Lakeland, FL | Aug 1, 2019
Ukulele Kids Club Promotes Three To Leadership Roles
Stephanie Epstein, Marlén Rodriguez-Wolfe, Amber O’Leary Assume New Executive Positions for Child-Focused Nonprofit
For the first time since its founding more than five years ago, the nonprofit Ukulele Kids Club (UKC) has expanded its executive leadership team with three newly created roles. Stephanie Epstein, M.M., MT-BC, becomes president, elevated from her previous position of vice president and director of music therapy. Marlén Rodriguez-Wolfe, M.M., MT-BC, assumes the title of vice president of clinical outreach, having previously served as director of hospital outreach. Amber O’Leary, longtime staffer and administrator for the UKC, becomes vice president of operations. Corey Bergman, founder of UKC and chief executive officer, made the announcement today.
“It’s not uncommon for nonprofits like us to be very short staffed, but I can say without reservation that without Stephanie, Marlén, and Amber, there would be no UKC,” said Bergman. “These three extraordinary women have done everything in their power to help this organization fulfill its mission: using music to transform the lives of hospitalized kids, during their stay and beyond.”
The UKC is a leading advocacy organization for music therapy. Through fundraising and partnerships with music- and hospital-related organizations, the UKC delivers high quality, easy-to-play ukuleles to hospital-based, pediatric music therapy programs around the world. Hospitalized children use the ukuleles in therapy during their stay, and keep the instruments when they go home.
“Our work at UKC is really never done, because there is an infinite demand for these instruments to help hospitalized children work toward their health and wellness goals through music therapy,” said Epstein. “I am energized at the possibilities we now have to combine clinical excellence, operational experience, and the giving spirit behind this organization to make a meaningful difference in the lives of children and their families.”
As president, Epstein reports to the CEO and assumes day-to-day responsibilities for the full range of UKC operations, from fundraising and events to advocacy and clinical outreach. She will oversee the successful implementation of UKC programs, management of personnel and budget, and quality of services delivered by the UKC in the United States and abroad. Epstein has helped build and shape UKC’s advocacy of music therapy since she joined the organization in 2014; the UKC earned the American Music Therapy Association’s Advocacy Award in part because of her efforts. Epstein is a music therapist at Holtz Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida and earned a bachelor’s degree in music therapy and music education from Nazareth College (Rochester, New York, magna cum laude) and a Master of Music degree in music therapy from the University of Miami.
A member of the UKC staff since 2015, Rodriguez-Wolfe will act as clinical liaison with music therapists and hospital-based music therapy programs internationally. Through her efforts, the UKC will remain responsive to the current needs of practicing music therapy professionals around the world. She will support the UKC president in all clinical initiatives of the organization. Rodriguez-Wolfe holds a Master of Music degree in music therapy from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, and a bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Berklee College of Music. Previously a music therapist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Coral Gables, Florida, Rodriguez-Wolfe is currently owner of Musicoterapia Funcional in Querétaro, Mexico.
Formerly chief of staff for UKC, O’Leary ensures that the organization’s strategic plans become reality through careful execution. As vice president of operations, she will support the president by ensuring that UKC programs run successfully, on time and on budget. She joined the UKC in 2015 and has since demonstrated her ability to maximize organizational resources, budget and productivity. O’Leary holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Orleans, and currently works for Excelcia Music Publishing in Lakeland, Florida.