The Special Needs Support Center is Pleased to Announce the Hiring of Kathy McCarty.

Kathy’s new fresh start as SNSC’s Youth Coordinator.

Kathy recently relocated to the Upper Valley with her husband and joined SNSC as the Youth Coordinator. She has years of experience with children with special needs. She adores her new home, making great food, discovering beautiful places as she explores all the Upper Valley. Kathy is a welcome addition to the SNSC community.  She is noted for her teaching, artistic abilities, story telling, and her innate empathy and compassion. Kathy’s planning an already full SNSC calendar to include creative and engaging events for our youth. Kathy’s Youth Programming is a shared experience: creative, safe, and social must haves that are a whole lot of fun. Kathy has a way of enjoying and enjoining people to share great experiences.

Dr. Kendra LaRoche (she/her) comes to the Special Needs Support Center (SNSC) as a leader in the education world with over 20 years’ experience, the most recent as the assistant principal in charge of special education and behavior at Manchester Elementary/Middle School. 

Kendra was a first-generation college student who worked her way up to masters’ degrees from both Harvard and Middlebury, as well as a doctoral degree from SNHU. This experience fueled her lifelong passion of working with historically marginalized populations.  As a Rowland Fellow in 2011, she addressed equity, the “elephant in the room issue” and radically changed the culture and climate of Burr and Burton Academy. Since that point, she has worked with schools and districts to focus their thinking on issues through data-driven decision making. While others also work with data, her strong emotional intelligence and commitment to spotlighting local culture gives her work a lasting change.

 While data-driven decision making describes what Kendra does, the hiring committee was most impressed with how she did it- through relationship building. She brought restorative justice practices to her previous organization and plans to do the same at SNSC. Her training in this area allows her to lead staff through difficult conversations and situations that focuses on building trust and open communication. Trust is a fundamental building block of SNSC’s work, from its programming for children and adults to its advocacy work with schools. 

The Special Needs Support Center is a group of individuals and families throughout the Upper Valley and beyond who proudly work together to create a community where people with special needs, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, can live their best lives. This dovetails beautifully with Kendra’s passions. Kendra’s past three decades of work has been laser-focused on what she refers to as her “big WHY”, or the compelling higher purpose that pushes her to action. Her “big WHY” is the belief that all people can find success. This fits perfectly with SNSC’s vision that “all people with special needs, and their families, have opportunities and support to pursue their goals and aspirations”. 

The Special Needs Support Center welcomes Dr. Kendra LaRoche and looks forward to a productive future working together for all people with special needs and their families. 

Kendra and her family

SNSC’s own Emma Woloshin is appointed as the Advocacy Program Coordinator

A hallmark of SNSC’s 40+ year history is its special needs advocacy with the trained and committed volunteers who work on behalf of special needs speople within the legal and educational systems as advocates. The advocates help every special needs person find their way and place within the complexity of the system. Be it getting through the maze of legal terms and filings, or precise classes, teachings and supportive care within the education system, or any other service outside the classroom, Emma coordinates the SNSC Volunteer Advocates to help. The advocates are known and trusted sherpas of day to day care for a special needs loved one. Emma’s role grows upon her five plus years at SNSC to now work with SNSC very special volunteers while working to better integrate within the systems themselves. Emma is known as a teacher, as program designer and lead for the ever popular Camp Aspire. She is a team builder, mentor, a sounding  board, a teacher, a friend, and the beacon of light that help every family, caregiver or special needs person take their best steps now including with their SNSC Volunteer Advocate.


Do you want to spend your summer in the beautiful Upper Valley? Are you looking for a fun way to make lives better for families? Teaching campers the skills to succeed in arts, sports, and life? Come join us at Camp Aspire! For more than forty years the Special Needs Support Center (SNSC) has worked to create a community where people with disabilities can live their best lives. We are looking for a leader who can live out our values and support our vision for the future of SNSC.

The employment dates are Monday-Friday from 8:30-3:30 for the last 2 weeks of June (6/19-6/30) & first two weeks of August (7/31-8/14). The starting salary is $3,000.

Responsibilities include:
● Supporting kids to be part of the group
● Behavior management support
● Collaborating with team members
● Flexibility
● Able to set clear boundaries and role model expectations

About Camp Aspire
Join our team for a truly special experience at our summer camp! Camp Aspire is a free camp for children with disabilities ages 6-16. We are looking for someone with experience working with children with disabilities, who is looking to be part of a collaborative team and is energetic and patient.

To apply:
Please send a resume to
Job Type: Full-time, Temporary
Pay: $720 per week

For more than forty years the Special Needs Support Center (SNSC) has worked to create a community where people with disabilities can live their best lives. We are looking for a leader who can live out our values and support our vision for the future of SNSC.

The organization serves people with disabilities and their families throughout the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. SNSC Offices are in White River Junction, Vermont.

Experience in client centered community services. Special education, social work,
human services, or business administration experience are welcomed.
High level of organizational, verbal, and written communication skills.
Budgeting and financial skills.

Key skills:
Commitment to SNSC’s mission and values while modeling collaborative practices.
Oversight of organizational and financial operations, and development of public and
private funding sources including grant writing.
Ability to work closely with the board of directors through strategic planning, effective reporting, and collaborative problem-solving.
Engagement with community organizations both public and private.
Proven day to day strong working relationships with staff, participants, volunteers, and community groups.
Ongoing assessment and response to changing needs based on SNSC’s strategic and
participant and family centered goals.
Program development and oversight for a broad continuum of participant and family

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.
Flexible work hours including some remote work options are available depending on
skills and experience.
Benefits include earned time off, health care reimbursement, retirement matching, CSA shares, employee loans, wellness benefits, and more.

Please send resume and cover letter to:

Dear SNSC Family,

I am reaching out to announce my planned transition from the Executive Director role at the Special Needs Support Center.  When I began my work at SNSC I had no idea of the wonderful journey I was about to embark on. Through both the fun and challenging times, our team has always known we could lean on the trust we have for one another to help us deliver on our shared vision of a community where all people with special needs, and their families, have opportunities and support to pursue their goals and aspirations. We have accomplished so much during this time, and none of it could have been done without each other. 

SNSC is in a great place and is ready for new leadership to launch itself into its next phase as an organization. This transition is strategic and purposeful. I’ve been working alongside our staff team and our board, working to envision and bring to life what’s needed next for SNSC’s future. We are solidifying our values and our vision and we are aligning the skills, assets and the opportunities in front of us with a leadership model that supports what the organization we will be in the future.

There are hardly words to express my gratitude for all in the SNSC family. From our passionate and experienced staff,  competent board, incredible self-advocates and participant leaders, parents, the larger disability community, and a dedicated group of donors and nonprofit partners, I say this from my heart, I love you like family. Without you, the organization would not be as strong and vibrant as it is. I am so excited to see SNSC continue to blossom and am so thankful for your willingness to let me be a part of your journey for so long. 

Yours in service,

Laura Perez, Executive Director, SNSC

Read a message from our Board here.

Dear SNSC Community,
SNSC has always been committed to building a community where everyone has opportunities and support to pursue their goals and aspirations; this is our mission on behalf of all individuals with disabilities and their families. A continuous string of terrifying events has brought back into sharp focus the fact that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) continue to be unsafe in our country.
Additionally, educational achievement gaps are closely tied to disability, race and poverty. Action is needed to address these gaps and make sure the nation’s aspirations to equal opportunity are realized. In Vermont, students of color and students with disabilities experience exclusionary discipline, seclusion, and restraints at rates two to three times than their neurotypical non-black peers.  Restraints should never be used as a disciplinary strategy. Studies have demonstrated that these actions triple the likelihood of contact with the juvenile justice system. Studies from the Council of State Governments also found that lowering exclusionary discipline improves school climate, keeps students engaged in learning, and improves lifelong success.  Positive behavior interventions and supports, non-punitive response protocols, restorative justice and associated professional development improves school climate and academic achievement for all students.
Our staff and board agree that it is essential to make a public statement against economic, education, health, and justice systems anchored in systemic racism. Choosing to remain silent supports an existing, inequitable power differential. Previously, we have focused our conversations within our staff and board community. As the impact of these racist systems becomes more visible to all of us, we realize that our conversations must find a wider audience. Those in our community who have disabilities and are also BIPOC face and endure compounded hardships because of the reality of intersectional oppression. And we recognize that this work is a lifelong endeavor, and that action must be taken within a community of support.
We are raising our collective voice to be one of many advocating for active work against the profound structural inequities in favor of white people in all aspects of our society. We stand in solidarity with the work of community organizations that are striving for the progression of economic, social, and political equality of all people in this nation.

Working against racism, ableism and oppression in all its forms requires our individual and collective energy and courage. This work on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color requires particular awareness and focus and there is much to be done. We are committed to this ongoing work. Thus we are working towards cultural competency and anti-racist practices throughout our organization by:

  • Creating and adopting a formal, accessible Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement that will guide the thoughts, actions, and inclusive initiatives propelled by our organization.
  • Presenting substantive learning opportunities and sessions on diversity, inclusion, and equity to provide information and resources internally, and within the communities we serve, especially within the education systems, law enforcement agencies, and Vermont and New Hampshire legislators.
  • Training our hiring team on equitable practices to address and remove unconscious bias towards those with disabilities and Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
  • Challenging systems and policies that create inequity, oppression and disparity through our platform as community leaders focused on children with disabilities and their families. We recognize the profoundly increased burden on children and adults who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and have disabilities.

With respect and gratitude to our Upper Valley Community,

Laura Perez                      Rose-Marie McCullough                Jo-Anne Unruh
Executive Director          Co-President                                    Co-President
Allen Abendroth, Board
Alexis Alston, Board
Carmen Champney, Staff
Owen Daniel-McCarter, Staff
Paula Fernandes, Board
Nils Fredland, Staff
Sue Hagerman, Board
Vince Mennona, Board
Meg Seely, Board
Nicki Thrall, Staff
Barbara van Hoff, Board
Emma Woloshin, Staff

Green Mountain Self-Advocates have released a new resource on COVID-19 for individuals with ID/DD. This resource is an 8-page booklet about the Coronavirus written in plain language. It was created by and for people with developmental disabilities. It focuses on “need to know” information.

Please check out and share the  English Version and Spanish Version!

In the spirit of living well and taking care of each other, the Special Needs Support Center’s (SNSC’s) staff will be diverting time from program planning to emergency response efforts in the community.  To continue to meet their mission, their team will be joining efforts with partners to ensure access to vital resources remain available to the most vulnerable in our community, including people with disabilities and their families.  They will be delivering meals, supporting residential facilities, and reaching out to other partners in the community to see how their team can safely and effectively serve during these uncertain times.


“As we see a slowdown in programs in response to COVID-19 we remain absolutely committed to our responsibility to serve our community,” said Executive Director Laura Perez.   “We will uphold our commitment to be responsive and responsible as we proudly work together to create a community where people with special needs, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, can live their best lives.”

SNSC’s plan serves the most vulnerable in the community in meaningful and responsive ways during this emergency.  Additionally, the plan promotes economic vitality by preserving SNSC staff employment. Their community service during this time is in line with their mission and core belief that people are the most valuable asset of the organization.

“SNSC’s Board of Director’s is overwhelmingly supportive of this plan while also recognizing how critical the safety of our staff is,” said Board President, Jo-Anne Unruh. “We will continue active communication with partners from the Upper Valley Regional Public Health Team and the Vermont Department of Health to ensure the health and safety of our team as they participate in this vital outreach.”

To request support or for more information, please contact Laura Perez at

SNSC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies upon the generous support of individuals, philanthropic organizations, and businesses to operate their programs.


In light of the separation of children from their parents or other caregivers and the living conditions of the detained children and threats of further deportation and family separation, a statement from SNSC’s spoke people, the Executive Director and Board President follows.

For 40 years the Special Needs Support Center (SNSC) has proudly stood up for the rights of vulnerable children. Our core belief is that ALL children deserve to be happy, healthy, and safe.   

With this core belief in our hearts and minds, we denounce the practice of separating immigrant children from their families and urge our government to cease this activity which is unconscionable and causes irreparable harm to young lives.

This is not a political statement on immigration policy.  This is an appeal to elevate the inalienable right of all children to be safe.

We invite you- regardless of your political leanings- to join us in speaking out against family separation at our borders and to call for humane treatment of immigrant children currently being held in detention centers.

A special thank you to Kent Johnson, CEO Highlights for Children, for inspiring our message.

Laura Perez                                                            Jo-Anne Unruh
Executive Director                                                   Board President