Kid Esteem Center for Social Learning and Creative Arts Therapy

354 Veterans Highway
Suite 6 Lower Level

Commack NY 11725

631 321 6675


Kid Esteem Staff

Founding Director

Dr. Lee R. Chasen RDT, LCAT began developing the unique Kid Esteem approach in 1995, as his oldest child took her first steps into the world of social interaction and emotional expression. As a drama therapist, Dr. Lee's original techniques utilize theatrical intrigue, role play and creative arts adventures to keep children engaged, excited and invested in the process. Almost twenty years and three books later (See book covers below. Click on links underneath for reviews), Dr. Lee has served thousands of Long Island children and families with groups like Peace Inside Me Anxiety Management, If You're Angry And You Know It, Kid Power Hour and Making Friends Social Intelligence Skills, empowering positive self-expression, increasing social skills and ability, enhancing emotional intelligence, improving self-esteem and facilitating effective behavior management strategies through fun and creative programs that kids love to participate in! Dr. Lee is also available for individual counseling and family therapy.

Books by Dr. Lee

Click here for Dramatherapy Journal review of Dr. Lee's book

Click here for 'Product of the Week' review of Dr. Lee's book

Group Leaders

Samantha Jurman MA, LCAT-P - Clinical Group Leader / Creative Arts Therapist

'Miss Sami' is passionate about working creatively to empower children and their families. A graduate of the New York University Drama Therapy Program and trained in the trauma informed models of Child Parent Psychotherapy, Sami began her career as a Kid Esteem intern and is delighted to embark upon her fourth year of leading groups. Kid Esteem’s child-centered method emboldens her to integrate creative psycho-educational approaches within her own practice as a drama therapy clinician.

Dawn Pess BA - Group Leader / Activities Specialist

Dawn is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Psychology with a Focus on Child and Adolescent Development after acquiring a BA from Dowling in Sociology-Anthropology with Special Concentration in Social Work. Dawn, like Sami, began her career at Kid Esteem as an intern, and has dedicated her life to advocating for and improving the social functioning of persons with special needs. Dawn's interests include researching the effects of play and creative arts on social emotional learning.


James Kennedy BM - Group Leader / Music Specialist

James is a New York State Certified Teacher who earned his Bachelor's of Music cum laude in Music Education from Long Island University. A multi-instrumentalist, he frequently performs at venues throughout the Long Island area, including the Vail Leavitt Music Hall in Riverhead and the Tilles Center for Performing Arts in Brookville. James has a special passion for working with and educating students with special needs, particularly those on the autism spectrum.


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