Ryan's Friends, Inc. - Hands in Hope for Children with Autism
Our New Board Members:

Judge Linda Sharpe Cowen,
J.D., B.B.A.
Linda Sharpe Cowen has been married for almost 30 years to Martin, III, and has two children: Martin, IV and Alexander.  She has served as a Judge, State Court in Clayton County since being appointed by Governor Zell Miller in 1995.  

After graduating Cum Laude from the University of Georgia Law School, she was admitted to practice law in Georgia in 1985.  She has been Chairman, Mandatory Continuing Judicial education committee since 2002, a member Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Children, Marriage and Family Law, and a panelist "Balancing as a Mother" YLD Parents and Caregivers of the Profession.

Linda has been a State Court Judge Representative to the National Association for Mentally Ill since 2005.  In this role she encouraged, along with members of NAMI Georgia and the GBI, the Clayton County Police Department to send officers to crisis intervention training.  At least 20 police officers have attended this training.

Linda is a member of the Board of Directors of the Joseph Sam's School and was the creator and co-facilitator for Southside Support Group for Parents of Autistic Children, a member of ARC of Clayton County and ARC of Georgia, an advocacy organization for people with special needs, and a former board member of the United Way of Clayton County.

Donna Delk Renfroe
Donna was born in 1963 in Columbus, Mississippi.  The youngest of four children, she attended Mississippi University for Women.  Donna moved to Atlanta Georgia in 1987 and married Scott Renfroe and is the mother of three children:  Emily, Katie, and Charlie.  

The Renfroes moved to Henry County to promote the family business, Renfroe Enterprises.  Donna is a member of First Baptist Church of McDonough.

Donna has served on the board the Friend's House and Henry Medical Foundation.  She has planned events for Stepping Stone Educational Center.  Donna served as chairperson for the Charity Ball at Eagle's Landing Country Club; however to Donna her most important role is that of being the mother to an autistic child.

Donna said, "I welcome the opportunity to become a part of this organization.   I've served on several boards and hope I've had a great impact on them.  However, this organization is one I have a tremendous passion for because I have a child with autism.  I hope the experience of raising a special child and being community oriented will allow me to be effective on this board."
Board of Directors
Fred Auletta
Sheila A. Balog, Ph.D.
Linda Sharpe Cowen, J.D
Ricky W. Morris, Jr., J.D.
W. Leo Payne, MBA
Donna Delk Renfroe
Christiann A. Zelek, M.Ed.
W. Leo Payne, President & Treasurer
Ricky W. Morris, Jr., Secretary
Parents Advisory Board
The Board of Directors has approved a new Parents Advisory Board!  Details on the membership will be coming soon.
About Us 
Ryan's Friends, Inc. (RFI) is a non-profit corporation located in the Southern Crescent of Metro Atlanta, Georgia.  RFI was named after Ryan, a sweet seven year old boy diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). 

The families of Ryan and many of his friends lack the resources to provide programs and services for their children with ASD.  RFI was formed to change this situation. 

The benefits and services provided by RFI are intended to be for children under the age of 18 that reside in Clayton County, Fayette County, and Henry County, Georgia.  

RFI benefits and services include providing financial assistance for the evaluation, testing, education and treatment for persons suffering from ASD.  Benefits and services will be funded for the grant applicants by scholarships and direct payments to service providers.  RFI will not be a direct supplier of benefits and services. 
Read more about Ryan and RFI in a recent article that appeared in the Henry Daily Herald. 
Grants from RFI
Grants from RFI are reviewed and approved on a case by case basis.  The approvals are based on a needs basis and subject to a means test. 
To apply for a grant complete the below form and submit it to RFI.
Grant Form.pdf (PDF — 128 KB)

Ryan’s Friends, Inc
Post Office Box 2587
McDonough, GA 30253
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