Donna Dangle, Bookkeeper, Weekend Enrichment & Respite Staff
Patty Sullivan, Weekend Enrichment & Respite Program Manager
Suzanne Haug, Weekend Enrichment & Respite Staff
MaryBeth Levrio, Weekend Enrichment & Respite Staff, Program Asst.
Certified Therapeutic Art Teachers
Michele Chais' passion for art began in early childhood. She shares that enthusiasm and inspires UCR members through her work as an art therapist. Michele has a bachelor's degree in art education and psychology from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in art therapy from George Washington University. Michele worked as an art teacher at all levels for Montgomery County Public Schools for almost twenty years. More recently over the past decade, Michele has worked with individuals with special needs through Upcounty Community Resources, Potomac Community Resources, Community Support Services, VisArts, Holton-Arms School, The Kennedy Institute, and the Izaak Walton League.
During her leisure time Michele loves visiting her three grandchildren. In addition, she does hot yoga several times a week. Michele also enjoys thrift store shopping and creating art installations for her home.
Steve Waxman is a volunteer assisting Michele Chais with her art therapy work at UCR. Steven works with Michele to instill a sense of joy, pride, and empowerment in members through the various media of fine arts and crafts.
Steven studied fine arts at American University, The Corcoran, A.Salon, and The Washington Studio School. He also worked for a time at The Smithsonian American Art Museum back when it was called The National Collection of Fine Arts.
His specialties are painting and drawing. Steven has worked with individuals with special needs for the past six years through Upcounty Community Resources, Potomac Community Resources, Community Support Services, The Kennedy Institute, and the Izaak Walton League.
When he is not assisting Michele, Steven is an offset and digital printing broker and consultant. He also writes articles for the Internet on current trends in the field of offset and digital printing and integrated media. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-six years, working as a graphic designer, art director, production manager, photographer, writer, and editor.
Mentors & Behaviorists
Alex von Nordheim
is a native of Montgomery County. He's worked with special needs adults at the Kennedy Krieger School for the past 5 years, the last and current as a head teacher in the high school. Previously he worked in humanitarian aid for an agency that established and operated clinics in Afghanistan. He has one Master's Degree in Iranian Studies, and is working toward a second Master's Degree in Special Education at John's Hopkins now. I'm looking forward to hanging with fellas at Boys' Night Out!
has been working with individuals affected by autism in the school, home and community for nearly 10 years. He is a certified instructor of a well-known crisis management system has a Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis and is a BCBA. He has a 6 year old son in kindergarten and has always felt a strong desire to help others. Bryce remains a strong collaborator and advisor to UCR.
Therapeutic Fitness Instructor
Jacqueline Zamora, founder of ZamDance, resides in Maryland and has worked professionally in a variety of capacities with special needs children for more than 10 years. Raised in Brooklyn, New York, she developed a passion for dance and exercise. As a dancer and certified aerobics instructor, she has worked at the Bally Fitness Gym and at the Marriott World Trade Center Gym. She trained in Jazz and African dance at the Broadway Dance Center and at the Djoniba Dance Studio in New York City, performed in England with Julie Tolentino’s show entitled, ” Mestiza, What Beautiful Eyes You Have,” and collaborated with French Choreographer, David Rousseve at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She was also the Director of Choreography/dancer for the Shaun Singh Productions Broadway show entitled, RANG, Shades of my Soul.
Jackie was the Director of Choreography, Dancer and motivator to the entire cast. Her energy and amazing dedication is appreciated as this production on Broadway would not have been a reality. When you entrust Jackie, you are in excellent hands.
Zachary Lasko, After playing and teaching music professionally for over a decade, Zach now offers his creative talents to the team at MOCO Movement Center, a White Flint based center that integrates therapy with fun extra-curricular activities for children. Though these days he mostly works with children and teens, in the past Zach has enjoyed opportunities to contribute to adult based music and education projects as well. He is excited to partner with Upcounty Community Resources to provide the full rock band experience for all, bringing local professionals together with teen and adult music players and appreciators of all types, for an immersive and inclusive musical experience!
Certified Music Therapist
Emily Bruestle received her M.M. in Music Therapy from Florida State University and her B.M. in Violin Performance from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to being a Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC), she completed a six-month clinical music therapy internship at HealthSouth Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama where she worked with patients recovering from brain injuries.
She is also certified in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Music Therapy. In addition to her violin studies, Emily has training in guitar, voice, and piano. Emily joined the music therapy department at Levine Music in August of 2015 where she leads individual and group music therapy sessions. Through Levine she also contracts to multiple community locations in the Washington metropolitan area. When she isn't providing music therapy services Emily enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, hiking, and traveling.
UCR Staff & Volunteers
Meghan Pennington was born and raised in Montgomery County. Meghan is excited to join Upcounty Community Resources and be part of a team making this county a great place for everyone to live and thrive. After graduating with a degree in Psychology from University of Maryland Baltimore County, Meghan studied special education at American University and taught children and adults on the autism spectrum, ages 3 through 21, for several years. She is currently focused on helping individuals access language through the use of Rapid Prompting Method. Working on a team of families and service providers is a great pleasure and she looks forward to meeting new people and having fun at UCR programs and events. In her free time, Meghan enjoys starting knitting projects, and is currently planning a wedding with her wonderful fiancé.
Donna Dangle spent decades working in the for-profit arena of finance and accounting before bringing those skills to our non-profit world. She has a passion for those with developmental differences, and is the Grand Aunt of a child with special needs. She is directly involved with our population here at UCR, and also provides staffing for programs at ArtStream, PCR and MCPS. Additionally, she owns her own business -- Body & Soul Shepherd -- where she provides holistic healing as a Reiki Master and Certified Hypnotist. Look for Donna at our Weekend Enrichment /Respite Program and managing the Bookkeeping for UCR!
Ms. Marianne Green comes to us as an Ignatian Corps Volunteer. We're thrilled to have her in our therapeutic classes. She has extensive experience working with people with special needs and is very attentive and intuitive to the needs of our UCR adult members! We're excited Marianne will join our Weekend Enrichment / Respite Program.
Patty Sullivan's experience with the special needs population spans nearly 3 decades. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Frostburg State University and her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University. She began her career working eight years in the early intervention field. This was followed by a 15year career with Montgomery County Public Schools, where she taught in special education at the elementary (Autism Program), middle school (School Community Based) and high school (Learning For Independence) levels. Patty is currently working as a family trainer and service provider for clients on the Autism Waiver and adult clients receiving self-directed DDA services. Patty takes great pride in her ability to connect with her clients on the autism spectrum and enjoys being a part of their progress. Patty has been working with the owners of Oasis farm since the beginning and looks forward to managing our Weekend Enrichment / Respite Program.
When Patty is not busy working she enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons. She also enjoys visiting her brother’s family, especially her niece and three nephews.
Suzy Haug earned her Bachelor's Degree in Family Studies from the University of Maryland. She has worked as a Special Education Para educator for 28 years with MCPS. Her experience includes working with the Infant and Toddlers Program ,E.S. Autism Program, Carl Sandburg Learning Center, Pilot High School class for the School Community Based Program and The Transition Class for high school students. She is so thankful for the students and their families who have shaped her into the Educator she is today. We look forward to Suzy helping our Weekend Enrichment program.