Staff Testimonials


Before I came to work for The Option Institute, I worked as an administrative assistant to the president of an architectural firm. It was fun and I enjoyed it, but I knew there was something missing in the job, and I just wasn’t sure what it was that I felt was missing. When I came to The Institute, I didn’t feel that my job was missing anything. I instantly felt that there was a bigger picture to why I was here; and that my being here at The Institute was really making a difference in people’s lives all over the world. Not only did I feel that I was making a difference in the world, but every person that I work with, feels the same as well. The work environment is so different from other work environments that I have experienced. I believe this is because each person that I work with, not only chooses to be here, but they really LOVE their work.

Kristin Eclevia, Outreach Coordinator

Get ready for a life-changing experience. Working at The Option Institute is not only fun, rewarding, and gratifying, it is also an opportunity to learn and grow, and find a whole new outlook on life.

Vince Sandull , Program Registrar

I came to Option Institute looking for a job; I found so much more – family, friends, love and the opportunity to learn and make an amazing difference not only in my life but all those I come in contact with. I am truly blessed to a part of such a wonderful place and to work side by side with such loving and caring people. I do not view The Option Institute as my job; it is just another sweet part of my daily living.

Christine Bushaw , Accounts Receivable

If you want to service people in the deepest way, and live your life being authentic while striving for excellence, this is the place to work. There is nothing like The Option Institute where the quality of what you want in your personal life – respect and honoring relationships with like-minded people – is the quality of your working life. Not a day goes by that I am not deeply inspired because I am helping people – I feel so useful!

Zoe Zappa , Programs Counselor

This organization showed me the way to recovery for my son from Autism, others told me he would never speak again, never dress or bath himself, they told me my son would need lifelong care, today he has no diagnosis, he is in mainstream school, on the academic honor role, and well on his way to a blackbelt in Karate. Working here is my way to give back to an organization that gave me so much more than thank you could ever cover, and the best part is I’m having the time of my life.

Brian Nelson, Family Counselor

Working at The Option Institute is such an amazing experience! Everyday we have the great privilege of observing people from all over the world grow and become happier, more loving individuals. I have never worked in such a warm environment, one in which every staff member truly cares about the other. I am so grateful to be part of a great team!

Kristina J. Simonds, Professional Training Assistant

If I could choose just one reason out of the many countless reasons why working at The Option Institute is such a special experience, it would be the unique marriage of a typical workday combined with all the abundant opportunities available for personal transformation and empowerment. I love how every day here offers these new exciting opportunities for growth.

Christopher Treciokas, Adjunct Volunteer Recruiter and Coordinator

It is a fun and loving work environment. I love to work here because I want to be a part of supporting people to live happier lives. I am also excited about working here because I get an opportunity to explore myself and to change myself in order to be more loving and accepting. I am grateful to be a part of this amazing place.

Murtuza Nayani, Computer Department

I was a Controller for a Consulting Firm in my last job. After commuting to New York City for seven years, coming to work here at this beautiful place is a great blessing for me. I feel like I’ve found a home populated by a wonderful, eclectic, unique and loving family. Whenever my friends or family come to visit, I always find a reason to take them to the Institute and show them how fortunate I am. The reaction is always the same, “You work here?!” I just smile.

Don Mousted, Accounting Department

Guest Services/ Property/Kitchen/Mail Room

I love the professional atmosphere and friendless of all the staff and when there is a problem the cooperation you get to come to a solution.

Charlene Kimberley, Mailroom Assistant

If you enjoy working in a loving, caring environment…Go for it!!!

Kevin Curtis, Administrative Support Specialist

The kind and loving people that I work with are always willing to pitch in wherever needed. It is good to know that you can count on people that appreciate where they work — and they stay here because they enjoy it.

Richard Plunkett, Property Assistant

Managers & Supervisors

I wake up every morning full of energy and ready to go to work! The Option Institute is the place I have been looking for my whole professional career. The combination of the property, the people, and the mission creates a work environment that is powerful, challenging, and transforming; not only for the participants, but for the staff, and everyone that comes to live or work here. It is a dream come true!

John Sullivan, Director of Marketing

Working here is incredibly satisfying, rich, and rewarding. You become a part of this amazing and wonderful endeavor – and you grow tremendously in the process.

Clyde Haberman, Seminar Facilitator/Mentor

For years, I was successful as a Corporate Sales Executive. I enjoyed the challenges and opportunities afforded me in that role. Secretly, somewhere deep inside of me, I wanted more. I wanted to help create positive change in our world, not just talk about it but to help do something about it.

“Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy.” – Mahatma Gandhi

So, I took a leap of faith, left my mid-town office and headed for the hills, really, I work amid lushness and pastoral beauty of the Berkshire Mountains in Sheffield Mass.

Today, my primary objective is to utilize my talents in the service of others while integrating and managing the skills of those around me. I am at my best in a creative, free flowing organization where great ideas actually become achievable actions, which is why I am blessed to work where I work and with those that I work with. . We help families change their lives in extraordinary ways each and every day.

Scott Paul Goldman, Director Of Sales & Business Development

The work environment here at The Option Institute is very supportive and loving. There are endless occasions for me to stretch my wings and reach for my highest potential. The friendly office atmosphere allows for me to feel comfortable and productive. I encounter exciting challenges and endless opportunities for growth and change every day.

Sayulita Robinsong, PR Supervisor

The things that I like best about working here are: the variety, the open and honest way we communicate, the people coming from all over the world, the challenge of delivering excellence, the love and appreciation that everyone receives here. This is a wonderful work environment! It is THE place for developing the best qualities in yourself.

Mecki Augustin, Housekeeping Manager

Not only do I like my job – I love my job – and I love working with all of the people here who have made such a huge commitment to our work. When I first started working here I was totally amazed by the programs and how the staff work with the children and their families. – IT BLOWS ME AWAY!

Dane Griffith, Director of Administrative Services

I was a receptionist in a dental office before I came here, and this is like heaven compared to that. The vibe is much more positive here.

Lisa Burell, Front Office Manager

Teachers & Service Providers

Working at the institute is like no other working experience you may have had. You will be asked to deliver 110% – to use yourself so fully – to participate. You will also work in an environment that is supportive and very loving. I love working here.

William Hogan, Teacher/Counselor

Working at the Option Institute has allowed me to make the best use of my life. Through helping others I have learned to help and grow myself in ways that I could never have imagined. In addition, I work with the absolutely best staff of people who are kind, industrious, and basically wonderful people. A great place to work.

Beverly Haberman, Group Facilitator/Mentor

I LOVE working here. I love the environment, I love the staff, I love the people that come here and I specially love my job. It is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had, because I have so much fun while at the same time I help children and their families reach for their dreams. When I hold the hands of a child and help them speak or play with me, I feel I am doing something more then just a job I am contributing to a better world. It is not just the best job in the world for me, but it is the best way to be in the world for me: loving children and their families.

Camila Titone, Child Facilitator

Working here is incredibly satisfying, rich, and rewarding. You become a part of this amazing and wonderful endeavor to help the world become happier – and you can grow tremendously in the process for you become a more capable person.

Clyde Haberman, Seminar Facilitator/Mentor

If you want your work life to include being part of an excited, motivated team who are not only very friendly and supportive but who take responsibility for their actions – this is the place for you! If you want your work to be helping to change people’s lives – this is the place for you.

Suzanne Pruss, Instructor/Child Facilitator

Not only am I doing what I always have wanted to do, working with autistic children, but I am surrounded by people who are dedicated to living a more loving life, supporting me to do the same. I have, with the help of so many here, become more than I ever expected I would be, daring now to teach in front of so many people, and managing to be useful to them!

Kate Wilde, Teacher

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Dear Donor,

Jeannie Reid was searching for answers to the challenges she and her family were facing. Jeannie and her husband Stuart’s son, Carson, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autism spectrum. For Carson that meant being completely involved in obsessive behaviors and only using minimal words to identify objects, as well as frequently and completely melting down.

Soon after, Jeannie found the book, “Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues” and when she read it, she KNEW she had found what she was looking for. She began using some of the Son-Rise techniques described in the book on her own until she was able to come to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the Son-Rise Program Start-Up. As she put into practice what she learned there, Carson’s world was opening up. Today Carson is attending a Montessori school as a 'typical' student and functioning at or above typical grade level, being fully verbal and conversational, and very interested in learning about the world and interacting as much as possible with other people. He is even taking swim lessons at the local YMCA and doing great!

“It has been wonderful to get, and stay connected with other people and Son-Rise parents from all over the world. My son’s progress had already come very far, but now I truly believe we can go all the way!”

Jeannie wrote.

Stuart Reid then attended the Empower Yourself course and brought home a new sense of clarity, balance and personal power. He shared his new empowerment with Jeannie and she in turn gained in confidence, strength and enthusiasm. Their own relationship began to flourish anew, as well. Life-altering changes were happening for Jeannie and her family.

Jeannie journeyed again to Sheffield, this time for the Fearless course at The Option Institute to help her recognize and overcome her personal obstacles. Jeannie wanted to continue her amazing journey as she had found using the techniques she learned in The Son-Rise Program and in Fearless had absolutely changed the lives of everyone in her family.

But, because the Reids’ finances had been seriously stretched by then, their next steps were put on hold. Then an amazing event changed everything. Jeannie’s college roommate and lifelong friend decided to start a Son-Rise Program scholarship fund for people from the Cleveland area. Since then Jeannie has been able to move ahead with her courses, taking Radical Authenticity, Son-Rise Maximum Impact and Son-Rise Wide Awake ... and eventually she became a Certified Group Facilitator.

Jeannie Reid’s story is about wanting BIG and making it happen. She is about to embark on her renewed private practice as an art therapist, and plans to be a super advocate for The Son-Rise Program in her area. Her wonderful new life is a product of her persistence and belief, and of the wheels she helped set in motion for others when her friends learned of how she and her family had been impacted by The Son-Rise Program.

“I know I will be able to give back by helping others, and that will be the top of my personal mountain! Thank you to everyone who donates! You are making a big difference in the world!

Jeannie Reid


Dear Donor

Two years ago, Antonio's kindergarten teacher told us something was not quite right with our little boy. He was not socializing, he somersaulted all the time and hardly spoke at all. At the time I was working for a municipality close to Florence, Italy and basically I had nothing left after seeing to basic necessities.

In the meantime, I looked up Autism with Google and as I was also looking for happiness and personal growth, I was guided to The Option Institute, thence the Autism Treatment Center of America. I read up as much as I could and started trying to apply the “Happiness is a Choice” suggestions. I'm not quite good at it but it has helped me with attitude, and everything else that seemed trying is really different after all this.

When I decided to come for The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, I really had little or no money to pay for it. I spoke to my friends, old and new. My mother helped me, friends I thought couldn't [help] tried their very best and the scholarship did the rest.

What the scholarship did was give a HUGE boost to my fundraising. About six friends contributed the rest, at the travel agency a very kind lady who I may now call a friend helped me some more. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Here I am, happy to have attended the Start-Up program and looking forward to learning more and praying to God for guidance.

So the gist of the matter is, I am a happy mum who hopes to implement a wonderful relationship with her child and is riding a not so easy moment with lots of hope in her heart and THANK YOU is not enough for what I feel. I still remember William's words, “If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.” Now I'm trying to do different, bit by bit, day by day. I feel the difference already.

About Antonio ... we are going on with the Italian program and I play with Antonio after school in a quiet room in the house. Knowing what the little guy is exposed to (he's always putting his fingers in his ears and he seems to have problems with too much light in his eyes), I find him very brave as he bears it tolerably. Drums a lot to digest it all.

When we went to the doctor, just weeks after starting the program at home, she told me that she found him more attentive. His attention span has increased. He is also tagging or pulling at one's arm when looking for attention. The child psychologist last Saturday reported the same thing and what's more, my son has always required that I enter the room, hence assisting in every session. Well, this time he went in along with the doctor and told me, “See you later.”

At school, his teacher who speaks English as well, read up and watched my DVD (Kyle’s Journey, Jade and “I want my little boy back”). Now she's changing, bit by bit and I do appreciate that very much. He seems to be OK with her and actually sent me away from class this morning, again telling me, “See you later.”

He is now ONE HUGE GREENLIGHT and I'm hoping to be able to really have volunteers (still looking), raise funds and settle down to business.

God bless,



Dear Donor,

I am the mother of three children, all on the Autism Spectrum. Before I heard of the Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute, I was a desperate, angry and depressed person…. I was on Anti-depressants, sleeping multiple hours of the day, and for a period of time, using alcohol to run away from my pain.

Then I heard of the Son-Rise Program. I called to find out more about it and thought “this if for me!” But I could not afford it. You see raising one child with Autism is very expensive but raising three is just outrageously expensive with all the therapies and dietary interventions that we were doing.

But I was offered a full scholarship to the SRSU program. I have since attended all of the Son-Rise Programs and many of the Personal Growth programs offered by the Option Institute.  Each time I have been given a scholarship and each time I go I learn more about who I am and I change for the better each and every time.  Because of your most generous support, my children are recovering from Autism, I have found happiness in my life!  I am no longer on anti-depressants and I have so much more energy.

YOU are the reason that my family is in recovery. It is because of YOU that my oldest son now is enjoying school.  YOU are the reason my second son is speaking. YOU are the reason my daughter is no longer as rigid and controlling as she once was.  Thank you does not even begin to cover how much gratitude I have for you.  I thank God every day for you and I do not even know you.

Please know that you are changing lives with your donation to ATCA and the OI.  It is because of you that every day people are getting the help that they need. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

With so much love,

Kerry Rihtar