Belfast autism advocate to share award with special needs community project
AUGUSTA — Belfast resident Linda Lee has been named a Molina Healthcare Community Champion at an annual award ceremony in Augusta. The $1000 award was presented by Molina Medicaid Solutions of Augusta in recognition of Lee's work in support of those with autism for the past seventeen years.
Lee designated the funds to go to Jonno's Place, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Belfast.
Created by Lee and other area parents of children with special needs, along with a group of passionate community members, Jonno’s Place is being created as a Camphill-inspired community where everyone regardless of their limitations can fit in, belong and thrive. The organization works collaboratively with the local mayor, city and state, organizations, local businesses, schools, universities, and other nonprofits, to collectively bring their vision of inclusiveness into reality.
In addition to the Molina award, ME District 11 Senate President Mike Thibodeau recognized Lee’s work, presenting her with a flag that has flown at the Maine statehouse, and a formal proclamation from the Maine Senate.
Linda Lee has also worked with Belfast Police and Waldo County Communications Center to create the Wandering Database for anyone who is at risk for wandering, including those with autism and Alzheimer’s. After at-risk individuals are registered in the Wandering Database, officers in the cruiser can access a photograph and critical information if the at-risk person subsequently goes missing.
To date, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Penobscot, Somerset, Sagadahoc Counties, Hancock and Waterville all participate in the program, according to the release. There is no charge for this program.
In 2002, when her youngest son was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Lee, an RN co-founded HANS – Help Autism Now Society, to create and disseminate information on the early recognition and diagnosis of autism to both the medical community and public. The organization maintains a website with resources for physicians, parents and those working with children with autism.
The website helpautismnow.org, offers a Physician Handbook in seventeen languages along with other helpful information about autism, according to a news release.
Contact Linda Lee, Lindalee012@gmail.com, and (207) 505-0307 to learn more about these organizations and how you can support or get involved, or visit jonnosplace.org.
To learn more about autism and the Wandering Database visit helpautismnow.org
Molina Healthcare is the fiscal administrator for the State of Maine’s Medicaid Program.