Board Member Bios

Melissa Larson, Vice President

Home Parish:
St. Jude Parish

I grew up in Peoria, IL and attended catholic education kindergarten through 12th grade. I attended St. Vincent's de Paul Catholic School and then Peoria Notre Dame High School. I then went to Illinois State University (ISU) where I received a bachelor and master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology. I met my husband, DJ, while attending ISU and we married in 2006. We have three children Shea (11), Max (9), and Cass (5). We belong to St. Jude Parish where two of our children are attending St. Jude Catholic School. Our third will join this Fall.

Career and Hobbies:

After graduating with my master's degree, I began working as a Speech-Language-Pathologist at Methodist Unity Point in Peoria, IL working with both pediatric and adult patients. In 2008, I began working for Children' Hospital of Illinois working both inpatient and outpatient with a variety of children with both medical and cognitive/linguistic needs from premature infants to 18 year olds. Children I work with have variety of syndromes, traumatic brain injuries, tracheostomy tubes, gastrostomy tubes, prematurity, language delay, phonological delay, and dysphagia. I am passionate about developing relationships with my families and helping their child meet goals regarding cognitive and language delays as well as feeding difficulties. I enjoy volunteering at our school as president of our PTO, class representative, monitor in lunchroom, and on the bereavement ministry. When I am not working or helping out at our school, I am busy with my family running kids to extracurricular activities. As a family, we love to boat, to attend Bradley basketball and soccer games, and to bike.

Reasons for Serving on the FIRE Foundation Board:

It is an honor to serve on the FIRE Foundation Board as a Catholic, as a parent, and as a Speech-Language-Pathologist. I would love for children of all needs to be able to have catholic education. My son has auditory processing disorder, language delay, and attention deficit disorder. As a parent with a child with learning difficulties and as a speech pathologist, I hope I can give insight and help families and our catholic schools serve children with special needs.