Dr. Sara Grivetti comes to the organization with nearly 30 years of experience with neuro challenges. She has both personal and professional experience working with an array of issues related to disabilities and chronic health conditions. Sara is delighted to be a Florida resident after spending the bulk of her career in Michigan. She is new to the Sarasota area and looks forward to meeting people with Parkinson’s, care partners and the donors that so graciously support Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s.
Sara holds both a master’s degree and doctorate from Michigan State University in the field of Rehabilitation Counseling. Her focus of research has been adjustment to disability and health conditions and the impact of the diagnosis on the family and care partners. Sara is known as a leader in public policy, advocacy, and education that betters the life of the person affected by disability or chronic health conditions. She is dedicated to helping the Parkinson’s community and Neuro Challenge achieve its vision, which is to improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers, today!
In 2019, Mary Jo joined Neuro Challenge as the organization’s first Development Director.
Mary Jo connects people who are passionate about making a difference with Neuro Challenge through individual and major gift fundraising, legacy giving, donor relations, fundraising communications and grant writing.
After participating in her first fundraising campaign at the age of 8, Mary Jo spent her lifetime serving others through philanthropy and nonprofit work. Prior to joining Neuro Challenge, Mary Jo held senior fundraising positions with The Metropolitan Economic Development Association, Children’s Miracle Network, Freeman Healthcare Foundation, The National Association of Manufacturers and The Circus Arts Conservatory.
A Florida native, she attended Florida State University and Missouri Southern State University, is an alumna of Leadership Minneapolis and a member of The Association of Fundraising Professionals.
She is married and the mother of two college students, which fulfills her love of collegiate sports and provides nonstop travel opportunities.
April joined Neuro Challenge in 2021 as the Program Director.
April is a visionary leader, known for her creative innovations which inspire programs that encourage Full Life Engagement. Specifically, she is credited with creating a Multi-Sensory room with experiences benefiting people with Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia, Vision Impairment, MS, Down Syndrome, Autism, and more.
April has several years of experience as a Certified Activity Director in Long Term Care Settings and leads by example while serving as the President of Florida Health Care Activity Coordinator’s Association for District VI. Her dedication to best practices and customer service resulted in the pursuit of an Assisted Living Administrator’s License.
April’s commitment to non-profits allowed her to focus on writing and administering grants, while developing programs that improve the Quality of Life for seniors or people with disabilities. April received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Education and began her career as a High School Teacher. She continues to be driven by the love of learning, discovery, and motivating others.
In her “me” time, April enjoys time with family, gardening, kayaking, and creating art.
Traci joined the Neuro Challenge Foundation team in 2018.
Traci is passionate about working with the Parkinson’s community. She is excited to share about the programs and services provided to the local Parkinson’s community and beyond.
Traci is a Sarasota native and has chosen to raise her family here as well. In her spare time, Traci enjoys spending time with her husband and children and taking family vacations to the mountains.
Donita joined the Neuro Challenge Foundation team in February 2021 as the new Office Manager.
Donita spent 20+ years in higher education running residence halls. She helped build $30 million worth of new dorms here in Sarasota.She has lived all over the country working with college students at Wright State, Oberlin College, Northwest Missouri State, New Mexico State, and New College of Florida.
Donita has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Growing up there, her parents and two sisters still live in that area.
Donita has been in Sarasota for 17 years and loves the Florida LIfestyle such as beaches, sunsets, flamingos, shells, and still enjoys being a tourist in her new hometown. Most recently she was with Meals On Wheels of Sarasota.
Ellen joined the NeuroChallenge staff in 2019 as a Care Advisor. She enjoys facilitating a variety of in-person and virtual groups and working with the community to provide resources regardless of where they reside.
Prior to joining Neuro Challenge as a Care Advisor, Ellen’s spent over thirty years as a physical therapist. She began her career at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and most recently, managed the rehabilitation services department at a life care community outside Chicago.
Ellen’s career has been dedicated to gerontology and helping others achieve wellness through her positive can do attitude.
In her spare time, Ellen plays in the handbell choir and enjoys tap dancing. She is also a Deacon and Stephen Ministry Leader at her church.
Yazmil is excited to be joining the Neuro Challenge Foundation and servicing her new community.
Yazmil began her journey by servicing the underserved populations in New York City. Working with children with special needs, was a doula and a lactation counselor and eventually worked with seniors as a home visitor and liaison between city agencies and caregivers. In having held all these roles, she found her passion laid in being able to serve her communities health care needs, but not as a clinical professional, but as one who can link the patient to the care they need and help the clinical professionals understand the unique needs of those underserved or undereducated in the services the community at large can provided.
Yazmil relocated from New York City to Melbourne Florida where she earned her MBA in HealthCare Administration while working full-time assisting patients primarily in a fast-paced ER, access Medicaid, crime victims’ compensations and SSI/SSDI. This helped Yazmil hone her passion for serving those who need assistance in a compassionate manner and in turn she learned how providers are not able to provide all the care, they too need community partners to help their patients receive true patient centered care.
In her spare time, she enjoys the beach with her family, reading and watching true crime stories or Asian dramas. She is also always looking to learn new things and has her eye on obtaining her PHD.
Diane is excited to join the Neuro Challenge Foundation Team.
Diane has an extensive background working with nonprofit agencies in Illinois and Florida. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. She is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist and is dedicated to helping individuals and their families through their journey with neurologic conditions.
Diane’s passion for serving the neuro challenged community was fueled by personal experience with her father-in-law’s traumatic brain injury and her work with medical clinics. Diane understands the important role that community resources, education, and support systems play for people with Parkinson’s Disease, as well as their care partners. She enjoys empowering others to achieve their goals.
Diane loves spending time with family and friends, sunsets, traveling, and a good book.