WestCOG).”

He added. “Why shouldn’t I apply my unique experience and skill set to challenges facing our region and our state?”

Jane Ross, Executive Director for Smart Kids with LD, agrees. “We are very fortunate to enlist the help of both Anne Ford and Michael Sullivan,” she said. “Both are strong advocates of our mission, based on first-hand knowledge. Each brings new perspectives to help guide our organization’s work.”

About Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. is a Westport-based nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the parents of children with learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit disorders (ADHD) via its educational programs, award-winning website and blog, and free e-newsletter at http://www.SmartKidswithLD.org. The organization also educates the public about these children’s gifts and talents. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is an Honorary Board member and Henry Winkler, Golden Globe award-winning actor, director and author, serves as the organization’s Honorary Chairman.

For more information, visit http://www.SmartKidswithLD.org

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