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Board of Directors > Staff > Testimonials >  
Managing Director - Anna Villa-Bager
Program Director - Sarah E. Melone, PT
Creative Arts Therapy Supervisor - Elizabeth Balzano-Rily, MT-BC, LCAT   
Program Coordinator - Dina Friedman, LSW

Creative Arts Therapy Supervisor - Elizabeth Balzano-Riley, MA, MT-BC, LCAT

Elizabeth B. Riley is a New York State licensed creative arts therapist and also holds her national board certification in music therapy.  She received her bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and her master’s degree in Music Therapy from New York University. 


Elizabeth has been working with children with developmental disabilities for over ten years and created music therapy programs throughout New York City that engage children clinically and creatively.  In 2005 Elizabeth co-produced and hosted a DVD series called Bounce! These DVDs were originally created for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and are now enjoyed by children of all abilities. 



Art Therapist - Jill Barrata
Jill Cliffer Baratta, MFA, has studied art at The School of Visual Arts (New York, NY); Grand Valley State University (BPh); The University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), and The Art Institute of Chicago, as well as at local art centers. She has studied art therapy at The College of New Rochelle (New Rochelle, NY); and dance at Grand Valley State University (BPh) (Allendale, MI), and at New York University Tisch School of the Arts (MFA) (New York, NY). Ms. Baratta has worked as an art instructor, graphic artist, designer, and dancer in and around New York City since her arrival in 1976. She served as artist-in-residence at the Tenafly, NJ Middle School for over 14 years.  In 2003, she completed a nine-month internship at Hackensack University Medical Center, doing art therapy with pediatric patients. She studied Watercolor Painting for over 7 years at the Art Center of Northern New Jersey and at The Art School at Old Church in Demarest, NJ (TASOC). Dorothy Cochran has been her printmaking instructor for the past several years at TASOC. Ms. Baratta developed and currently teaches numerous art classes for children from ages 8 to adult at TASOC and privately. She was recently inducted as a printmaker into the National Association of Women Artists. She looks forward to becoming active with this group of dynamic women.

  Dance/Movement Therapist & Counselor - Joanne Zullig
Joanne Zullig, BC-DMT, LPC, MA comes to us as a seasoned professional.  She is a board certified dance therapist and licensed professional counselor in New Jersey and Massachusetts.  She has worked in a variety of clinical settings and with all ages, particularly in the fields of traumatic head injury, wellness, and special needs.  She has been teaching preschool dance for the past ten years integrating her skills as a dance/movement psychotherapist to work on expressive range, as well as social and movement development of the young child.


Drama Therapist - Allyn Stijar  

Allyn Sitjar, RDT, LCAT, is a Registered Drama Therapist (RDT) and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT), with over 29 years’ experience as a theatre director and theatre teaching artist.  She is the artistic director of Youth Theatre of New Jersey and Summer Theatre Institute-NYC.  As a director and theatre teacher she has taught hundreds of children and teens over the last 29 years and has directed and produced over 300 original plays and musicals. She received her Master’s Degree in Drama Therapy from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University in 2004.  Since then, she has worked in a wide range of settings such as after-school programs, shelters for battered women, prisons, continuing day treatment programs, in-patient hospital settings, and an agency for victims and survivors of domestic violence.  Ms. Sitjar is also a certified facilitator in Boys Council and Girls Circle work.


Yoga Instructor - Cristy Sycip  
Crisy Sycip has been providing yoga instruction with therapeutic approaches at MarbleJam Kids for the past 2 years. She specializes in circus yoga utilizing props to make a connection as well as touch yoga, an approach used to help a child follow movement with direct contact for better communication between the instructor, peers, and therapist. She has a background in all forms of dance and is Reiki Master Practitioner (the practice of healing the body, mind and spirit). She continues her teacher trainings for “Family CircusYoga” and “Anusara” this spring time. A few of her new found creative expressions are in handcrafted jewelry, mixed martial arts and Belly dancing. She also provides community workshops to therapists and volunteers all ages. She deeply honors all her teachers: Chaya Spencer, Dorothea Grant, Vishali Varga, Hillary Freeman and Thomas Clifford.

Robyn Abrams, Educator,  Mosaic Artist


A graduate from Villanova University with a degree in Education, and taught english, history and art for 10 years at Albert Einstein Academy, in Wilmington, Delaware and directed summer art programs at the JYC as well.  After relocating to New Jersey, she began to pursue artistic endeavors. She worked for Paintiques, a company that specialized in faux finishes for residential and commercial spaces and eventually began her own business.  She has taught children and young adult art classes at Art Smart Academy, Hilldsale, NJ  and developed  ‘The Mosaic Workshop’ for MarbleJam Kids at the Tenafly enrichment center.  As a member of SAMA (Society of American Mosaic Artists) Robyn travels and participates in workshops and conferences all over the country to broaden her knowledge of the unique and inspirational art form. 


Peter Nevil - Film Club Instructor

Peter Nevill was born in California, but moved to New Jersey 14 years ago. His background in film started in high-school, where he did his best to drag/bribe his siblings, to fill out the rest of his production crew. He studied film at Nyack College, where he met Orlando and rescued him from a degree in radio broadcasting. He has also had the privilege and honor to be able to travel to a number of oversees locations including: El Salvador and Belize. His last trip to El Salvador allowed him to capture a mini-documentary that followed a short-term mission trip, he is currently in Post Production with this.  Peter's favorite aspect of filmmaking is editing, getting to craft and refine the story, whether its a wedding, a promo video, a docu-short, or the latest VHP film.


Special Educator - Amanda Conover
Elementary Educator - Monica Franklin
Support Aides - Audra Alburtus, Nancy Valentino, Dana Weeks

Consulting Professionals - Wendy Padykula - Speech Pathologist, Nicole Turon Diaz - Behavioral Consultant - Valerie Gancarz - Behaviorist