Betsy Hicks - Director
Mia Prohaska - Chairman

AUTISM ODYSSEY

Meet our Board of Directors

Riley O'Neil

Carolyn Hallett

Andre Bennett

Akiko Nelson

Meet our Executive Director

Betsy Hicks-Russ is a leading expert with over 20 years of experience in holistic health as the former CEO of Green Health Wellness and Green Health Cube, as well author of Picky Eating Solutions (2010), a unique guidebook on the life-changing power of healthy eating habits, and has delivered lectures around the world about meal planning, special diets, and holistic health for individuals living with autism. Her experiences with her son Joey, has driven her to become an impassioned expert on the relationship between nutrition, movement, and fresh air being vital for the mind and body. Betsy strives to give those who may not have a voice the chance to express themselves and seek freedom from prejudice and social barriers. Her dedication to health and wellness translates directly to her passion for caregiving and the mission to create space for people living on the autistic spectrum to be heard, understood, and embraced. Betsy is also the creator of The Joey Bar, a delicious and nutrient dense bar. All organic, healthful, and Pure Good.

Mia Prohaska

Mia Prohaska, MSW, is the Program Manager for Youth Era’s “Clackamas Drop,” a drop-in center serving youth and young adults in Clackamas County, Oregon. Mia believes that real social work means providing the tools and strategies that allow everyone’s unique strengths to shine. Before joining the Youth Era team in 2019, Mia’s notable accomplishments included helping craft HB 2940, a bill that reintroduced social workers to the Oregon education system. She also previously worked in Philadelphia, where she assisted in the creation of a curriculum to teach youth about advocacy.

Mia has lived experience working through mental health, as well as recovering from an eating disorder and growing up with her twin brother who is living with autism. In her role at Youth Era, Mia is responsible for the oversight of all Clackamas Drop programming, supervision for a team of youth peer support specialists, and county-wide outreach and advocacy efforts. Mia has increased youth attendance at her program by 68% and is proud to have reached many system-wary youth and young adults in the region. She believes that we must work to ensure all communities and voices have a seat at the table.

Mia was recently awarded the 2020 Super Heart Hero Ambassador Award for her outstanding advocacy efforts and commitment to the field of youth development. She has also garnered local and national media attention for her successes, most recently by Buzzfeed News.

Mia holds a master’s in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and is Fulbright Scholar.

Riley O'Neil

Riley O’Neil is a college student in South Florida, majoring in music (vocals). She enjoys fashion, thrift shopping, music, jujitsu, and hanging out with her dogs and her friends. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s when she was four years old. She believes young women experience Asperger’s very differently than young men and that more focus could be given to them. She is happy to be a consultant on this team.