Meet the Team
Board of Directors
My name is Kelly Andrus. I have two boys, and an incredibly supportive husband. My older son was diagnosed with classic autism at 18 months. We didn’t have anyone in our friend and family circle that had autism or even knew much about it when Bradley was diagnosed, and I felt very lost and alone. I just started pounding the internet looking for a group to join. I found a couple of women with newly diagnosed children in the DFW area and reached out to them. We were all in different parts of the metroplex, but we wanted to badly to have other mom friends to relate to that a little traveling to see each other and have dinners didn’t matter. We would text and email each other, but sometimes it got confusing and sometimes we wanted to share funny autism stories and pictures with each other. So I decided to start a group on Facebook where we could do that. That group grew from 6 moms to where we are now in just a few short years! It really showed me how important this group is. I have heard time and time again "I didn’t have anyone who really understood until I joined this group". That is what makes the time and effort worth it. We now have our 501c3 status, a GREAT board of directors, volunteers and an incredible group women that are here for each other. The future holds great thing for us.
As for myself personally, I am a working mom. I’m a graphic designer for a large home builder. We are active with several different rescues in the DFW area. We have 2 fur babies of our own. We fostered and ran a rescue for 10 years before we had kids and it is still a big part of our lives. Admittedly, AUsome Moms takes up the majority of my free time, but we love filling up our weekends with playdates, gymnastics, equestrian therapy, birthday parties, movies and family fun. We are so lucky to have so many AUsome Moms in our immediate area. It’s rare that a weekend passes that we don’t do something with one of them and their kiddos. The women of AUsome Moms are definitely my second family. My sons are Bradley, who is 9 and ASD, and my 4 year old stinker Wilson, who is neurotypical. I have been married to my husband for 19 years, Brandon, who supports AUsome Moms behind the scenes in more ways than anyone knows. Most of my family lives close and we are beyond blessed to have such a supportive one that cares about us and Bradley’s progress and beautiful spirit.
Board of Directors
Hi. My name is Vanessa Avila and I am married to a wonderful man named Micky. We have two amazing little monsters, Nathan, our AUsome 6 year old and Joslyn, our 3 year old diva in training. My career is in the financial services industry and I am currently the Director of Client Reporting for an asset management firm in uptown.
Our journey started when our son was diagnosed at 2.5 years old. I hit the ground running the day he was diagnosed and haven’t stopped since. But I felt like I was trying to drink from a fire hydrant. So when I saw information about the AUsome Moms Facebook page in Thrive Magazine, I was excited. Here is a local group of other mom’s who have been where I am.
The moms in this group are incredible ladies. Everyone is so willing to share their experiences, the good and the bad, to help other moms. We all come from different beliefs and backgrounds, but we all share a unique bond. We celebrate each other’s triumphs and pick each other up when we’re are having a rough day. It is a safe place for mom’s who get it and I am incredibly lucky to be part of this sisterhood.
I have also been blessed with a strong and supportive extended family. I don’t know where we would be without my parents. They watch my kids while we work and shuttle Nathan to and from therapy. They are just so understanding and words could never express my gratitude for them. My sister, who is always willing to watch the kids and probably loves them like her own. My grandparents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins – have all been supportive in our journey.
“Autism was a journey I never planned for. But I do love my tour guide.”
Board of Directors
Greetings! My name is Danielle and I have been living in the Dallas area for about 12 years. High school sweethearts and 17 years strong, my husband and I have had our hands and hearts full raising our three sons, Izaiah, Kyal, and Eli. While my husband has provided financially for the household, I have had the luxury of being a stay at home mom for the past 13 years. Our two older boys are currently enrolled in a STEM school, with one in high school and the other in middle. Our Youngest, Eli, is enrolled in a communications class as a first grader because he is on the spectrum.
Eli was officially diagnosed with autism at age three. Undoubtedly, this was overwhelming news, but also a relief because we had answers as to why he was developmentally delayed. Thus, began a life of meetings with various professionals, never before seen terminology, and a plethora of research. Initially, I decided my best course of action would be to obtain a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. I enrolled in college full time and completed several semesters of college from home, subsequently entering into a program at TWU, on campus, to become a speech and language pathologist. While I absolutely loved being in school, the accompanying sense of community, and the feeling of accomplishment, I realized that I would not be able to make it work logistically. Having a child with autism added additional, complex layers to the already demanding and unpredictable world of parenting, and at that time I felt I had no choice but to devote myself to Eli’s needs full-time.
During my search for resources, I stumbled across the AUsome Moms non-profit organization. I felt like I had struck gold. With an ever-growing community of inspiring women, I have access to 3400+ brains to pick. What began as a deep dive for information became both a lifeline and the source of many dear friendships. I am proud to be a part of this organization, whose mission I feel passionately about, and I am beyond excited to do my part in giving back to such a deserving community.
Board of Directors