Meet The Board

Gio’s Garden Board Members

Board Executives

Lea Culver (President): Lea is co-founder of Culver Franchising System, Inc..  She is Executive Director of Culver’s VIP (Very Important Partner) Foundation, Inc., founded primarily to fund a team member scholarship program.  She has worked on fundraising campaigns, helping to brainstorm and organize special events. She brings enthusiasm and passion to the Gio’s Garden Board and will be an avid ambassador for Gio’s Garden.

Charlotte Deleste (Founder, Vice President): Charlotte, founder of Gio’s Garden, recognized the necessity for specialized care and respite for families with children with special needs, after learning firsthand with her son Gio.  Gio, who has endured countless surgeries and at one time suffered from up to 80 seizures a day, brought to light the challenges every family with a child with special needs encounters. Through her love and care for Gio, as well as other families in need, Charlotte, along with a small STRONG core group, began the drive to achieve their dream and opened Gio’s Garden Respite Home in Middleton in 2012.  Charlotte continues to be the compassionate force behind the continued growth and development of Gio’s Garden, and the families and kiddos it serves within our community.

Jason Cooper (Treasurer): Jason is a CFO/COO at WIDA at the WI Center for Education Research, UW- Madison.  He is also the parent of a 6 year old with Rett Syndrome and is a 2014 graduate of the Partners in Policy Making program hosted by the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities. Through this program he has had the pleasure to speak with representatives regarding different issues affecting the special needs community and has worked with the Waisman Center to reach out to students who will be working with individuals with disabilities once they graduate. He brings new ideas and hopes to build upon what the board has already started.

Hilary Berning (Secretary): Hilary is a registered nurse at Madison Women’s Health Clinic as well as the parent of one of the first children to start at and age out of Gio’s Garden’s respite program.  She brings first-hand knowledge of the supports families need to help them raise their child with special needs as well as a strong medical background.

Beth Viney (Past President): Beth became aware of Gio’s Garden many years ago, when as part of the Pet Pals program at American Family Children’s Hospital, she learned of Charlotte and her son Gio. Beth’s Great Pyrenees, Czar, who worked specifically with severely ill children at the hospital, was a guest on The Morning Show as part of The Pet Pals Animal Assisted Therapy Program, and her support for Gio’s Garden grew from there. Beth is part of the Gio’s Garden fundraising team, and is very much looking forward to the next phase of growth and development for Gio’s Garden and the families and kiddos it serves.

Board Members

Jean-Paul Aime: Jean-Paul is Vice President, Sales Manager, and Financial Advisor at Mass Mutual.  He brings financial management skills, along with his energy and enthusiasm to help grow Gio’s Garden.

Hilary Berning: Hilary is a registered nurse at Madison Women’s Health Clinic as well as the parent of one of the first children to start at and age out of Gio’s Garden’s respite program.  She brings first-hand knowledge of the supports families need to help them raise their child with special needs as well as a strong medical background.

Jason Cooper: Jason is a CFO/COO at WIDA at the WI Center for Education Research, UW- Madison.  He is also the parent of a 6 year old with Rett Syndrome and is a 2014 graduate of the Partners in Policy Making program hosted by the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities. Through this program he has had the pleasure to speak with representatives regarding different issues affecting the special needs community and has worked with the Waisman Center to reach out to students who will be working with individuals with disabilities once they graduate. He brings new ideas and hopes to build upon what the board has already started.

Ron Giordan (Founder): Ron is Gio’s father and co-founder of Gio’s Garden with Charlotte. He serves as director of Content and Public Relations for Mid-West Family Marketing and uses his writing and marketing skills to promote Gio’s Garden to the community for fundraising efforts. He is a horrible golfer but loves helping put the annual Gio’s Garden Golf Classic together.

Amanda Houdek: Amanda is Speech and Language Pathologist and the owner of Communication Innovations, a private pediatric therapy clinic with locations in Fitchburg, Middleton, and Sun Prairie.  She uses her experiences as a business owner, clinician and parent to facilitate positive change and broaden the reach of Gio’s Garden to further serve families in our community.

Hannah Kimyon: 

Joanne Landry:

Steve Landry: 

Cherie Levy: 

 

Executive Director

Val Madsen: Val is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and has a Master’s in Therapeutic Recreation from UW – La Crosse, along with a Bachelor’s in Athletic Training/ Sports Medicine from Ripon College. She was hired as the first staff in 2012 to get Gio’s Garden off the ground. Under Val’s excellent leadership, Gio’s Garden has since grown to have over 15 staff and more then 100 volunteers in 2014. She has also grown the respite program from providing 225 hours of care in 2012 and 2,500 hours of care in 2013, to over 5,300 hours of care in 2014 while working with over 60 families.