“The legacy I hope to leave is that I was a bridge or ‘safe person’ for the students,” she said. Hutchinson is president of the Missouri Career Development Association, and a strong advocate of women’s rights, human rights and education, and passionate about social justice and equity in the school setting and the community. She and her husband are strong believers in philanthropy. Diane Alt Determined Parent, Healthcare Marketing Specialist When Andrew Alt was born 23 years ago, his parents, Diane and Richard Alt, didn’t know a lot about autism, but eventually became experts on the subject. “We noticed that he didn’t respond to sound, he wanted to arch his back and wanted to be held upside down,” Alt said. Doctors thought he had hearing loss. “We knew something else wasn’t right, and we didn’t give up,” she said. Alt became a stay-at-home mom, giving her son her undivided attention. At 2, he started at United Services Pre-School for the Handicapped, which offered physical and occupational therapies, special education teachers, and addressed hearing loss. After many doctors’ visits, much research, and the Alts becoming determined advocates, Andrew received multiple diagnoses within the realm of autism spectrum disorder, along with epilepsy, which later evolved into Landau-Kleffner Syndrome. First Steps provided therapy at home, and the Parents as Teachers Program through the Missouri Dept. of Mental Health helped the Alts learn about ASD. They heard about the Center for Autism Education in O’Fallon, Missouri, founded by Amy Dauie, who had worked with autistic children. “That was a dream come true,” Alt said. The center continues to provide services for Andrew through the adult day program. Two years ago, he moved into a group home in Wentzville, through Emmaus Homes Inc., where he has one-on-one support. Diane Alt Christy Curtis Buss “He knew it was time, and that’s what we all want - to see our children grow into independent adults,” Alt said. Christy Curtis Buss Dancer, Choreographer, YouTube Series Host Christy Curtis Buss’s real-life Cinderella story began when shows like “American Idol” and “The Voice” were not so common. Buss competed on ABC’s “All American Girl” in 1979, winning $25,000, two television contracts, and headed to California. She grew up in her mother’s North County dance studio, Virginia James Dance Academy, and became a ballet, jazz and tap dancer herself, as well as a gymnast, all which prepared her for the requirements of the show. Now 58, she recently began looking for a new career direction. “As you get older, you have to learn to recreate yourself a little,” she said. That can be exciting - and challenging. Buss had to discover what would spark and motivate her. The YouTube series, “All About Christy” is the result. “There are many things that I know and want to share with other women,” Buss said of her videos that cover topics from nutrition and beauty to travel and many other topics. She said her experiences have made her knowledgeable in a range of subjects, and empowering women is what it’s all about. After winning “All American Girl,” she did TV work, commercials, was a recurring nurse on “Days of Our Lives,” and then did choreography for the show for many years. She also opened The Studio Art of Dance in El Segundo, California, where she has taught hundreds of dancers. SAVVY I SOPHISTICATED I SASSY 77