Music Therapist - 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.
Drama Therapist-Allyn Sitjar, MA, RDT, LCAT
Allyn Sitjar 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.
Music Therapist - Gabriela Ortiz
Gabriela Ortiz, MS, MT-BC, a board certified music therapist who has specialized in working with young children and adolescents with various special needs over the past 6 years. Gabriela has her post-graduate advanced certification in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, specializing in clinical improvisation and music-centered music therapy. She also has vast experience serving as adjunct professor for undergraduate music therapy students at Molloy College. Gabriela is bilingual in English and Spanish and she is heading the MarbeJam Kids Musicoterapia Program in Hudson County this fall.
Music Therapist - Angel Park
Angel Park is a New York State licensed creative arts therapist (LCAT) and a board certified music therapist (MT-BC). She received her Bachelor of Science in Music therapy and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Music Applied in Flute from SUNY Fredonia, and her Master of Science in Music Therapy at Molloy College.
Currently, Angel is pursuing a post graduate certificate program in vocal psychotherapy at the Music Psychotherapy Institute, and she is a music therapist at Gracie Square Hospital, located in New York, providing music therapy services for adults and geriatrics residing on an inpatient psychiatric unit. Within the past six years, she also worked with children diagnosed with developmental disabilities, and adolescents dually diagnosed with mental illness and developmental disability. In addition, she supervised fieldwork music therapy students, received early intervention training through Sprouting Melodies, and participated in a multi-study research with premature babies and the benefits of providing live music versus no music to aide in their recovery. Angel is bilingual in English and Korean. Angel is honored and excited to be part of a wonderful program at MarbleJam Kids
Art Therapist - Saadia Parvez
Saadia Parvez, MPS, ATR-BC is a masters level creative arts therapist trained at school of visual arts in New York, with a focus in trauma and recovery. She completed advanced trauma training at Institute of contemporary Psychotherapy in New York and is trained as domestic violence and addiction counseling by the State of New Jersey. In her practice, she uses integrated and eclectic approach to healing including Sand Tray Therapy, breath work, EMDR, play therapy, art therapy and meditation. Saadia believes in the holistic healing of body, mind and spirit focusing on providing a safe and nurturing space for the client to facilitate growth and healing.
Special Educator-Amanda Conover
Amanda Conover, BA, graduated from Monmouth University with a degree in Elementary Education and is a certified Special Educator in the State of NJ. She currently works for the Tenafly Public School System in the Kindergarten and Pre-School Special Education classroom. Amanda’s passion for teaching children of all ages with special needs became evident 2 years ago when providing assistance as an aide and educational tutor in MarbleJam Kids programs. This year, Amanda heads the After School Club 5 days per week attending to the unique challenges in completing homework as well as offering target tutoring for challenging areas both educationally and socially. Her calm and supportive approach coupled with her skills as a special educator, provides an environment for success. Amanda is looking forward to start her second year with MarbleJam Kids.
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.
Support Staff - Nancy Valentino, Annette Tucker, Luis Velasquez
Consulting Professionals - Wendy Padykula - Speech Pathologist, Nicole Turon Diaz - Behavioral Consultant - Valerie Gancarz - Behaviorist