Board of Trustees
Julia Barugel, Chair
Karen Coviello, Secretary
Meet our Team
I taught literacy skills to teens with special needs in NJ, NY, and Manila while raising my own family. I have three great kids (young adults), two of whom are wonderful, successful, and generous individuals in spite of their mental health / learning challenges. I have always believed that it's our responsibility to support and empower others to live the fullest lives they can. FBSANJ's mission speaks directly to my heart.
Community Development Coordinator
In peer support, we truly help ourselves while helping others. Our personal experiences with our own children gives us the unique ability to understand the challenges families face on a daily basis. It's important for parents and caregivers to feel supported in their individual process--empowering families is the most rewarding part of the work that we do.
Assistant Director/Family Support Coordinator
A requirement for a high school theology class led me to a volunteer position as a teacher's assistant in a religious education program for young people with Intellectual/Developmental Differences---and a lifetime of service to others. As a Special Education teacher in both public and private schools in New York and New Jersey, teaching toddlers, children and adolescents, as well as working with adults of all ages and abilities in New York City and Monmouth County, I've found great satisfaction not only in teaching, but in supporting the families of those individuals. As a parent, I received love and support when needed. The best part of my job is having the ability to pay it forward and to say, "I've been there, too, and now I'm here for you."
Family Support Partners
It's my belief system that there is more happiness in giving than receiving. Everyone has strengths and talents--they just need support in finding them. Giving of myself allows me to pay it forward and work with the unique differences within families.
I do this so no other caregiver feels like I did and no other child has a caregiver ignorant to a challenging system like my son did. I do this so that there are more caregivers who have a voice than there are that feel that they don't. I do this to validate feelings that myself and my family didn't suffer for nothing, that every hurdle has a purpose, and every victory is proof of that.
As a mother, who has been through my own personal journey with my family. Working with a "Family Support Partner" made me realize that I too could give back to others. FBSANJ has given me the opportunity to guide families through their individual process.
Supporting, educating, and teaching self-advocacy skills are the goals of a Peer Support Partner. The outcome of my efforts produce enriching and exceptional experiences for myself and my families. I carry these influential memories which inspire me to become a understanding and compassionate woman.
It is my pleasure to service the bi-lingual community and their unique challenges. I am enriched by the efforts of the families and the progress they make to improve the lives of their children
People sometimes think they know what families go through when a loved one has a mental illness. Unless your family has gone through it - it's impossible to understand the challenges families face and how mental illness changes the dynamic of your family. Peer support is an opportunity for families to know that there are other families going through the same and that you do have support and you do not have to face this alone.
I am dedicated to empowering youth and families. I enjoy providing a safe place where the youth can explore their strengths in a supportive and inclusive environment where they can be uniquely "themselves".
Assistant Youth Coach
I am a naturally positive person. It makes me happy to see the difference kindness can make in a kids life. I know things can be hard for them but I try to show them that there are always new opportunities around every corner.