Creative Art Therapist and Visual Artist Stevie French is the Coordinator of Refugee Project. She was a lead artist with the BuildaBridge Elders History Project. Stevie has worked with BuildaBridge for the past 5 years as a lead arts teacher and creative art therapist.
Stevie is also an accomplished illustrator with her 5-Star rated children's book, Lizzie Fox-Top. Stevie graduated with a B.F.A. (Magna Cum Laude ) Communication Arts & Design at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008, and an M.A. in Art Therapy and Counseling from Drexel University in 2015.
Danielle Bossert, former Refugee Programs Coordinator, now works full time with the Nationalities Services Center and is shifting her service with BuildaBridge to a board member. The growth and success of the Refugee Project is a direct result of her excellent visionary and administrative skills for the past 5 years.
Danielle Dembrosky Bossert, Former Project Manager
Ms. Bossert acts as liaison for and manages the coordination of BuildaBridge's role in the Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative and the Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience. She grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and received her bachelor’s degree with honors from West Chester University in Political Science, International Relations before heading to Eastern University for her Master’s degree in International Development. She has over twenty five years of professional dance experience and nearly twelve years of nonprofit experience in six countries. She served as overall Programs Administrator for BuildaBridge from 2010-2012.
Dr. Vivian Nix-Early, Supervising Psychologist
Dr. Vivian Nix-Early, Supervising Psychologist
Dr. Vivian Nix-Early owns a private clinical practice and is Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of BuildaBridge International. A licensed clinical psychologist, educator and musician by training, Dr. Nix-Early has over 30 years of experience working with youth in community settings. Dr. Nix-Early received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970 and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from New York University in 1979. She is a licensed psychologist in the states of Pennsylvania and New York. She is also a board certified music therapist, having completed her post-graduate Certificate in Creative Arts Therapy: Music Therapy at Drexel University. See Dr. Nix-Early's full bio here.
Julie Rosen, Teaching Artist
Julie Rosen has spent her career developing and running programs and teaching art in Philadelphia’s community-arts and school settings. She currently works as a resident artist with BuildaBridge and The Print Center. Working with people of all ages and backgrounds, her focus has been empowering individuals to access and tell their stories, explore their perspectives on social issues and develop relationship-building skills through art making. Her goals as an artist are much akin to those of her work with her students Whether painting from observation or from a thought pushed into the realm of color and form, the process of painting provides some of her most worthwhile challenges and enriching moments of recognition, connection and awe. Julie received her Masters in Art Education from the University of the Arts. She serves as Community Relations Assistant for BuildaBridge's role in the PRMHC and as a lead teaching artist with the Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience.
Jessica LaBarca, Creative Arts Therapist
Jessica assisted in forming the foundation of BuildaBridge's Refugee Project in 2011. She also assisted in the development of BuildaBridge's role with the Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience (PPR) and led the therapeutic arts group for adults from 2013 to 2014. Previously she served as the assistant art therapist for the Burmese children's group and currently serves as lead Creative Arts Therapist for the Iraqi women and children's group.
Natalie Hoffmann, Lead Creative Arts Therapist
Robert Kelleher, Teaching Artist
Robert is the assistant teaching artist for the Bhutanese children's group. Full-time he works as the Fine Arts Teacher for Urban Promise Academy. In the past, Robert has also served as a lead teaching artist in BuildaBridge's Community Programs.
Hope Mead, Lead Teaching Artist
Liz DeLise, Teaching Artist
Liz de Lise is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who writes alternative folk songs with jazz influences. She creates lush soundscapes with acoustic and electric guitar, vocals and a loop pedal. Her songs capture the common human experience through eloquent, evocative lyrics and intricate accompaniments. Liz is a company musician with David Dorfman Dance, where she performs original work made for the company, as well as music by Patti Smith and Benjamin Smoke. Liz works as a music teacher for little ones and their parents at Philly Art Center, and works with Burmese children as part of the Refugee Project in South Philadelphia.
Bethany Stiltner, Teaching Artist
Kate Myers-Coffmann, Art Therapist
Former Refugee Project Personnel
Rebecca Asch, Assistant Creative Arts Therapist
Liz Green, Volunteer Teaching Artist Assistant
Danielle Owen, Assistant Art Therapist
Ms. Owen is a master’s level dance/movement therapist and registered yoga teacher. She is an expressive arts therapist on staff at Friends Hospital and teaches yoga at Verge Yoga Center, Hamilton Lane corporate office and to middle school students at Notre Dame Academy. She has experience facilitating therapeutic movement groups with adolescents in residential care, adults with mental illness, children and families at Philadelphia Family Court, and with refugee children as part of BuildaBridge's Refugee Project. In 2013 Ms. Owen received a scholarship from Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health to attend “Frontiers of Trauma;” a training facilitated by Bessel van der Kolk, MD, one of the leading experts in the field of trauma. She is passionate about helping people, of all ages and from all walks of life, connect to a sense of joy and well being inside themselves through the modalities of yoga, mindfulness and expressive movement.
Stevie French, Teaching Artist
Francesca Montanile, Teaching Artist
Gina Valenziano, Volunteer Art Assistant
Clarisse Concepcion, Volunteer Art Assistant and Intern
Emily Kimmelman, Volunteer Art Assistant
Celeste attended Drexel University for her Master's in Creative Art Therapy after she attained her undergraduate degree from La Salle University for Psychology and Art History. Celeste’s work with BuildaBridge has included a recent trip to Bolivia to serve as an art therapist, a co-facilitator for a Music and Art Therapy toddler group at Women Against Abuse, an Artist Mentor for the Hopeful City Project, and has served as Lead and Assistant Art Therapist for numerous groups as part of the Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative. Celeste assisted in developing the foundations of the Refugee Project in 2011. In addition to her work with BuildaBridge, Celeste spends her time as a Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist in schools, preschools and homes in Philadelphia and Montgomery County for preschool-aged children on the Autism spectrum and with various other disabilities. She facilitates art therapy groups and individual sessions at a retirement community in Lafayette Hill and enjoys coaching a Girls on The Run team in the spring. In addition, Celeste works part-time as a family programs workshop facilitator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Celeste is passionate about running, health, fitness, art-making, reading, traveling, and remaining involved in her church.
Julia Crawford, Lead Teaching Artist
Christine Byma, MA, ATR-BC. Assistant Creative Arts Therapist
Christine is a registered and board-certified Art Therapist. She received her graduate degree in Art Therapy from Marywood University in 2008 and completed her thesis on the role of rituals in Art Therapy. Since then, Christine has been living and working in Philadelphia, PA. She is a visual artist, preferably working with paint and mixed media. Christine worked as the Assistant Creative Arts Therapist at Buildabridge for the Bhutanese refugee children's group and the PPR women and children's group. She has experience working with adults suffering from addictions, mental health diagnoses, trauma, and homelessness. She also has experience working with at-risk children, adolescents, and young adults. She specializes in addictions, trauma, and issues relating to HIV. It has been her passion to work with the underserved, bringing hope into communities of despair. Christine is extremely grateful for the experiences life has taught her and the people she has learned from in doing this kind of work and she believes that everyone deserve to have a voice and a means to express themselves. She hopes to begin traveling internationally with BuildaBridge in the future.