About Us

Who We Are

The Mari Hall Family Foundation was founded by Lisa & Matt Hall in honor of their beloved daughter, Mari.  Shortly after her second birthday, Mari was diagnosed with ASD when Lisa & Matt asked for an evaluation from Connecticut’s Birth to Three Program.  Mari was immediately enrolled in Easter Seals First Partners program and started receiving 20 hours of early intervention services per week in her home.  Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) was administered with Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy consults.  When Mari turned 3 years old, she entered the Darcey School Early Intervention Center where she continued to receive intensive services. In 2012, Mari entered first grade at Highland School where she has continued to attend the ABA classroom. The special education services are phenomenal and Cheshire provides dedicated staff and programming to those children on the Spectrum.

At 9 years old, Mari now shows significant advances in social interaction, eye contact, ability to attend to tasks, self-help skills, and receptive language.  “Mari can attend to all daily like skills – eating, dressing, bathing, brushing her teeth, etc. She loves to do laundry and cook! We know she understands everything,” says her mom. She is also starting to speak.  “Come, mommy” and “I love you, Daddy” top the list of her parents’ favorite words.  Her favorite catchphrase is, “I want [fill in the blank].” There is nothing more rewarding than to hear your child call your name or give you a kiss when asked because she understands.  We can’t thank Mari’s teachers enough!!!  Every child and person affected by ASD deserves all the support and services they can get.

The foundation’s largest fundraising activity is Mari’s Miles of Smiles Road Race, a 10K, 5K and Kids Run event.  The sixth annual race is scheduled for September 26, 2015, in Cheshire, CT.

The foundation will also award a scholarship annually to a graduating high school senior who has best contributed to the welfare of his or her special needs peers and plans to pursue a career in special education. Click here for more information and application.