Autism Society of Mahoning Valley Launches Family Trust Project

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Inspired by the local story of a single father – with a special needs child – who faced a life-threatening health crisis, the Autism Society of Mahoning Valley is launching a three-part family trust project.

Sophia’s Gift, an ASMV-directed fund, will offer families the opportunity to have life planning provided without cost or at a reduced cost. A free family workshop series led by local attorneys will help families prepare for their unique needs. And a future emergency mini-grant fund will be established should a family experience a catastrophic need. Donations are being accepted now.

“Most parents that have a child with autism or other special needs will have legal or financial needs to attend to – from starting a basic STABLE savings account to a parent taking guardianship for decisions if the individual is unable to, to establishing a trust for when parents aren’t able to care for them or become deceased,” said Robin Suzelis, director of the ASMV.

The one-hour workshops will focus on legal and financial needs. Similar information will be shared at each workshop, and attendees may visit as many as they like. 

The workshops are scheduled at varied times and locations to accommodate the work and family schedules of the families in the three counties ASMV serves. ASMV encourages every family affected by autism to attend at least one of the workshops.

“My husband and I have started or will soon start all these needs for our two boys with autism, so I understand, as does the ASMV Board of Directors, the importance of planning for today and for the future,” Suzelis said. “This series of workshops will educate parents and caregivers on these needs and how to get started.”

The first workshop will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 12 at the Canfield Library, 43 W. Main St.

Additional dates include:

  • Sept. 20: Noon at the Columbiana Library.
  • Oct. 19: 6:30 p.m. at V2 Trattoria by Vernon, downtown Youngstown. 
  • Nov. 15: 6:30 p.m. at Residence Inn, Eastwood Mall, Niles.

Featured speakers will be attorneys Karen Bovard and Nils Johnsoon Jr. of the Johnson & Johnson law firm, Chris Patrick of Roth, Blair, Roberts, Strasfeld & Lodge and James Dietz of Friedman & Rummell Co. 

Future workshops will be in Columbiana, Youngstown and Niles.

For more information, call 330 333 9609 or visit

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.