U.S. / Midwest
Aura is currently a School Social Worker at Chicago Public Schools but has a secret, yet financially implausible, dream of becoming a pilot. She enjoys working with Chicago’s youth and believes that a well-rounded and positive education is the key to a happy future. She is currently enrolled in Northwestern University’s Art Therapy Certificate Program in a personal attempt to tap into an undiscovered creative side and to have more skills to bring to those that she works with, in CPS as well as with Project FOCUS.
In Uganda, Grant worked as the country director of Project FOCUS for nearly two years. In addition to his work with Project Focus, he has recorded and produced two albums with Ugandan youth from the Bitone Children's Home. He is now in Chicago pursuing a degree in sociology at University of Illinois at Chicago and teaching digital music production through Enlace Chicago's after-school programing.
Rhea Vitalis holds a BS in Marketing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She works in the for-profit world as a marketing and sales coordinator in a shipping logistics company and also runs her own graphic design and marketing company, Idea Sprout Studio. As a member of Project FOCUS, she applies her professional skills in managing the business and marketing aspects of the organization. In the future, she would like to merge her vocation and avocation in the field of social entrepreneurship.
Daniel Yang holds a BS in Biological Sciences from UIC where he is continuing his studies as a medical student. His interests include public health, radio documentary, and anything else that sparks the imagination. Upon finishing his medical degree, he would like to pursue a career in international health, addressing both the physical and psychosocial health needs of vulnerable communities.
Florencia Rojo is a student at DePaul University studying Sociology with a concentration in Health and Human Services. In 2008, she traveled to Nicaragua where she volunteered with a local youth and woman’s advocacy center. Her experience abroad and her work with Planned Parenthood in Ann Arbor has sparked an interest in international development and woman’s health issues. She was drawn to Project FOCUS because of its’ strong community in the United States and its’ commitment to community-driven development in Uganda.
Gloria Bernard holds an MA in Art Therapy from the Steinhart School of New York University. Creativity has always been an integral part of Gloria's life since childhood. She is a process-oriented artist who finds meaning in all mediums. She continues to pursue a life of creativity through music, drawing, painting, and photography.
Seva Gandhi recently graduated with her Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan. Her focus was in management of human services and community organizing. She is currently working within the realm of international development with non-profit based in the US. Seva is interested in resource development within rural areas and is a big advocate of systems thinking.
U.S. / East Coast
Madelene Pario is an artist and credentialed Registered Art Therapist who received her BA in Visual Arts from Brown University and her MA in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She describes her art as a way to visually piece together the fragments of her identity. As an art therapist, she helps create an open and safe space for others to weave their stories and express difficult emotions through metaphor and imagination. Her current interests are in facilitating culturally sensitive art therapy in Uganda through coordination with local artists and professionals. She also promotes group art-making as a powerful tool for personal and social change.