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Getting To Know …

Lori Stillman, Fairfax-Falls Church Community Service Board member.

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Lori Stillman

This past June, Lori Stillman, the Springfield District representative to the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Service Board (CSB) was elected to the secretary position.

The CSB is a multi jurisdictional agency and public support network that partners with individuals, families and the community to support Fairfax-Falls Church residents affected by behavioral health conditions and intellectual disabilities.

As a member of the CSB, Stillman assists in planning, developing and helping to secure funding for programs to support and improve the lives of these individuals.

"It is critical that we work with other government agencies and in the private sector to secure stable sources of funding to enable CSB consumers to find employment, housing, recreation, transportation and other community-based support that they need to be empowered, valued and productive members of their communities," said Stillman. "Our approach is multi-pronged — to inform, educate, advocate and develop performance-based programs and services to help our consumers."

Stillman is a Nebraska native with a degree in political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has been a Fairfax Station Resident for 10 years. She and her husband Patrick Stillman have two sons, Tyler and Nathan.

How did you first get involved in the CSB?

My first son, Tyler, was born with Down syndrome and is autistic. As he was growing up, I became interested in helping other children with disabilities and their families and began advocating with the Arc. I was appointed to the CSB in 2005 by [former] Supervisor Elaine McConnell (R-Springfield). I was recently re-appointed to a second three-year term by Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield)

What are some specific issues that you are passionate about?

I have always been passionate about helping people, especially the most vulnerable individuals in our society. To me, the most important action we can take is to break down the negative stereotypes and discrimination that harm individuals with intellectual disabilities, mental health issues and substance abuse disorders through public information and education. One example is current efforts to change the term "mental retardation" to "intellectual disabilities" in local, state and federal regulations and laws. Then, we need to provide effective programs and requisite funding to meet the needs of CSB consumers, particularly to eliminate the waiting lists for services, especially Medicaid waivers for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

By the same token, I appreciate the need for effective stewardship of the tax-payers’ dollar and recognize the need for productive and innovative provision of services to those in need. I value vigilance in this regard and enjoy the challenge of fostering efficient and effective public-private partnerships.

How would you encourage other members of the community to help with the CSB efforts?

The CSB can always use the public’s help in many different ways. Making a sincere effort to understand our consumers and recognize their needs, as well as their dreams and abilities, is very important in helping to end discrimination and stigmas. They can also educate friends and neighbors and encourage them to support needed programs. Individuals can help by advocating with their local and state legislators for services and funding for the CSB. In fact, the county has scheduled 20 Fiscal Year 2010 budget community dialogs for this fall which citizens can attend and provide their comments and support for CSB programs. They can also work with others in their business or organization to provide opportunities for employment, housing and other supports for CSB consumers.

Favorite aspect about being a part of CSB?

I really enjoy working together with many exceptional individuals, including other board members, CSB staff and legislators, who share my commitment to assist those with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health problems. It is also very rewarding to see the positive difference that one can make in the lives of these individuals and their families.

Any challenges?

There are always challenges to any effort worth doing just as our CSB consumers face many challenges every day in their lives. But they don’t give up and neither will the CSB. I believe we are very fortunate to have an outstanding staff to help us solve our problems. Some of our challenges include eliminating discrimination, educating the public about our efforts and obtaining the funding needed to support our programs during these tough budget times. However, I feel confident that by working with our private sector partners, other governmental agencies and the public, we can find creative and cost-effective ways to provide critical services to our consumers.

What do/did you do professionally aside from serving in the CSB?

When I first moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 1981, I worked as a legislative assistant to Congressman Robert Lagomarsino from California and then as a legislative consultant on National Parks for the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs for the U.S. House of Representatives. I have been a stay-at-home mom since the birth of my first son.

Previous or other current service/volunteer positions besides CSB?

In the past, I have served in various positions for several Coast Guard spouses’ clubs and the National Council on Coast Guard Spouses’ Clubs. I have been an active public school volunteer since my sons started school. I have taught Sunday school for several years and continue to serve in other roles within our church. Currently, I am the vice president for the Orchestra Booster Committee for South County Secondary School and a member of the Fairfax County Public School’s Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities.

Hobbies?

As a pianist, I enjoy accompaniment work with other musicians for recitals, concerts and contests. I also enjoy physical fitness and running. I greatly appreciate nature and love all types of animals.

Favorite local restaurant or hangout?

I enjoy a good burger at Glory Days Grill in Lorton or morning coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts.

Anything else you would like to add?

I would like to thank the Connection for allowing me the opportunity to share information about the CSB and what we do. I would welcome anyone to contact me, or the CSB staff, if they would like more information about the CSB or would like to help us with our efforts. You can find the CSB through the phone book or on the Fairfax County government Web site at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/csb/.