Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, celebrated the induction of 12 distinguished individuals into its Alpha Omega Chapter as Honorary Members during a historic ceremony at Howard University on September 19, 2023. Among these notable figures, the spotlight shines brightly on Debra Vines, a passionate advocate recognized as the 2022 Top 10 CNN Hero for her unwavering dedication to educating and providing services to individuals with autism and their families.
Debra Vines is the Founder and Executive Director of The Answers, Inc., an Autism and Support Agency that has been at the forefront of autism awareness and support in her community for eight years. Her journey began in 2007 when she founded this remarkable organization with a deep-seated desire to make a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by autism.
Through her tireless efforts, Ms. Vines has become a leading voice in advocating for families in her community, particularly at the Capitol. She has not only raised awareness but also crucial funds to ensure the sustainability of her non-profit organization and the availability of vital resources. Her commitment extends to planning and executing various fundraisers throughout the year, handling case management, creating programs tailored to participants with autism and developmental disorders, establishing policies, providing resources, offering training courses for first responders, and supporting individuals with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
Debra Vines’ inspiration and driving force behind her relentless advocacy is her son, Jason, who has been directly impacted by autism. This personal connection has fueled her determination to create meaningful change and support others facing similar challenges.
Over the years, Ms. Vines and her dedicated team have partnered with renowned agencies, including TAP, Seguin Services, Provison School for Exceptional Children, and Opportunity Knocks, to break the stigma often associated with autism. Notably, The Answers, Inc. hosted the very first Autism Walk-A-Thon in Proviso Township, sponsoring program participants to a weeklong horseback riding camp and raising awareness within the community. To date, they have sponsored 250 children and adults ranging from ages 7 to 50, providing them with invaluable opportunities.
As an Honorary Member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Debra Vines is eager to continue her mission of education and support. She will align her passion with the organization’s Autism Acceptance initiatives, fostering understanding, acceptance, and empowerment within communities.
The inclusion of Debra Vines into the Alpha Omega Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, not only celebrates her extraordinary achievements in advocating for autism acceptance but also reinforces the organization’s commitment to supporting individuals and communities facing diverse challenges. Ms. Vines’ legacy as a champion for autism awareness and support is poised to inspire and drive progress within Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., as it continues to uphold its principles of Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood, and Finer Womanhood.
We at Watch The Yard would like to warmly welcome Debra Vines to Black greekdom.
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