Our Team

Evaluator
Judy Battat

Administrative Staff
Ed Pazzanese, Director, Families Creating Together
María Christina Blanco, Assistant Director,


Advisory Board

Sandie Fenton of Jamaica Plain, MA, a visual artist with commissioned works of art showing in the Boston Children’s Hospital, is a community activist for racial justice in education, as well as having 40 years of experience in education and community-based program development and planning.  She earned a Masters in Education (Wheelock College) and went on to teach Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Wheelock; she has also been a teacher in the Boston Public Schools. She initiated and coordinates the "Time Project"which brings together working women visual artists. 

Susan Kooperstein of Onset, MA is a former Jamaica Plain resident who holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in journalism (Boston University).  As president of Kooperstein Communications, she provides public and media relations, marketing, and community outreach services for community-based and corporate clients. Earlier she served as Vice President for External Affairs at Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), overseeing communications for this large, diverse antipoverty agency. In addition to volunteering with FCT, Susan serves on the advisory board for the Mass. Dept of Mental Health.  She is writing a novel based in Odessa, Russia; Brooklyn, NY; Boston and beyond.

Judith Woodruff of Brookline, MA brings more than 40 years of experience to teaching, directing, and creating programs for teens, preschoolers, parents, and the elderly. She taught special education in New York City and developed the first special needs kindergarten in Massachusetts.  Her work developing innovative educational and cultural programs in the United States, Germany, and Russia included founding "Children are the Future," an agency dedicated to cross-cultural arts collaboration between Americans and Soviet youth and artists.  She holds a Masters of Arts in Human Development and Early Childhood Education (New York University) and is currently an educational consultant.

Kathleen Gaskin-Holland, originally of Trinidad, is a 40-year resident and small business owner in Jamaica Plain, MA, and instructor at the Eliot School.  She opened the Decorator’s Workroom upholstery shop in 1990 to follow in the footsteps of her father, a joiner/ carpenter, and mother, a seamstress/chair caner. Kathleen’s contributions to local cultural life include supplying Carnival costumes for Caribbean festivals in the region.  She previously served on Spontaneous Celebrations’ board and won their 2005 Community Leadership Award; as well as being recognized by ABCD in 2010 for Outstanding Contributions to Boston Neighborhoods, and as a Vinfen 2009 Local Hero.  She raised 4 children, one of whom lives with autism.

Sara Asmerom of Boston, MA is the Boston Area Regional Coordinator of the Family TIES program of the Federation for Children w/Special Needs.  As a parent advocate, she works with families of children with disabilities as they face challenges in caring for their health, educational, and social needs.  Since 2008, she has run the statewide Habesha support group for parents originally from East Africa whose children have special needs.  In 2013, she co-founded a nationwide monthly teleconference reaching 40 Eritrean and Ethiopian member families.  Her passion is programs that support the whole family, and she has enjoyed bringing her son with special needs to FCT programs, along with his siblings. 

Deborah Wheeler-Ramos of Roxbury, MA is a lifelong resident of Fort Hill and active in the Highland Park Neighborhood Association.  After raising her family, she went back to school to study Gerontology at UMass Boston, with a research focus on home and community-based services to support aging in place and countering elder isolation.  She is a registered member of the MA Gerontology Association, was herself a family caregiver for an elderly parent, and has volunteered for nonprofit and faith-based elder services programs.  Deborah serves on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development, and is a person living with a visual impairment.

Shanté Rabouin of Dorchester, MA is a Bachelors level clinician and Guardian ad Litem, with a background in human services and early childhood development.  She became acquainted with FCT in 2016, in her professional role as Event Coordinator for the Bridge Home for displaced children in Dorchester, as she forged a partnership with FCT that served a range of needs for her young clients, providing the children with an outlet as well as a sense of normalcy.  Now sharing the experience with her own son, Shanté feels a sense of belonging in the FCT community, as creating meaningful art has always been a part of her household and family tradition.

Garry Ratliff, Sr. of Randolph, MA is a therapist specializing in adult/adolescent trauma. He holds an M.S. in Marriage & Family Therapy (Eastern Nazarene College) and has completed Trauma Studies coursework for mental health professionals (Cambridge College). A decades-long advocate in the deaf community, Garry has served in the Special Education Surrogate Parent Program, and together with his wife has provided a specialized home for deaf children through the MA Dept of Children & Families for 25+ years, receiving the “Heroes Among Us” Award from the Boston Celtics for this work.  He has been on the board of the Institute for Deaf Ministry Development and a committee member for the International Institute for Deaf Services.  Garry is a deacon and member of the Deaf Ministry in Jubilee Christian Church.  His family has participated in past FCT programs.

Maria Cabrera, Museum Educator/Administrator

Lygia Angel, Artist/Teacher

Lynn Niizawa, Community Activist

Rachel Greenberg, Writer/Teacher


Funders
Lenny Zakim Foundation
The Boston Foundation Vision Fund
Massachusetts Cultural Council/USA/Very Special Arts ADA Grant
Liberty Mutual Foundation
City of Boston: Boston Rocks
Mount Washington Bank Foundation (Jamaica Plain)

FCT Logo Design
Evelyn Berde

Photographers
Christle Rawlins-Jackson
George Delianides

 LOGO Design By Evelyn Berde

LOGO Design By Evelyn Berde

Collaborators
Community Service Care/JPN
Tree of Life Coalition
Jamaica Plain Community Center (Curtis Hall)
Massachusetts College of Art
Lesley University
Urban Pride
Spontaneous Celebrations
Wheelock Family Theatre
Museum of Science
Puppet Showplace Theatre