Our friendly staff will ensure your experience at ReClif will be a memorable one. We are proud of the team we have assembled here, and as Reece said, “You cannot easily replicate the heart behind ReClif – we have the best team!”
As a full-time wife and mom of three, with a degree and license as a registered dental hygienist, being owner/operator of ReClif was never part of Lou’s life design. But, as often happens, life doesn’t always go according to plan, and in late 2014, Lou was led down a previously unimaginable path. After attending the life-changing letterboard seminar and working hard to aid Reece with his newfound communication skills, the Blankenship family felt inspired to help Reece fulfill his dream. Blessed beyond belief with the people who have entered their lives through neighborhood connections, friendships, and years and years of in-home therapy for Reece, the Blankenships have been able to put together the ReClif dream team to get this endeavor off the ground. Besides their amazing employees, many have assisted in this mission behind the scenes, and for that the Blankenships are so thankful. While Lou may be the figurative “operator” and “voice” of ReClif, she recognizes that without the support of Jeff, Reece, and the team behind them, this mission never would have taken shape.
Reece is the inspiration, designer, and driving force behind ReClif. As a non-speaking autistic, Reece endured almost 20 years unable to communicate his thoughts and desires. In November 2014, Reece and his family were part of the first-ever communication workshop given by Elizabeth Vosseller in Atlanta, where he was able to demonstrate his intellect and ability via the letterboards. Very early in Reece’s journey toward open communication, Reece expressed a desire to help others like himself. It was a somewhat arduous process, but with the help of family, friends, and therapists, bit by bit, Reece was able to compose and outline his vision for a fitness-based therapy center, and ReClif was born. Reece continues to be the driving force and “idea architect” of all aspects of ReClif and is excited to promote a community of positivity, intelligence, and understanding.
Austin is both a Level-1 Certified Soma Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) provider and a Certified Spelling to Communicate (S2C) practitioner. Austin has been working with special needs families since 2001 and began specializing in communication advancement coaching in 2015. Co-founder of ReClif, Austin woks on communication skills with non-speaking and non-reliable speaking autistics through letterboards, typing, and purposeful movements. Austin has been instrumental in assisting with the implementation of Reece’s vision and as co-founder brings much to ReClif with his love for not only Reece but this whole community.
During his senior year of high school in 2001, a friend of Austin introduced him to the Blankenship family. At the time, they were looking for additional therapists for their home-based ABA program for the then 6-year-old Reece. In order to support his future educational journey, Austin began working part time with Reece and started learning the complexities yet joys of the autism spectrum. Like many families with a special needs child, the Blankenships had tried everything under the sun to support and help Reece progress along his path in life. As a result, Austin was exposed to many different therapy modalities such as DIRFloortime, Son-Rise, Carbone, and most intensely the Lovaas ABA method. The Blankenship family also felt the need for Reece to still be a kid, so Austin spent time outside and they played, A LOT! Austin also accompanied Reece through parts of elementary, middle, and high school as he served as his personal school aid for nine years. This opportunity introduced Austin to a plethora of other students on the spectrum. Austin’s love for Reece and this community make him uniquely qualified to be in a leadership position at ReClif.
“After graduating from UGA with a degree in biology, I landed a job doing inside sales in the medical arena in 2011. Naturally, I kept in close contact with Reece and the Blankenships, who had become my second family! Fast-forward to November 2014 when Lou called to urge me to drop everything and watch Reece work with Elizabeth Vosseller from GKTC at the first Spelling to Communicate workshop in Atlanta. That emotional Sunday afternoon encounter as I witnessed Reece’s voice come out on the letterboard cemented my future career. For 15 years I had seen bits and pieces of Reece’s personality peek through his wayward body, but he finally had a way to purposefully communicate! I knew immediately that I had to learn this method to help other autistics learn to communicate, and this revelation made me realize I was not meant to be stuck in a cubicle making sales calls all day!
“Rejoining with the Blankenships to learn the basics of becoming a letterboard coach and becoming involved with Every Voice Matters Atlanta, I then started working with other families around metro Atlanta. I completed the Soma RPM (Rapid Prompting Method) Level 1 training in January of 2016 and continued my education in this arena, completing the Growing Kids Therapy Center, Spelling to Communicate S2C certification course in July 2019. I am so excited to be able to share this training with not only my clients and their families but other professionals as well. Since Reece has been able to communicate, he has been an all-star advocate for the methodology and has stated that he wants to be an entrepreneur by opening a community center. There was no way I was going to let him do this without me – side by side like we have been working together for so many years!”
GO DAWGS! Riley is another one of our UGA grads, graduating in May 2017 with a degree in communication studies. Riley originally worked as a program editor at Katz Broadcasting but couldn’t resist when at Reece’s urging, Lou called to offer her a full-time position at ReClif. As one of the earlier therapists to “get on the boards” with Reece, Riley offered support and helped ReClif at seminars and workshops during the planning stages. Even before becoming part of our full-time staff, Riley was involved in ReClif community outings and social events. Since March 2019, Riley has become an integral member of our team and has quickly taken over the various jobs required to keep ReClif running smoothly. Her leadership skills have also translated into our nonprofit arm, ReClif Community, where she helps develop, organize, manage, and run those events and fundraising activities.
“Moving to Georgia in third grade, I quickly assimilated myself into the neighborhood playgroup and sports association, where I became close friends with Reece’s sister, Daron. I am the daughter of two educators: my mom teaches special education in Gwinnett County, and my dad works at the administration level. From our very first meeting, Reece has shown a comfort level with my family – always making sure he rubs my dad’s bald head for good luck! I worked with Reece as an aide during high school and college and continue to be involved with the Blankenship family to this day. Reece is one of my closest friends, and we were both thrilled when I accepted a full-time job at ReClif. Besides working together, some typical hangout events for us include cookie baking, long walks, and trips to Outback & Pizza Cafe.”
Akeem was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in psychology. Shortly after graduating, Akeem interviewed for a position counseling at-risk teens. During the interview, Akeem was told that he had the personality to work with individuals with unique needs. Not knowing much about autism or Down syndrome at the time, Akeem was hesitant initially but ultimately accepted the position, and we at ReClif are so thankful that he found his calling and has never looked back. Akeem has worked in multiple settings including hospitals, centers, schools, and in-home therapy providing ABA and parent training as a registered behavior technician for individuals with unique needs. Other activities include serving at his local church as a teacher of Bible doctrine to teens and strength training daily for exercise. Akeem has proven to be an integral part of ReClif, receiving certifications in both Special-Fit and Interactive Metronome, mastering the FITLIGHT programs, and delving into Spelling to Communicate training.
“I have been an ABA therapist for the past nine years and really love the opportunity to be able to assist people with unique needs to manage their behaviors in a manner that best suits each individual. Once I was introduced to ReClif, I was blown away by how they presume competence and use fitness and other means to train the brain as well as the body. I knew that I had to be a part of what is happening at ReClif! I look forward to integrating my ABA experience and passion for physical fitness with IM, FITLIGHT, and S2C in order to serve the individuals and their families at ReClif.”
Eileen is originally from Louisiana, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in business. She continued her coursework in Georgia, receiving her master’s in mental health counseling. Having grown up with a younger brother with cerebral palsy as well as developmental delays, Eileen developed a deep appreciation for the teaching and learning processes involved with helping those with special needs. While in Louisiana, Eileen worked as an educational assistant at a school for special needs, tutoring students in individual and group settings. She also worked as a direct support professional, assisting with daily tasks as well as the accumulation of skills for higher goals. Here in Georgia, Eileen worked as an ABA therapist, providing in-home therapy for children with autism. During her master’s coursework, she worked at a counseling center treating children and adolescents with an array of needs, some including autism, ADHD, ODD, trauma, depression, and OCD. Through this, Eileen realized that her passion lies with the autism population. Working with this community, Eileen eventually discovered RPM, also known as Rapid Prompt Method, and was inspired to learn more. She read, researched, practiced with clients, and eventually flew to Austin, Texas, where she received her certification in RPM through Soma Mukhopadhyay. She continues to develop her skills and attended the S2C workshop at ReClif led by Elizabeth Vosseller. Seasonally, Eileen has also worked as a dance and swim instructor, providing lessons for typical children as well as children with special needs.
“My passion for working with the special needs population stems from growing up with a younger brother with special needs. I will be forever grateful for the individuals who treated my brother, helping him exceed expectations and reach new goals. I absolutely adore the kiddos I work with, and I am always wanting to learn more. I learned about ReClif from Austin Moore and decided to attend a demo event being held there. I was completely blown away by Reece’s skills and the variety of therapies offered at ReClif. I was inspired and immediately felt like I wished I could be a part of it. After the demo, while I had already read books on RPM and watched countless videos, I began to practice RPM in home and officially became certified under Soma in February 2018. I am grateful that Lou contacted me to meet and offered me a position at ReClif. I am so excited to have the opportunity to gain experience with clients in this environment, expand my knowledge base, and learn from the people around me. I love the statement Reece gives about his vision shown on the homepage, and I feel extremely lucky to be a part of it.”
A 2017 graduate of Kennesaw State with a BS in Exercise Science, Will is a co-director for the Special-Fit aspect of ReClif. He is another one who came early into Reece’s life, and a special friendship has since evolved into a strong fitness partnership. Will has worked part time at Mount Carmel Church and School since 2014, where he serves as the athletics director and PE coach for the school, and as the youth director for 6th-12th graders for the church. In the spring of 2017, Will, Lou, and Austin attended a Special-Fit workshop in Atlanta. Shortly after that, Will spent his spring break in California where Mike Ramirez, the creator of Special-Fit, hosted him and took him through the basic training for this unique fitness modality. Along with all of this, as a certified ACE group fitness instructor, Will is a great fit to co-lead the gym area of ReClif.
“I first came to know Reece in preschool. Reece and I were best buds and were inseparable even though he had a hard time communicating, and I had to almost drag him from activity to activity. He is actually the only classmate that I can remember from that time! After that one year, we ended up in separate schools, and our paths wouldn’t cross until much later. Growing up, I always had a passion for sports and fitness. In high school, I started to train a few of my peers and fell in love with the notion of individualized fitness. My senior year of high school, I trained a group of 40 friends after school every day for two months. It was at this time that I decided to pursue a career in fitness. During this same time period, a friend of mine who knew that I coached Special Olympics asked if I would be interested in working for a family in our area that had an autistic son our age. I was anxious at first, but once I realized that it was Reece, I jumped at the chance! Reece and I worked together for the rest of high school and then off and on through college. Our relationship has grown so much in the past six years, and I am looking forward to continuing this endeavor with him. Throughout the years I have worked in many fitness facilities, taught physical education, and coached both regular education and Special Olympics youth sports teams, and I currently work part time as a director of youth with Mt. Carmel Christian Church. I look forward to meeting all the ReClif clients and assisting you all on your journey toward fitness!”
Trey graduated from Parkview High School in 2015 and was a member of their State Championship baseball team. Growing up literally across the street from a county park, Trey was very involved with many sports events, from baseball to tennis to golf. After Parkview, Trey went on to Gwinnett Tech and then became a warehouse manager at Alliance Wire and Cable. Feeling that he would like to integrate his passion for a more active lifestyle into his work, Trey called family friends the Blankenships, when he heard that ReClif was looking for more Special-Fit coaches. Trey has shadowed both Akeem and Will, and his experience working with special needs individuals at his church and school has been an asset in his career transition. Reece has known Trey most of their lives and wholeheartedly endorses him as a ReClif coach.
“I have loved sports and being active my whole life, and I have also enjoyed working with the special needs population at my church and school. Being able to utilize my passion for both has offered me the chance to have a job that I feel is more meaningful and fulfilling. I have known Reece for years since we grew up in the same community, and I was thrilled to be introduced to ReClif through the Blankenship family. ReClif gives me a good chance to grow in my understanding of this population and to share my love for physical activity with the clients we serve.”
After transitioning from Statesboro to Atlanta, Jordan will graduate from Columbus State online in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. Jordan began work at ReClif as a summer intern and quickly became a valuable resource, helping to provide Special-Fit, Interactive Metronome, FITLIGHT, and even gaining her yoga certification to help in that arena. We look forward to Jordan becoming even more involved at ReClif after her graduation, when she has agreed to join us full time.
“My name is Jordan Smith, and I am from Thomasville, GA, currently living in Johns Creek. I was introduced to ReClif through Austin Moore after working with the Moore family as a nanny for two years. After hearing Reece’s story, I was very intrigued to intern at ReClif and learn more about his vision. Growing up, I was an avid soccer player for more than 15 years, and fitness has always played a huge role in my life. I am so excited to be able to pair my fitness background and sociology degree as I get to know and work with each and every client at ReClif.”
Susan is a 500 RYT and RCTY. In 2015, she completed her 200 hours of yoga teacher training at the Center for Yoga in Woodstock, GA and continued into a yoga therapy program at Etowah Valley Yoga in Cartersville, GA, where she earned an additional 300 hours of yoga certification. This training consisted of hours of study in prenatal, trauma, PTSD, and chronic pain. Susan is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and of Yoga Alliance. In 2017, she received certification for children’s yoga through Grounded Kids in Atlanta and in 2018 became certified in Yoga for Children with autism and/or special needs. In addition, Susan teaches children’s yoga in the afterschool program in Cherokee County. We at ReClif are thankful to have added Susan to our team and are looking forward to her helping to build and expand our yoga program.
“I think everyone can benefit from yoga and that yoga can be modified to fit an individual’s needs. I began teaching in the autistic community two years ago when the mother of a non-verbal autistic young lady approached me about helping her daughter learn yoga. Her daughter wanted to have the opportunities that other kids her age had. This prompted me to get additional certification in order to teach in this community and led me on a new journey. I have been looking for an opportunity to reach out to the autism/special needs community to teach yoga, and I feel like I found the perfect place in ReClif. Once I learned the story of ReClif, I was excited to have the opportunity to teach here. Reece is a true visionary and a remarkable young man. I love teaching the students here. I feel like I learn something new from each and every student.”
Karen comes to ReClif with over 30 years’ experience in the health and wellness field. She earned her BS in Health Education from Florida State University, then her MEd in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia. Her experience began in Corporate Wellness with the Coca-Cola Company, then Kimberly-Clark Corporation, where she continues to contract her services. She and her husband of almost 25 years, Rich, have five children: Eve, Gavin, Ian, Mary Rose, and Hannah. Gavin, their second child, was born with special needs. Karen has taught fitness classes at the Alpharetta YMCA since 1998. When Gavin and his peers got close to teenagehood, Karen approached the YMCA about starting an adaptive fitness program for teens and young adults with special needs. She continues to run the adaptive fitness program at the Y, with her husband and children all helping with the various classes and events. Karen is a certified group fitness instructor as well as personal trainer through ACE (American Council on Exercise). She got certified through YogaFit to become a yoga instructor about 17 years ago and enjoys teaching yoga to individuals and groups of all abilities. She is excited to bring her experience and passion for fitness and special needs to ReClif.
“My whole family is happy to have found ReClif! Becoming physically fit can help ALL people live a healthier, more vibrant life! Rich and I have always enjoyed exercising together, doing triathlons and many road races throughout our 25 years together. When we started having children, we knew we would involve them in finding their own passion for fitness. They all enjoy taking part in various sports and activities. Our family has been actively involved in the special needs community and through these connections heard about the yoga position at ReClif. Rich and I came for a tour and immediately felt the good things that were coming out of ReClif and their staff. I am thankful to work at ReClif and to be able to add ReClif programs to Gavin’s workout schedule. I’m blessed to be a part of ReClif’s team, where I have the opportunity to share the gift of yoga with the awesome folks here!”