Staff

Executive Staff

 

Elaine Hall

Founder & Creative Director

Elaine Hall “Coach E!,” referenced by The New York Times as “the child whisperer” was a top Hollywood children’s acting coach whose life changed dramatically after her son Neal, adopted from a Russian orphanage, was diagnosed with autism. When traditional therapies did not work for him, she sought the esteemed Dr. Stanley Greenspan who encouraged her to rally actors and other creative people to join his world and Neal slowly emerged out of his isolation.

She then developed The Seven Keys to Unlock Autism and used these methods to train staff and volunteers and to create The Miracle Project, a theatre and film program for children of all abilities, profiled in the Emmy Award HBO documentary, AUTISM: The Musical.   She has appeared on CNN, CBS News, Oprah Radio and featured in The LA Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Elaine directs the Vista Inspire Program: an arts enrichment and a bar/bat mitzvah program for children and teens with autism at Vista Del Mar in Los Angeles. 

She is a keynote speaker and workshop leader at conferences around the globe, and is a regular Huffington Post blogger.  Her  book, Now I See the Moon: a mother, a son, a miracle was chosen for World Autism Awareness Day at The United Nations where she has spoken several times and recently selected for Jewish Disability Month 2013. Elaine Hall has received honors from Autism Speaks, Autism Society of Los Angeles, The Mayor of Los Angeles, Senator Fran Pavley, Villa Esperanza, Areva Martin’s Special Needs Network, Holly Robinson Peete’s HollyRod Foundation, Etta Israel and others.   She co-produced and hosts the DVD series: Unlocking Autism for medical professionals and first providers and inspired the CD: Fly which pairs children with autism and celebrity artists such as Jack Black, Stephen Stills, and Chaka Khan.  Her latest book, co-authored with Diane Isaacs, Seven Keys to Unlock Autism: Creating Miracles In The Classroom is being used in universities across the United States.

Elaine and her team are now launching The Miracle Project nationally with locations in West Los Angeles at Vista Del Mar, in the San Fernando Valley at The Help Group, and at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.  She is available for workshops, speaking engagements, to emcee events, phone consultations, trainings, and is a media personality.  Elaine lives in Los Angeles with the two loves of her life, her teenage son, Neal and her husband, Jeff Frymer, a play therapist. 

 

Mari-Anne Kehler

Executive Director

Mari-Anne is an Advisory Board member of Golden Heart Ranch, and on its behalf launched the FRED Conference in 2012 as Director. FRED is the preeminent international conference bringing parents and professionals together to advance opportunities for adults with special needs to find homes and employment and live with purpose.

Mari-Anne has been active in the community in the areas of disability awareness and fundraising and in mentoring families and professionals for almost two decades. Her particular specialty is creating successful transition strategies to optimize the special needs journey into adulthood.

Serving on numerous nonprofit boards supporting children, education and the special needs community such as Center for Learning Unlimited; she was past President of the Los Angeles Board of Autism Speaks, the primary global organization focused on research and advocacy for autism. She is Interim Executive Director of The Miracle Project.

Mari-Anne has held sales, marketing and business development leadership roles at top organizations for almost three decades. She served as National Marketing Leader for Deloitte Services LP where she led innovative marketing programs that have helped assure Deloitte’s position as global leader in various areas of focus. She was the National Award winner of Deloitte’s “Excellence in Cross-Functional Marketing Initiatives” and held a number of positions on Deloitte’s Marketing and Business Development Leadership team, including heading up National Tax marketing and marketing/business development of the Pacific Southwest region of the U.S. firm. She led strategy and staffing of two separate marketing teams in India, and worked to advance Deloitte’s Women’s Initiative with a keen focus on developing talent. Mari-Anne has been a highly rated trainer of senior level talent at the globally renowned Deloitte University. 

Prior to joining Deloitte Services LP she led West Coast regional marketing efforts for a division of Nestle. She began her career on Wall Street at Morgan Stanley and then Tucker Anthony and RL Day. She also held director positions at Bertelsmann Entertainment and Grey Direct, overall gaining insights in various industries including finance, entertainment, media and consumer products.

Mari-Anne studied in the master’s program at the University of Santa Monica, with an emphasis in leadership and coaching. She attended the College of Mt. St. Vincent in Riverdale, N.Y., where she received a degree in both English Literature and Business Administration.

Mari-Anne and her husband, Eddie, are proud of their adult son, Liam, who continues to defy limits and professional assessments in his ability to show up as a truly remarkable and productive citizen of the planet. Their family has been impacted by the challenges of raising a special needs child into adulthood and have lived the intensive struggles many families must battle.

She has been a featured speaker at schools, colleges and conferences on the topic of disabilities: awareness, transition to adulthood and the impact on families. With extensive experience in training, she has also coached a number of organizations with her skills in strategy, marketing and board development workshops. Her recent e-book, “Putting the Profit in Nonprofit” with co-author Andrew Bird reached #1 on Amazon book list.

 

Ryan Berman

Chief Operating Officer & Program Director, LA

Ryan Berman is a rising star in the autism community, providing a variety of services, skills and resources to families and children impacted by autism.  Working closely with families, he provides comprehensive in-home consultations and individualized treatment plans tailored to each family’s needs and goals.  Ryan is a Master Teacher at The Miracle Project and has trained professionals and volunteers on the Seven Keys to Unlock Autism.  Ryan applies his training in DIR/Floortime and Facilitated Communication when working with children and teens with autism.  He develops curriculum and serves as an Educational Consultant for a private Los Angeles High School for students who type to communicate.  Ryan has a special relationship with Vista Del Mar’s Inspire Program (V.I.P.) in Los Angeles where he serves as an instructor for the renowned Nes Gadol Bar and Bat Mitzvah Program for children and teens with special needs.   Ryan also holds a Masters degree in Social Work with a concentration in Children, Youth, Women and Families.

 

Simone Rivera

Administrative Director

Simone Rivera has worked for The Miracle Project since 2011. She assists with financial, administrative, marketing, and graphic art needs. She and her family reside in Los Angeles and are involved in the special needs community. Simone enjoys photography, acrobatics and blogging. She speaks French fluently and is a world traveler.

 

 

Theater Staff

 

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 4.06.25 PMShelley Pack

Teacher, CA

Shelley Pack is a comedic actress and producer, she has performed with Groundlings, Second City Alumni, Kristen Wiig, and the cast of Whose Line is it Anyway.  Her production company, Infinite Light Productions creates original content for Film, TV, and the web.  Shelley has been with the Miracle Project for 7 years and the Help Group for 3, as well as volunteering at Vista Del Mar for 5 years. For more on Shelley go to infinitelightproductions.com

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 11.52.44 AMTom Pilutik

Teacher, CA

Tom Pilutik is a theater artist who hails from New York City and is delighted to be working with the Miracle Project here in Los Angeles.  Tom started his theatrical endeavors as an actor until he discovered the field of drama therapy in 2003.  As a drama therapist, Tom worked with children, teens and adults in an inpatient acute care facility for four years.  From there, Tom decided one masters degree wasn’t enough and applied for the New York City Teaching Fellows: a highly competitive program that grants free tuition to select candidates who can earn a teaching degree while teaching in a New York City public school.  After acceptance into the program, Tom worked as a special education classroom teacher for children with autism as well as the Visual and Performing Arts teacher for elementary and middle school students.  Tom’s proudest achievement to date has been directing student with autism in their school production of Aladdin.  Ten of these students were able to compete in the National Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, Georgia and won the Spirit Award, the highest honor of the festival. Now living in Los Angeles, Tom is teaching theater to middle school students at City Charter School as well the Miracle Project.  Tom is truly honored to be included in such a worthwhile program that helps kids and adults express themselves creatively and encourages the artistic process in their students.

 

HannahHannah Warren

Teacher, CA

Hannah Warren is a dancer by training, an entertainer by accident, and, above all else, an advocate for inclusion of people of all abilities in the arts. Having graduated with honors from UCLA with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Disability Studies, Hannah has chosen to dedicate her life to the celebration of neurodiversity as an advocate for and educator of individuals on the autism spectrum. A certified facilitator of Autism Movement Therapy, Hannah bridges her love for dance with her passion for working with people of mixed abilities in her classes with the Miracle Project and in her curriculum as a Social Skills lead instructor at Step by Step, Edu-Play Programs, Inc. Hannah is also the project coordinator of a research lab at UCLA that studies psychosocial development of individuals with developmental disabilities. Hannah hopes to use her relationship-based understanding of the needs of people who experience the world differently to empower her students to honor their “you-ness” and to recognize the inherent gifts they each have to share with their communities.