Photo: Christopher White
Kathleen Harper is a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach and certified massage therapist (CMT) for moms. She believes that at the heart of each of us, we know exactly what we need in order to be happy. As a life coach, Kathleen helps moms shift from overwhelm to awesome. When Kathleen was a new mom she struggled with feeling confused, resentful, and overwhelmed. By focusing on the difficulties of motherhood, she missed out on so much joy. "After working with my own life coach, my life doesn't look all that different - same house, same family, same job - but it FEELS extraordinary," she says. "I experience joy daily. I am authentic in my relationships. I truly love what is. Life coaching changed my life. Let it change yours."
Photo: Christopher White
Bill White received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychobiology from University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the director of Touch Blue Sky’s Sign Language programs and a sign language instructor for Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, Sutter Health, DayOne Baby in Palo Alto and San Francisco, Blossom Birth Services in Palo Alto, Children’s Creative Learning Centers, Bright Horizons Family Solutions, and many other locations. Bill is passionate about the benefits of signing with babies and is the proud father of two hearing sons who both sign.
In addition to teaching sign language courses, Bill works as a commercial print model and hand model in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has had 25 years of dance training and has taught dance classes locally to children and adults. He was also Director of Operations for Kidsfaire for five years and has been the Fashion Show Director for Modern Bridal Productions for the past eighteen years.
Christy Miller is a Martha Beck certified life coach who specializes in men’s issues. Over the last three decades, she has been an adviser, manager, and counselor to hundreds of male clients, coworkers, friends and family (including two sons). She loves working with men and has a gift for understanding the unique position they face in today’s world.
Christy guides adult men through the challenges and rewards of fatherhood, career life, personal growth and relationships so they can be happy and prosper while living their exceptional lives. She is on a mission to make the world a better place one man at a time!
Most men don’t feel there is a way to get support in a format that feels right. To “open up” feels too risky for lots of reasons. Caring women in their lives can see that they could use support, but often aren’t best placed to do that! That’s where Christy comes in. Through her direct, no-nonsense, high energy coaching, Christy is committed to providing confidential help to men who need and want a better life but don’t know how to get it. Christy helps men to sort things out and get what they want.
Reta Coolin is a certified massage therapist (CMT) who also works at the Stanford Cancer Center providing chair massage for cancer patients, family members, and caregivers, and at Stanford Hospital where she gives chair massage to staff members and family members of patients. She has been a licensed massage therapist for 17 years. In addition to her massage therapy work, Reta is a Reiki master, energy healer, and CranioSacral practitioner. Her skilled and supportive touch will help ease you back into physical, emotional, and spiritual balance.
Reta worked as a nurse prior to her career in massage therapy. She is also a member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
Julie Ann Randall
Julie Ann Randall is a Certified Massage Therapist (CMT) with the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) as well as a birth & postpartum doula, prenatal yoga instructor, childbirth educator and life coach. Her nurturing and therapeutic bodywork draws on various modalities including Swedish, Deep Tissue/Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Release, Sports Massage, CranioSacral Therapy, Shiatsu/Acupressure, Lymphatic Drainage, and specific techniques for pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period. Julie Ann holds certifications in bodywork for the childbearing year (including pregnancy, labor, and postpartum periods) from both Kate Jordan and Carole Osborne. She has also completed advanced technique refinement coursework with Carole Osborne on supporting maternity clients with special needs (including women who are survivors of trauma, undergoing fertility treatments, carrying twins/multiples, and/or experiencing health complications, high-risk pregnancies, or bedrest).
Julie Ann is a member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP).
Sign Language Instructors
Erika Vetter fell in love with sign language in her childhood, when she befriended a Deaf girl in her Brownie Scout troop. This friendship continued for many years and led her to volunteer in the hard-of-hearing preschool during recess when she was still in elementary school. Erika received her Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology with Teacher Certification at Elmira College. She earned her Master's Degree as a Teacher for the Deaf for grades K-12 from Canisius College in upstate New York. Erika has taught both Deaf and hearing children for the past 16 years in schools such as the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and the California School for the Deaf in Fremont and currently works as an educational interpreter and ASL teacher. Erika's thesis on teaching ASL to pre-verbal hearing children, along with her recent coursework in bilingual education, has reinforced her belief that signing with children can produce amazing results. All three of her children started signing between six and seven months old and still sign on a daily basis. Erika delights in seeing her children empowered with a tremendous ability to communicate effectively at a very early age and is eager to share her experience and enthusiasm with you.
Teri Voorhes, an an associate with Touch Blue Sky's baby sign language program, began using American Sign Language after her son Robert was born with Down Syndrome. She was advised to use this with Robert as a baby as his verbal speech would be delayed. The first time Robert signed “more” “music”at his Early Intervention class she was hooked. Robert is a High School graduate now and still uses ASL to finger spell words he can't enunciate.
Teri has continued her education in American Sign Language and has been teaching in her sons school since 2005. She has had great success with spreading the magic of Sign Language through presentations at Ability Awareness Day, teaching songs to classes to perform at assemblies and general classroom instruction. In 2011 Teri became an Advanced Signing Time Instructor and began teaching in an After School Program and Baby Sign classes throughout the community. She has presented at many Special Needs conferences throughout the Bay Area.
Before the arrival of her two sons Teri enjoyed working as a Senior Manager of Store Technologies for Gap,Inc. She also received her Professional Designation Certificate from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.
Teri is very excited to be a part of the Touch Blue Sky network of ASL Instructors and to reach out to as many parents and babies as possible sharing the power of Sign.
Aniko received her degree of Sign Language Interpretation and Translation from University of Eotvos Lorand and worked as a certified sign language interpreter for the Deaf in Hungary. She and her husband moved to California in 2010 and one of the first things she did was to sign up for the American Sign Language class at De Anza College in Cupertino to study the differences between HSL and ASL. She discovered that while some of the signs are similar, a lot of them are very different, but the facial expressions and Deaf cultures are the same in each country.
Aniko and her husband only speak Hungarian and Sign Language with their lovely toddler girl. Nevertheless, Aniko’s daughter picks up many English words and expressions. Baby Sign Language is a perfect bridge to expand and align her vocabulary. She clearly differentiates between the two languages yet readily uses the same sign.
Aniko received her first two Bachelor of Education Degrees in Elementary Education and Drama and Theater Arts from Apor Vilmos Catholic College in Budapest, Hungary. A former radio show host and educator, Aniko is comfortable in front of a big audience and enthusiastic about teaching again. She is excited to reach out to new parents to show them how to bond with their little ones through baby sign language.
Cate Naughton earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Speech Pathology from University of the Pacific. She then went on to earn a certificate in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Cate has worked with deaf and hard of hearing people of all ages from being a preschool teacher to a college counselor. Cate spent two summers taking classes at Gallaudet University, the world's only university with programs and services specifically designed to accommodate Deaf and Hard of Hearing students and continues to work towards her goal of becoming an Educational Interpreter for the Deaf.
In her spare time, Cate enjoys being an Auntie and teaching American Sign Language to her six nephews, and exploring new running trails around San Francisco.
Cynthia Phinn received her Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. She began learning American Sign Language as a hobby over 13 years ago taking classes at Cabrillo then going on to take advanced ASL classes at San Jose City and Ohlone Colleges. That hobby turned into a passion as she immersed herself into the Deaf Community. She went on to work as an interpreter at a camp for Deaf Children and for the Santa Cruz County Schools as a one on one aid for a young deaf boy. While at the camp she also taught horsemanship and horseback riding to the children. As the birth of her first grandchild approached Cynthia became very interested in baby sign language. Using the Touch Blue Sky program she taught her grandson baby sign language and knows first hand all the benefits that it can provide new parents. She is delighted to share this information with others along with stories and tips as a baby sign language instructor for Touch Blue Sky in the Santa Cruz area.
Cynthia became interested in American Sign Language in high school and is working towards her AA degree in ASL at Ohlone College in Fremont. She volunteers as a teachers’ aid at the preschool at the California School for the Deaf. Cynthia is inspired by her volunteer work with children and loves the shared learning that happens with children. Sign language is a lifelong passion for Cynthia and she intends to incorporate it into her future work in the medical field. She is excited about sharing her knowledge with the Touch Blue Sky community and teaching sign language to parents in our East Bay communities.
Erin S. Carper has dedicated her life to the study of the body in motion. For many years she has taught people of all ages movement through dance, Pilates, and the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM®.
As a child, Erin was introduced to American Sign Language (ASL) through an elementary school diversity program and knew that one day she wanted to become fluent. Erin participated in Touch Blue Sky’s Baby Sign Language Program as a parent, and was thrilled at how easily her son Jasper embraced this natural form of communication. Erin was inspired to learn more and was encouraged by Touch Blue Sky program founder Bill White to pursue studying ASL academically. In 2011 she graduated with honors from the acclaimed ASL program at Berkeley City College (BCC) with a certificate in ASL and Deaf Culture Studies, followed by the completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in Performance through the Saint Mary’s College of California LEAP (Liberal Arts Education for Arts Professionals) Program in 2012. During her program at BCC, she volunteered at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, supporting teachers and children in the Early Childhood Education department. Erin brings her love of movement, performing, teaching, and a sense of humor to her classes, and is excited to share ASL and Deaf culture with families in the Touch Blue Sky community.
Heidi Locicero has spent most of her professional career working with children. She worked with youth and managed family programs at several YMCA's including residence and day camps. She also participated for 8 years on a Board of Managers at a small educational YMCA that provided academic and social education using the Socratic Method for school-aged children.
Heidi first discovered American Sign Language in preschool through a classmate. Heidi and her daughter took Touch Blue Sky's Baby Sign Language program and Heidi was amazed at how early her daughter communicated. Heidi has a form of dyslexia and she wanted to provide her daughter with more opportunities to communicate than just spoken word. With sign language, her daughter knows how words sound look and feel. Heidi has watched the transformation from frustration to joy in her daughter's eyes and body as communication took place at 10 months when she started signing. Heidi is very excited about signing as a way to combine her natural kinesthetic nature with her love of working with children.
Jeffrey Yao, an associate of Touch Blue Sky's baby sign language program, received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and minor in Photography from California State University Hayward. In addition, he loves inspiring others. He served as an assistant high school tennis coach and also instructed his own summer tennis camp lessons to children. Jeffrey is a child of a Deaf adult (CODA) and sign language was the very first language he ever used to communicate. Experiencing firsthand how critical ASL was to his development, he has always wanted to share his gift of sign language with the world. Jeffrey is elated to have an opportunity to positively impact the lives of babies and their families by teaching them the beauty of sign language in a fun and interactive environment.
Lauren Dugas received a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Human Development from UC Davis. While at college, she began taking ASL classes and fell in love with the language. Upon graduating, she decided her calling was to be an ASL interpreter and was accepted into Ohlone College's prestigious interpreter preparation program. During this time she coached cheerleaders at the California School for the Deaf. Lauren graduated with an AA in both Deaf Studies and ASL Interpreting and is currently working as a full-time interpreter. When not working she enjoys camping, hiking, wakeboarding, snowboarding, and scuba diving. She also loves going for walks with her husband Scott, two dogs, and her children.
Samantha Garcia’s first experience with American Sign Language was in 2009 when she babysat an infant cousin, who already knew baby signs. Samantha was amazed to learn how much her pre-verbal cousin could communicate and this ignited Samantha’s passion for sign language. Samantha took ASL classes at Cabrillo, where she received two AA degrees, and she also attends local Deaf events to help expand her signing vocabulary and general knowledge of the vast Deaf culture. Samantha will continue her studies toward her dream job of teaching kindergarten while she attends California State University Monterey Bay.
When she’s not in school or at Deaf events she can be found gardening; Samantha plants an annual vegetable garden, grows a plethora of flowers, and has a strong fondness for bonsai. She also enjoys baking: her favorite recipe is creme brulee!
Until Samantha started working with Touch Blue Sky she feared her sign language was going to be for social and personal use only and she’s excited to be able to share her signing knowledge with families. Samantha grew up in Santa Cruz County and she is delighted to bring baby sign language to her local community.
Shawna Spaulding became interested in sign language when she befriended a Deaf girl in high school. In 1991, while attending Cabrillo College earning a degree in Early Childhood Education, Shawna took her first ASL class. Eight years later, while Shawna was obtaining a degree in Child Development and Multi-Subject Teaching Credential, she took more advanced ASL classes. As a former elementary school teacher, she enjoys aiding families in creating a bond through early communication with the help of baby sign language. Shawna has been volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), working with a Deaf child. CASA helps to create stability for foster children during their journey through the court system, and with foster families, social workers, therapists, school systems, and permanent placement with families.
Shawna has been involved in the local Santa Cruz Deaf Community and helped start a Wednesday Deaf Pizza Night that still meets weekly. Shawna is also a licensed realtor in the Santa Cruz area. Her other passions besides ASL are travel, skiing, pottery and enjoying the coastal lifestyle.
Shirene fell in love with American Sign Language (ASL) while in high school and completely immersed herself within the Deaf community in San Francisco - signing songs at Deaf churches and attending Deaf events. Her passion led her to continue her ASL studies in college and in the Deaf community of Eugene, Oregon. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in cultural anthropology.
After graduating, Shirene opened The Blue Fig, a small cafe with her family in San Francisco. When she is not at the cafe or teaching sign language with Touch Blue Sky, Shirene volunteers at Montessori schools and other child care centers around the Bay Area, working with children from ages 18 months to 10 years old. Her interest in language and culture is fueled by growing up in a bilingual household, speaking Arabic and English.
She loves being around people and creating a sense of community wherever she is, whether it's signing to Deaf people from around the world on her many travels or creating a bond with sign language between parents and their children right here at home.
Vanessa Hecht has always been fascinated with American Sign Language. In 2009, she was fortunate to work as an Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist for children with autism. When working with non-verbal children, Vanessa learned signs to use with her learners to facilitate conversations with the children’s teachers and families. When Vanessa's son was born in 2013, she was excited to share sign language with her son and began signing when he was just a few months old. Learning sign language, teaching signs to her family, and becoming an instructor has been a rewarding and exciting journey. Even Vanessa’s husband - who was once a skeptic - is just as enthusiastic about signing and has seen how signing has enriched their family’s lives. Vanessa is excited to teach other families how to sign with their little ones and to open up communication in ways that she never thought possible.
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