My Milestones - 2018 Benefit Honoree Phillip Irvin
Posted on 09/20/18 in School by Milestones
Phillip Irvin, a dedicated father of two and a true champion for the local autism community, uses his invaluable perspective to help others on a similar journey as his.
Irvin’s relationship with Milestones first started when his family sought resources to help his son. Now, Irvin is an active leader on the Milestones Board of Directors and has served as Milestones’ Treasurer, Co-Chair of Milestones’ annual Strike It Big bowling event, and on multiple committees.
“Phillip brings energy, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective to all of his involvements with Milestones,” stated Milestones Operation Director Mia Buchwald Gelles. “He gets so excited about helping families with autism and is constantly seeking to raise the bar with what we can accomplish.”
What has been the most rewarding part of being involved with Milestones?
Helping families feel like they aren’t alone in this journey. From the shock and disbelief of a diagnosis, to school and family support, all the way to work/college transition and beyond, Milestones can help families connect with resources and others who provide a sense of community. No one needs to deal with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) alone or to feel like they are alone. Every single block in every neighborhood in all of CLE is impacted by ASD and Milestones helps connect all of those single points into a widespread community.
How you do you envision your relationship with Milestones evolving as the organization continues to grow?
I hope to help Milestones maintain our core competencies while continuing to grow with latest research and techniques to help families. In particular, I hope to continue supporting important fundraising events like Strike It Big that enable the staff to continue providing their amazing services and connections in the community.
What do you think is the most important thing Milestones does for the community?
My experience both as a parent and board member makes me sincerely believe that everything Milestones does helps. Since ASD has so many complicating factors and is very different at various life stages, I can’t pinpoint one area that is more important than another. But as I mentioned, the sense of community and the help offered from other parents who I met at Milestones events was a big game-changer for me.
What advice would you give to other parents looking for ways to support the autism community here in Cleveland?
Get involved! No matter how busy you are, the time and effort you put into the community will be paid back to you 10 times over. Use your parental instinct which makes you, by far, the most important advocate for your child, and be willing to not only share your experience but to listen as well. We all can learn from each other and while every situation is unique, one small strategy or lesson you’ve learned can change a life for someone else.
How does it feel to be honored by Milestones in this way?
It is very humbling to be recognized and to be included in a group of people I have long admired, looked up to, and learned from. Obviously those with passion in this area don’t do it for an award, but I think it re-ignites the desire to want to help families.
Irvin will be honored on Saturday, October 27 at The Silver Grille at The Higbee Building alongside community leader Marvin Lader and pediatrician Steven Wexberg, MD. Contributions from the fundraiser will support Milestones' free autism Helpdesk, a service which connects families to local, vetted resources and trusted recommendations.. This year's event will include a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres hour with an open bar and live music, followed by dinner and a live auction. Click here to purchase tickets or call 216-464-7600 for more information.