Rania Markham, CHP Family Services care coordinator and a passionate advocate for families of children with disabilities, has been named a “Rising Star” by the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Leadership Award.
Markham was among 111 women nominated for an award. She was honored at the Women in Leadership Luncheon on March 8 in Great Barrington.
“Rania has transformed her family’s very personal experience with autism into professional advocacy and outreach by bringing an array of supportive connections to families like hers,” said Richard Gregg, interim CEO of CHP Berkshires. “Rania is a true advocate in the best spirit of CHP, and we are proud to support her courage in developing an entirely new program here at CHP Family Services.”
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Markham leads a weekly online special needs support group for parents and caregivers, and she organizes activities and playgroups for families of children with disabilities. She has also developed “IEP 101,” an online training for parents navigating special education programs in public schools. She is also offering a Special Kids, Special Diets for parents to discuss picky eaters. She has also established the Autism Awareness Walk to raise emergency funds for families.
Markham is completing her master’s in social work at Simmons University and earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Westfield State. She has worked for CHP for the past 10 years, assisting Family Services clients at risk of homelessness and food insecurity. Her son Zachary was diagnosed with autism in 2019.
“I am honored by this Women in Leadership award, and I’m grateful for a community that honors hard-working women,” said Markham. “I am empowered by the recognition, but it doesn’t feel like work when you love what you do, as I do.”