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LEADERSHIP TEAM

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Christine Faressa

President & Chairman of the Board

Christine Faressa became the founder of Sun, Moon & Stars in January 2016 when she established the Supper Club as a way for families with children on the autism spectrum to a enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Supper quickly grew into support groups and activities for families. Christine’s son, who was diagnosed with Autism as a toddler, continues to be her driving passion as she seeks to create a bright future for him and other children on the Autism Spectrum. Her collaborative nature and determination have resulted in enhancing hundreds of lives through in-person events and activities, such as support groups, adaptive soccer and basketball, pumpkin picking, holiday parties, hiking, art, martial arts, and the Starfish Swim Club -- an adaptive swim safety program for children with ASD taught by Swim Angelfish-trained instructors.

 

In 2020, SMS established Project Puzzle Piece (PPP), a fundraiser highlighting Autism Awareness Month (April) and designating a beneficiary. In the past, 100% of campaign proceeds have benefited Watertown Unified Sports, the SMS Reaching 4 the Stars Scholarship, and the Jumpin’ Jacks playground sign. In 2023, PPP funds provided sensory kits and training to the Watertown PD. From an adults-only gala every August at Grand Oak Villa, to partnering with the Watertown Rotary for her latest project -- an adaptive playground for children with special needs (where the playground sign will be hung) -- Christine collaborates with local businesses for special events as well as evergreen fundraisers and products.

 

Christine has served as an Advocacy Ambassador for Autism Speaks, has volunteered for dozens of committees and is currently serving on the Watertown Schools Board of Education. She has a masters’ degree in business administration with a certificate in financial management for non-profits. She has extensive sales and marketing experience with almost 3 decades in medical device sales, and lives in Watertown with her husband, Mark and son, Domenic.

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Mark Faressa

Vice-President

Mark Faressa co-founded Sun, Moon & Stars with his wife, Christine, and is an incredible part of its support system. He holds a bachelor’s degree in management and has an extensive background in purchasing and inventory management. Mark currently works for Swift Middle School while running a successful direct sales business. 

 

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Abbi Nori Nelson

Marketing Chair

Abbi Nori Nelson is a long-time friend of the Faressa family and has been an ardent supporter of Sun, Moon & Stars in this capacity since inception. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications. Abbi is a photographer and video producer with 20+ years of experience working at Fortune 500 companies in marketing leadership roles.

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Lori Bonaldi, CPA

Treasurer

Lori Bonaldi has been in practice since 1982 and has been an Emeritus Principal with Edwards Ingram since 2020. Lori has been involved with numerous local committees and boards. Most notably, she was a board member of both the Watertown Foundation and Litchfield Bank. Lori has also been active with the Watertown Library and is a founding member of the Friends of the Watertown Public Library. She is semi-retired and currently resides in Middlebury. Her hobbies include boating and relaxation.   

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Lisa Candera

Board Member

Lisa Candera is a full time single mother of a teen with autism and OCD. She's a certified life coach for moms raising kids with autism, host of The Autism Mom Coach podcast, and the Chief Compliance Officer of Cigna Investments, Inc. Lisa and her son, Ben, live in Simsbury with their 2 cats and 2 hamsters.

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Christine J. Miller

Secretary

A Faressa family friend for decades, Christine Miller brings to Sun, Moon & Stars more than 25 years of teaching and educational leadership experience. She has earned multiple honors, certifications, and degrees including a sixth-year degree in educational leadership, a masters’ of science, reading and language arts, and 2016 Teacher of the Year.

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Chloe Taylor Langer

Board Member

Chloe Taylor Langer is a proud member and supporter of Sun, Moon & Stars. She, her husband and two young sons joined the group in early 2016 as it provides endless resources and opportunities for community involvement, especially for her son with Autism. Chloe is an attorney in Woodbury, CT, where she practices estate planning, probate, and real estate law.

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Stacey Salvietti

Board Member

Stacey has been a friend of the Faressa family for many years and a supporter of Sun, Moon & Stars since day one. She is a special education teacher,  and has been teaching pre-k children with a variety of disabilities for the past 27 years. Stacey has a master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education and was named Teacher of the Year in 2015.

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Stacey Lallier

Board Member

Stacey has known the Faressa family for many years. She is a proud supporter of Sun, Moon & Stars and loves to volunteer at events. When her two children went to elementary school, Stacey became the Maloney Magnet School PTO President – a position she held for seven years. She then volunteered for several years as treasurer for THS Friends of Music and is now the Office Manager of DL Property Maintenance.

Sarah Jacovino

Marketing Director

Sarah Jacovino's journey with the Sun, Moon & Stars community began as a swim instructor for the Starfish Swim Club over five years ago. With a degree in graphic design and a minor in marketing from Southern Connecticut State University, Sarah brings a creative flair and strategic mindset to her role. Inspired by her experience, she aspires to merge her design expertise with her commitment to supporting the autism community.

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Krista Palomba

Member At Large

Krista Palomba has been a volunteer with Sun, Moon & Stars since its inception, pitching in wherever she can. She has organized numerous charitable events and has been involved in many civic initiatives in the community. Krista has two daughters, who also love to participate in events.

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Katherine Montoya

Member At Large

Katherine Montoya’s daughter was diagnosed with autism and apraxia at 18 months. At the time, she knew nothing about autism. Then she met Christine Faressa. Sun, Moon & Stars has afforded Katherine a sense of purpose and her family a sense of normalcy. Everyone is welcome, no one is judged, and everyone helps and supports each other. She no longer feels alone in their journey. Originally from Colombia, Katherine migrated to the USA as a child, went on to graduate from the University of New Haven and, 15 years later, is still a Connecticut Parole Officer. She lives in Watertown with her husband and two daughters.

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Christina Rinaldi

Artist-in-Residence

Christina is a pre-K to 4th grade Spanish and art teacher as well as an environmental educator at Flanders Nature Center. As a founding member of the Dylan’s Wings of Change at City Hill Middle School, she helped create and run student activities that helped advocate for children with different needs to be accepted and valued for their differences. Christina holds a BA degree in illustration from Sacred Heart University and a Masters in Multiple Intelligences from the University of Saint Joseph. She loves creating art, gardening, and hiking with her family and dog.

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