Isaac M. Akapnitis, LMSW (pronouns: he/they) is a macro social worker and advocate in Phoenix, Arizona. They have 15 years of experience working with LGBTQ youth and young adults across Florida, Texas, and Arizona in the areas of mental health, suicide prevention, substance use prevention, and harm reduction. Isaac earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology/Social Welfare at the University of North Florida and a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. They will join the ASU School of Social Work PhD cohort in the fall of 2020 to continue focusing on mental health and suicide prevention for trans/nonbinary communities.
I am invested in the UBU Project because I believe in the power of the arts in raising awareness about mental health, supporting youth in finding their voice and power, and building community.
Charles D. Atkinson MA, MSW, LCSW served as a professor at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey for thirty years. While there he researched, developed and lectured on the first academic course "Principles of Stress Management". His tenure included presentations, seminars, and clinics to both private and public organizations regarding the effects of stress on the well being of individuals. He was also instrumental in expanding the awareness of understanding earlier childhood trauma and its effects on individual and family dysfunctional behavior. He also developed his expertise into a professional psychotherapy private practice for two decades.
The UBU Project is an essential extension of my work. I whole heartily support the artistic and creative side initiated by David Simmons. He brings a much needed approach to children who are struggling with emotional and psychological issues. His unique style and experience provides a safe and supportive environment for children and youth to freely express themselves
Christy Kane, MA is a recent graduate of North Central University with a master’s in marriage and family therapy. She specializes in relationship trauma, setting healthy boundaries, and helping couples and families learn to communicate with each other in more effective ways. She is passionate about helping partners, parents, and children learn an emotional language that gets them on the same wavelength with each other to reduce conflict and increase healthy interactions. Christy also assists others in healing the traumas that have kept them stuck and prevented them from reaching the joy they want in their lives. Though she is currently in the pre-license process, Christy brings 20 years of experience working with relational trauma as a lay-person and Certified Life Coach. She currently works at Soul Work Counseling in Minneapolis, MN, has been married for over 26 years to her husband Dan, and has raised two adult children.
UBU’s mission is close to my heart, because the arts are an amazing way to learn emotional expression. Kids who don’t know how to talk about what they feel become teenagers who don’t know how to talk about how they feel. And the teenagers become adults, become partners, become parents. Learning an emotional language and how to communicate more clearly with others is something that has been neglected for too long. Combining arts education, which in itself is emotional expression, with emotional support and education can prepare today’s kids to impact their world like never before. I also know first-hand how the arts can change – and even save someone’s life.
Dr. Elizabeth Simmons-O'Neill is a faculty member emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she taught medieval literature and community-based research and writing in the Social Sciences, Directed the Community Literacy Program in partnership with high needs K-12 public schools, and Coordinated the UW in the High Schools English Program, through which high school teachers across the state offered UW composition courses in their high school classrooms.
"I support the UBU Project because it is an outstanding model for Social/Emotional Learning for all students, integrating arts-based activities through projects which engage students as individuals and as members of learning communities. The UBU Project, co-led by professionals in the performing arts and in education, works closely with K-12 teachers, counselors and curricula to deepen students' social/emotional understanding, develop their creative skill and confidence, and build their self-esteem and ability to communicate with others through joyful learning experiences."
Julie received her Master’s Degree in Education (sum cum laude) from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY. She was inspired to do so having raised a child (now adult) with high functioning autism. In addition she has completed extensive research on adolescents with executive functioning disorders. She has worked as a classroom teacher, tutor and academic coach for struggling learners including students with: ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Auditory Processing Disorder, Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, and Emotional Disabilities.
Additional Training and Certifications: Julie has earned an Arizona Professional Teacher’s Certification, K-12, Special Education with additional, extensive training in Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS). She also continues to develop and implement her own progressive and creative applications of educational strategies for students with executive functioning disorders through Mathematics and Writing Education.
In addition to serving as a curriculum consultant for The UBU Project, Julie leads her own company, Endurance Tutoring LLC specializing in working with students across the full spectrum of educational experiences.
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