A veteran advocate, Graci has served as the Executive Director of Vermont’s Protection and Advocacy System for Mentally Ill Individuals and in Iowa as the Executive Director of Mental Health Advocates of Linn County. His background also includes working with the Linn County Dept. of Mental Health as a community group home Director serving developmentally disabled children, adolescents, adults and their families. He has a BA in English from Loyola University in Chicago.
He has also owned and operated a full service flower shop, produced and promoted performing and visual arts programs, and is a former college administrator. Stephen enjoys most outdoor activities and in his free time, he enjoys photography, film making, writing, performing comedy and playing Santa Claus.
Cindy Shotton has been the Federation’s administrative assistant since 2005. She spent the previous ten years working in law enforcement support. Prior to that, she was a teacher’s aide in a high school special education resource room for 6 years, assisting students who had a myriad of learning disabilities and behavioral difficulties.
Professional and life experiences have given Cindy a well-rounded perspective into the issues of children’s mental health. A major source of insight comes from over 30 years with her husband, Phil, who taught special education students in a variety of residential and public school settings for 35 years.
The Shottons faced all the anxiety, turmoil, disruption and despair that families of children with mental health problems live, day in and day out. Their son, now adult with a family of his own, was misdiagnosed at age 12 with a mental health disorder and was inappropriately medicated for nearly a year. Cindy has compassion born of personal understanding for any child and their family dealing with mental health challenges.
In her spare time Cindy spends as much time as possible with her family and especially with five little grandchildren who light up her life with love!
Family Support Coordinator and Family Support Specialist – Region III and Region IV
Carol Dixon joined the Idaho Federation of Families in 2011. After several years of being at home raising children, one with special needs, Carol has returned to the mental health/social services field with a new appreciation of the challenges and struggles that parents face in raising children.
Carol has a Masters Degree in Counseling from Georgia State University. She has 16 years experience working with troubled adolescents and families. Most of that time was spent in the Juvenile Justice System working as a family counselor at the Juvenile Court and as a caseworker/counselor at a community based treatment program with the Dept. of Youth Services.
The past several years provided a new experience of being a parent advocate as her own child required special services in the local schools. As a Family Support Specialist one of Carol’s primary goals is to empower parents to use their “parent voice” and become engage in the process of seeking (finding) and utilizing the resources needed for their children to be successful at home, in school and in the community.
Since leaving the east coast in 2004, Carol and her family have enjoyed the great outdoor lifestyle that Boise offers. Spending time hiking and biking on the trails in the Boise Foothills continues to be a favorite pastime.
Susan: aka Suzie joined the Idaho Federation of Families in 2013 as the Youth Specialist. Suzie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. She is excited to start her career working with children who are struggling within the system as well as with everyday life.
Suzie has worked with at-risk youth since she was 12 years old and by the age of 16 was appointed a position on the Idaho Juvenile Justice Commission as a Youth Member where she still serves and is part of the Youth Committee as well as Grants Committee. Suzie’s passion is working with at-risk youth and hopes to continue servicing Idaho’s children.
She was suspected of having ADHD in school but waited to be tested until she was in college and found that school was becoming too hard to handle without some assistance and guidance. Now she appreciates the benefits of meditation, running, and hiking. She loves spending time with her nephew and mom and loves to stay active and occupies her time with community service, school, and work.
Family Support Specialists – Region I
Kelly is the proud mother of four children, one with special needs. Mental illness affects the whole family and presents unique demands and struggles for every family member. Kelly endeavors to parent her family with love, humor, and grace; learning to let the little things go. She has experienced the amazing support parents of special needs children can provide to each other and feels privileged in helping others navigating the mental health care system.
Kelly holds degrees in management and mass communications ans is currently pursuing her master degree in health communications.
Family Support Specialist – Region II
Family Support Specialist – Region III
Family Support Specialist – Region IV
Family Support Specialist-Region V
Jamie is an Idaho Native who makes her home in the countryside of Gooding, Idaho with her blended family of 10. With such a big family there is never a lack of things to do! Most of her children are active in sports and clubs in the community. Jamie has a 9-year-old special needs son who has a diagnosis of Cognitive Impairment with SPD and anxiety disorder. She is passionate about raising awareness in the community surrounding mental health and youth involvement.
Jamie is currently acting Diversion Officer for Gooding County and actively working to help change the landscape of the Juvenile Justice system through Restorative Practices. Always looking for relevant and needed resources she jumped at the chance to bring Youth MOVE to her community. Jamie is also attending Liberty University and finishing her degree in Christian Counseling and Life coaching with an emphasis on adolescents.
Family Support Specialist-Region VI
Family Support Specialist-Region VII
I am a contractor for The Idaho Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, I help maintain the web site and do the social marketing as well as designing marketing materials and video productions.
My educational background is a B.S. degree in Chemistry from BSU and a M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from NTU. I also have post graduate work in video production and editing.
After 15 years in sales and marketing of atomic and molecular spectroscopy and 12 years as an R&D engineer in new materials development and characterization I started a marketing consulting company. After helping with a video conversion project with the Federation a continuing relationship developed with the Federation.
I am so pleased to be working with such a dedicated team supporting families with special needs in children’s mental health.