Ruth Darby became aware of autism when she was just 11, babysitting for a neighbor’s granddaughter who was on the autism spectrum. Later, as a single parent, she found her son struggling with unexplained symptoms as well.
In 2013, she discovered SARRC through the Annual Community Breakfast. Ruth says she learned much more about autism through SARRC. “Today we know so much more about autism and understand just how broad the spectrum is,” she says. “There is still so much work that needs to be done and there are more and more families being impacted by autism that need support through programs and services.”
She recalls the many struggles her son went through in school and college, despite receiving professional services. “He had some less than positive situations while in school and I think if educators and health care providers had more training, he would have struggled less and learned more.”
Despite those challenges, her son earned a two-year degree and is independent and working but well below his potential. The search for specific services remains difficult as Ruth seeks additional resources to help him grow and learn as he navigates adulthood. It can be hard for families to identify who can provide services, especially for young adults, she says.
“I am inspired and motivated by SARRC’s success stories,” says Ruth. “For example, SARRC’s Think Autism screening tool is being used in schools to identify students who may have autism. These students were often missed and struggled because of that.”
In addition to supporting SARRC as a volunteer and a Table Captain during the Annual Community Breakfast, the Darby family has become invested as a Multiyear Visionary Partner, pledging donations over a five-year period.
It was an easy decision for Ruth and her family to become an MVP. “I want to support parents and families and help provide funding for the best possible outcomes,” Ruth says. “I think a broad range of services for families and our work to educate the community, especially educators and health providers is critical.”
As a real estate broker at Keyser Commercial Real Estate, she represents tenants and occupiers of real estate. Ruth is also involved in American Heart Association, New Pathways for Youth through Arizona Commercial Real Estate Women, Brokers for Kids – Scottsdale Active 20-30 Club through Keyser and the Movember Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to changing the face of men’s health around the world with a focus on prostate and testicular cancer as well as mental health and suicide prevention.
In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, camping and kayaking, but you might spot Ruth at a swap meet as she hunts down antiques to refurbish.
Are you interested in making a difference by becoming a SARRC Multiyear Visionary Partner? Learn more here.