|About Us: The International Wellness Task Force at JSP was founded by Jason Grant Shela MBE, Dr. Carine Minne, Michael Skakun & Catherine Peila & in response to the global pandemic. It is a diverse, international, inter-faith group who are committed to bringing healing and comfort to those affected both directly and indirectly by the Covid Virus. We each bring a unique set of talents and have been serving our respective communities for many years. We are educators, ministers, therapists, social workers, creative directors & enrichment program specialists, musicians, artists who share a collective goal to bring harmony out of discord. We believe that no problem is too small and we are here to help if and when needed. We are committed to the healing of mind, body and soul. We serve as a resource for individuals and families who need assistance or an effective first port of call. We are based in London & New York.
Our Programs & Assistance:
The Team have been providing the following to people around the world during the pandemic:
ퟏ Organizing funerals, religious burials and zoom filming and appropriate memorial services.
ퟏ Supporting families while their loved ones are in hospital and when they pass, with meal services and comfort calls.
ퟏ Free Meal Mobilization and Distribution to Senior Citizens and those in need.
ퟏ Online Zoom lessons in Music, Yoga and Sports for Youth with Intellectual Disabilities.
ퟏ Professional Therapy & Social Work Programs.
ퟏ Professional Support for those who have lost jobs or business during the pandemic.
Jason Grant Shela MBE FRSA MA
Jason was born and raised in North London, England. He won an international scholarship and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Baruch College, City University of New York. He then earned a Master’s degree in International Relations from New York University. Jason received a Steven Spielberg Scholarship for international study at the Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland and a post graduate scholarship at Yale University. He became the first Englishman to be elected a Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency in Washington D.C. Jason is a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Golden Key and Beta Gamma Sigma, the National Academic Honor Society for Business Administration in the United States.
Jason Grant Shela is the Co-founder of The Youth Enrichment International Think Tank. A committed youth sports educator since 1985, Jason founded The British Soccer Academy which has served thousands of children K-12 in New York City. He was voted PSAA High School Coach of the year and has led the Hunter College Middle School Boys and Girls teams to the New York Public Schools City Championship & multiple Uptown City Championships. Jason serves as Director of Athletic Education for the Elephant Soccer Club of Harlem, a community based non-profit program. He also created The Soccer Goodwill Festival program for K-8 grade youth aimed at building links between players, their families and the wider community. Jason has coached generations of children with physical and intellectual disabilities across the spectrum and created transformative soccer, basketball, multi-sports and family and individual play therapy programs. He was honored by AHRC for his many years of dedicated service to people with disabilities.
Jason is the Founder and Creative Director of My Generation Media as a creative, collaborative and educational organization of actors, writers and musicians. and has written, directed and produced many live shows in New York, Memphis & Mississippi. He received his theatrical training at Sir Michael Redgrave Theatre in the UK. He has received multiple ASCAP awards for original music composition. He created Covid Comfort Angels in memory of his father Saville and is the Founder of The International Wellness Task Force which is based in London & New York. He also serves as Chairman of the Memorial Advisory Board for TheEternalCloud.com. Jason was awarded the MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the 2019 New Year’s Honor’s List from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for his services to youth soccer education and work with children with disabilities. He lives in New York City with his wife Mary and their three children. He is committed to developing outstanding community programs within the framework of sports, music, theatre & the arts.
Dr. Carine Minne
Dr. Minne is a Psychoanalyst at the British Society and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She trained as a forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist, bringing these specialties together in her posting as Consultant Psychiatrist at the Portman Clinic, (Tavistock & Portman NHS F Trust) and Broadmoor Hospital (West London NHS Trust). She is President of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy and chairs the IPA (International Psychoanalytical Association) Community Committee on Violence. Her focus for the last 25 years has been mainly on providing psychoanalytic treatments for patients who have acted violently. Many of her patients are in secure settings, psychiatric hospitals or prisons where psychoanalytically informed supervisions are provided to staff, given the strength of the reactions such patients or prisoners can provoke in those caring for them. She also treats people, many of them younger adults, who have grown up in marginalised and disenfranchised communities, who have found themselves turning to delinquent routes to manage or obliterate their distress. Long term in-depth work is an important part of the overall treatment for such multiply traumatized people, given their background histories, the offenses they commit, and their discovery during treatment of being traumatised, mentally disordered. Strong resistance to this work is regularly encountered, particularly by the general public that can mistake understanding with condoning. However, providing psychoanalytic approaches within relevant mental health and criminal justice organizations is often appreciated.
She has a lifetime of experience in the arts as an artist, an educator, producer of cultural programming and executive programming and finance advisor to leading social and cultural organizations. Her work is focused on organizations that strengthen social and cultural ties for contemporary and traditional cultures. Her philosophical foundation springs from her belief that art and healing (as both an aesthetic process and a communicative tool) are directly linked and that link is key to a robust lifestyle for individual, societal and planetary existence and health.
Her interest and training in traditional cultures and their healing practices influence her deep interest in contemporary entrepreneurial businesses and cultural projects. Her education includes academic and practical training in Medical Anthropology – Arts and Healing (includes academic and ethnographic research and practical internships with African, European and Native American healers/master artists), She is an active member of the international healing and cultural communities, an advisor/representative on numerous cultural associations and government and foundation advisory groups focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility from an holistic perspective.
She earned a dual degree in medical anthropology and arts production & performance art from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University. She has an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Administration from OSU and is currently studying for an executive MBA at the London School of Economics. and She participates in ongoing training in Polarity healing. She holds a master Reiki certificate and has worked with European, Native American and African community healers and herbalists on her path to finding a holistic process. Her academic and practical work is meant to create a bridge between preventative social healing and support that can complement allopathic (Western) medicine. Her lifelong goal is to continue to work and grow and translate the philosophy and practice of traditional cultures’ powerful holistic practices into the combined practice of arts and healing in American culture.
She has expertise in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors creating successful strategic and tactical processes for long-term and short-term cultural projects and organizations. She has raised millions of dollars through sponsorships/partnerships, foundation, corporate, government and individual giving contributions, along with earned revenue sales including small business cultural entrepreneurship projects that diversify cultural programs across disciplines and venue types (including digital) and artist portfolios. She has numerous government cultural awards for her art and social/democratic development work in Eastern Europe following the fall of the Berlin wall as well as long-monetary awards for programs and artistic work developed across the globe from Soros Open Society Fund, Stefan Batory Foundation, the New York Community Trust, European Union, Eurasmus, The MOSAIC Fund – Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Howard Gilman, Mertz Gilmore, American Express, Mercedes Benz, among many others. Ms. Peila is active in a diverse local and international cultural and healing cultures and communities utilizing her skills as artist, educator, manager, executive, curator, producer, community advocate, student and social entrepreneur.
He is a son of Holocaust survivors and the author of “On Burning Ground: A Son’s memoir” (St. Martin’s Press), the story of his father’s nerve-peeling, gut-wrenching inspirational wartime survival. The recipient of a starred and lead review in Publisher’s Weekly, the book was described as “distinguished by outstanding writing and moral complexity.” The Washington Post headlined this tale of extreme masquerade as the “The Story of a Holocaust Houdini.” In the “Oprah” reissue of Elie Wiesel’s classic “Night,” the Noble Peace laureate selected “On Burning Ground” as one of five books for advanced reading about the Holocaust, in the company of “The Pianist” and “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” among others. A feature film is now in early preparation.
Using his father’s stranger-than-fiction survival narrative as a foundation stone, Michael Skakun established the Joseph Skakun Project, as a charity and cultural memory initiative to foster the creative uses of existential adversity. Via interfaith dialogue, performing arts productions, educational endeavors, and psychological outreach, he and his able team have sought to bring as wide a message of hope, tolerance and inclusivity as possible to a world plagued by dispute and divisiveness. Born in Jaffa on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean and raised in New York, he has served as a journalist, author, and translator. As a public affairs specialist, he worked for National UJA and Israel Bonds, and the Congress for Jewish Culture, as well as a host of other non-profit organizations. He has served at such publications as the “”Forward (both English and Yiddish), the Litchfield County Times and the New York Observer as cultural writer and reviewer. He latest book-length work, “Tattered Silk,” is a wide-canvassed biographical portrait of his mother’s war odyssey as a child refugee, the story of a rare but successful international rescue effort undertaken during the darkest chapter of modern history.
Michael Skakun, a graduate of Brooklyn College, earned an M.B.A. at the City University of New York. He has been a Ph. D candidate in English and American Literature at the Graduate Center of CUNY. He worked as a researcher/writer for his academic mentor, Alfred Kazin, the noted literary critic, scholar and author of “A Walker in the City”; for French writer and social activist, Marek Halter; as well as for the Center for Jewish History, a consortium of the world’s leading Jewish archives.
He is Director of Animation at the JSP and runs the creative media lab. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied Law and Art at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. While growing up in Johannesburg, he had a passion for music and started his very first rock band while in high school. He has spent his creative career as a graphic designer, artist and composer. He held the position of Art & Creative Director of the tourist weekly publication- “This week in Israel” (a subsidiary of the Golden pages directory services.) As a political cartoonist and artist, he was published in Yediot Ha Acharonot, the Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Herald (SA), The Financial Times (SA), & The Algemeiner Journal (New York). He presently resides in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and family. He spends most of his time working, painting, drawing cartoons, playing music and writing and composing songs. He is currently working on a musical entitled ‘Petticoat Lane.’
Rabbi Avrohom Marmorstein
He received semicha rabbinical ordination from Gateshead rabbinical college in Newcastle England and Beth Medrash Gavoha of Lakewood NJ. Born in London and settled in New York City to serve the community he served as Rabbi of Ohav Zedek from 1980 to 1987. He is serving rabbi at CONG MINCHAS CHINUCH upper west side from 1987 until present. He is kashruth coordinator for Mehadrin Kashrus and created the kosher supervision of Fairway and many other local stores. Rabbi Marmorstein has a Master of Science in medical ethics from Union College. He has been the hospital chaplain at Hackensack Medical University as well as Valley and Engelwood Medical Center from the 1980s to present.
Sarah is a member of the distinguished Carlebach family. She has an educational degree from the Misrad Hachinuch in Israel and was a student of education at Touro College. She has taught elementary school at Jewish day schools for thirty years. She is a community activist, and advocate for children in the community to receive the care they need spends time tutoring and directing creative activities for children. She teaches Jewish family law and gives support and strength to those in times of need.
Rabbi Isaac Mann
He is an ordinee of Yeshiva University having studied under Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik for four years and received semicha from him. He also has a Master’s Degree in Talmud from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University and a Master’s in Medieval Jewish History from Harvard University. He has taught at various schools including Flatbush High School, Hunter College, The Academy for Jewish Religion, and others. He has served in several synagogues as Rabbi or as Scholar and is sought after for his erudition and ability to convey Jewish teachings in a clear and concise manner. He also has a charming personality and loves to help people. Thus he works part-time as a chaplain in hospitals and nursing homes. He is available for someone who needs guidance in Jewish practice and explication of Hebrew texts. He also does life-cycle events (weddings, funerals, and the like). If you need spiritual support, he is the Man(n) to call.
Father Peter Mushi, AJ
He was born in Tanzania at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. He was ordained a missionary priest in 1987 and continued teaching modern philosophy in the Apostles of Jesus located in Nairobi, Kenya. From 1989 to 1993 he became an assistant pastor in Nakeseke, Uganda. From 1993 to 1995 Father Peter came to the United States to pursue higher studies. He earned a master’s degree in theology and second degree in conflict resolution and peace studies at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He took the role of assistant pastor in Shenandoah, PA. Later he moved to New York to work as Pastor of Saint Angela Merici in the Bronx. In 2010 he became the Pastor of Saint Cecilia and Holy Agony in Manhattan.
Esther has been a practicing Clinical Social Worker since 2005, when she graduated from Fordham University to embark on a second career in addition to her long-time work as an editor. She has trained in numerous sub-specialities, including domestic abuse, trauma and bereavement, and worked extensively with parents of youth in conflict and adults coping with loss. Currently, she maintains a private practice in Brooklyn, NY and is an Adjunct Professor in Human Services and Clinical Social Work in the Distance Learning Program at Bellevue University. Most people will, at times, encounter life situations that confound them. At those junctures, they will benefit, and even flourish, with the supportive presence of an empathetic, trained professional with whom they can connect to address the problems that cloud their lives. Esther works in an interpersonal, psychodynamic style that seeks to establish practical approaches integrating appropriate techniques, such as cognitive restructuring and mindfulness.
Micah D. Halpern
He is a columnist and a social and political commentator. He is a dynamic speaker who specializes in analyzing world events. Halpern’s most recent book, “Thugs,” spent time on Amazon’s list of best-selling books. He is also the author of “What You Need To Know About: Terror.” He maintains The Micah Report offering perspective and insight on important national and international issues. His range of subject matter is broad. Micah is a frequent analyst on network television and radio. His face is familiar to viewers of JBS- TV where he hosts his own weekly show entitled “Thinking Out Loud” and to viewers of CBS, FOX and ABC’s The View. Micah is a weekly columnist for Newsmax and the Jerusalem Post. For seven years he wrote a twice weekly column for the New York Observer. His columns are read on the internet and in papers and websites around the world, from Huffington Post to FrontPageMag to American Thinker. An expert on terrorism, Halpern has been invited for consultations in the White House with terror analysts and has addressed conferences sponsored by the Justice Department. He has also contributed religious commentary for CNN and ABC television.
Micah taught Jewish history at Yale University and was a long-standing educator with Young Judaea. He has also taught at Brandeis University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Halpern lectures in the fields of political terror and world terrorism, Middle East dynamics, Jewish history, the Holocaust, Zionism and Israeli society and politics. Halpern is an ordained rabbi and was also the National Executive Director of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva, 75 institutions and 25,000 students. Micah also is a specialist in preparing students for standardized tests and university entrance. A native of Annapolis, he currently resides in New York City.
Don Puglisi MFA
Don Puglisi is a New York based actor/writer/musician/artist who has had his work showcased in a variety of venues. As an actor, he has had various supporting and speaking roles on TV shows such as Law and Order, Life on Mars where he played singer Jim Croce, the Golden Globe award winning HBO series, Boardwalk Empire and many others. As a voice over artist he has recorded announcer spots for McDonald’s, Oreo’s, Carmax, French’s and dozens of others. He has also voiced several animated series including many Japanese anime titles. As a musician, Don has licensed music from his first solo record Goodbye New York to Academy Award winning director Ang Lee’s film Taking Woodstock as well as for the documentary Houston We Have a Problem. Don has acted with Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis who played his mother in The Ballad of Salvatore Salustio. He appeared in the TV series Vinyl produced by Martin Scorcese & Mick Jagger. Don is a graduate of Wayne State University and earned an MFA and is currently a Professor of English, Writing & Literature, Drawing & Painting at The School for Visual Arts in New York City.
Penni is a music teacher at St. Lawrence School, in Utica, Michigan, where she works with children in grades preschool through eighth. Prior to assuming the role of music teacher, Ms. Karam worked with middle school students in Special Education and was a substitute teacher for all grades in all subjects. She is also a private tutor, providing academic support and instruction in Reading, Writing, Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics for elementary and middle school students. Ms. Karam holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resource Development, with a concentration in Training and Development from Oakland University, in Rochester Hills, Michigan. She is returning to Oakland University this fall to complete a Music Education Degree with a concentration in vocal music.
Born in Water Valley, Mississippi. Clay is experienced with human service and welfare issues in areas all over Mississippi for almost 30 years. He graduated with a degree in Psychology from the University of Mississippi. Main job focus was supervision of Social Workers in helping improve the lives of the poor through guiding them in education and gaining work experience. Presently, serving on the boards of Compassion Ministry, a local food pantry; Innovative Behavioral Services in Ridgeland, Mississippi, a clinic that serves those in the inner city of Jackson and as Chairman of the Nominating Committee for the Tallahatchie Valley Power Association, a local electric power provider. He is also Deacon and member of the church choir at First Presbyterian Church which he has served faithfully for many years.
Roy Ashong is a specialist designer based in West London with over 25 years of experience within the fashion sector. During his career he has worked with some of the biggest names in the fashion industry including Chelsea Girl, Frank Usher, Ben Bloom, Jasper Conrad, John Galliano, Rifat Ozbeck, Anne Terrell, Linda Ceirack, Catharine Walker, Bruce Oldfield, Susan Neville, Caroline Charles, Vivienne Westwood, Roberto Cavalli, Jenny Peckham & Ester Franklin. He studied at the American College of Applied Arts, fashion design marketing. Roy is also the founder of Royal Estates, a property agency.
Roy is a respected community activist and respected coach and has been mentoring and helping youth achieve their goals for many years. An outstanding athlete, his multi-sport achievements include, Football trialist with Fulham and Manchester United. Member of the Rugby 7s UK Schools Champions Team. Chiswick Comprehensive School, Sports Hall of Fame. Rowing Cox 4 English Champions. Cricket School Captain and Prolific All-Rounder. He was Middlesex County Boxing Youth Champion. In Athletics was a finalist in 100, 200 and 400 meters London schools Championship and European Break Dance Team Champions. Roy lives in West London with his wife and their 4 Children.
She was born on the Small Island of Dominica and started her athletics career at the age of 11. In 1993 she made her first national appearance in the 1993 Carifta Games which was held in Martinique. She continued to represent her native land in local and international track and field competition for the next six years. Jeana held countless records in 100m, 200m, 400m, Long Jump and Triple Jump. To date she’s the only Dominican who received 7 gold medals in one competition. After relocation to the British Virgin Islands her love for sports took her to the soccer field where she excelled. She started playing with the HBA Panthers in 2003. In 2004 she led the team to its first championship. She was selected for the BVI national team and represented them with distinction for ten years until 2014 when she relocated to the USA. In 2009 she started as a volunteer coach at her son’s school. By 2010 she was employed as a coach with the BVI Football association. In 2012 she led the high school team all the way to their first championship win. In 2014 she became assistant coach/team manager for the BVI U21 Female National Team. During her many years of coaching she’s completed numerous coaching courses on various levels. Jeana is certified in Mental Health First Aid USA and has been trained to provide initial help to people experiencing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorder, psychosis and substance use disorders with a focus on youth and young adults.
John DeMatteo MS
John earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from SUNY Binghamton, his Master’s degree in Physical Education with specialty in students with disabilities from Touro College, and did Post-Graduate studies in Physical Education and Kinesiology at California State University. He is the Athletic Director at PS 126 in downtown Manhattan. John created and serves as Commissioner of the Middle School Athletic League, one of the largest public school leagues in the USA. He has received multiple teaching and community service awards.
Adama was born in Danane, Ivory Coast. He played for Afiya FC as a youth and later joined semi-professional team, Bane FC. He came to America at 22 and has been a proud Harlem resident for over 20 years. His dream was to start his own Soccer Club and that manifested in the formation of The Elephant Soccer Club of Harlem. Adama and his team of dedicated Coaches have built a first-class training and team program for the youth of the area and thousands of kids have come through the ranks.
He was born in Antigua. A gifted footballer and cricketer, he represented his school and club teams and was selected for the Antigua National Football Youth Team. He also represented Tortola at National level. Lesroy later came to New York and is respected as one of the top tactical coaches in the country. He is a senior coach at the British Soccer Academy and The Elephant Soccer Club of Harlem. He has licenses from CONCACAF (2014), UEFA (2000) and NSCAA (2016).