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CAS Graduate Study Success Stories

Empowering Others

Executive Director of the Children's Center in Augusta, Maine, Cole works tirelessly to ensure that children with special needs develop the learning skills they need.

Children with special needs in central Maine have a friend in Lynn Ingraham Cole. As executive director of the Children's Center in Augusta, Cole works tirelessly to ensure that this private, non-profit agency helps children with special needs develop the skills they need to learn.

"I was stunned to learn that couples who have a child with special needs experience an 85% divorce rate," Cole said. "Not only do these children need services, but also their parents and their families."

The Children's Center offers a number of services, including individual and team evaluations; home-based support for parents; occupational, physical, speech/language, and developmental therapies; and preschool services.

"Each year, we serve more than 100 children from birth to age five through our family services and early intervention programs, and more than 800 children through our respite care," said Cole. "We believe that all children thrive when given the opportunity to develop social, emotional, and physical skills within an environment that provides peer interaction, nurturing adults, and developmentally-appropriate materials."

Throughout her career, Cole worked for a variety of social service organizations, with the goal of obtaining an executive director position. But it took Simmons to make that possible.

"My daughter and I visited Simmons when she was looking at colleges, and I loved it so much, I enrolled the following fall!" Cole graduated from the Master's in Communications Management Program in 1997. Soon after, she obtained her position at the Children's Center.

"It's sometimes difficult to see how you are directly helping individuals when you move from direct service positions to administrative positions. But at this level, I have the ability to make an impact on an even greater number of people," Cole explained.