“CONNECTING WITHIN”The Documentary
The documentary “Connecting Within” shows the tremendous power of music to connect with those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. We follow musicians as they play for residents at assisted living homes. It is evident the sessions become more than just an exchange of words and melodies. The music opens a portal for the person with memory issues to go back in time, to a time when they were whole. We will explore the benefits of these musical sessions on people with dementia, their family members, their caregivers, and the musicians themselves.
Documentary Team Members
In collaboration with the Board of Directors
Board of Directors
President of the Board
Jim is the Board President for Kin-nect, Inc. Since 1992 Jim Miller has been a trusted advisor to individuals as they plan their financial strategy for one of the largest investments of their lives. When it comes to a topic as important as deciding the best plan for purchasing your home, you want to examine your options and how they correlate with your personal financial plan. In addition to primary residential financing, including a specialty in Reverse Mortgages, Jim also works with real estate investors and commercial clients. Jim has been a licensed Realtor and is a member of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors. Jim believes that the best way to build a business is to create highly satisfied loyal customers who appreciate the work he has done for them and who feel excited to refer him to their friends, family, and co-workers.
Vice President of the Board
Cheryl has worked as a Social Studies and ESOL teacher for Anne Arundel County Public Schools her entire career. She has been actively involved in her community for many years as a member of the Annapolis Jaycees, a Board member of the Teacher’s Association of Anne Arundel County, and the Vice-President for Programs for the American Association of University in Women. Currently she is a Board member of Kin-nect. Cheryl has volunteered at nursing facilities and has cared for several friends and family members suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There is so much to be done in this health area.
Mary Kay Robertson
Treasurer of the Board
Mary Kay is the founder of Kin-nect, Inc., a local non-profit started in 2013 which provides events for the elderly. She works as an office manager for a local IT solutions company. Mary Kay is the owner of Embrace Me, an online community which connects adults who want a familial bond, i.e. parent, child, sibling. She regularly volunteers at Brightview Senior Center and helps with sponsor relations for the Annapolis Film Festival. The subject of Alzheimer’s is very near and dear to Mary Kay’s heart since her mother has Alzheimer’s and her maternal great-grandmother, grandmother, two great-aunts, and uncle had
Clarence KD McNair
Clarence is a national Motown Recording Artist, member of Prophet Jones, celebrity entertainer, and East Baltimore native. He is currently working on an album, which will be released in 2017. He is a nationally sought after public speaker and works for high profile personalities and projects with national and international appeal in the entertainment industry. Mr. McNair is also a media holder and was recently featured in Minority Business Entrepreneur magazine (MBE mag). Clarence McNair has consulted and mentored PR firms and event planning visionary groups who has produced events for various entertainers and companies.
Heather currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, three children and 2 dogs. She has worked as a caregiver to elderly patients while managing a home health care agency. While she doesn’t have any family who suffer from alzheimer's, she has a neighbor and their family who have become very dear to her and her family. She currently has a new photography business where her specialty is couples, families and children. She loves her work and really tries to focus on her slogan of ‘saving memories, one portrait at a time.’
Charlie is a performing musician, who, along with Gerry Swarbrick, plays in between 6 and 8 different senior care/aging/rehabilitation centers a month. "Sometimes people just come out of a complete sleep when we start playing, they wake up and literally come alive, sometimes dancing singing and generally joining in. It is truly amazing to see what a few old folk songs can do!" Charlie has also started a podcast production company, Podcast Village, which is based in Gaithersburg but is also opening a branch in Edgewater.
Creative Communications Specialist
Jennifer’s expertise as a marketing and communications professional includes experience in consumer products within the entertainment industry for all major studios in Los Angeles, leading into becoming a studio rep with Hannah-Barbara Home, and then moving to the east coast to work for J2 Communications (Dorf on Golf). More recently she served as Executive Director for Mission of Mercy, a healthcare nonprofit, where she helped to transform the program’s visibility and financial sustainability while navigating the highly controversial transition into the ACA (aka Obamacare). Jennifer currently serves as Director of Regional Community Outreach at the Department of Human Resources - Maryland’s Human Services agency. Adding to her extensive resume, Jen is a former Miss Maryland with the Miss America Program, is committed to excellence and helping others achieve it and is a former member of the Advisory Board of the Woman to Woman Mentoring Program.
Secretary of the Board
Shannon is a former Board Secretary and General Counsel for Kin-nect, Inc. She is an attorney who has been practicing for 20 years. Shannon was instrumental with the production agreements for the documentary. She lives in Edgewater, MD where she resides with her husband and son.
Carlos Cuellar MT-BC
Music Therapist Carlos Cuellar MT-BC is currently working at the Schulman and Schachne Institute where he has had 8 years of experience with a variety of populations that include: Adult Day Care, Hyperventilation Unit, Adult Dementia and AIDS Dementia. He has also trained in Hospice Care, NICU, Children's Hospital and Psych at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. His ongoing training interest includes Guided Imagery and Music, and End of Life Care. Mr. Cuellar tailors specific music therapy interventions that promote pain management, relaxation, physical maintenance, motor coordination, cognitive maintenance and leisure expression. At the Adult Day Care Health Program where he is currently stationed, Mr. Cuellar works with patients that present a variety of diagnosis. His familiarity with the Alzheimers spectrum and the role of Music Therapy in alleviating some of the symptoms will be an asset to the making of this documentary.
Communications, Sanford-Burnham Prebys
"It was a life-changing experience," Kristen Cusato is talking about caring for her mother, who passed away after suffering from Lewy Body Dementia for four years. A TV news reporter for more than 20 years, Kristen also worked for the Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association when her mother was in the throes of the disease, educating people about dementia and teaching coping skills to caregivers. Kristen now works in Communications for Sanford-Burnham Prebys, a medical research institute in La Jolla, California, and continues to be a tireless advocate -- speaking and sharing her experiences as an Alzheimer's caregiver."
Kerry Devlin, MT-BC
Communications, Sanford-Burnham Prebys
Kerry Devlin, MT-BC, is a neurologic music therapist and Clinical Director of Annapolis Music Therapy Services. Her diverse clinical experience includes work with individuals on the autism spectrum, older adults with dementia, neurodegenerative disorders and intergenerational groups. Kerry completed the Professional Studies Program for Music Therapy Certification Eligibility at Shenandoah University (2014), holds a BM in Voice Performance from Towson University (2012) and will complete her MM in Music Therapy at Shenandoah University (2017). She also works as a consultant for a study recipient of the 2016 Johns Hopkins University Discovery Award to investigate the impact of side-by-side singing on patients with dementia and their caregivers.
Founding Board Member
Diane is a Founding Board Member of Kin-nect, Inc. and a real estate agent. Diane has worked with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients over her lifetime and is currently found volunteering for Hospice patients in Anne Arundel County. She says she has always had a special kinship with seniors because when she was growing up, her grandmother lived with her family. "I've always known how special the elderly were and knew since I was a little girl that I wanted to work with them in some capacity! Volunteering is where I found it."
Dr. Patrick Doyle
Dr. Patrick Doyle is a gerontologist with a background and expertise in ways to improve the quality of life for people with dementia. Dr. Doyle has his doctorate from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. He has spent over 20 years working and volunteering in various positions in elder care. Dr. Doyle is currently the Corporate Director of Dementia Care at Brightview Senior Living and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He has published over 10 peer reviewed research articles and book chapters and lectured at over 30 national and international research conferences. Dr. Doyle has also lectured extensively at elder care and advocacy organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association, assisted living communities, and adult day programs. Dr. Doyle remains active as a consultant on multiple National Institutes of Health grants but now spends the majority of his time working with the Brightview team to drive best practices and set the industry standard for dementia care.
Associate Broker and the Director of Training and Productivity with Keller Williams Flagship of Maryland & kwCompass
Greg Fisk is an Associate Broker and the Director of Training and Productivity with Keller Williams Flagship of Maryland & kwCompass. He is involved in multiple community outreach programs as well as the Executive Director of the Bay Green Foundation. He is passionate about working with entrepreneurs to create businesses worth owning and lives worth living with a focus on philanthropic endeavors.
Tiffany Louise Ozherelyeva
Founder & Creative Collaboration Specialist (Alight Alliance)
As Founder & Chief Creative Collaboration Specialist, Tiffany-Louise is an influencer, passionate about illuminating collaborative opportunities for small to medium enterprises (SME), entrepreneurs, start-ups and nonprofit organizations. She is especially interested in women-owned and education-based businesses and recently entered Law school. With over 20-years of experience, Tiffany-Louise has profiled, educated, consulted to and transformed over 60 companies, large and small, worldwide. With laser-like focus, she streamlines businesses and repositions their brands within their niche for improved visibility and sustainability. Complementing her skillset and talents is the ability to identify relationships and connections that otherwise appear unrelated, which reveal new options and possibilities. Initiating collaborative opportunities for co-branding and partner-ventures, Tiffany-Louise encourages and empowers growth & success through Performance, Transparency, Innovation, and Collaboration. She also enjoys ongoing pro bono work as Brand Director to UPI Education & Kin-nect, Inc. As a BoA Member to UPI Education in 2014, her Mentorship Program educated young female students and women-in-business develop brand relationship skills, complementing their current studies and knowledge while providing invaluable experience and training.
Director of Vibrant Living
Martha McClung has worked for Brightview Senior Living since 2009. She was originally hired as an Organizational Development Manager and was promoted to become the first Director of Vibrant Living in 2010. In this role, she drives the company culture of Vibrant Senior Living that empowers residents to live their lives to the fullest no matter where they are cognitively or physically. In addition, she established the Brightview University in 2012 and oversees the learning and development function for the organization. Prior to joining the Brightview team, Ms. McClung spent over 20 years in the learning and development field with experiences ranging from Montessori education, to the Rassias Method, to current adult learning theory and instructional design. After moving to the corporate training arena, she specialized in designing and implementing leadership curricula, mentor programs, and succession planning at organizations such as Citigroup and Provident Bank.
Kadine Mitchell serves the senior community as a Healthcare Administrator for the past 8 years. She is a licensed nursing home administrator but has found joy in her current experience as an Executive Director of a vibrant Assisted Living Community – Brightview South River Assisted Living. Kadine has followed in her family’s footsteps by caring for seniors and prepared herself by studying Healthcare Management at both an undergraduate and graduate level. She truly believes one has to have a heart and a passion for caring for those who spent their lives caring for ‘us’.
Videographer, In Focus Studios
Jeff Philips has been in the video production business for 17 years. He wears many hats and has responsible for all areas and phases of video production for his clients. He is proud to have worked on productions such as the Presidential Lighting of the Christmas tree at the “Pageant of Peace”. Plus, various shows for “The Food Network” and “HGTV”. Other credits include, United States Air Force, The Learning Channel.
Vibrant Living Director at Brightview South River
Jenelle has been the Vibrant Living Director at Brightview South River since December 2011. She has worked with residents with Alzheimer’s and Dementia for almost ten years. She has a passion for helping others and can’t see herself doing anything else. Jenelle believes in this quote by George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Carol Ann Scibelli-May %22Moxie%22
Carol Ann has been singing professionally for about 30 years, having started as a young girl growing up in a musical Italian family in the 1950's. She continued her singing throughout grammar and high school choral groups and musicals, as well as in college. In her late 20's she joined a Top 40 band and sang for 20 years in the Washington DC/Baltimore areas. After a break, she decided to enter the "Assisted Living" field and for the past 6 years, has enjoyed entertaining residents of Nursing Homes/Alzheimer’s and Assisted Living facilities. Her program is geared towards bringing smiles to the residents, so she sings tunes from the 20's, 30's, Big Band era, early rock-n-roll, Broadway, soul, as well as French, Italian, and Spanish favorites. Having the folks sing along and clap and move brings her joy! She sustained the death of her son, Gregory (also a musician and songwriter) in 2016, and she stopped singing for 8 months. Her son's loss eventually pushed her back into entertaining, as he always said to her, "Ma, I am so proud of what you do! Making people happy every day." So, in Gregory's memory, she continues her journey, which fills her heart.
Sierra Stokes Stearns
Ph.D., MT-BC, FAMI
Co-Founder and Co-Director of Atlantis Institute for Consciousness and Music (formerly Mid-Atlantic Institute), Fellow and Primary Trainer of the Association for Music and Imagery. Sierra has conducted GIM trainings in the United States and internationally since 1988. She has had the distinct honor of apprenticing with Helen L. Bonny at the Maryland Research Center in the early 70’s, which led to her doctoral work in Social Change. As a private practice clinician, educator, and health care consultant she has pioneered further applications of GIM in a variety of settings. She is past Director of Music Therapy at St. Mary of-the-Woods College and currently teaches as summer faculty at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. Her past creative pursuits include designing and touring for Concert and Conversation community events with musician Daniel Kobialka. She is also Co-Founder of The Spirit of Beauty Retreats, which offers multicultural immersion events centered around music, myth and the sacred feminine. She is published in the AMI Journal, Music and Miracles, ed Don Campbell, and The Whole Mind.
Gerry has a BA in English from Muhlenberg College and an MS in Management of Information Systems from NJ Institute of Technology. He retired from Verizon 12 years ago after 30 years of service and since then, has been playing the guitar and singing monthly for a dozen or more assisted living facilities. Gerry's music background and experience extend back into the 1970s, and he finds that many of the songs popular in that era fit perfectly into current senior circuit venues. Gerry currently resides in Edgewater, Maryland, with his wife Dori.
As the founder of Talentkey Media, "JT" Torres satisfies his passion for the visual arts by creating dramatic and compelling images for his clients. "JT" is experienced in shooting a wide range of projects from promotional ads, music videos, short subject and wedding videos. "JT" also works as an accomplished Broadcast Engineer for the Discovery Channel and was recently the recipient of a Television Academy Primetime Emmy Award for his contribution in outstanding creative achievement in interactive media multiplatform storytelling. More recently, he has taken his video production to new heights by becoming an experienced drone owner/operator raising the production value of numerous projects through stunning aerial footage. As Director of Photography, "JT" can capture your story with understanding, power and movement to achieve a more perfect vision.
Doug Wirth's Film Production experience spans 20+ years, covering every aspect of the industry (PA/Coordinator on 250+ Features/Commercials/Music videos to Producing, Directing, Editing, Packaging, Duplication and Distribution) and included long term stints at major studios such as Paramount Pictures, MGM and the Universal Studios backlot. Mr. Wirth's Event Management experience includes Coordinating the $30 Million Dollar launch of XBOX in 2001 and Managing major Touring Events for Clients such as Microsoft/XBOX, ESPN, DirecTV, NFL, Visa and AXE (Unilever). Doug is currently Producing, Directing & Editing multiple projects to be released in 2016 & 2017. Doug's mother has 3 out of 4 siblings that have Alzheimer's/Lewy Body Dementia and is experiencing, first hand, the physical & emotional effects these diseases have on all involved. "This Documentary is not only an education for me, but a way for me to utilize my skill set in an effort to bring awareness to others!".