Meet Our Team
We are led by passionate individuals who inspire, educate and connect through mindfulness.
Our experience is trusted by a variety of community partners in Lehigh County and Northampton County, Pennsylvania, as well as Warren County, New Jersey. Learn more about our dedicated staff.
Maureen is an experienced leader in the Lehigh Valley’s nonprofit sector, with a background in government relations and higher education. She has helped many regional organizations develop and implement key strategies to advance their missions. Maureen received her Bachelor of Science Degree from DeSales University and is a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher. Her mindfulness training includes completing a practicum at the Myrna Brind Mindfulness Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and an apprenticeship at the Center for Mindfulness at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). She participates in extended silent mindfulness retreats and is currently completing her MBSR Certification at Brown University's Mindfulness Center. She is also a certified QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention Instructor. In the community, Maureen serves on the Board of Associates of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation and Muhlenberg College; the Resilient Lehigh Valley Communications Committee; and Northampton County’s Suicide Awareness Task Force. Email Maureen to learn more about Shanthi Project!
SARAH DENNEHY, M.Ed, RYT
Director of Programs
Sarah is a Licensed Behavior Specialist with a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Lehigh University, and is a certified mindfulness and yoga teacher for children and adults. Sarah oversees our community programs, including Calm, Kind + Focused Classrooms offered in 230 K-12 public school classrooms, and Trauma-Informed Mindfulness and Yoga taught inside Northampton County Juvenile Justice System. Sarah has nearly 20 years of experience in the autism field, and has been a Behavior Specialist Consultant for the last ten years. She holds certifications from Mindful Schools in Mindfulness Fundamentals and Mindful Educator Essentials, and is certified in Trauma-Informed Mindfulness and Yoga.
MELANIE SMITH, RYT
Senior Teacher and Trainer
Melanie holds a 500 E-RYT and YACEP certifications along with two 25-hours Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga Certifications, Trauma-Informed Yoga Certification, PaddleFit Coach designation, and Mindful Schools Educator Certification. In addition to leading Trauma-Informed Mindfulness and Yoga for Shanthi Project, Melanie taught weekly studio-based yoga classes as well as workshops, domestic and global retreats, and SUP Yoga Teacher Trainings. Melanie comes to Shanthi Project with a decade of experience as a Family Service Specialist for the State of New Jersey Department of Children and Families, specializing in trauma, child welfare, family reunification and adoption cases.
HELENE PERRUCCI, MS
Program Support and Community Outreach
Helene is a leader in our K-12 public school Calm, Kind, & Connected program, advancing our mission through students across Lehigh and Northampton County. She holds dual certifications from Mindful Schools in Mindfulness Fundamentals and Mindful Educator Essentials, and is certified in Trauma-Informed Care. Helene holds a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Chestnut Hill College. Her work with students and adults is driven by overlapping practices of mindfulness-based psychotherapy, therapeutic yoga, and mindful movement as a method to control their responses to their environment. She is working towards her licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
Teacher and Shanthi @Work Initiative
Kelly holds a BA in Communications and a 200 E-RYT from Yoga Synthesis, as well as certification in teaching mindfulness from Mindful Schools. She is a mother of two young boys, a writer, and a yoga & mindfulness instructor. Her current passion is bringing the tools of mindfulness into workplaces, where she helps employees thrive by strengthening their stress resilience muscles and helping them open up to their creative potential.
Over the past 4 years, Kelly was the co-owner of Bija Initiative, a woman-owned startup that helped corporations and nonprofits address the growing epidemic of employee stress. Kelly maintains her own daily mindfulness and yoga practice and studies ancient texts. She's part of the inaugural 2021 class of the Inner MBA, a certificate program launched by Sounds True, NYU, LinkedIn, and Wisdom 2.0.
Our Board is an important part of our organization, comprised of knowledgeable and compassionate leaders who make valuable contributions of their time and talents to enhance our mission.
Board of Directors:
Kathleen Papageorgiou, Community Volunteer - Board President
Tiffany Noll Yurasits, PHR, SHRM-CP, Kronos Incorporated - Vice President
Cheryl Kienzle, MD, Lehigh Valley Physicians Group, retired - Secretary
Charles Kelly, Logic54 - Treasurer
Dave Erickson, BSI Corporate Benefits
Angie Gutekunst, Holistic Journey Counseling
Kristie A. Strubeck, CFP®, CRPC®, Raymond James & Associates
Denise Veres, Shanthi Project Founder, Board Member Emeritus
Meet Our Board
Thank you to our amazing team of teachers!
Shanthi Project teachers are highly-trained, trauma-informed mindfulness and yoga instructors.
Each holds various certifications in the field, and they join our program with an extensive background of
professional experience working with children, adolescents and adults.
In addition to the staff listed above, our teachers include: Olivia Arena-Miller, Kristin Baxter, Katie Burton,
John Cosgrove, John Hawkins, Dona Jones, Brooke Kohler, David Laboski, Brent Maczko, Kelly Prentice,
Andrea Pysher, Andree Santini, Scott Slingerland, Sara Timofeev, and Amanda Tressler.