LoveU2Pieces provides support to the St. Louis autism community, and is committed to helping families with children who are high-functioning on the autism spectrum.
We help your child build and practice skills in a safe, supportive, and understanding environment. LoveU2Pieces works with individuals ages three to 17 to develop self-awareness, awareness of others, and effective coping strategies for self-regulation and social interaction.
How We Do It
We combine research with parent focus groups to facilitate learning, continuously implementing, monitoring, and adjusting for the most effective support. LoveU2Pieces offers Social Connections and Community Connections support groups, creating opportunities for social interaction, skill building, sensory integration activities, continuous feedback, and most of all, FUN!
Programs & Services
LU2P Social Connections Groups develop social and emotional skills critical to building healthy relationships through direct teaching, practice, and ongoing feedback. Groups are formed based upon age and social skill level and meet for one hour, once a week, for 8 weeks.
Meet Our Team
Board of Directors
Laura joined The Capital Group, LLC, as a partner in 2007; the firm offers comprehensive financial strategies to their clients. Laura is a Series 7 licensed registered representative with securities offered through First Heartland Capital, Inc. (member FINRA/SIPC) and Registered Investment Advisory Services offered through First Heartland Consultants, Inc. The Capital Group, LLC is not an affiliate of First Heartland Capital, Inc. In addition, she is an independent insurance agent.
Prior to joining The Capital Group, she was a principal of The Moneta Group and CEO of Retirement Plan Services, now doing business as RPS Benefits, Inc. Laura earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Notre Dame and her Master of Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis.
Laura supports the efforts of LoveU2Pieces because she views their services and support of families living with autism as an important and integral mission within the St. Louis community.
Family, friends, working out, educating herself and others on health and wellness, living her faith, good wine, and laughing are Julie’s greatest passions. She lives her passions as she raises her daughter with her husband, Rich. She also serves as a Eucharistic Minister at St. Peter Catholic Church.
As a friend of the Rolnicki family, Julie has seen from an insider’s view the life changes that are often made to provide the best possible chances for growth and progress for a loved one diagnosed with ASD. She feels both awed and amazed by Leigh’s generous heart, passion for helping others, and her talents and faith to create this mission, particularly while parenting two children, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. As such, she feels honored and privileged to serve on the board, and to help Leigh raise awareness and the funds necessary to provide education, support and opportunities for families living with ASD.
A dedicated and passionate individual, Lisa is always looking to serve and help in new ways. While at Webster she served as President of Commuter Council, Orientation Leader, Student Government Association Elections Commissioner, served on the Student Activity Fee Advising Committee, Leadership Council, and as an Ambassador, representing the University’s Presidents Office.
For the past four years she’s worked as an Event Coordinator for Webster’s Campus Activities and has extensive experience working with several different companies as a coordinator, publicist, and advertiser.
When she’s not taking on a new project, Lisa enjoys watching movies, reading books, and visiting new restaurants.
Lisa came to learn of LoveU2Pieces and work with Leigh during her time as an undergraduate student. She is thrilled to be part of the LoveU2Pieces team and can’t wait to spread awareness of the LoveU2Pieces and its mission.
Shelley and her husband welcomed their first baby in 2015! She made the important decision to stay home with our son and is loving every minute, watching him grow. Shelley is excited to be a part of LoveU2Pieces so that she is continuing to make a difference in the lives of families living with autism. In her spare time, Shelley enjoys music, painting and jogging at the park.
His years of experience in preparing and prosecuting patent applications has resulted in the issuing of hundreds of U.S. Patents in various technical fields. His experience as a Patent Office Examiner gives him a special insight into the prosecution of patent applications and the procedures practiced at the Patent Office in the handling of applications from their filing to their issuance as patents and thereafter.
Joe has first-hand knowledge and experience supporting his own family living with autism spectrum disorder, which includes his wife, Leigh, a daughter, and a son on the autism spectrum. He plays a critical role as a supportive husband and father in this family system, which contributes significantly to the overall balance in the family. As a board member, he handles all LoveU2Pieces intellectual property matters and contributes hours of time and energy in the organization’s effort to support other families in their journeys.
Prior to retirement, Richard worked for Southwestern Bell for 30 years, in customer service management positions. Building upon his degree in journalism, Richard managed and led groups in business offices, customer sales and service, and regulatory and strategic planning. Prior to this work, he spent 3 1/2 years in the U.S. Army in the Vietnam era.
The LoveU2Pieces organization will benefit from Richard’s strong work ethic, desire to help others, his outstanding written communications skills, his respect for others and how they should be treated, and his enthusiasm. Since the diagnosis of his grandson, he and his wife Charlotte have worked to educate themselves about the impact this condition has on the child, as well as his immediate and extended family and friends. He feels the needs of all those affected must be considered and hopes the board, through LoveU2Pieces, will be able to assist some of those affected over time.
Jennifer received a Bachelor of Science, Mathematics, from McKendree University and has served her alma mater as a member of the McKendree Alumni Board. She has also served on the Kids Rock Cancer Board. As a member of Manchester United Methodist Church, she devotes many volunteer hours to several causes.
In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys attending concerts, going to art museums, and shopping. She loves fashion and has a fun collection of fabulous shoes. One of her greatest passions is singing with the 120-voice Chancel Choir at MUMC. In addition to weekly services and seasonal concerts at church, Jennifer has enjoyed performing with her choir at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Busch Stadium, and the Vatican. The next stops on her calendar for world-wide choir performances: The Crystal Cathedral in Los Angeles in 2019 and Barcelona in 2020!
Jennifer became aware of LoveU2Pieces and its mission through her friendship with Board Member Janie Walker, as well as by attending the organization’s annual Trivia Night. Her creativity, energy, and enthusiasm for helping others is an asset to the LoveU2Pieces Board.
Since her retirement, Janie has continued to substitute for the Special School District. In addition to this, she is very active in Manchester United Methodist Church, having served on the board of trustees, working with youth groups and traveling on mission trips. She has been involved as a Volunteer in Mission, which took her to Mexico to work in support of others. She furthers her support of the community by volunteering for Shalom House and working on weekly bulletins at the church. Janie is also very active in PEO, which supports women in higher learning. Beyond her volunteer work, Janie enjoys golf, bowling, card making, singing in choir, and her women’s investment club. She spends time throughout the year with family, including her husband, Herb, her father, 5 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Janie’s background in special education, experience working with children with special needs and their families, and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education will be an incredible contribution to the LoveU2Pieces board. Her attention to detail, ability to work with a team, and her core belief in others will serve the board and the community it supports very well.
Joie’s professional training is as an educator and school counselor. She found that sitting at the IEP table from professional vantages as educator, psychological examiner, counselor and more recently as family member, has enhanced her ability to see the larger picture when planning for individuals. She also has a greater understanding of the role of family members and their needs for information, support, and advocacy. Joie facilitated family support groups in North Dakota for 10 years. One of her most treasured experiences was receiving the Barbara Stanton Innovator Award in January 2018 for her dedication to and support of those in the autism community from Red River Valley Asperger-Autism Network.
Upon moving back to St. Charles, Missouri she was looking for another means to support those she has come to care deeply for. She discovered LoveU2Pieces and found a good match with her interests and passion for helping those on the spectrum, their families and the community.
Leigh Rolnicki, Ph.D.
Her background as an elementary school educator, school counselor and, finally, a counselor in private practice gave her the perfect background to not only see the difficulties families and caregivers manage on a daily basis, but to act on her newfound knowledge to make a difference.
Always a tenacious learner and champion for education, after achieving her B.A. in education in 1990, Leigh was often found on committees to develop and implement new education programs and receiving awards for her dedication to not only the children she served, but to other educators and the community as well.
She also continued her own education, receiving her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction in 1994, M.Ed. in Counseling in 1999 and her Ph.D. in Counseling in 2004. She also became a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Missouri and graduated from the Leadership Academy for Character Education. Recognized as a leader in her field, Leigh was chosen for a coveted tenure-track position at UM-St. Louis in the College of Education, Division of Counseling and Family Therapy also in 2004. It was this position she elected to leave in 2005, to fully experience the next chapter of her life, being full-time Mom to her son. She closed her private counseling practice 2006, to devote herself to being a full-time mom to her son and her daughter who was due in early 2007.
After her son’s diagnosis, Leigh again became a student, learning as much as she could about ASD through reading about it, discussing it with doctors and affected parents, and therapists. She began to take note of the mental and physical demands of effectively meeting the needs of a child with ASD, and wondered how parents without so much support from family and friends could manage. Leigh read about entire families stressed nearly to the breaking point, trying to apply some semblance of normalcy to a situation that was anything but normal, particularly in the early stages of diagnosis.
At that point, she began to ask herself several questions: If parents have difficulty handling the stress and behaviors surrounding autism, how can they feel secure leaving their hurting children with others, who likely know even less about Autism? Further, if so few are able to adequately meet the needs of the ASD child, what will happen if the parents/caregivers become ill and are unable to care for that child?
She realized at that point she had to act, and LoveU2Pieces began. Leigh believes that all parents need to take care of themselves so that they can be their “best” for their families, friends, coworkers and the community. Parents of children with special needs need to be even more proactive in stress management and healthy living, due to the unique stresses associated with parenting a child on the Autism Spectrum. One critical way of supporting families in the community is by providing opportunities for parents and their children living with autism to connect, learn and grow in a strong, supportive environment. Leigh continues to learn and grow herself, so that she may educate, counsel, empower and build resilience in families living with Autism.