ABOUT USHINE CENTER
Brandi Piecora lives in Arlington, WA with her husband of 26 years, Dan and their three children Gabe (20), Gideon (16) and Eden (15).
A Message From Our Executive Director,
I would like to take a moment to formally thank you for visiting our website, and considering the UShine Center for the needs of your family. Here at UShine we truly understand the struggles that our families face every day.
I will never forget the day my own life changed forever, August 2nd, 2005 - the day my 4 ½ year old son was diagnosed with autism.
After so long of being told there was something "different" about my son, I finally had a logical explanation. My four year old son was still not talking, but as first time parents we didn't notice anything else unusual. I was grateful that we now had something to move forward with. I had very little knowledge of the subject at the time, after all this was 17 years ago, and no one was talking about autism. It has been a long, and always interesting road.
While raising my children I worked professionally in administration and real estate. Then I ultimately found an incredible position helping families in crises at a local non-profit. Being a case manager for formerly homeless individuals and families was extremely demanding, but my most challenging job was advocating for two children on the spectrum (my second son was diagnosed in 2007), navigating IEP’s, therapies, special diets (we've tried them all!).
I received training as an IEP Parent Partner through the ARC of Snohomish County, and I am currently working on a Masters of Psychology with an emphasis in human behavior.
I would like to share the theories of behavior change with parents to help strengthen families who live with a member on the spectrum. My personal experience having children with autism, and working with young adults with autism has sparked a passion for helping to support individuals and families who live in the autism community. This was the inspiration behind UShine.
Eric Jimenez lives in Everett, WA. He is a youth activist who loves dance, the arts, and everything Disney.
A Message From Our Program Director,
As the Creative Director at UShine my job centers around making sure that our program offers our clients creative arts, dance and fitness.
Dance has been a part of my life since I was six (6) years old. When I was thirteen my little sister was diagnosed with a developmental delay, and I noticed that teaching her dance helped her to interact more easily with the world around her. That experience was enough to install a passion in me that has never extinguished to this day.
I felt that I needed to learn more not only about my sister, but about others who had similar experiences. I became a Registered Behavior Technician, and started working with a number of clients who are on the autism spectrum. It was my job to help them develop the skills that they needed to improve their quality of life.
From there I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to act as the Director of a dance program through the Los Angeles Unified School District, where I started a program for special needs individuals.
I've also acted as an academic advisor for high school students through the Project Steps program through the LAUSD. The program was sponsored by California State University Northridge/UCLA and aimed to increase the rate of at-risk youth who enroll in college.
Most recently I was given the opportunity to relocate to Washington State and for the last year I have acted as a case manager for a program run by a local non-profit organization helping young adults transition from the streets into housing. It is through that work that I met Brandi Piecora, and Chalamar Nichols, and together we have worked hard to make the UShine Center a reality.
The UShine Center
Lighting Up The Spectrum