Spectrum of Possibility

Monthly Milestones | April 2018

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Straight from the Source – Cory Irwin

Cory Irwin calls himself an informal humorist.

He loves to make people laugh. He enjoys being an attentive friend. Take the time one of his friends was in the hospital. Knowing she loved awards shows, Cory live texted the entire Oscars ceremony for her.

“I do not tolerate when people are sad,” says the 24-year-old Ohio native and recent Walsh University graduate. “You will not be unhappy around me.”

Thanks to an amazing support system and loving family, Cory is applying what he has learned with Milestones (social development, work skills, job hunting) to school, during his internship at The Jewish Federation of Cleveland and in his relationships with friends and co-workers.

“This whole interchanging web of support has helped me through the years,” he says. “I had a lot of intervention in public school as well as coaching from Milestones. And of course, my support from family.”
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Building a Legacy – Will Sukenik

Will Sukenik, Cleveland native and community leader, has been actively involved in various causes throughout Northeast Ohio for more than 50 years.

When Milestones co-founder Ilana Hoffer Skoff first reached out to Sukenik, nearly 15 years ago, he was immediately drawn to the organization’s mission. Though he doesn’t have a personal connection to autism, he was familiar with the challenges it presented to families.

“The work that Milestones does in the community is very important,” he says. “There are a lot of families who are struggling and the organization has helped in so many ways. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ilana. I think she and her staff are doing an absolutely fantastic job.”

Sukenik recognizes the importance of campaigns like Milestones’ Annual Fund and encourages individuals to get involved and give back. Serving as co-chair of the Milestones planned giving committee alongside Steve Rudolph, he is consistently considering the future and an organization’s support in perpetuity.

“Without the support of the Annual Fund, Milestones would not be able to do what they are doing,” he says. “I’m also trying to encourage others to leave a legacy so an organization can be continually supported even after they are no longer around.”

In addition to his involvement with Milestones, Sukenik serves as President of Beachwood-based Properties Management Co. and has held multiple leadership positions in the community including serving as a past board member of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, honorary and life trustee of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, and life trustee of the Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland.
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Milestones Annual Fund – Molly Mack

Molly Mack was at a crossroads.

As a parent of a child on the spectrum, she felt like her family had successfully navigated Daniel’s early childhood years thanks to support and local resources. But Daniel’s teenage years and his looming transition to adulthood presented a whole other set of challenges.

“With this new season of life, I felt like didn’t have someone to turn to,” Molly remembers of that desperate time two years ago. “It was the first time I truly felt alone.”

Had a friend not told her about Milestones, Molly says she would not have found such life-changing resources for her son – and empowerment as a parent. “They have helped me be a better mom to Daniel,” she says.  “They are right there, helping me every step of the way.”

How did you first get connected to Milestones?

My husband Tom and I moved our family from a smaller town in Ohio to a western suburb of Cleveland when our son, Daniel, was three. We believed there would be more resources and a greater level of services for him in a bigger city. This was back in 2005. But more recently, with this transition piece to adulthood, I felt at a loss.
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Straight From The Source -Tim Mikes

“It is often said that if you have met one person with autism you have met one person with autism,” says Tim Mikes, Canfield, Ohio resident and recent Kent State University graduate. “But it’s imperative to appreciate the unique experiences that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder have.”

As an individual on the spectrum, Tim understands the importance of knowing and meeting other people with ASD. “It’s empowering because it reminds me that I am not alone in my struggles and success,” he says. “This humbling experience also allows me to share my insights that could possibly be of help to others.”

He is passionate about helping young adults, like himself, transition into adulthood and engage with the “real world.” Whether it is through his work with the Kent State Autism Taskforce or as a presenter at Milestones Annual Autism Conference, Tim says helping others through awareness, education and empathy is key to building bridges in the autism community and beyond.

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