a note from our founder

​ Shadi Pourkashef,
​Founder of Ability Awareness Project

Shadi Pourkashef

"Bullying hurts everyone. We all know the pain of bullying and exclusion and know how it negatively effects our children, their safety, and our society. Bullying related suicide is the third leading cause of death among children and I for one could not stick my head in the sand and pretend this is not happening. I am certain that we can do better because the status quo is unacceptable! I believe bullying should not be part of growing up and that planting the seeds of kindness at an early age is the key in building a safe, strong and united world. Children need to learn compassion, empathy, non-judgement as well as the importance of tolerance, respect, inclusion and understanding that every individual has something unique to contribute to our collective humanity regardless of our differences. We all have one world and we need to be unified to take care of one another and our beautiful planet. 

Together we can put an end to bullying and lead our next generation towards a greater social interconnection along a humanistic path.

Shadi Pourkashef,

​Founder of Ability Awareness Project
Goodwill Ambassador of World Kindness for the City of Laguna Beach​
Voted "Best Activist", 2018 Laguna Beach 

Voted the 2019 Irvine Valley College Outstanding Alumna

Our Team

Steve Dicterow

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Mayor Pro Tem of Laguna Beach, 6th time City Councilman, previously elected 4 times as the Mayor of Laguna Beach remains a strong, well-known and trusted leader of our community for the past 17 years. Mr. Dicterow is passionate about Kindness and has been instrumental in signing up the city with World Kindness USA and our efforts to have the City of Laguna Beach be recognized as the first World Kindness City in the US. Mr. Dicterow has always been determined to engage the community in improving the quality of life in the city of Laguna Beach.

Kelly McKinnon Bermingham

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MA, BCBA, Director of Behavior Intervention at the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Santa Ana. She has been an advisor for Ability Awareness Project since the beginning to make a bigger impact, addressing all 3 groups of bullied, bullied and bystanders and their unique roll and responsibilities to put a stop to bullying. Ability Awareness Projects have recorded many videos for our website with Mrs. McKinnon-Bermingham and a child, providing guidance to some common important issues about bullying and making them available for all online.

William E. Levin

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Juris Doctor from University of Miami Law School, Mr. Levin's experience includes legal services in diverse fields  ranging from  real estate, entertainment, apparel , and financial , to music, art, publishing, and many others.   Author of a leading trademark treatise, Trade Dress Protection­,  Mr.  Levin has served on the Advisory Board of United States Patents Quarterly (Bureau of National Affairs), the Editorial Boards of Trademark Reporter(INTA), Trademark World®... has served as a Committee Chair of the American Bar Association, Patent, Trademark and Copyright Section and  much more!

Sandra Thornton

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Former Executive Director of School Power Educational Foundation, Board of Boys and Girls Club in Laguna Beach, Board of CSP Shelters in Laguna Beach, Co-Manager of Chamber of Commerce Laguna Beach, Board member of Laguna Beach community clinic.

Corinne Capiaux

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BS from Texas A&M and Masters from University of Pennsylvania. Local and International work experience, mother of 3, passionate about our mission, filled with new innovative ideas to expand our impact. She has been instrumental to sign up volunteers for our events and so much more.

Justin Phan

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Humanitarian, activist, passionate about building a peaceful bully-free world for our next generation. Creator of  hundreds of vigils of children died by suicide due to bullying. Our new vigils in fiberglass use the same wood bases that we take to events raising awareness in our community and beyond.

Kate McCallum

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Founder of the non-profit corporation, C3: Center for Conscious Creativity, an LA based collective creative futuristic conscious media makers to transform society and culture through the power of art and media. C3 had been the fiscal sponsor for Ability Awareness Project from 2012-2017.

Gail Duncan

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Former owner  of the Art Hotel in Laguna, A member of Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, The Visitor’s Bureau, The Assistant League and a volunteer with Sawdust Festival, Thanksgiving and Christmas programs in town, passionate to bring positive change to our community. 

Ragan Thomson-O'Reilly

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Mother of 5, Transformational Life Coach and Spiritual Counselor of Healing Hub Santa Barbara, facilitating healing for families and individuals. She has been a major supporter of Ability Awareness Project since 2014 and has been instrumental to our success ever since. 

Sande St. John

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Citizen of the year 2019, 74th Assembly District Woman of the Year 2017, Sande has served the Laguna Beach community for over 30 years helping children, seniors, local businesses and the homeless. She's been a Founding Board members of Woman’s Club Resource Center, No Square Theater, Laguna Beach Film Society, M.A.C.Y. Awards, Laguna Beach Relief & Resource. She's been a past president of Patriot's Day Parade, Chairwoman of Annual Pancake Breakfast Memorial Day & Labor Day and so much more. 

Catalina K. Jackson

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BS degree on Business Administration from University of Sonora. Secretary of nonprofit Ex-Alumni Association of CEBATIS. President of non-profit Alumni Association of CESUES. Fluent in both English and Spanish, she gives our presentation in Spanish. Passionate seeker of spiritual truths and dedicated to the task of helping humanity with our dream of a better world. 

Maya Simpson

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She's a Sophomore at Sage Hill High School in Newport Beach  and Ability Awareness Project's Youth Ambassador. She started our Kind And Safe School (KASS) club at her school and she and her club worked together and implemented a few Kindness projects at her school. She is also a volunteer recruiter for our events from club members and Girl Scouts. 

Cece Card

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Cece and "The Kindness Cat" Aragon The Cat- Actor, Comedian, Social  Activist. Best known for his role as Lord Tubbington for 5 years on the Emmy award winning show Glee. Aragon's fame as Lord Tubbington sky rocketed to a celebrity cat and a nationally recognized Pet Partners Animal Therapy Cat Aragon has traveled nation wide sharing his message of love, hope and Kindness.

Kamran Sotoohi

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A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Kamran has enjoyed playing and coaching soccer. Currently, he is Operations Manager at GreenTwist . Having coached children’s soccer he has always
strived to be an advocate for the underdog and for team building. Kamran is passionate about our mission and volunteers his time to help us advance in fundraising and our online updates.

Alyssa Antoci

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A freshman in high school in Santa Barbara County, who wrote a book about bullying at age 8 called "The Purple Marble". The book was adapted into a one act musical by pcpa.org and is being performed in schools all over through their outreach program. She has her book at 150 schools so far with the goal to get it into every elementary school in America. 

Eva Johnston

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Eva graduated from university of Alabama with Communications degree. Mother of two and passionate about creating positive change in this world! She climbed Kilimanjaro in 2015 for non-profit called SHE (sustainable health enterprises). 

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Ability Awareness Project

668 N. Coast Hwy, #144, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

(949) 415-4096

Hours

Open today

9:00 am – 5:00 pm