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This month’s Homegrown Hero is Nadine Wright-Arbubakrr, President and Executive Director of Nassan's Place. We caught up with her to know her story about her career and how her working routine has changed since the pandemic started. We thank Nadine for all her efforts and for inspiring our club with her acts. This year’s initiative includes giving $1,000 to a charity of our Homegrown Hero’s choice, and for this month, Nadine selected Nassan's Place.

Tell me about your career and what inspires you every day?

As founder, President and Executive Director of Nassan's Place, what inspires me everyday is being able to help children and families affected by autism just like mine. This is very personal for me as I live autism everyday through my own son, Nassan, who is the inspiration for Nassan's Place. Nassan is also nonverbal, and what many would consider on the lower end of the spectrum. Nassan has taught me so much, more importantly he has taught me that through my Faith anything is possible. I truly believe that everyone has a purpose in life, and I believe that my purpose is to help make a difference in the lives of children and families affected by autism in and around under-served inner-city communities.

How much have your job duties changed since the pandemic started?

My job duties have changed drastically since the pandemic started because families were dealing with many unexpected emotional and financial challenges. They were in need of additional food, technology devices, sensory items, PPE, in home support, emergency respite and much needed de-stress time for the caregivers, and I worked countless hours to provide these resources with the support of volunteers, staff and the community.

What’s the biggest lesson/s you’ve learned during this time period?

The biggest lesson/s I have learned during the pandemic is that so much more is needed for children and families with special needs especially those in under-served inner-city communities. Our school districts and families were not prepared for this pandemic. They were so many families in need, and it was hard at times for Nassan's Place to assist them due to our limited resources and funding which decreased drastically along with our fundraising efforts. Also, I learned that during this pandemic people in and around my community stepped in to help, and that the work that Nassan's Place provided was a saving grace for so many families, but more importantly, they did not feel like they were alone. I remember something that many parents echoed to me that if Nassan's Place didn't exist, they felt they would not have received the support they needed and as quickly as they received it.

Check out Nassan's Place, latest newsletter below: