Melanie is a nonprofit founder, speaker and an advocate for special needs families, including her own. She is a single mother to a set of twins, both with their own unique medical needs. One is living with autism and the other has a rare genetic disorder which requires 100% dependence on an adult. Melanie understands, first-hand, the challenges associated with managing the needs of a medically complex child. As a working mother in corporate America, she quickly realized that there are convoluted guidelines and restrictions built into the health insurance system that often negatively impact the ability of some families to secure adequate care. After countless hours of research and advocacy, she found a way to secure round the clock in-home care for her daughter without compromising her employment. With her abundance of knowledge and resources, she now teaches and empowers families on what they can do to become the best advocate for themselves and for those they are caring for.
In 2019, she founded Here For A Reason, Inc.® (HFAR), a nonprofit for special needs families and currently serves as the President and CEO. Here For A Reason, Inc.® is a public 501(c)(3) organization that provides medical equipment and financial assistance that would otherwise not be attainable due to the limitations of medical insurance and the high costs associated with caring for someone with a complex condition. HFAR offers six different programs including Durable Medical Equipment, Incontinence Supplies, Travel Assistance, Enteral Feeding, Adaptive Vehicle Assistance, and Financial Relief. You can learn more about their services by visiting HFAR.org.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought on many challenges, both expected and unexpected. Things were shutting down left and right, however the needs for her twins did not stop. Despite the chaos in the world, Melanie decided to take this as an opportunity to start a family business. In 2021, she became the CEO of JGM Jewelers, an online jewelry store to bring awareness to medical causes and medical heroes through custom, elegant and unique jewelry designs. It was important for Melanie to ensure the jewelry store was a family business, and you can see that directly from the name. JGM stands for Julius, Genell and Melanie.