Thank You!

Dear Friends,

 

I am writing to let you know of my decision to step down as the President and Executive Director of Food Allergy Education Network.   This has been a difficult decision for me, as FAEN has been a primary focus of mine for the last 5 years. I know that this organization makes a difference in our community, and I am proud of the services and resources that we provide. However, my position has been a full-time, volunteer job and I no longer have those hours to give. My passion remains as strong as ever, but I feel I can better serve the food allergy community by reaching the widest audience possible. To that extent, for the last year or so, I have been serving as a food allergy consultant for parents, schools and businesses and working on projects on a national scale.

 

Five years ago, FAEN was just an idea.   I could have never anticipated that we would accomplish all that we have in such a short period of time. This would not have been possible without the hands and hearts of many people. From Daniela Balzano, who offered me the room to hold my first meeting, to Theresa and Anne (the only 2 people to attend that first meeting), to the full team of volunteers that we have now and everyone in between.   I am extremely thankful to every person who has lent their time, attended an event, donated funds or services, shared a story of how FAEN has helped them, or supported us in any way. It all has made a difference and continues to be the motivating force behind FAEN’s mission.

 

I am especially thankful to my family for their support over the past 5 years. My parents and their friends constituted our sole financial support in the early years of the organization and still continue to be our largest donors. I will be forever grateful to them for believing in me and supporting FAEN’s mission.   For my husband and children, there were many, many days and nights when I was unavailable while working on FAEN. They understood my passion and supported me. I am looking forward to devoting more of my time and energy to them.

 

I am leaving FAEN following our most successful year yet. We have the largest funding in place we have ever had, and all of our programs are successfully established. FAEN will be left in the very capable hands of Erin Spaulding and Robin Comey, two talented women who helped to create and build FAEN to what it is today. I am confident in their ability to guide this organization and I am excited to see all that FAEN will accomplish in the next 5 years.

 

Thank you all,

Gina Mennett Lee, M.Ed.

Founder, Food Allergy Education Network

4 responses

  1. A huge congratulations to you on your success at FAEN and in your consulting business. The fire that you ignited and the imprint that you have left FAEN will undoubtedly continue to be a guiding force.

    As a fellow colleague, I wish you all the best in pursuing your consulting!

    With much admiration and love,
    Kristin Beltaos

  2. Thank you Kristin for your kind words. They mean so much coming from you, a person I have a great deal of admiration and respect for. I hope to meet you in person one day. Please keep in touch! Gina

  3. I am just leaning of your work and this site. I am an advocate for educating the public on food allergies, especially in the school setting, being that my child has life threatening peanut allergies. I still find the public school system very passive when it come to planning safe, allergen free school trips and making sure environments are safe from contamination. It is very disturbing given the potential fatal circumstances that can result from such negligence. Do you have any suggestions on how to approach this, to get the people in charge to notice the real danger and that it can be prevented. I appreciate any advice you can give. Thank you for all of your wonderful and very important work.
    Carolyn LaRocca
    Montclair, NJ

  4. Hi Carolyn
    Thank you for your comment and congratulations on your willingness to be an advocate for your child and all kids with food allergies. There are many great Facebook pages dedicated to food allergies and much of the discussion revolves around how others have advocated within their communities. One such page is Food Allergies in the School Setting and there are many, many others. Finding like-minded parents who are willing to work with you on this is key. School districts hold Board of Education meetings and also subcommittee meetings, so learning about how your specific community works is key. For example, which committee is appropriate for this type of conversation. Asking questions of someone, such as a board member or member of the community that often attends the meetings, can provide you some insight into public commenting times. I am not familiar with NJ but it Connecticut there is a mandate for a Wellness committee within Boards of Education. There are communities that have, together with FA parents, developed Regulations and a separate Food Allergy Management Policy. Proof that it can be done. It will be hard work and could even take years of persistence! If you email us your address we would be happy to send you some free resources and posters for your schools. Thanks and great work!

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