Our Mission

Giving hope to individuals and families in Nevada affected by neurodevelopmental disorders, including but not limited to autism, by providing support and/or opportunities that will have a meaningful impact.

Our Staff

Carol Reitz | Executive Director/Co-Founder

image1

Carol grew up in Southern California where she met Art nearly 30 years ago.  She graduated from Lee College of Court Reporting in 1999, and now would never leave "home." 


She completed the Nevada Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment Disabilities, Partners in Policymaking and is a certified Nonviolent Crisis Intervention instructor.

She is also the owner of Sierra Nevada Chocolates.  The business was purchased so that Justin and others can be trained to become 

contributing members of our society.


Carol enjoys running and hanging out with her four extraordinary boys: Kyle, Justin, Riley and Art.  Her passion is to continue to build a community of support and engagement for all individuals and families with special needs.

Maricela Gutierrez | Respite Center Director

image2

Maricela was born and raised in Reno, Nevada.  She is a first generation Mexican-American fluent in Spanish and functional American Sign Language. Maricela graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in Communication Disorders in 2014. 


Maricela has worked in community-based organizations for over five years specializing in program management, education and training.  She has been working with families and individuals with disabilities both locally and worldwide for the past eight years.  


Maricela brings her passion for community engagement and inclusion to the JUSTin Hope Foundation.

Ana Melendez | Social Work Intern

image3

Ana is a senior at the University of Nevada reno and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Ana is passionate about helping individuals become the best person they can be all while being self-sufficient. 


“I am very excited to be interning for the JUSTin Hope Foundation because not only will I be working with children and families, but I will also be reaching out to the community and offering assistance with the goal of hopefully improving their quality of life.” 

Karina Aguirre | Social Work Intern

image4

Karina is a senior at the University of Nevada Reno and is currently pursing her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Karina believes that change happens when people are given the guidance and patience they need to draw on their own strengths and realize their potential to live fulfilling happy lives.


“I am excited to be interning for the JUSTin Hope Foundation because I am excited to learn and work with this community. I want to do my best to help individuals realize their own strength to live a happy life by reaching out to resources.”

Board of Directors

Art Reitz |Chair

image5

Parent/Co-Founder, Reno Firefighter


Art is the co-founder of the JUSTin Hope Foundation.  He is Justin's father and has been married to Carol for almost 20 years.  He has been employed with the City of Reno Fire Department for the past 17 years. 


He is the recipient of the 2014-2015 Community Service Award from Firehouse Magazine and the Northern Nevada Red Cross Real Heroes Community Impact Award for 2014.

Darrell Plummer | Chair-Elect

image6

Sierra Nevada Properties


Darrell is an owner/broker of Sierra Nevada Properties. A fourth generation Nevadan. Darrell is a 1984 graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in business administration with a special emphasis in finance and a minor in economics.

Darrell has been the past president or chair of numerous professional boards and is currently the chair for the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce. He is the recipient of the 1992 College of Business Outstanding Alumnus Award and the 2017 recipient of the Nevada Alumni Association Professional Achievement Award which is awarded for outstanding records of distinguished career accomplishments and contributions to their profession.

Christine Riggi | Treasurer

image7

Parent


Christine moved to Reno, Nevada in 2009. Her life changed when having her middle daughter, who has Down syndrome. Since receiving that diagnosis. She is a dedicated mother who likes to give back to her community by serving organizations that have been a resource and comfort to her when in need. After a 15-year career with the federal government as a civilian, she brings her background of running annual budgets, other board experiences as well as event planning to the JUSTin Hope Foundation.

Cindy Davis

image8

Strategic HR Partners


Cindy has worked in Human Resources for more than 30 years.  Prior to founding Strategic HR Partners in 2011, she was the director of human resources for REMSA/CareFlight and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She also had been the HR manager at Viking Metallurgical and Ralston Purina. She specializes in helping clients with strategic HR initiatives, structuring HR roles, compliance, employee engagement and team-based leadership, dealing with difficult employees and everything in between. 


Cindy is a 4th generation Nevadan and loves to help nonprofits.  She has been the president for Northern Nevada Human Resources Association (NNHRA), the Nevada Director for the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), and served on the Pioneer for the Performing Arts Board and Executive Committee from 2009-2018.

Chris O'Sullivan

image9

bizNevada


Chris is an entrepreneur with a passion for entrepreneurship. He is the founder and publisher of bizNEVADA Magazine. He has been a Reno resident since 1997 and raised two native Nevadans.


After moving to Reno, Chris began working for a group of local radio stations. Shortly thereafter he began a 12-year career as a stockbroker. He began with a large broker-dealer, AG Edwards, and spent the next six years as an independent. His passion has always been to work with business owners.

Chris began his publishing career in the middle of 2014, publishing The Good Life neighborhood magazines in Reno, Sparks and Carson Valley.  His passion for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship brought him back to the B2B world when he started bizNEVADA Magazine in 2017.


Chris' 22-year-old son Conner survived a near fatal case of meningitis as an infant, resulting in significant cognitive delays. Chris knows firsthand the importance of having JUSTin Hope Foundation as a resource for families like his in our community.

Beth Farley

image10

Eidde Bailly


Beth is a partner at Eide Bailly LLP, a national top 25 CPA firm.  Beth is an experienced accountant who specializes in nonprofits, churches, governments, contractors and small businesses. Beth works with her clients to make sure they understand their financials and develop tools that strengthen their business or organization.  She prides herself in making sure clients receive professional service and valuable information.  


Outside of work, Beth is married to Mike and they have two daughters.  As a family, they enjoy spending time with family and friends camping, hiking and relaxing.  Beth has lived in Northern Nevada since 1997 and is a UNR graduate.

Mitch Laughton

image11

The Laughton Co.


Mitch is the president of The Laughton Company, an insurance brokerage and investment advisory firm. Mitch has spent more than 30 years specializing in advising businesses and individuals on their Health and their Wealth. His goal is to assist in designing a blueprint for success with business owners as they build their financial fortress. With his unique experience in Employee Benefit, Executive Benefit and Retirement Benefit planning the team at the Laughton Company delivers programs that can combine sponsored programs with individual planning to meet personal goals.


Mitch graduated from University of Southern California with a bachelor's of science in business. Mitch and his wife Galen have been married for 29 years. They have two sets of twins: Carter, Kelsey, Sydney and Shayna. In his free time he enjoys traveling, golf, skiing, fishing, music, and sports. 

Michael Sarafolean

image12

Sierra Nevada Corporation


Michael has almost 20 years of federal and state corporate and individual tax experience in both public accounting and private industry. Micheal assists clients with domestic tax planning and compliance projects that include fixed assets, repair and maintenance, and other general tax issues. 

Ray Pezonella

Pezonella Associates

Tara Zimmerman

image13

Parent, Community Services Agency