Mike was born and raised in New York and works as an attorney. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of DreamStreet for several years and looks forward to the continued growth and success of the organization and its talented participants.
Mariko Sakita is the Founder of Project Job, an organization that partners with businesses to promote the hiring of individuals with disabilities, and coaches candidates through the internship and job search process. Her prior professional experience includes 16 years in the financial services industry with Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers. Mariko is a member of the National Council for the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education, and a credentialed Work Incentives Practitioner through Cornell ILR’s Yang & Tan Employment and Disability Institute. Mariko is also a parent of three children: Evan, a CUNY student with a disability who works part-time, Sarah, one of the teaching artists at DreamStreet, and Kayla, a college student studying overseas. Mariko looks forward to helping DreamStreet grow, and to having DreamStreet showcase to audiences that having a disability does not preclude one from achieving personal and/or professional success.
Board Secretary & Treasurer
Elizabeth has worked in institutional sales and marketing at various investment banks both here and abroad, most recently at Credit Suisse. She is a member of the Komansky Center Family Advisory Council at NYP Weill Cornell Hospital which focuses on patient centered care for pediatric patients, as well as an active volunteer with City Harvest’s Healthy Neighborhoods nutrition program. Her daughter, Safia is 23 years old and a performer in DreamStreet, which has provided her with a wonderful community of friends and fellow actors. She is looking forward to helping DreamStreet grow as an organization and expand their programming for adults and children with disabilities.
Len Heisler serves as the Co-Founder of DreamStreet as well as a founding Board Member for the organization. He loves watching the company evolve and is confident DreamStreet will rise to its fullest potential with the guidance of such an active and engaging Board, Cast, and Staff.
Kendra's journey with DreamStreet began in 1998 as an assistant stage manager and photography intern. She is grateful to have been a part of this organization’s evolution and extraordinary progress since her mother founded it 18 years ago.
Kendra received her BFA in Photography at F.I.T. in NYC and is currently a member of the Y.M.C.A.’s Senior Citizen Life Improvement Efforts.
Kendra is continually inspired by the cast and crew of DreamStreet Theatre Company and is thankful for their outstanding commitment to the vision of the organization.
Cheryl received her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from Columbia University. She has spent her 37 year-long professional career in the public sector serving individuals with mental health issues. She worked as a mental health clinician in inpatient, outpatient and community settings at St. Vincent’s Hospital and St. Luke’s/ Roosevelt Hospital. Her major focus was to assist individuals in achieving their highest possible level of independent living and vocational functioning. After many rewarding years of direct clinical service, Cheryl was appointed the Director of Occupational, Recreational and Creative Arts Therapy services at Saint Luke’s /Roosevelt Hospital. In this role she became increasingly involved in program evaluation and quality improvement. She developed and implemented methods of evaluating whether program goals were being met. For the last 12 years of her career, Cheryl worked at the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene where she headed the Department’s signature mental hygiene Initiative: Quality Impact. At its peak, over 300 outpatient programs participated in the program as a requirement of receiving funding.Though Cheryl is a new DreamStreet Board member, she has served in the past as a volunteer and is delighted to now have the time to take on a more substantial role.
Alexander Emmart has dedicated his life to the arts. After receiving his Masters Degree from the University of Salford in 2005, he moved to New York City to open his own art space called Mighty Tanaka. Focusing primarily on street art and emerging art, Alexander has honed his skills over the past 13 years in the field and has curated well over 100 individual art shows and events to date. A recent addition to the Dream Street board, he brings a passion for art and fundraising to the organization. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
Laurie Yankowitz has been a career professional in the field of developmental disabilities since 1981, and earned her doctorate in Special Education with a focus on intellectual disabilities and autism from Teachers College in 2010. Her first full-time job was providing direct support to adults at Fernald State School, where she found that the most effective interventions were interest in the individuals, understanding behavior as well as language as communication and respecting their perspectives. Laurie feels privileged to have been part of the evolution of supports for people whose capacities for independence present inherent challenges. A long-time fan of the DreamStreet Theater Company and its late, great founder, Karuna Heisler, she is delighted to join the newly formed Board and support the continuation of Karuna’s legacy. She is especially proud to work with Len Heisler and daughter Kendra, who honor Karuna’s life and vision with such passion, skill, and love.