Wellbeing Wins

We Believe

wellbeing is a skill to be learned and that everyone, including those with autism, deserves to flourish.

We Advance

and share research at the intersection of positive psychology and autism intervention.

We Build

strategic alliances with schools, autism organizations, and researchers to improve quality of life outcomes.

We Expand

access to programs and practices to make the science and skills of happiness available to all.

Our Team

Headshot of Patricia Wright, PhD, MPH. Patrica is smiling and has very short medium gray hair and blue-gray eyes and a blue button up shirt.

Patricia Wright, PhD, MPH

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Many of Dr. Patricia Wright’s greatest stories lie within the pages of her passport (just ask her about Alaska, India or China), but her most exciting pursuit is making the world a more inclusive place for autistic individuals and the communities that support them. Through Proof Positive, her bold vision is being realized.

Guided by her passion (and zest) for education and advocacy, she’s dedicated her career to ensuring individuals with autism have access to effective services and supports that lead to more joyful, meaningful lives.

Now she’s leading the charge to advance the science of positive psychology and skills of happiness as the Executive Director of Proof Positive, a national non-profit collaborating with schools, autism organizations and positive psychology leaders to integrate and expand wellbeing programming for autistic individuals and their communities.

Applauded as a global leader in autism advocacy, programming and interventions, Patricia brings a track record of success working in management at top autism organizations. She was pivotal in the design and transformation of a statewide system of support for children with autism for the state of Hawaii, and she also served in leadership roles for NEXT for AUTISM and as the National Director of Autism Services for Easterseals.

Additionally, Patricia has held advisory roles for a number of professional associations and advocacy groups, including the Organization for Autism Research’s Scientific Council, the Executive Committee for the Friends of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Board of Directors for the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts and the Autism Society Panel of Professional Advisors.

Patricia has advised and provided expert testimony at Congressional Hearings. She is also a frequent contributor in the media, raising awareness of early identification and developmental milestones and deepening the public’s understanding of disability equity, inclusion and access.

She holds a Ph.D. and Master of Public Health from the University of Hawaii. Her research focuses on the delivery of evidence-based interventions in community-based settings and healthcare access for people with disabilities.

Headshot of Katie Curran, MAPP. Katie is smiling with short dark brown hair and a blue blazer with a white shirt

Katie Curran, MAPP

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Imagine a world where wellbeing wins for everyone, including individuals with autism. Katie Curran believes this is possible, and she loves making it happen. The engine that drives her purpose forward: the science of happiness.

Katie is the Chief Wellbeing Officer of Proof Positive, a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading the science and skills of happiness for individuals with autism, and their families, educators, and service providers.

Katie has more than 20 years of clinical experience working with autistic individuals. She’s widely recognized as a creative force when it comes to autism intervention, developing strategies and tools that fuse Positive Psychology with Applied Behavior Analysis to improve wellbeing.

Katie’s zest for her work makes her a sought after speaker and workshop leader. In her role as a Primary Instructor on UPenn’s Master Resilience Training team, she led interdisciplinary teams around the world to train educators, soldiers, athletes, and government officials on the skills of resilience and human flourishing.

Prior to Proof Positive, Katie held tenure at three of the world’s leading behavioral institutions (i.e., Sheppard Pratt Mental Health Institute, Kennedy Krieger Institute, and Princeton Child Development Institute).  Her sense of purpose was ignited when she realized that behavioral interventions, alone, were not enough to develop thriving lives for autistic individuals and their communities.  Early in her career, she recognized an opportunity to prioritize wellbeing as a pathway to improve learning trajectories and quality of life outcomes.

Always curious, she has authored articles on the topics of Goals Setting, Hope Theory, Character Strengths, and Learned Happiness. She serves as a global representative to the International Positive Education Network; held a seat on the MAPP Alumni Board at University of Pennsylvania and was a founding board member for the Global Autism Project.

Katie holds a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) from the University of Pennsylvania and earned her Bachelors of Psychology with honors from Towson University in 2004. With her love for lifelong learning, Katie is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania.

Katie lives in Princeton, NJ with her partner, Maria, and their two kids.  She is most grateful for the joy she finds getting lost in nature, playing (just about anything…as long as she is winning) with family and friends, and spoiling her dog, Georgie.

Headshot of Avery Bell. Avery is smiling, with shoulder-length blonde hair and a white and yellow shirt with a flower necklace.

Avery Bell

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When Avery Bell is not enjoying fresh air and outdoor adventures, she’s bringing her kindness and innovation to help others practice happiness in any environment.

As the Associate Director of Operations and Community Connections at Proof Positive, Avery engages diverse teams of educators, caregivers and service providers to integrate positive psychology skills into the daily rhythms of life.  Always learning, Avery supports the organization’s social media, messaging, and collaborations to promote inclusion, equity, and sustainability.

Prior to Proof Positive, Avery fueled her passion for people and the planet as a youth development leader at Cheley Colorado Camps in the Rocky Mountains. At her alma mater, Colorado College, she engaged community members in various initiatives to enhance campus sustainability goals in her role as the Green Programs Intern at the Office of Sustainability.

Applying her innate passion for mental health and wellbeing, Avery has also worked to promote research and awareness on mental health and suicide at the James Kirk Bernard Foundation, where she coordinated social media, marketing, and fundraising events.

With a love for service, Avery enjoys volunteering for a variety of organizations, including Conservation Colorado and Ascendigo Autism Services. As a previous Division III student-athlete, Avery loves working as a team to achieve goals, and will apply this sense of teamwork and community involvement to optimize collaborations at Proof Positive.

She earned her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Environmental Issues from Colorado College.

Avery currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts but calls Basalt, Colorado home. Always looking for a new adventure Avery loves to hike and ski, learn a new crafting skill (currently, it’s printmaking!), and do all things music-related: concerts, playing, singing, and appreciating its beauty!

Jamie Evanko

Jamie Evanko, MA

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For Jamie Evanko, the science of happiness extends well beyond her classroom’s walls. Jamie first discovered the potential of positive psychology to benefit her students, teams, and personal life while teaching, and it quickly became a passion. As an educator, she knows positive psychology practices can foster not only academic growth but also emotional wellbeing among her students – because she’s experienced and implemented it first-hand.

Now, as Proof Positive’s Manager of Customer Success, Jamie applies her expertise and leadership in education, as well as her prudence, to ensure anyone using Proof Positive resources has the highest-quality implementations support. Additionally, Jamie still serves as a special education teacher for a small program focused on enhancing the wellbeing of teens with autism. Simply stated, Jamie is committed to ensuring the skills of wellbeing are accessible to all.,

Prior to Proof Positive, Jamie served as a Special Education teacher within the public education system in New Jersey for nearly ten years. Here, she specialized in supporting students with executive functioning needs, using her social intelligence to help them develop essential life skills. Tapping into her natural leadership strengths, Jamie led professional development in positive psychology and effective instructional practices at her previous school, supported onboarding of new teachers, and completed an administrative internship. Jamie believes that honest collaboration is key to achieving the best outcomes for students.

Jamie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education and English, Master of Arts in Teaching Leadership, and Principal’s Certification from Rider University in New Jersey. During her time at Rider, she had the opportunity to work with schools in both Spain and China during study abroad programs, gaining a global perspective on teaching and learning.

Jamie lives in central New Jersey, where she appreciates the beauty of the outdoors by exploring local parks with her family, daughter, and dog – especially on Long Beach Island. She is always up for travel, whether an adventure abroad to Europe or a tropical island.

Karra Lang

Karra Lang

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For Karra Lang, wellbeing wins for all. For her, that wellbeing must extend to all people, all animals, and all of nature, our planet.

Rooted by a lifelong love of animals, Karra has held a variety of roles in the pet care industry. Early on in her professional career, she began to identify issues with many of the traditional approaches to the wellbeing of pets through their daily care. Driven to help change pet care for the better, she became a certified Positive Reinforcement/Fear Free dog trainer with an interest in educating and influencing pet parents to see a new perspective.

Over time, Karra worked to extend her interest in animal and pet wellbeing to greater human wellbeing, from diet and exercise to communication and understanding. Believing in the possibility of a more holistic, resilience-centered approach, she has taken a particular interest in holistic health and wellness, beginning with proper nutrition. And the way to do that? Through education. Karra believes that spreading knowledge in a creative and honest way is the most important way to create positive change.

As the Administrative Coordinator at Proof Positive, Karra applies her appreciation of beauty and excellence to ensure efficient organizational operations and maintenance. She employs her kindness every day to support the team, and her humor to keep things light, navigating all of the many problem-solving and daily tasks necessary.

Outside of Proof Positive, you may find Karra spending time with her kiddo, cats (Scuba, Tyrion, and Mini Cat) and puppy (Hiccup), reading a new favorite book, or enjoying the creative storytelling narrative of video games in her home in Maryland.

Our Values

01.

Wellbeing Wins

We champion and prioritize wellbeing for all.

02.

Lean into Learning

We embrace risk and innovation in our pursuit to learn and grow.

03.

Mindful Urgency

We work purposefully and intentionally to improve wellbeing outcomes … now.

04.

People Matter

We embrace joy and human connection as the foundation of our alliances.

Diversity

To thrive, we must feel valued and included. Organizations that promote diversity in gender identity, age, race, sexual orientation and identity, physical or mental ability, ethnicity, and perspective are stronger. Creating a culture of inclusion is paramount to Proof Positive and our Autism Wellbeing Alliance. We envision a world where wellbeing wins for all.

Our Autism Wellbeing Alliance

Proof Positive is actively building an alliance of like-minded partner organizations, universities, research institutes, individual educators, parents and autistic individuals, collaborating to increase the total tonnage of happiness in the world. Our Autism Wellbeing Alliance ensures the autism community is actively part of the greater wellbeing movement, able to access and benefit from the science and skills of happiness. Together, we are working to ensure people are empowered to take control of their own wellbeing, and to promote the wellbeing of others.

We are proud to work alongside these organizations, educators and bright minds;
it will take all of us to make wellbeing win for all.

EPIC school logo black and white
Spectrum 360 logo black and white
National Research Consortium on MHIDD logo black and white
Insight Behavior Partnership logo
Balance Autism logo
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The Cove School logo
Easterseals Southern California logo
Life Course Outcomes logo
Redwood Coast Regional Center logo
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New to Proof Positive?

Start by learning the Essential Elements of Human Flourishing

Positive emotions symbol is a drawing of a smiley face
Engagement symbol brain and neurons
relationships symbol is a drawing of two people hugging
Meaning symbol is the drawing of an outline of three people
Accomplishments symbol circle with checkmark
Health symbol is a tree and flower with a heart in the middle

Our Start

Proof Positive founders, Christina Kirby and Josh Kulkin, envision a world where people with autism and their families benefit from the science of happiness, just as they have in recent years. While watching their son, Dylan, struggle to find joy, engagement, and positive relationships as a child, they were inspired to innovate. They recruited a team who not only embraced this intersection of positive psychology and evidence-informed autism practices, but built a successful program to meet Dylan’s educational, social and emotional needs. Today, Dylan is flourishing and learning. He has friends, hobbies and community, and practices the skills of happiness every day. On any given day, you might catch him meditating, writing in his “happy me” journal or talking about his strengths. Now, Christina and Josh want to share this approach far and wide.