Shell Jones, President of the Board, Parent and Founder
Shell Jones, Parent and founder of Play-Place and mother of a 13 year old son affected by autism, is a visionary leader driven by the premise that children challenged by autism are simply “differently abled.” Her goal is to provide advocacy, comfort, affordability, connections and hope with the ultimate ambition of making a difference. As a parent and education enthusiast, Shell’s efforts are focused on effective treatment and education, increased awareness of resources and direction.
“Duane was diagnosed with autism at 2 1/2 years old. Disowning all feelings of helplessness, guilt and ‘why me,’ I rallied my energy in the direction of recovery and doing right by my son. Like a phoenix, I was determined that my son would rise above his diagnosis and so our journey began. The voyage has been intense, therapy-filled, slow progressing and desperate at times, but the delayed milestones, temporary connections and random smiles of achievement are beyond rewarding and I am truly blessed to have Duane as my son. The best medicine of all – laughter — mixed with the determination to conquer this disorder encourages me to share my experience in my quest to find direction and piece together the puzzles of autism.”
Before her crusade to help fight for those with autism, Shell was the VP of D2 Abatement, a for-profit environmental business co-partnered with her husband that specializes in asbestos and lead abatement, mold remediation, industrial recycling and resource management. As VP, she oversaw office administration, employee policy and accounting.
Shell is the 2012 recipient of Profiles in Diversity Journal’s “Women Worth Watching” award, and the 2013 awardee of National Association of Women Business Owner’s Giving Spirit honor. Shell won the runner-up award in Crain's Detroit Business 2013 "Salute to Entrepreneurs."
Shell is a graduate of Wayne State University.
Robin Crumb-Vettraino, O.T.R., Secretary
Robin Crumb-Vettraino, OTR, graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy. She is a certified P.L.A.Y. (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) Project Consultant, and has also received certification to perform the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT). As an occupational therapist Robin has obtained experience working with children with special needs in the clinic, at home, and in school. Robin also enjoys running social skill groups for children of all ages. She has had additional training in Brain Gym, Love and Logic, the use of visual strategies to support learning and development, Kay Toomey’s S.O.S Approach to Feeding, Therapeutic Listening and Handwriting Without Tears.
Shirley Matuszewski, Director
Shirley Matuszewski currently works as Interim Special Education Director of the Richmond School District. As former Director of Special Education for the Warren Consolidated School District (2010-2011), she was responsible for special education programs and services in 25 schools servicing 1800 special education students. Other administrative highlights include Supervisor of Special Education for the Warren Consolidated School District from 2000-2008; secondary summer school principal at Cousino High School (2006-2008); and elementary school principal at Cromie Elementary School (2008-2010). A special education enthusiast, Matuszewski holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology with a minor in elementary education from Western Michigan University as well as a Master of Arts in special education majoring in Learning Disabilities. Additional endorsements comprise Special Education Supervisor (2001) and Special Education Director (2010) both from Saginaw Valley State University. As a speech pathologist, Matuszewski’s 20 years of dedicated service to multiple schools encompassed caseload management of special education students from preschool through high school, specializing in total communication with deaf and hearing impaired students as well as adolescent and young adult communication development and remediation.
Judi Rosso, C.P.A., Director
Judi Rosso is a certified public accountant and owner in Cech, Rosso & Company, P.C., located in Sterling Heights, Michigan. A graduate with high distinction from Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration, Judi has been working in the accounting and tax arenas for individuals, businesses and non-profits in the tri-county area for over 40 years. Judi is a member of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Tax Practitioners, the Michigan Business and Professionals Association and the Rochester chapter of the Local Business Network. “I’m excited to be able to participate in making this vision become a reality! My niece is challenged by autism, and I very aware of the need for a place where parents and children can enjoy activities in a safe and friendly environment."
Dr. Helen Oliver-Brooks, Director
Dr. Helen Oliver-Brooks is currently an Early Childhood Consultant for Wayne County RESA. She has a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Resources combined with a "teaching certificate" and an Early Childhood Endorsement, a Master of Education in Early Childhood and a Ph. D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Brooks taught preschool for 16 years, kindergarten for two years, 3rd/4th split for one year, adjunct professor at Mary Grove College for ten years, and adjunct professor at University of Detroit Mercy for 11 years before being promoted to Detroit Public Schools Curriculum Supervisor for prekindergarten/kindergarten. She is a member of the National Associaltion for the Education of Young Children, Association for Supervision Curriculum and Development and AECL.
Dan Mazurco, Director
Dan Mazurco graduated from Oakland University with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Marketing. He works for General Motors at their Technical Center in Warren. He began volunteering through GM and was very excited to hear that his workplace was involved with construction of Play-Place's sensory movie theater. Dan's extraordinary efforts and determination to assist with the theater helped expedite its completion. He is also involved with one of GM's employee resource groups, "GM ABLE", which aids with spreading awareness and coordinating volunteer efforts for people with disabilities and their allies. He always adds a personal touch to talk to people face-to-face. His creative ideas further enhance his marketing skills to help the children at Play-Place.
"My goal is for each family that walks into Play-Place to feel welcomed, included and feel confident that they can rise above any challenges that they face and to raise awareness of Play-Place as much as I can."