Sandy Sheller

Art and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor; Director/President

The Sheller Family Foundation

As president and director of the Sheller Family Foundation, I have been a leader working towards advancing arts, preservation, and education; exposing corruption and unethical practices; and working towards the betterment of traumatized and marginalized individuals and families. Some of our most recent projects include establishing the Stephen and Sandra Sheller Center for Social Justice at Temple University Law School and endowing a major building expansion of the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center of Drexel University.

As a therapist, I have substantial experience working with low income and families experiencing homelessness; minorities; adult perpetrators; abused children and adults; and chronically mentally-ill populations.  Work settings have included: inpatient facilities; children’s partial hospital programs; adolescent residential settings; private counseling facilities serving foster care and adopted children; and family homeless shelters.

As a past Assistant Clinical Professor at Drexel University, I have taught Family Therapy and trauma courses, supervised and served as a thesis advisor for graduate students in the Creative Arts in Therapy Program. I presently serve on Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions Advisory Board.  In addition, I am a published author in a peer-reviewed mental health trade journal, and a co-author of a book chapter on parenting in the context of homelessness.

Well recognized for innovation; professionalism; dedication; strong organizational and management skills; and exceptional initiation, I have expanded my influence to strategic involvement with the transformation of behavioral health and homeless service systems towards becoming more culturally-sensitive, trauma-informed organizations.  In this role, I have supervised and trained professional service providers on most effective trauma and mental health interventions and modalities; established more effective crisis interventions that successfully reduced organizational violence; and founded and facilitated therapeutic healing and educational community and staff groups.

I co-founded and developed The Trauma-Informed Shelter Providers Network Group of Philadelphia where an average of 60 directors, clinicians, and providers of homeless services meet together bi-monthly to support and enhance the work they do.  I founded an innovative forum for women called Breaking Down the Walls.  Quarterly, women from disparate racial, political, religious, economic, and social backgrounds are brought together to find their common humanity and break down the walls and barriers that divide them.  This group has significantly empowered a number of marginalized women living in the inner city of Philadelphia.

Through endorsement and funding from the Deputy Commissioner for Children Health and The City of Philadelphia Office of Supportive Housing, I have trained over 130 homeless and transitional housing providers in over 25 agencies in Family Care, a train-the-trainer parenting model I developed with a colleague based on attachment theory and Effective Black Parenting.  Preliminary data from participants from seven agencies using this model has shown some statistical significance for moving parents away from high levels of risk for abuse and neglect. Presently ten agencies are using this model and we are engaged in a three year research project to move it towards an evidence-based model.