Dr. R. Layla Salek knows firsthand the financial strain that families experience when struggling to help a loved one with mental illness or autism. As the daughter of a mother diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Dr. Salek ‘s passion for working with children with mental illness started very young. She has also worked with children with autism spectrum disorders since 2001.
As a behaviorist and daughter of mental illness, Dr. Salek understands the plight of millions of families in need of support, medication, counseling, health insurance, and respite care. “It is apparent to me that these services are expensive and no one agency has enough funding, staff, knowledge, or compassion to help these families in need,” she says.
What can be done? Dr. Salek found a solution that combines her love of helping children and her love of photography. She takes artistic photographs of toys, such as paint brushes, puzzle pieces and stuffed animals, which she then prints on children’s clothes and stationery. The project is called Susie Bean. Thirty percent of all profits go to charities and thoroughly researched service providers that create scholarships for families with children with autism or mental illness in need of financial assistance. “We do not want parents to deny their child life-changing services due to lack of funds,” says Dr. Salek. “Our goal is to offer scholarships in every city around the world.”
Organizations that want to participate in the Susie Bean scholarship project must be able to identify families needing financial support for their child’s services, be willing to offer scholarships for necessary services to those families in need, and provide accurate, honest financial records regarding how Susie Bean scholarships are allocated on a bi-annual basis. Those who do meet these criteria are asked to send a request letter to [email protected], outlining the services they provide to either children with mental illness or autism spectrum disorders.
Donations can also be made at Susie Bean’s website. As the site exclaims, “Change can come in any size!”