How did Feel Your Best Self Happen?

FYBS is a unique partnership between the  Collaboratory on School and Child Health (CSCH) and the  Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry  at the University of Connecticut. The collaboration initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to address the emotional challenges faced by schools, children, and their caregivers. Pairing collective expertise in educational psychology and puppetry, the team designed fun, engaging ways to learn simple strategies to calm yourself, catch your feelings, and connect with others. The initial response was overwhelmingly positive, with the project evolving synergistically into the complete FYBS toolkit. 

Learn more about the  FYBS history  in UConn Today.  

The Making of Feel Your Best Self

FYBS Cast and Crew

Created by Sandra M. Chafouleas & Emily Wicks
Executive Producers Sandra M. Chafouleas & Emily Wicks
Original Characters & Stories by Yanniv Frank
Education Content Specialists Emily A. Iovino & Sandra M. Chafouleas


Staff Writers Sarah Nolen, Yanniv Frank, Emily A. Iovino, Sandra M. Chafouleas
Script Consultants Heather Asch, Emily Wicks, Sophie Hall
Story Consultant (Ep. 10 Chillax in My Head) Phoenix Leigh

Puppet Design & Build

Character Designers Yanniv Frank, John Cody
Lead Puppet Builder John Cody
Additional Puppet Builders Jonathan Little, Faye Dupras, Honey Goodenough, Heather Asch, Sarah Nolen
Costumer Sarah Lafferty
Additional Costumers Kaitee Tredway, Honey Goodenough


Supervising Producer Heather Asch
Art Director Sarah Nolen
Producer Sarah Nolen
Digital Set Designer Juan G. Santos
Storyboard Artist Sarah Nolen
Prop Master and Lead Set Builder Amanda Gibson
"Nico" Prop Art by Yanniv Frank
Set Builders Faye Dupras, Sarah Nolen
Puzzle Art (Ep. 9 Be a Kind Helper) Vince Broelmann
Casting Director Sarah Nolen
Casting Assistant Roxanna Myhrum


Studio Media Arts Center
Supervising Producer Heather Asch
Director Sarah Nolen
Director of Photography Luke Geissbühler, Jimmy ODonnell
1st Assistant Director Leah Schneider
Puppet Captain John Cody
Puppet Wrangler John Cody
Assistant Puppet Wrangler Heather Asch
Additional Puppeteers Heather Asch, Yanniv Frank, Sam Kendall, Sarah Nolen, Anthony Sellitto-Budney
1st Assistant Camera Rob Curtin
DIT / Media Manager Mark Russell
Sound Engineer David Curtin
Script Supervisor Yanniv Frank
Prop Master and Scenic Builder Amanda Gibson
Key Production Assistant Matthew Sorensen
Production Assistants Jannell Brown, Genna Beth Davidson, Aly Doyle, Sophie Hall, Faiza Hussein, Sam Kendall, Anthony Sellitto-Budney
Craft Services Supervisor Jessica Koslouski
Production Accountant Emily Wicks


"Nico" Cedwan Hooks
"Mena" Jimmica Collins
"CJ" Stoph Scheer
"Dance Teacher" John Cody
"Ice Cream Salesperson" Jimmica Collins
"Darnell" Yanniv Frank
"Brianna" Heather Asch
Voice of "Nico" - Spanish David Barrera
Voice of "Mena" - Spanish Elvira López
Voice of "CJ" - Spanish Alejandro Uribe
Voice of "Dance Teacher" - Spanish Xavier Coronado
Voice of "Ice Cream Salesperson" - Spanish Luis Javier
Voice of "Darnell" - Spanish Mauricio Ocampo
Voice of "Brianna" - Spanish Graziella Soberani


"Theme Song" Music Writer, Arranger, Vocalist, Producer Ethan Hanzlik
"Theme Song" Music Production Advisor Louis Hanzlik


Post-Production House Luminous Creative Agency
Video Editors Mark Russell, Sarah Nolen, Devin Zuba
Visual Effects Francisco Tang
Illustrator Steve Bermundo
Post Production Manager Bryan Roberts
Production Accountant Sandra M. Chafouleas
Spanish Translation Jessica Koslouski, Marline Reynoso-Vasquez, Ivette Roberts

CSCH sits between the Neag School of Education and the well-established Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy at the University of Connecticut. The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry is part of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Connecticut.