Staff

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Margaret Jean Bernstein, Founder and Executive Director 

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Margaret Jean Bernstein is the founder and Executive Director of Azalea Blossom, Incorporated and the SAFE through the arts program. In addition to being a dual certified educator in New York State, Ms. Bernstein is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, composer, and flutist internationally known for her Socially Awakened Songs and Uplifting Instrumental compositions. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (BM, flute performance) and Arizona State University (MM, flute performance), Ms. Bernstein’s recording credits include five solo albums released on her own Growing Azalea Music record label as well as being the songwriter for all of the songs on the internationally award winning “Songs from SAFE through the arts” CD. Ms. Bernstein is also the author of two original socially relevant children’s musicals, “The Little Seed” and “The Trees’ Song for Peace” as well as songs for children and school choruses, which have been performed at public, private, and charter schools throughout the United States. Two decades of experience as a PreK and classroom music teacher in rural and urban communities throughout Northern California and New York State including several years in the Schenectady City School District lead her to create the SAFE through the Arts program in 2007. The founder of the Youth Sahavas, an annual retreat for teenagers held at the Meher Baba center in South Carolina and the Bricks in the Wall Domestic Violence Awareness project, Ms. Bernstein is also the proud mother of Julian Jacobs, a fifth year student majoring in Jazz Drum Performance and Environmental Studies at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Oberlin College, respectively. The daughter in a family of professional dancers and a product of a Rudolf Steiner School (The Waldorf School of Garden City), Ms. Bernstein came into the world with a very unique perspective on life. Her life’s mission is to empower people world wide through her love  of all living beings, compassion and her music and creativity. She is very grateful for her abundant blessings including her supportive Azalea Blossom team for helping her to fulfill her lifelong dream of bringing positivity into the world through music and love.

Heather Gee, Founder and Executive Director

Heather Gee, Azalea Blossom’s Director of Development,  has served in leadership positions at a variety of organizations focusing on fundraising, gift planning, donor relations and philanthropic advising. She is a dynamic, inspirational and visionary leader capable of creating unique, impactful and meaningful programs designed to increase assets and engage people in furthering the missions of worthy causes. She has created and implemented a comprehensive education and engagement program for donors, nonprofit and professional advisers who work with clients with charitable interests. Ms. Gee is the founder of GPS Philanthropy, a solo practice providing philanthropic services for individuals and families, nonprofits, foundations and corporations. She is committed to helping individuals and organizations make a difference in the world through intentional giving strategies including inspirational story-telling.

Brenda Echeverry, Assistant Instructor for SAFE through the arts

BBrenda Echeverry has been working with Azalea Blossom as the Assistant Instructor and puppeteer with the SAFE Through the Arts program since the fall of 2018. A graduate of New York University with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and minors in Spanish and Chemistry, Ms. Echeverry previously worked as an interventionist in child welfare for the New York Foundling and as a tutor, mentor and social emotional learning coordinator with City Year in East New York. Most recently, Brenda facilitated creative arts programming at Brooklyn Arts Exchange as a summer counselor. She currently works with students in NYC public schools as an assistant teaching artist. Her love of children and all of the performing and creative arts has lead Ms. Echeverry to pursue a Master’s degree in Expressive Arts Therapy.

Amy Gong, Director of Art and Design

Amy Gong is currently Director of Art and Design for Azalea Blossom, Inc. and previously worked as an Intern for the SAFE Through the Arts program. She studied Fine Arts and Psychology at Rutgers University and is continuing to study Communication Design at Parsons School of Art and Design. Her passion for both art and psychology is continuously utilized throughout her SAFE Through the Arts illustrations, social media management, and exciting collaboration with the Azalea Blossom team.