This year’s Tropical Nights will be a spectacularly gratifying celebration as we honor one very special UM-NSU CARD family.  Allow us to share a little something about them and their deep personal connection to us.  Searching for quality care for their newly diagnosed son with autism, the Mneimneh Family reached out to Dr. Alessandri from their home in Lebanon.  Dr. Alessandri still remembers receiving emails from Mr. Mneimneh and meeting him in person for the first time in his University of Miami office.  The family had ties to South Florida and Dr. Alessandri assured them they would find a community that would warmly welcome and support their son and the entire family on their journey with autism.  The family officially became clients of UM-NSU CARD in April of 2004 and have been fully engaged in making our community a more accepting and understanding place for all those living with autism since their arrival. 

Tarek, their remarkable young adult autistic son is now 23 years old and thriving thanks to the steadfast support of his entire family.  The Mneimneh Family has made lasting contributions to our community, especially UM-NSU CARD.  They have graciously told their stories in several of our annual awareness campaigns, Mrs. Mneimneh (Chirine)has selflessly volunteered to chair two of our annual fundraising galas, and the entire family, led by Silver Knight winning son, Waleed, launched Ace for Autism, an annual autism tennis tournament, in collaboration with his classmates at Palmer Trinity School, which raised over $100,000 for UM-NSU CARD. We consider this family to be one of the “first families” of UM-NSU CARD, and we honor them this year for their 18 years of inspired leadership, generosity, and service to our community.

Please join us in honoring the Mneimneh Family, celebrating the continued impact of UM-NSU CARD on our community, and coming together to embrace the unique neurodiversity that allows our community to shine.