Board of Directors
Emily Poulos grew up in the Coachella Valley. Her introduction to the field of special needs began when she was young as she frequently observed her mother who worked as a para-professional for a School District. Emily grew to follow in her mother’s footsteps by providing in-home behavior services to those with developmental disabilities such as autism. Emily holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Professional Counseling with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy. Currently, she works as an Associate Clinical Counselor (APCC) within a School District, providing mental health services. Her goal is to become a Clinical Counselor and a Registered Play Therapist.
Co-founder and Secretary
Maria Martinez is a mother of 3 and a mother of children with special needs. She is known for her persistence and for seeking out knowledge to benefit her children and to strengthen families in the community as well. She is passionate about sharing knowledge with others and seeing them prosper as a result. Maria Martinez has been known for her problem-solving skills and has participated with several parent groups in the Coachella Valley. Her knowledge-seeking personality led her to earn a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. Her self-made goal is for all caregivers to truly understand applied behavior analysis.
Mariela Escobar grew up in the Coachella Valley. She completed her Bachelor’s degree and returned to her community to begin working with children with special needs. Seeing the impact she made with her families’ progress made her excited about the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. She decided to pursue her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and has since been recognized for her dedication to the families she serves. She prides herself on providing quality services and making a positive impact. Mariela is passionate about serving her community and looks forward to her future as a board member.
Patricia is the mother of a child who was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. She understands the barriers to having a child who was diagnosed later in age but needing services years before and not receiving the support. Her goal is to make a difference by becoming a case manager much like the one she worked with who taught her how to advocate for her daughter’s well-being. She hopes to spread knowledge on assessments, IEP’s, and the importance of understanding your medical insurance. Currently, she works at a private practice setting that provides psychotherapy and works with medical insurance billing and assists with providing therapies offered there.
Member at Large
Amanda Galindo was born and raised in the Coachella Valley. She has a BS in Criminal Justice and a MA in Psychology. She currently works as the Program Director for a local non-profit that provides free services to those with special needs and is focused on preparing teenagers for success before they age out of programs. Amanda's passion to make a difference in her community extends to a second career she has by providing psychotherapy. In the past, Amanda has worked as a domestic violence case manager/volunteer coordinator at Shelter from the Storm as well as a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee/Professional Clinical Counselor Trainee at ABC Recovery Center. Amanda’s experiences and community involvement now reach GANAS where she is excited to continue to make positive impacts on her community.