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Saint Xavier grad chosen to be Easter Seals national representative

College graduate hopes to inspire others

Chicago (Nov. 22, 2006) – Maurice Snell overcame his autism to graduate with a bachelor of arts in liberal studies from Saint Xavier University in May 2006.

Now he is sharing his inspirational story as national adult representative for Easter Seals, the leading nonprofit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, 
physical and mental disabilities, and other special needs.

“I hope to tell people who have a child with disabilities to pray to God. He’ll come through, and your child will be successful. Have hope and don’t give up,” said Snell, of Chicago’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

Each year Easter Seals chooses a national child and adult representative to share a personal story of success as a result of involvement with the organization, said Janet Jamieson, manager of marketing communications at Easter Seals. The representatives are chosen from a pool of applicants that are submitted by Easter Seals affiliates across the country.

Snell will make his first Chicago appearance since becoming Easter Seals’ adult national representative at the Easter Seals’ Festival of Trees Holiday Gala on Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Grand Ballroom at The Renaissance Chicago Hotel. After kicking off his tour in October at Easter Seals’ annual convention in Los Angeles, Calif., Snell and his family are sharing their story with Easter Seals affiliates, corporate partners, volunteers and donors throughout the country in the coming year, most recently in Puerto Rico, Jamieson said.

“Because Easter Seals’ focus for the year is on autism, Maurice was the perfect example of all that can be achieved by an individual living with autism,” Jamieson said. “The determination of Maurice and his family to achieve goals that exceed those of many autistic individuals is outstanding.”

While at Saint Xavier, Snell was involved in the Student Success Program, a federally funded program that provides counseling, advising and supplemental academic instruction to students at risk of not completing their college degrees.

“He was a diligent student at Saint Xavier, but what really stands out most about Maurice is his personality. He made many friends in our program, and his warmth will help him to be successful in many avenues in life,” said Kristel Flynn, an academic adviser at Saint Xavier who worked closely with Snell.

“Maurice was a bright light in the SSP office. You always knew when he was in the office because he would fill the room with good cheer and positive energy. He has a very welcoming and friendly personality, so I think he will do an outstanding job as a representative for Easter Seals,” Flynn said.

When Maurice was younger, he attended the Easter Seals Therapeutic Day School, where children with autism ages 3 to 21 receive not only an education, but also speech, language and communication therapy, occupational therapy, social work services, health-related services, and recreational services.

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Saint Xavier University, a Catholic institution inspired by the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, educates men and women to search for truth, to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to serve wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good.

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