Our Team

Joseph Patuleia

Executive Director


  • Position: Chief Operating Officer
  • Education: Education: B.S. Marketing - Manhattan College
  • Credentials/Experience: I spent thirty years working in the financial industry dealing in government securities including Treasury Bonds, Mortgage-backed securities, and Municiple Bonds. I retired two years ago and began working for Pets of Patriots, a non-profit that partnered with veteran groups and animal shelters putting at-risk animals together with veterans in need of companionship.
  • What brought you to BHGHNY and what do you have to offer to the Organization? I was introduced to BHGH twenty years ago by a friend. I attended many Vision of Hope dinners and participated in several of their golf outings. I am overwhelmed by the success of the program, and I hope that my passion for youth development and my belief in the value of education can help a great program acheive even greater results. The idea of helping young, talented students, being held back by circumstances beyond their control, to achieve their full potential, is a mission I'd be proud to contribute to.
  • Family or Cultural Background: All four of my grandparents were born in Ireland. I was born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island.
  • Describe yourself in three words: Honest, Loyal, Magnanimous
  • Fun Fact About Yourself: In college, my friends and I built a raft and sailed it down the Hudson River.
Mike McManus

Chief Operating Officer

Dejanaey Brown

Executive Administrative Assistant

Samantha Hartsoe

Development Manager


  • Position: Development Manager
  • Education: B.A. English Literature, Minor Psychology, College of William and Mary
  • Credentials/Experience: Upon graduating in 2014, I spent a year teaching English as a second language to incoming freshmen and first year college students at the University of Malaysia Perlis in Perlis, Malaysia. When I returned stateside, I began working in Development under the Director of Development at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and then as Fundraising Manager at Historic Jamestowne with Preservation Virginia.
  • What brought you to BHGHNY and what do you have to offer to the Organization? While I was in the process of moving to New York, I wanted to continue working for non-profits and BHGHNY stood out to me as an organization where I could use my resources and skills to help grow a place that is doing so much for its community by inspiring and empowering students to reach their full potential, and also providing them with the resources and support to do so. I believe I offer a passion and dedication to making sure we exceed the goals we set and the compassion to want to help both my coworkers and our scholars in any way I can.
  • Family or Cultural Background: African-American. I was born and raised in Hampton, Virginia
  • Describe yourself in three words: Ambitious, Empathetic, Creative
  • Fun Fact About Yourself: I solo-traveled through Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia when I lived in Malaysia.
Chelsea Pittman Thrash

Grants Manager


  • Position: Director of Wellness and Therapeutic Services
  • Education: Undergraduate MFA degree, Massachusetts College of Art and Design; Graduate Degree in Art Therapy, School of Visual Arts, NY
  • Credentials/Experience: I have worked as an art therapist and clinical supervisor for almost ten years in Brooklyn, NY. My work has been focused mainly on adolescents and their families.
  • What brought you to BHGHNY and what do you have to offer to the Organization? This is my second stint as the Therapist for BHGHNY! I feel I can offer the necessary support, empathy and a venue for self-expression to all scholars so that their educational and residential experience is as holistic as possible. The Art Therapy program aims to offer a space for creative expression, necessary interpersonal skills, group cohesion and a deeper connection with one's self identity.
  • Family or Cultural Background: I am a third generation, East Coast-raised Jew with roots in Eastern Europe on both sides of my family
  • Describe yourself in three words: Committed, Open, Creative
  • Fun Fact About Yourself: I love to cook and bake!
Naomi Cohen-Thompson

Director of Wellness and Therapeutic Services

Lysandra Hutchinson

Director of College Access

Jaraed Thomas

Director of Academic Success -LaSalle Hall


  • Position: Dean of LaSalle Hall
  • Education: B.A. Psychology at St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn
  • What brought you to BHGHNY and what do you have to offer to the Organization? My favorite part of this job is seeing young people succeed. The intrinsic reward I get from assisting youth is the reason I want a career in this field. I remember how confusing and frustrating that time in my life was, and how it lead me to some maladaptive choices. I hope that I can help them make better decisions for their own overall wellness. I hope that I can be the role model that I needed when I was a teenager.
  • Family or Cultural Background: Both sides of my family came from Puerto Rico.
  • Describe yourself in three words: Empathetic, Patient, Affable
  • Fun Fact About Yourself: If I could take a dream trip anywhere in the world, I would go to Hawaii, or to Spain, or to Puerto Rico to visit my family!
Martin Torres

Dean of LaSalle Hall


  • Position: Director of Academic Success
  • Education: Pennsylvania State University, B.S.- Communication Sciences & Disorder; Stony Brook University, M.A.- Higher Education Administration
  • Credentials/Experience: My commitment to serving New York City youth began at a young age. From internships to part-time jobs, my passion has always been educating and mentoring young scholars. After graduating from Penn State University in 2015, I was fortunate enough to have found a one of a kind organization Boys Hope Girls Hope of NY. Here I served as a Residential Counselor from 2015-2017. After two years of service to BHGH of NY, I went on to finish pursuing my masters in Higher Education Administration at Stony Brook University. During this time I also worked at Long Island University- Post as a Residence Director and an Academic Adviser. In this role I ensured the safety and well being of our freshmen residence communities while also supporting the academic success of a caseload of 75 students.
  • What brought you to BHGH of NY and what do you have to offer to the Organization? As a previous employee of BHGH of NY all I can say is, there is no place like home. Returning to the organization I hope to continue supporting the success of our amazing scholars through their high school years and beyond. My goal is to not only take on the role of Director of Academic Success, but to furthermore become an extended family member to each and every one of the families we serve.
  • Family or Cultural Background: I was born and raised in Queens, New York and my family is from Puerto Rico. I am a very proud Nuyorican!
  • Describe yourself in three words: Compassionate, Enthusiastic, Determined
  • Fun Fact About Yourself: My favorite hobby is salsa dancing with my father!
Julie Vazquez

Director of Academic Success - McAuley Hall


  • Position: McAuley Hall Senior Residential Counselor
  • Education: B.A. Psychology, Minor: Spanish and Entrepreneurship, Louisiana Tech University
  • Credentials/Experience: I've worked at BHGH New Orleans in the residential home. I've also been a Junior Counselor, Director, and Researcher at my church's summer camp. Lastly, while in college I was Vice President of my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • What brought you to BHGHNY and what do you have to offer to the Organization? The passion the adminstration of BHGHNY had in finding fellows that would best fit the organization attracted me. Also, giving back to BHGH was a part of my wanting to work in one of the affiliates across the country.  I'm most excited to have a shared experience with the scholars, to be able to see both sides of a situation, and to help empathize with the scholars but make decisions as a fellow.
  • Family or Cultural Background: Hispanic/Latino. My mom is from Guatemala and my dad is from El Salvador. My hometown is New Orleans, LA.
  • What are you most excited about bringing to the organization? I am very excited to bring a strong support system in the form of myself to this organization--one that is always reliable and inpiring to my coworkers and students.
  • Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a rare deficiancy called Factor Deficiancy that only one in five million people have.
Daniella Portillo

Dean of McAuley Hall


  • Position: LaSalle Hall Senior Residential Counselor
  • Education: B.A. Forensic Psychology and Writing, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Credentials/Experience: In college I was a peer mentor with the CUNY Black Male Initiative Organization. From January to August I worked with the Dream/Harlem RBI organization as a learning coach for second, third, and fourth graders.
  • What brought you to BHGHNY and what do you have to offer to the Organization? A former Fellow told me about this organization and since then I knew this would be an amazing opportunity to continue the mentoring work I loved so much in college.
  • Family or Cultural Background: Half Trinidadian, half Aruban. My father was born in Trinidad and moved to Brooklyn when he was three years old. My mother was born in New York, but her mother is from Aruba. My hometown is Brooklyn, NY.
  • What are you most excited about bringing to the organization? I am very excited to bring a strong support system in the form of myself to this organization--one that is always reliable and inpiring to my coworkers and students.
  • Fun Fact About Yourself: I love music and dancing, and I have a few skills in DJ'ing.
Bryce Veira

LaSalle Hall Residential Manager


  • Position: Program Intern
  • Education: Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School/BHGHNY Alumnus (Class of 2015); CUNY The City College of New York (Class of 2019)
  • Intended Major: Computer Engineering
  • What would you like to do after college? After college I am want to volunteer with a charity organization overseas or be a part of anything else that would let me travel. After that, I would like to go to graduate school..
  • Describe your experiences while at BHGHNY and what the organization means to you: BHGHNY was a wonderful experience for me. I think I am a more open minded person for going through the bhgh program and residential experience. BHGH pushes students beyond their limits academically and helps us develop ourselves as individuals. The best part of interning at BHGHNY is conversing with the current students and sharing my experience from when I was in their shoes.
  • Family or Cultural Background: My family is from the Caribbean. My mother is from Jamaica and my father is from St. Kitts and Nevis.
  • Fun Fact About Yourself: I watched all 9 seasons of “how I met your mother”; I m a fan of all 6 Star Wars Movies; I know how to play the guitar.
Stephan Pemberton

Program Intern


  • Position: LaSalle Hall Senior Residential Counselor
  • Education: A.S. Business Administration, B.B.A. Business Management, Minor: Marketing, SUNY Canton
  • Credentials/Experience:
    • Conducted community outreach for five years while I was in college
    • Worked with my fellow peers and fraternity brothers on dance routines
    • Heavily invested in Student Life and event programming
    • Experience with training, assisting, and engaging students
    • Guiding and mentoring students to take responsibility and to be a better version of themselves
    • Servant leader who looks to the well-being of serving others to make sure the community that I’m in has the best outcome
  • What brought you to BHGH of NY and what do you have to offer to the Organization?The former Dean of McAuley Hall told me about this organization and said that it was definitely an opportunity I should go for. Along with her words of encouragement and reading the description of the position I saw a great opportunity to be apart of something greater, which was molding the young minds of another generation. I remember being a teenager; it was a confusing and difficult time and I hope to be that confidant for the scholars. I have my dedication and empathy to offer to the organization.
  • Family or Cultural Background:Half African-American, and half Puerto Rican; born and raised in Queens.
  • Describe yourself in three words:Determined, Devoted, Creative
  • Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a brother of Gamma Sigma Zeta Fraternity Inc. and I love stepping and strolling.
Devine Pearson

LaSalle Hall Residential Counselor

Carlos Tipton

LaSalle Hall Residential Counselor

Ashley Valentin

McAuley Hall Residential Counselor

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