Passionate Support

tags: Kennedy Krieger Foundation Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law) at Kennedy Krieger Institute Inspiring Stories Latest News
Four people stand on one side of a table, serving food. On the other side, a woman receives a plate of food.

Nick (center) and Effie (far right) Theodore serve food to parents of patients of the Institute’s rehabilitation hospital at a dinner organized by WIN.

Dr. Nick and Effie Theodore are passionate advocates for people with autism spectrum disorder. They began raising awareness about autism nearly two decades ago, after a daughter of two of their dear friends was diagnosed with it. They’ve seen, firsthand, the challenges that a person with autism faces in navigating their community.

Portrait photo of a woman and a man, both wearing blazers.
                     Effie and Nick Theodore

Nick, director of the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgical Spine Center, and Effie, a lawyer, moved to Baltimore six years ago. Once they’d settled in, they started looking for ways to give back in their new city. Through a friend, Effie learned about the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) for Kennedy Krieger Institute, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for Kennedy Krieger.

It just makes me so happy to help families access the services they need.” – Effie Theodore

Nick and Effie volunteered with WIN, preparing toiletry kits for parents of patients staying in the Institute’s rehabilitation hospital. Through WIN, they learned more about Kennedy Krieger and its world-renowned Center for Autism and Related Disorders, and Effie met Maureen van Stone, director of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) at Kennedy Krieger. Effie now volunteers with the MCDD’s Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law), providing pro bono civil legal services for patients at Kennedy Krieger.

“It just makes me so happy to help families access the services they need,” Effie says.

Last year, Nick and Effie learned about a new film on autism, “In A Different Key,” which stresses the importance of a community coming together to support its members with neurodivergence. Nick and Effie sponsored a Baltimore screening of the film, hosted by Kennedy Krieger. “It’s such an impactful film that raises awareness about autism in so many ways,” Nick says. “I hope it will help us better understand and communicate with people with autism.”

Nick and Effie are grateful to be able to support the Institute in unique and meaningful ways. “It’s easy to give to Kennedy Krieger when you can see the impact it has on the community,” Nick adds. “It’s an amazing place.”

Watch “In A Different Key” on PBS Passport.