Our board and staff
Founder and Executive Director
Biliana is a founder of Karina Association and created the executive leadership team in September, 2011. She leads the Board of Directors, designs the therapy program, develops fundraising strategy, organizes special events, recruits volunteers, and leads public relations efforts. She was born in Bulgaria and now lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Biliana has a Master's Degree in Fine Arts and Fashion Design from Bulgarian National Art Academy. In Bulgaria, she worked as a Costume Designer for the Bulgarian National Film Studio. Biliana came to the United States in 1991 to study at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. She graduated with a major in Christian theology, and started a ministry with Slavic immigrants in the Baltimore-Washington metro area. Soon after, Biliana was affected deeply by the documentary, Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children created by BBC journalist, Kate Blewett. It moved her to start a children’s ministry in her native country to help abandoned and disabled children. She established the non-profit organization, Karina Association, in 2009, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization to make the public aware of the critical situation of the forgotten children in state institutions in Bulgaria. She helped move 25 of these children into small group homes there to give them a better future. Back in the USA, Biliana became a personal caregiver to a young 19 years old girl in Towson, Maryland. Her work with disabled young adults has inspired her to start a special program with Expressive Arts Therapy for families with disabled children here in the Baltimore area. Currently Karina's services are based in Baltimore County, Maryland where the program reaches children, youth and young adults with disabilities. These are individuals mostly from moderate to low income families and from single parent families. Karina is the only non-profit organization in Maryland that practices the multi-disciplinary Expressive Arts Therapy Model offering services of Art, Music, Dance/Movement, Drama/Theater, Poetry and Storytelling.
Alan Stein, CPA
Alan is a Senior Manager at Gorfine, Schiller & Gardyn, P.A., a local public accounting firm, where he manages audits and other attest engagements, with a focus on the not-for-profit sector. He has a BS in Accounting from Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business and is a CPA. Alan and his wife, Shoshi, live in Pikesville and have four wonderful children. He joined Karina because he is looking for an opportunity to contribute to the growth of an Organization meeting an important need in our community.
BOD /Landscaping and Gardening Program Director
William graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a BS Degree in Horticulture in 1979. After college Rhodes worked for the Virginia Dept of Agriculture for 4 years then worked as a Horticulturist for 4 years. In 1987 Will went to work for USDA for 10 years. In 1997 Will served as President of Global Solar and Electric where he worked for 10 years designing and installing Photo-voltaic solar systems throughout Maryland. More recently Rhodes spent 15 months in Afghanistan with the Foreign Agricultural Service. At this time Will holds a Secret level Security Clearance. He started as a volunteer in our organization because he has a passion for helping children with disabilities.
In Afghanistan he assisted children who needed medical aid with their physical disabilities. He also saw a real need for an intensive Master Gardening model that is one of the most effective methods in giving a child the maximum opportunity to make developmental, functional, and behavioral gains early in life. William strives to create real and lasting relationships with families affected by disabilities in our community and provide a network of support to all.
Chef and Culinary Instructor
Chris is trained in French cuisine and partner in the Country Fare restaurant group, he served as a Souse Chef for Kings Contrivance Restaurant. For the past five years Chris has being a Culinary Instructor for St. Elizabeth School, teaching students with disabilities how to prepare meals from scratch. With a focus on both individual and team work skills, students learn knife working, frying, sautéing and all other skills needed to prepare a meal.
He teaches different cuisines, healthy cooking, safe cooking and enjoyment of preparing food for ourselves and others.
John is a Vice President at T. Rowe Price, one of the world’s largest asset managers, where he is responsible for evaluating the firm’s investment opportunities in the Consumer Staples sector. Prior to T. Rowe Price, John worked at Legg Mason Capital Management and First Annapolis Consulting. He has a BS in Financial Economics from UMBC and an MBA with Honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. John and his wife, Carolyn, have two beautiful children, Nathan and Emily. He joined Karina because he is passionate about giving back to those in need and wants to use his business skills to help grow the organization.
Carin has been an advocate for her daughter, Ellie, as well as other individuals with disabilities for over 20 years. Her experience as a Family Navigator, finding resources for families of children with disabilities, as well as her ten plus years working with the Commission on Disabilities for Baltimore County led her to begin working with Karina Association over five years ago. In Carin’s capacity as a Support Broker through self- directed services she works closely with DDA (Developmental Disabilities Administration) to learn and stay up to date on current happenings with state regulations. As a board member of Karina Association, she assists with the Friday night social group as well as the creation of Karina’s new Community Learning Services.
Athanacia Thania Prentis-Senge
BOD / Arts & Crafts Instructor
Thania has had more than three decades of experience as a fine artist, illustrator, craftsperson, and freelance expressive art instructor. Influenced and encouraged by multiple artists in her family, her interest and education began at a very early age. Her formal education began at Towson University studying Art, Theatre and Dance. Thania continued her studies at The Maryland Institute College of Art, where she earned a Certificate in Illustration. Some of her clients include: Anne Arundel Medical Center, Jersey Fresh Produce, PWCCP Specialty, Petal Pushers, Portrait Commissions, and Greeting Cards.
Thania and her husband, Bill are the parents of two strong and admirable young women, Nicolette and Sophia. Her elder daughter, Nicolette now 26, has profound physical, cognitive and medical disabilities. With the help of her family, Thania has spent these years as a tireless advocate for Nicolette. She continues to advocate for family, friends and others in the
disabilities community. Working creatively with a range of individuals from the very young to the very elderly, with/without disabilities, she has witnessed how the arts heal, inspire and enrich. Thania believes artists with disabilities need and deserve professional development opportunities as much as any other artist – their value, aspirations and achievements recognized.
“There's no retirement for an artist,
it's your way of living, so there's no end to it.”
~ Henry Moore
After enlisting in the United States Marine Corp, Rev. Tony Lawson worked for the United States Government while attending Pennsylvania State University and earned his college degrees from United Christian Bible Seminary, Southern Baptist Seminary and in 2012 from Liberty University. Rev Lawson is a member of the Baltimore Alumni Chapter of Liberty University, member of The National Council on Independent Living, United States Delegate of WIN (World Independent Network), Commissioner for Baltimore County and newly appointed by the Governor of Maryland to the Maryland State Rehabilitation Council. In August of 2015 Rev. Lawson was appointed by the Governor of the State of Maryland Lawrence J. Hogan Jr to the Maryland Statewide Independent Living Council where he currently holds the position of President and Chairman of The Governor’s Council and heads the Faith Based Initiatives for The State of Maryland. Rev. Lawson is responsible for every religion and denomination in Maryland for those who are living with disabilities. Rev. Lawson travels across Maryland, works with The White House, Annapolis State Senate and House of Representatives.