Board of Directors
About the Board
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Val serves as the President of the Board of the FASD Network of Southern California. Professionally, she works in San Diego as a technical writer and editor, following careers in vocational rehabilitation counseling and corporate training and development. Val is one of the founders of the Network.
As President, Val manages the work of the Board, helps to plan meetings and training programs, and manages fundraising. She also administers the web site and its social media presence (Facebook page and group, Twitter posts, and email group.
Val is passionate about the Network because of her son. Adopted in infancy by Val and her late husband, Dale Altshul, Ethan was born in 1994, to a heroin-addicted woman who made an adoption plan through a private adoption agency months before his birth. Diagnosed in preschool with ADHD, by the time he was 16, Ethan had been arrested several times for petty theft and drug possession charges, and was receiving special education in school, mostly for his problems focusing attention and interpersonal issues. Eventually, the San Diego County Juvenile Justice system informed Dale and Val that it suspected that Ethan was affected by FASD. Ethan was finally diagnosed in 2011 at UCLA with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).
Unlike many parents of children affected by prenatal alcohol exposure, Val had no idea that her son had FASD until he was almost 17. The more she learned about FASD, the more worried she became that Ethan would be doomed to involvement in drugs and crime, to chronic unemployment, mental illness, and other issues, and that she had failed him completely. She was frantic to catch up to become an effective advocate for Ethan do before he turned 18.
With no coordinated services readily available in Southern California that she and her family could access, Val's efforts led to seeking out more knowledgeable parents and the resources they recommended. This "network" of resources became the FASD Network of Southern California.
Currently, the position of Vice-President is vacant.
As Acting Secretary, Annette manages Board meetings and communication with members of the Board of Directors. She also hosts and coordinates the support meetings in Manhattan Beach, held almost every month on the second or third Saturday.
Annette and her husband Doug adopted two sons in infancy who are now in their early 20s. Both were born affected by prenatal alcohol exposure. Each was diagnosed with FASD while young.
Because of their sons' challenges in childhood, Annette left an executive finance career to provide close and hands-on support, which she continues today.
With Annette's and Doug's guidance, both of their sons are able to live independently, and both are establishing themselves in meaningful work and education.
Annette Kunzman serves as Treasurer of the Network, using her extensive background and experience in business management and finance.