MEET THE TEAM
In addition to the support of all our Partners and Friends, the Embrace Community Center’s efforts are possible because of the relentless dedication of men and women who contribute in various ways, giving of their time and hearts to “Put the UNITY back into the COMMUNITY!”
CEO, President, Co-Founder, CMO, & Board Member
“Everyone has unique characteristics that make them who they are. We are here to give these individuals an opportunity for optimal growth, acceptance, Inclusion, empowerment, and most of all the knowledge and strength to embrace who they are and others around them.”
Kassandra Bryan was born and raised in Upstate New York in a small town called Marcellus. When she resided in New York she attended SUNY Cortland University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree, majoring in Exercise Science. While going to college she worked in nursing home facilities and a non-profit agency for people with disabilities called, Franziska Racker Centers. She has been in the health field for over 10 years specializing in nutrition, health & wellness, coaching, fitness, working with special needs, and senior citizens. She is a certified Sensory Enrichment Therapist and is working on completing her certification as an Exercise Physiologist. She has been volunteering since she was 12 years old by fundraising for sports, volunteering at Racker Preschool for children with special needs, autism awareness, and multiple physical therapy offices.
She moved down to Keystone Heights Florida in 2015 with her husband, Zach and her two children, Aria and Landon. When she moved to Keystone Heights she meet two amazing families with children/adults with autism who were seeking help. She began assisting their families and came to the realization that there was not enough programs or services for the general population and specifically for special needs. That is when she decided to create a community center that provided inclusion and opportunities for all ages and abilities. She wants every person to walk into Embrace Community Center feeling that they have a purpose in this world! That everyone has unique characteristics and that they should embrace them.
COO, Vice President, Co-Founder, CFO, & Board Member
“Your destiny is fueled by your desire. Within each of us is the strength and power to achieve greatness, but it all depends your desire to push through all the obstacles you endure.”
Zachary Bryan was born and raised in Upstate New York in a small town called Jordan-Elbridge. While, in high school he had a small general construction business and helped his grandfather with his home renovation business. After, graduating high school he attended Cayuga Community College, where he earned Dual Associate degrees in Science. These degrees are Mechanical Engineering: Design and Drafting, and Math & Science. While, enrolled as a full-time student, Zach worked evening and nights at an assisted living facility, where he assisted senior citizens and rehabilitation patients with medication, activities, and patient care. When his grandfather had a rare tumor and became paralyzed he became his advocate and aided him learning daily functions and to walk again.
With, the completion of a Dual Associate, Zach wanted to further his education by getting his Dual Bachelors of Engineering degree in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, at University of Florida. This is when Zach and his family decided to move to Florida with his wife, Kassandra, and two children Aria and Landon. Zach, currently works at an engineering firm. He loves Keystone Heights, due to the family atmosphere, where he takes pride in having his children learn the importance of family and friends, which Keystone Heights can provide. He enjoys helping others in need, biking, kayaking, and spending time with his children.
Secretary & Board Member
Bonne Alexander graduated with a Master’s of Science Degree, along with an Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology at Florida International University. After, her internship she began her career as a School Psychologist in Broward County, Fort Lauderdale. She then moved to Keystone Heights/ Melrose, Florida area with her husband, David, and adventurous autistic son, Sean. She has resided in our community for the past 23 years, and is happy to call it home. For the past 20 years, she has been a School Psychologist for Braford County School District. Also, she is an adjunct Psychology Instructor at Santa Fe College for the past 10 years.
Bonne loves psychology, helping others in need, kayaking, outdoor activities, and having her son socialize with as many people as possible. She is a genuinely loving individual who wants to help children and adults with special needs, learn life skills that can better them in the future.
Assistant CMO & Board Member
“Knowledge can never be taken away from you!”
Arthur Halstead originated from Upstate New York on a large 500+ acre farm, which he helped run since the age of 14 years old. After, the farm he worked with Lewis trees for 33 years. He was an Assistant Building Superintendent for 4 years at West Hill School District and 5 years as a Building Superintendent at Head Start, in Syracuse NY. He volunteered his time as an Assistant Firefighter Chief for 15 years and as a Deacon of a church for 7 years. His deceased wife, Mary and himself have fostered over 60 children, from infants to adults. They also owned a group home for the homeless and disabled, where they housed 30+ people over the length of ownership. Arthur also had a second job where he flipped homes to pay for the expenses of foster care. This allowed him to treat every foster child with equality by offering them more opportunities than the state could provide. During, his time as a foster care parent, his wife became ill causing them to move back and forth between New York and Florida. After, the passing of his beloved wife he decided to make his permanent residence the state of Florida.
He enjoys singing, dancing, caring for others, and spending time with his family and friends. He takes pride in helping his great-grandson, Tripp Halstead who suffers with a Traumatic Brain Injury caused by Super Storm Sandy. He proudly supports Team Boom, Ride to Give, and The Ronald McDonald House for all the support and services they have given his great-grandson.
Treasurer, Assistant CFO, & Board Member
“Laughter is exercise for the soul.”
Roseann Gilmore moved to Keystone Heights Florida in 1988. She graduated from Keystone Heights High School in 1994, where she then pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Business at Flagler College. After her undergraduate degree, she decided to further her education and went on to receive a Master’s in Business Administration from Saint Leo University. Upon receiving her Master’s degree, she began working for Alachua County Clerk of Circuit Court since 2000.
She is happily married with a family of four and donates her time to spread Autism Awareness. She loves the quality time she gets with her children and nephew, who is affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has a strong passion for advancing education for all ages and abilities.
Veteran Relations & Board Member
“If we all couldn`t laugh, we would all go insane!”
After a honorable discharge upon completion of several tours of duty in the Mideast, Sean Connolly opened Gunworks, LLC, in 2015 with little more than a dream, a few tools, and a great deal of military/LEO training and experience. With the support of family, friends, and, a swelling customer base, Gunworks, LLC, is now a well established firearms operation with a commitment to serving, safety, and learning.
“We will change the world one child at a time!”
Angela Clance was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She attended Atlantic Community High School. In 1988, her family moved to Keystone Heights, FL. This is when she met her loving husband, Donnie and have been happily married now of 22 years. They currently work together in tackling the everyday challenges of raising their teenaged son Nigel, who is affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. When they realized, they had a unique and special boy, Angela’s sister, Rosie Gilmore, signed them up for their first Autism Awareness walk. This is where Donnie and her gained inspiration to start Nigel’s Crew. They created Nigel`s Crew in hopes to help promote Autism Awareness, fundraising, and to assist other families in need. She set forth on a direction to help others, which landed her in a Co-Chairmen position for Jacksonville’s Autism Speaks Foundation, which has currently returned to the Jacksonville area.
She loves volunteering for an abundance of events and foundations, including Nigel`s Crew, where she helps with fundraising and advocating for Autism Speaks. She is fully dedicated to providing awareness and assistance for families and children affected by all disorders and disabilities. She enjoys giving back to the community and spending time with family and friends.
We are proud to be a part of a thriving community in Keystone Heights, and honored to be able to contribute meaningfully.