Meet the Board
Troy Hemphill, President of the Board of Trustees
Troy is a founding board member of Family Support Organization of Essex County. As an active parent in the East Orange school district, Troy became involved with the Organization because he viewed it as a way to fill an important gap in providing education and support to parents whose children are receiving special education and mental health services.
Parents' need for peer support is as important now as it was in 2004. Troy’s goal as Board President is to encourage family, school and community collaboration to empower parents and help young people overcome challenges and reach their potential.
Kathleen Turpin-Merritt, Vice President of the Board of Trustees
Kathleen's involvement with the Organization was a natural extension of her longstanding commitment to improving the quality of life in her community. She joined the board in 2004 during the Organization's formative years.
She recognized the need for strong board leadership in a family-driven and family-focused organization. The realization that parents and families must be included in the design and delivery of the services to their children, continues to fuel her commitment.
Kathleen offers this quotation by Frederick Douglass: "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
Claudia Robert, Secretary of the Board of Trustees
Claudia joined the board in 2008. “I do not have a child with challenges,” she says, “but years ago I helped my mother seek help for my younger sister who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 13,. Prior to my retirement in 2011, I managed the Essex County Juvenile Family Crisis Intervention Unit program for 24 years, through which we provided cost-free treatment services to minors and their caregivers.”
Claudia knows of the challenges families face when seeking help for children with behavioral, emotional and mental health conditions, and how stigma and inadequate resources can work against them.
Kim Wilson, Board Member
In 2011 Kim, as the primary caregiver of her granddaughter, sought help from the Organization. “She was 15 at the time and exhibiting some troubling behaviors,” says Kim. “I was able to become educated on her diagnosis at the parent support groups offered by the Organization. I continue to attend the support groups because I think it is important to show other parents that there is hope. Change can come if you don’t give up.”
Janet Delgado, Board Member
Janet was introduced to the Organization via the New Jersey Children’s System of Care. “I initially worked with a Family Partner who provided a lot of support to me and my family, when we were dealing with the issues that my child was having,” says Janet. “At my Family Partner's suggestion, I came regularly to the support group, and I learned a lot and felt connected. That was in 2010. I have personally experienced how important the feeling of connectedness can be to a family’s success.”
David Armstrong, Board Member
After David's grandson was diagnosed with ADHD, he came to the Organization looking for information and assistance in raising him and to help him succeed in school. “I began attending the weekly Tuesday evening support group to connect with other parents and to learn more about his diagnosis. Help from the Organization enabled me to successfully navigate the school system and to get my grandson the services and supports he needed in order to succeed.”