On Feb. 22, 2018, Centria Healthcare was honored to have Molly Ola Pinney, CEO & Founder of the Global Autism Project, on-site at our Novi HQ as a special guest speaker during our Company Lunch!
Autism Around the World
Molly Ola Pinney has spent nearly 20 years in the behavioral therapy field to help individuals with autism and their families. In 2003, she moved to Ghana with a family who had a child with autism. While her original intention was to stay with the family for 2-3 months to help them transition to their new surroundings, she quickly identified a need in the community for more education about autism in general, and decided to stay for a while longer.
"People literally started showing up at my house and showing up to the school where I worked," Ola Pinney said. "They were looking for 'the person who knew what autism was' as in, the person who has arrived in the country, who they've been hearing about."
At the age of 23, Ola Pinney's experience working in Ghana inspired her to start a nonprofit called the Global Autism Project. The organization is best known for its SkillCorps program, which sends autism therapy professionals, such as Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), around the globe to help children with autism and their families live better lives and be accepted by their communities. Every year, Ola Pinney and her team organize a minimum of three volunteer trips per year, which each last 2-3 weeks. Currently, the organization serves a dozen countries, including:
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
Ola Pinney emphasized that her SkillCorps trips follow the model of doing things with people in the local communities, not for people.
"What if we all sat down and really got to know the people that we worked with?" Ola Pinney said. "You have to meet them where they are, and work within their culture, their family, their community, their country."
Pictured left to right: Scott Barry, CEO & Co-Founder at Centria Healthcare; Molly Ola Pinney, CEO & Founder at the Global Autism Project; Chris Wilcox, President & Co-Founder at Centria Healthcare
Partnering with Centria Healthcare
After touring Centria Healthcare's HQ and delivering her speech, Ola Pinney said she was impressed with the employees she met and the mission of the company.
"I've seen centers all over the world and all over the country, and there was something very lovely about walking through and meeting nothing but friendly, amazing people everywhere who just seemed genuinely happy and excited to be a part of the team," she said.
Prior to Ola Pinney's site visit, the CEO of Centria Healthcare, Scott Barry, learned about the wonderful impact of the Global Autism Project, and wanted to do more to help the cause. He reached out to Ola Pinney directly, and offered to create, promote, and fund a scholarship program that would support the organization's SkillCorps travel program for five BCBAs.
"I think the part that was really inspiring about meeting with Scott is that he wants to do the scholarship program not only for the people internally here at Centria, but to offer it externally as well," said Ola Pinney. "That was pretty incredible, and we're really excited to make this happen."
Official scholarship program details will be announced in late March. For more information about the Global Autism Project, please visit www.globalautismproject.org.
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