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.
Director and Direct Support Professional
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.
BOD and Advocate
Hi! I’m Olivia-- I like to be called Liv for short. I enjoy painting, DIYing, hiking, and writing poetry. I have autism, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), early childhood trauma, dissociative identity disorder (DID), dyslexia, and bipolar disorder. Because of what I go through with my mental illnesses, my poetry is often about spreading knowledge and awareness about mental illnesses and neurodiversity and my artwork promotes positive messages about peace, love, and unity. I often teach the participants at Karina painting techniques. I also help the participants at Karina by encouraging them and boosting their confidence so they can achieve their goals. Also, I like to advocate for them when they can’t do it themselves. During my time at Karina, I gained a family and a home and because of that, it’s important to me that all the participants know that I’m there for them and have their back!
Direct Support Professional
Amy is a college graduate from Illinois State University, and has a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in European Studies. She has a passion for learning about how people, society, and the environment continues to influence the world. Amy has experience with non-profit groups such as: Muscular Dystrophy Association, Brain Injury Association of Illinois, Easterseals Central Illinois, St. Jude Foundation, Autism McClean Youth Group, Camp Summit and many others. She spent a summer working with Timber Pointe Outdoor Center through Easterseals in Hudson, IL and worked with all level of ability. Currently, she is obtaining her Masters of Arts in Teaching for Secondary Special Education with a content focus in History at Towson University, to be completed May 2022. Amy is a Direct Support Professional for Karina Association and is excited to help the participants grow throughout their time together. She joined Karina Association because she wanted to continue her passion to assist people with disabilities reach their full potential.
John was a Vice President at T. Rowe Price, one of the world’s largest asset managers, where he was 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.
Mary Susan Donhauser
Board of Directors
Mary Susan Donhauser is Chief Human Resources Officer and Director of SC&H Group, an accounting and consulting firm located in Sparks, MD. Mary Susan has been with the firm for more than eight years and works to establish a supportive culture while recruiting and retaining talent. She is focused on creating volunteer opportunities and leads the firm’s training program, SC&H University, where employees develop their technical and professional development skills. Prior to joining SC&H, Mary Susan was the Director of Professional Development for Legg Mason. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Towson University and an Associate of Arts degree from Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University). Mary Susan resides in Timonium, MD with her husband Brian and son Luke.
Board of Directors
Ben graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A. in Biology and then from University of Maryland with a Ph.D. in Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Science. This was followed by a postdoc position at Rutgers University, teaching at the Community College of Baltimore County and later affiliation with the Ronin Institute. His academic research focused on using plants and animals as indicators of and changes in overall ecosystem health in estuaries including Chesapeake Bay, Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor, and Maryland’s Coastal Bays. He has taught Physical Geography at the Community College of Baltimore County and currently teaches Introduction to Biology, Geographic Information Systems, and Foundations of Service Learning at Stevenson University. The service-learning course blends academic learning and volunteerism. From 2018-2020 Ben was the Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at Irvine Nature Center, a nonprofit committed to environmental education. In addition to serving on the Board at Karina Association, he is the 2020-2021 President of the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society and sits on the governing board of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation and actively volunteers with a number of nonprofit organizations. Ben is particularly excited to be a part of the Karina Association because of his experiences interacting with students in the PSFALs and similar programs that volunteer(ed) at Irvine Nature Center. There, he expanded opportunities to increase diversity – including neurodiversity – in the volunteer pool and to expand the types of activities that volunteers could participate in as best suited their time, interest and talents. Ben lives in the Pikesville area with his wife, soon-to-be three children, and cat. He enjoys reading history and science fiction, hiking in all weather, and crosswords.
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.
Direct Support Professional
Azalia earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Family Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is currently working on obtaining a Doctorate of Occupational Therapy from Towson University, expected in May of 2022. She loves occupational therapy because it is all about helping people do the things that matter most to them so they can fully engage in daily life and live a meaningful life. Azalia is passionate about working with different cultural groups in the community. She hopes to do research and find ways to serve the needs of various cultural groups as an occupational therapist. She has experience working with adults on the autism spectrum through programs such as Itineris and the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism. Azalia is a Direct Support Professional for Karina Association and is excited to provide meaningful activities for participants. She enjoys going hiking, spending time at the beach, and eating tasty foods.
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.