Founder & CEO
Sandra Raffaelli, a single mother, Colombian, and creative at heart, discovered her passion for serving persons with special needs in 2010 when she got her first job working for the Chicago School District in a special education classroom. Since then, she has made the commitment to become a channel and advocator for the betterment of the lives of those with disabilities.
Her multidisciplinary background has allowed her to strive throughout the foundation of aZul - Fashion, Art & Design, Inc. She was raised among retail stores, with 4 years of finance and international trade, a trained Behavior Technician, Certified Life Coach, Certified Inclusive Contemporary Dance Facilitator, along with other different artistic experiences that are the components that help her navigate with determination to keep empowering adults with unique abilities.
Sandra's favorite part of her job is teaching and witnessing the blooming talents of the creatives at aZul, her favorite time of the day is the sunrise, and truly enjoys her vegetables and being out in nature.
Favorite quote: "There are no mistakes, only wonderful serendipities" (a phrase used repeatedly in our classes)
Areas of expertise: Curriculum Adaptation, Special Ed Teacher, Art Therapy, and Sustainable Fashion Design Program Outlining
THE STORY OF AZUL
aZul Por Un Mejor Vivir is founded in Colombia.
After working for many years with Chicago Public Schools in special education, our President and Founder Sandra Raffaelli moved to Bogota, Colombia to start aZul. Combining her passion for art and commitment to individuals with disabilities.
“I always knew that aZul was going to be the name. I loved the sonority of the word and it being the color for autism. It represents the sky and the ocean and fluctuates from a calm mood to very strong actions.”
She realized from her experience that parents did not have the tools to continue supporting the educational process at home. And that tons of resources were available children and teens, but once aged out of high school they did not have many opportunities.
From this Sandra decided that aZul’s programs were going to be oriented to adults with developmental disabilities, and developed lesson plans for families so they could continue learning at home.
aZul's first team.
aZul welcomed its first team with Oriana Velasco Ramirez and Claudia Cecilia Ramirez Cardona. Today, Orianna is greatly empowered as a woman who has reached a lot of independence. She has traveled with her dance group to Brazil, and is still successful.
Shortly after, Sandra was serving more families, offering services in public spaces as well as their homes. All she had was a bike given to her by Northside Learning Center students in Chicago in 2012. She would commute all around Bogota
for about 36 km to support different families in a single day.
CONNECT WITH US
aZul - Fashion, Art & Design, Inc. (formerly aZul For Better Living, Inc) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides training programs in fashion design, industrial design and the arts for adults with disabilities and their families. We promote creative support services to help develop individual skills, financial independence, dignity and artistic recognition.
ph: 954.600.5330 | email: email@example.com
2635 Old Okeechobee Rd. West Palm Beach, FL 33409