Barb is the Program Director for Upward Transitions and the backbone of the organization. She started volunteering with a therapeutic riding center in 1988 and became a certified instructor in 1993. Based on her understanding and commitment to the program, she was selected to be an Instructor Evaluator and held this position for 15 years. She also served as the Special Olympic Equestrian Coach for 16 years. Because of her dedication, knowledge and leadership within the therapeutic riding and equestrian community, she was invited to Japan on two occasions to lecture on the research and benefits of therapeutic riding. Barb and her husband live outside Helotes with their 4 horses and 5 dogs.
Growing up in San Antonio, Brian has always loved horses which led him to being actively involved with programs that keep him close to them. He served on the board of directors with a therapeutic riding center in Houston where he worked with both veterans and children since 2005. He moved back to San Antonio in 2015. His passion and dedication to helping kids with special needs brought him to Upward Transitions. Not only does he spend time in the arena during lessons but he also serves as the Treasurer of the organization. Brian’s professional career of initiating and launching new programs is a valuable strength for both his business understanding and the overall operations of UTTH. Brian enjoys spending time with his spunky teenage daughter and working on his property outside the Helotes area.
Although Juan had never been on a horse prior to getting on board with UTTH, he was intrigued by his research of the positive impact horse therapy had on Wounded Warriors due to the horses heightened sensitivity to human emotion, body language, and energy. Juan knew he wanted to be a part of the UTTH team immediately after touring the facility and experiencing these unique qualities first hand. Juan, a fellow veteran himself, is keen on collaboration and offers his own supportive skill set in developing genuine relationships with diverse non-profit organizations with the goal of working together to get better results.
Sheelah Sodhi has a deep appreciation for the power of the human animal bond. Her work with Upward Transitions is inspired by the recognition of the vital role animals play in our lives. As a professional, Sheelah has worked as a licensed clinical social worker for twenty plus years. Over the span of her career she has specialized in special needs adoption, mediation, military behavioral health (as a therapist and training developer), and is experienced in program design and implementation. She has been with Upward Transitions since its inception, first as a volunteer and now as a board member.
Denise grew up on a farm in Kansas and has relied on the work ethic and values she learned from her parents. She started working with AT&T in 1990 and transferred to San Antonio in 1993. She enjoyed mentoring many young professionals and watching them achieve success. After 27 years, Denise retired and now enjoys spending time with her family and doing all things outdoors. She was “hooked” on the benefits of therapeutic riding the first time she visited a facility and is delighted to be serving in the role of Executive Director with Upwards Transitions. Denise has 2 sons and lives on a small place outside Helotes.
Comfortable in front of a wind band or an orchestra, Christy Muncey has enjoyed a career conducting a variety of ensembles. Currently serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, Lt Muncey is the Flight Commander for the US Air Force Band of the West based at JBSA-Lackland in San Antonio Texas. As Flight Commander, Lt Muncey assists in the organization, training, and equipping of a 60-member, nine-ensemble musical team to communicate with, honor, and inspire the American people over a seven state area of responsibility. Lt Muncey’s previous appointments include Director of Bands at The Johns Hopkins University, the director of the Colorado State University Concert Orchestra, assistant conductor for the Colorado State University Symphony and Opera CSU, assistant conductor of the Thornton Community Band, Apprentice Conductor with the Fort Collins Symphony, and Instrumental Music director at Wheat Ridge High School. Lt Muncey is also an in-demand as a guest conductor, having given clinics in Georgia, Colorado, Maryland, Arizona, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
In May 2016 Lt Muncey was awarded her Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where she studied with Harlan Parker. Lt Muncey has a Masters of Music in Conducting and Bachelors of Music in Music Education from Colorado State University and received her commission from the Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery Alabama. Lt Muncey’s other conducting teachers include Wes Kenney and Steven Moore.