Jessica Wong-Sumida, M.A., J.D.
Executive Director Jessica Wong-Sumida, M.A., J.D., has worked with special needs children and families with Ivar Lovaas in California for 3 year and in Hawaii and over 15 years. She is the co-chair for the Community Children Council (CCC) East Honolulu District and on the Legislative Committee. She is also serves as the VP of Legislation for the Hawaii State Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) and sits on the National Outreach Committee for the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTA). Currently she works for the Department of Human Service, Child Welfare Service, as an Assessment Worker.
Dennis C. Maher
President Dennis C. Maher was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He arrived in Hawaii 25 years ago and made the Islands his home. He is currently the Secretary of the Board at Trump International Hotel™ Waikiki Beach Walk® and is also an active member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Trump Waikiki. He serves as Vice President and Treasurer for the Hawaii Hotel Visitor Industry Security Association and President of the Board of the Engineers Advisory Council for the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. He coaches athletes with intellectual disabilities in soccer, basketball and softball. He is married and the father of five.
John P. Dellera
Vice-President John P. Dellera is an attorney admitted to the New York Bar in 1970 and the Hawaii Bar in 1996. He practiced law in New York City for 15 years with the firm of Baker Nelson & Williams and was New York Regional Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1985 to 1994. He served as assistant attorney general of New York and moved in Hawaii in 1996. He served as deputy attorney general of Hawaii for 13 years and as executive director of the Hawaii Disability Rights Center from 2009 to 2011. He has been caregiver for a young man with autism since 1996.
Treasurer Kelly Yamasato is an obstetrician currently completing a fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine with the University of Hawaii John A Burns School of Medicine. This training will allow to her care for women with high-risk pregnancies. Kelly was born and raised on Hawai’i Island in Waimea. She graduated from Hawai’i Preparatory Academy then obtained her undergraduate degree in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University. Following college she returned home to complete medical school and residency at the University of Hawai’i.
As a clinician Kelly is devoted to women with high-risk pregnancies and their children. She also has a strong research interest in prenatal factors and childhood outcomes, including autism. Kelly currently lives in Honolulu with her husband and two sons.
Naomi Ka`ae Tachera
Secretary Naomi Ka`ae Tachera was born and raised on Hawai`i Island, and has two children with autism. She is also a parent representative for Hawai’i Association for Behavioral Analysis. Naomi is from the first graduating class of Kanu o ka `Aina a Hawaiian-focused, bi-lingual Public Charter School. Naomi has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo, and is currently attending graduate school at the University of West Florida in Exceptional Student Education specializing in Applied Behavioral Analysis. Her goal to become a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA) are to deliver behavioral analytic services on Hawai’i Island to the under served and rural communities.
Director Gerald Hew is currently the Chief Financial Officer for Helping Hands Hawaii. He is responsible for providing oversight and direction to the agency’s financial operations. He also manages the accounting and financial reporting operations, provide oversight for the agency’s banking activities and prepare the annual budget and financial forecasts. He will also monitor contractual compliance, provide fiscal control of client trust accounts related to the Representative Payee program and supervise the Accounting department.
He previously was the Controller at UHA for eight were he led the insurance company through two state examinations and the current Affordable Care Act reporting.
He joined Helping Hands Hawaii in 2015 and is a University of Hawaii alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in. He currently serves as the treasurer of the Autism Society of Hawaii.
Director Lindsey Shepherd is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) working on Kauai with Aptitude Habilitation Services. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Work from Eastern Washington University and her Master’s in Autism and Applied Behavior from Sage Graduate School. She provides contract Applied Behavior Analysis services through insurance and Kauai school district for youth 2-21. Lindsey helped create the Kauai Autism Task Force and is a member of Hawaii Association for Behavior Analysts (HABA). Lindsey is a married mother to a two-year-old son.
Scott Spallina has been a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney in Honolulu for over 22 years. During that time, he became the supervisor of the Domestic Violence/Child Abuse Unit where he handled thousands of cases involving intimate partner violence as well child abuse cases, including shaken baby homicides. Additionally, Scott was a senior attorney in the Family Court Unit, where he handled countless cases involving at risk youth and juvenile offenders
In 2008, he created the Elder Abuse Unit – the first and only one in the State of Hawaii dedicated to prosecuting crimes where the victims are 60 years of age and older. A large number of elder abuse cases Scott has handled have involved adults with mental health issues and intellectual disabilities that were cared for by their parents when they were young, but now cannot be taken care of by their aged parents as they have become adults.
Before joining the Prosecutor’s Office, Scott worked for Koshiba and Associates, handling employment and labor law, including workplace discrimination of protected classes.
Scott has testified at the capital in support of legislation mandating insurance companies cover ABA treatment for children with special needs. He also sits on the Board for KHON’s Elderhood Project, as well as the Governor’s Policy and Advisory Board for Elderly Affairs. He is an active member of the Kupuna Caucus, and is a board member of the Autism Society of Hawaii.
Honorary board member State Senator Suzanne Chun-Oakland has served in the Hawaii State Legislature since 1996. She is a strong advocate for children’s rights and sponsors the annual Children and Youth Day at the state Capitol, Child and Youth Summit and Keiki Caucus.
Honorary board member Ivalee Sinclair has over 40 years’ experience helping students with disabilities. She received the lifetime achievement award from the Mental Health America of Hawaii and served as chairwoman for the Special Education Advisory Council. She was nominated for the Jefferson Award in 2008 and served on the Coalition for Children with Special Needs. She has fought for services for her own children when they were in school.