OUR FOUNDERS

FOUNDER

Vashti (Vel) Londono

Vashti (Vel) Londono was born and raised in Texas. She is the daughter of successful small business owners who taught her the importance of hard work and service to others. Both her parents have been instrumental in helping her pursue her educational and vocational goals. Having a sibling with an autism spectrum disorder has given Vel a lifelong passion for the special needs population. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas State University with a B.A.A.S degree in Occupational Education and has over ten years of administrative management experience in the private sector. As Executive Director, she is responsible for the overall management and operation of The L.I.F.E. Project. Her long term goals include creating a successful continuing education program through the L.I.F.E. project that can be replicated in other areas where learning programs for young adults with disabilities are needed. Vel currently resides in Austin, Texas where enjoys spending time with her family and is the mommy of a beautiful baby girl. She is also a licensed Zumba instructor and indulges her dance fitness addiction as often as possible.

CO-FOUNDER

Maria Londono

Maria Londono is the mother of three adult girls. Lorie, her youngest daughter was diagnosed with Phelan's-McDermids Syndrome, which is a rare neurological disorder. With the end of Lorie's high school days looming, Maria began looking for post-high school options. In her search for adequate learning opportunities, it became obvious that there was a gap in specialized initiatives for young adults with autism, neurological, and developmental disorders during their transition from high school to adulthood. With the support and encouragement of friends and family, Maria and her eldest daughter Vashti launched the L.I.FE. Project. With over 20 years of management experience, Maria is a successful entrepreneur and small business owner. She and her husband Miguel are very active in their local church and enjoy traveling when they can.

BOARD MEMBERS

William (Bill) Johns 

William (Bill) Johns is a family man and a father of five and a decorated combat veteran. In September of 2007 William retired from the Air Force and moved to Austin with his family. Shortly after his arrival in Austin, William enrolled in the School of Social Work at Saint Edwards University and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2010. William decided to stay on at St. Edwards as a graduate student to pursue his research interests and Graduated with an MLA, with concentrations in Social Science and Religious Studies. In his last two semesters of graduate school William started substitute teaching at Crockett high school and found his occupational passion; working with students who have disabilities. In the fall of 2014, William became the classroom teacher, of a Life Skills classroom, at Crockett High School. Since that time William’s classroom has been named the district model for non-verbal education and is one of the district’s recommended observation classrooms for positive behavior supports. William is known as a strong advocate for his students, both in and out of the classroom. He has formed close and lasting, professional relationships, with his students’ families. Together William and his classroom families raised over $4000 to get iPads to serve as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices for all his students. It was William's words that were the catalyst which led to the formation of The L.I.F.E. Project. When faced with no place for his students to transition to after high school, he advised parents to "create your own resource." Currently the classroom families of his students (past and present) have united to form the L.I.FE. Project. William will utilize his experience and knowledge as an educator in order to develop the learning and vocation initiatives at The L.I.F.E. Project.

Trudy Williams

Trudy is a devoted wife and mother of three. Her adult son was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder and autism. She is a strong advocate for him and is passionate about helping other families facing similar challenges access resources in the community. She is a hard working volunteer and source of support for The L.I.F.E. project. As a board member, she will act as a liaison between our organization, and the families of our participants.

amy mugica

Amy Mugica is a licensed Zumba Instructor and full-time wife and mother of two. Her youngest daughter was diagnosed with Autism at the age four. Amy is very passionate about raising awareness and helping families with loved ones on the spectrum. For the last 3 years she has led a committee that has raised nearly twenty thousand dollars for autism awareness organizations. Amy has a master's degree in education and will use her experience as an educator to help develop learning programs for the L.I.F.E. Project.