Patty Machir Patty Machir

Executive Director

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Patty was named Executive Director of Futures and Options in April 2007.  Patty's lifelong passion has been helping children and youth in her community. Whether in Dallas, Texas, Washington D.C. or her birthplace of New York City, she has found a way to help those youth who might not receive help otherwise.

Since becoming Executive Director of Futures and Options, Patty has worked tirelessly to improve the long-term sustainability of the organization through board development and strategic planning, as well as through organizational growth and development in the areas of program, fundraising and marketing. Patty's passion for the youth and the program's mission is coupled with commitment to excellence in all areas, which ensures continued improvements and growth in the program, infrastructure and sustainability.

Before coming to Futures and Options, Patty was Director of Volunteer Services at The Children's Aid Society, one of the oldest and largest children's welfare agencies in New York City, and was responsible for the oversight of the recruitment, training and management system for over 300 volunteers each year, as well as the corporate strategic partnership program and annual fundraising gala. From 2003 to 2005, Patty was Executive Director of Variety International – The Children's Charity, a multi-national, volunteer-driven organization aligned with the movie industry, which supports programs for children with special needs, children with serious medical concerns and children who live in the midst of poverty. In Dallas, Texas, Patty was president of the Board of Directors for Dallas for Children, a start-up, volunteer-run fundraising organization that supported selected intervention and prevention programs for needy children, from birth through six years old.

Patty has always been a strong advocate on behalf of children and youth, whether as a volunteer or paid employee. She served on the Dallas Commission for Children and Youth for three years, was a member of the Adolescent Pregnancy Board in Fort Worth, Texas for three years, and also served as director of Rockville Community Nursery School in Rockville, Maryland.  She is the mother of three sons and one daughter, all of whom are living in New York City. Patty received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Georgetown University, and her Masters of Arts in Education: Early Childhood/Special Education from George Washington University.


Charlene Barrow

Assistant Program Coordinator

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Charlene joined Futures and Options in April 2018. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Charlene served as an education sector Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador. As a TEFL volunteer, she was responsible for teaching English to middle and high school students, as well as training local teachers on methodology. Her experience in the Peace Corps strengthened her interests in youth and community development.

Charlene graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor's in Government in 2013. She then moved to Thailand were she spent one-and-half years teaching English in a constructionist school. As the proud product of New York City's public school system, Charlene looks forward to connecting young people from her hometown with valuable career development tools.


AmandaAmanda Cotchen

Assistant Program Coordinator

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Amanda joined the Futures and Options team in March 2017.  She is also working towards her M.Ed. in School Counseling at Hunter College, which prepares aspiring school counselors to support and address the academic and social/emotional needs of students, and to promote a college and career-readiness environment.  She completed her practicum at The Beacon School, a selective college-preparatory public high school in Hell's Kitchen, and returned to Beacon to complete her internship during the 2017-2018 school year. She previously taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and Study Skills to middle and high school aged students at Salisbury Summer School, and also served as an advisor there.

Amanda graduated from the University of Dayton in 2012 with a B.A. in Communications, and a minor in psychology. Prior to joining Futures and Options, she was an Account Executive at Double E Communications, a NYC-based B2B public relations agency.  Amanda looks forward to pursuing her passion for youth development and helping students realize and reach their potential. She's honored to be a part of the organization as she takes the next steps towards a new career.


LorraineLorraine DeCastro

Administrative Assistant 

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Lorraine joined Futures and Options in September 2017, as an Administrative Assistant. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Lorraine spent four years at the Hewitt School serving as the Program Coordinator of their after-school program of girls ranging from grades K-5. There, she worked closely with the director to ensure all program functions ran smoothly while also fostering and maintaining relationships with the girls and their families. During the fall of 2016, Lorraine interned at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in the Education Department as their Educational Operations Intern.

Lorraine graduated from Hunter College in 2016 with a degree in Psychology. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology where she hopes to understand processes in human resources to ensure that equal opportunities are given to all recruits as well as employees. Her passion for youth development has Lorraine thrilled to be working for an organization that supports low-income minority students' career and educational growth. 


Catherine Dodge

Grants Manager

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Catherine joined Futures and Options in November 2010, and became the Grants Manager in spring 2016. She is passionate about leveling the playing field for young people in New York City and empowering them to envision exciting futures and to achieve their goals.

Before New York, Cat lived in Iowa City, Iowa for two years.  There she worked at a social service nonprofit by day and stage managed for Riverside Theatre by night. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Literature from Bard College, where she mentored and tutored high school students through the college application process. In 2014, Catherine completed her Master of Public Administration in Urban and Social Policy from the School for International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She grew up in Lyme, Connecticut. 


Lily Downing

Assistant Program Coordinator

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Lily joined the Futures and Options team in March 2016. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Lily was the Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive at Prep for Prep, a leadership development program that offers promising students of color access to a private school education. Before that, Lily spent two years working in Advertising Sales for Discovery Communications. There, she worked on the Hispanic Networks and Animal Planet as a Sales Assistant and on the Science Channel and the American Heroes Channel after her promotion to Sales Planner.

Lily graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2013 where she majored in Human and Organizational Development and minored in Child Development. She specialized her major by choosing a Health and Human Services track. She expanded upon her studies by interning at Deirdre's House, a center for sexually, physically, emotionally abused children and adolescents as well as with Women's World Banking, a Microfinance non-profit focused on educating women and children living in rural countries on the basics of money management and investing. Lily currently volunteers as a Writing Coach with the Posse Foundation where she helps students hone their writing and discussion skills in preparation for college. 


Devi Gopal

Program Coordinator

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Devi joined Futures and Options in October 2017. Prior to joining Futures and Options, she spent 2 years in the Federated States of Micronesia on the island of Yap teaching Earth Science, Biology, and Physics at Yap Catholic High School. Before that, she held multiple roles over the course of 7 years at the New York Hall of Science as she climbed their career ladder from an Explainer Volunteer to a Research Resident.

Devi graduated from Fordham University in New York City in 2013 with a Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Science. She then moved to London to attend University College of London and obtained a Masters of Research in Biodiversity, Evolution, and Conservation Biology. Devi is excited to have a hand in providing opportunities for youth that she similarly received during her own teenage years.


James Gurney

Program Manager

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James Gurney joined the Futures and Options team in June 2015. Prior to joining Futures and Options, James taught an undergraduate course at the University of Georgia on diversity and multiculturalism in American schools, developed curriculum for an online textbook transformation grant, and worked as an academic mentor for student-athletes.

James graduated from the University of Georgia in 2015 with a Ph.D in Social Foundations of Education. His research investigated the implementation of educational policies and the realities of classroom practices in Togo, West Africa. He received his Bachelor's degree from the University of California—Santa Barbara in 2008, where he double majored in International Affairs and Black Studies.  After graduation, he spent two years in the Peace Corps working as a Girls' Education and Empowerment Volunteer in Togo. During his service, he taught Life Skills in the local middle school, organized microfinance organizations, and managed grant funding for Water, Sanitation and Health initiatives. He is excited to apply his experiences and skills to create new opportunities for students at Futures and Options.


ShameccaShamecca Harris

Assistant Program Coordinator

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Shamecca joined the Futures and Options team in April 2017. She is passionate about educational equity and closing the achievement gap for urban youth. She hopes to inspire students to not only survive their academic endeavors but to thrive.

Shamecca is a creative writer and activist with a diverse background in digital media. She has a BA in English from Georgetown University and has written and edited content for both print and online publishers including XXL Magazine, ABC News and The Huffington Post. In addition, she has worked as an editorial liaison to various brands including Victoria's Secret, Macy's and General Mills to help develop and execute their content marketing strategies. Inspired by her multifarious experiences, Shamecca has since committed herself to work that not only nurtures her voice as a writer, but also aligns with her passion for social justice. Prior to joining Futures and Options, she provided key editorial and administrative support to grassroots organizing efforts including the Black Women's Blueprint Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the NYC Campaign for an Elected Civilian Review Board. In addition to managing her personal blog, Shamecca currently tutors undergraduate students in literature and composition as part of the Percy E. Sutton SEEK Program at New York City College of Technology. She is also pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at the City College of New York.


Taylor Heideman

Program Coordinator

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Taylor joined Futures and Options in April 2018. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Taylor worked for the City of Chicago as a Youth Programs Coordinator and Assistant to the 48th Ward Alderman. During her time in Chicago, she cultivated a number of new opportunities for teens to connect with elected officials, developed new strategies to keep young people engaged in their communities, and coordinated youth employment programs. Taylor is excited to continue working to empower young people in New York City and looks forward to engaging with teens to further their career passions.

 Taylor graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 2014 with a B.A. in Political Science. She continued her education to earn a M.A. in Public Policy and Public Administration from Adler University in Chicago. Her graduate thesis focused on youth civic engagement strategies in urban areas. Throughout her studies and work, Taylor is very passionate about social justice and human rights advocacy.


Mallory Humphries

Development Assistant 

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Mallory joined the Futures and Options team in October 2017 as the Development Assistant after receiving her Masters in Nonprofit Management and Leadership with a certificate in Disability Studies from the University of Georgia. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Mallory worked at Extra Special People, Inc. in Athens, GA; an organization that provides programming for children and adults with developmental disabilities. She created content for their website, social media platforms, and marketing initiatives, and worked as a member of the development team. 

Mallory graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Science in 2016. During her time in college, she was an active member of many nonprofit and student organizations. She served on the executive board of UGA Miracle and was a part of their mission to raise money for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. She is passionate about serving others and creating equal opportunities for all. She is looking forward to supporting Futures and Options in expanding and growing their career development services to New York City youth. 


Sarah Kaufmann

Senior Program Coordinator

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Sarah joined the Futures and Options team in February 2015.  Prior to joining Futures and Options she was the Social Media Manager at Women's Education Project, a non-profit focused on educating young women in southern India.  As a member of the WEP Headquarters staff she also assisted with developing and writing the core curriculum for WEP students, which was implemented in Spring 2014.  While passionate about her work at WEP, Sarah is thrilled to be a part of Futures and Options.  She is eager to work with New York City students and be more involved in a direct role with students.  She strongly believes in Futures and Options mission, and is honored to be a part of this organization.

A New York City native, Sarah attended McGill University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2009.  Her areas of focus were International Development Studies and Middle East Studies.


Krista Kee

Program Coordinator

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Krista joined Futures and Options in April of 2018. Prior to joining Futures and Options, she worked as a research coordinator for a legal tech start up in New York City. Before that, she worked in the Career Services office and the Alumni Development office at the University of Roehampton in London while completing her master's degree. During her undergraduate studies she served as a director for "Frog Camp", a first-year experience program at Texas Christian University.

Krista graduated from TCU in 2016 with her BFA in Modern Dance and Political Science. She then went on to receive her MA in Dance Politics and Sociology from the University of Roehampton in London. Her graduate thesis explored the Afro-Argentine history of the tango and the marginalization of the form's black history in the discourse of Argentine national identity. She is passionate about social justice, education, and student development and she is excited to utilize her experience to contribute to the mission of Futures and Options.


Anthony Kuzma

Senior Program Coordinator

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Anthony joined the Futures and Options team in October 2016 as a Program Coordinator. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Anthony worked at the Allegheny County Bar Foundation focusing on increasing legal representation and resources for underserved immigrants. Previously, he spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Ruse, Bulgaria, teaching English language and college readiness courses to high school students.

Anthony graduated from Boston College in 2014 where he majored in Perspectives of Western Cultures with a minor in International Studies. He also volunteered as a teacher with Generation Citizen and World Teach to garner experience in a classroom setting. Anthony looks forward to using his education and experience to help students build the professional network they need to be successful. 

Kat Malek-Hood

Business Engagement Manager

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Kat joined Futures and Options in February 2018. Prior to joining Futures and Options, she worked at NBCUniversal in Ad Sales and Corporate Social Responsibility.  During her time with the Corporate Social Responsibility team, Kat contributed to the development of the 'Erase the Hate' campaign that launched this year across all of NBCUniversal's cable networks, and focused on positively impacting the social issues in this country. Prior to NBCU, Kat worked for Senator Gillibrand, connecting constituents to critical government programs and services.

Kat earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from New York University with a focus in Anthropology.  Kat is very passionate about developing high-quality internship opportunities for our students and our supervisors, as well as providing businesses with a pipeline to NYC's ambitious young talent.


Shuba Maniram

Program Assistant

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Shuba joined the Futures and Options team in May 2018 as the Program Assistant. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Shuba worked with a Department for Youth and Community Development (DYCD) funded program as the Academic and Career Counselor for the Young Adult Internship Program serving young adults ages 17-24 years old. As a New York City native, Shuba's work has always reflected her passion for helping young people through youth development and leadership.

Shuba graduated from Middlebury College in 2017 where she majored in Sociology with a minor in Education Studies. She looks forward to contributing to the work that Futures and Options takes part in to help create opportunity for young people in New York City.


Willa Mayo

Program Coordinator

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Willa joined Futures and Options in April of 2018. Prior to joining Futures and Options, she was the Youth Manager at a social enterprise bakery called Sweet Generation. In this role, she managed the bakery's job readiness internship program, facilitating career development workshops and supporting youth interns through their internship experiences at the storefront. She also previously worked as a Match Support Specialist at Big Sister Association and served as a corps member for City Year Boston.

In 2016, Willa received her Masters of Social Work (MSW) from the Smith College School for Social Work. She completed her graduate internship at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she provided counseling services for undergraduate and graduate art students. She also interned at a family support center called Safe & Sound, where she provided short term supportive counseling to struggling parents. Willa received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Skidmore College. 


Amanda McMillon

Assistant Program Coordinator

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Amanda (also known as Millie) joined the Futures and Options team in April 2018. She is currently working towards her MSW from Columbia University, where she is focusing her work on health, mental health, and disability. Prior to joining the Futures and Options team, she lived in Georgia and worked in development at Extra Special People, a nonprofit that serves individuals of all ages with developmental disabilities. Amanda graduated with her Bachelor's in Sociology from the University of Georgia in 2017. She is very passionate about advocating for marginalized communities and is excited to be working with Futures and Options.


Joanna Munoz 

Program Director

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After receiving her Master of Public Administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in May 2016, Joanna began as Futures and Options' Program Director.  As Program Director she works to enhance our program quality, effectiveness and impact. She works with our growing team to ensure success in achieving programmatic goals and grant objectives, as well as to collaborate on business engagement and strategic partnership initiatives.

Joanna graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations and then joined Teach For America, an organization that recruits college graduates to teach in under-resourced schools throughout the country. After completing her TFA commitment she became a Program Coordinator for Futures and Options, working with our youth across our key career development programs. Her main responsibilities included designing specialized programs, recruiting and interviewing students, facilitating career development workshops, and providing ongoing support for interns.

In 2013, Joanna was promoted to Strategic Partnership Manager, responsible for implementing a partnership strategy aligning with Futures and Options' mission and goals for program growth. She worked with our program coordinators to learn the strengths and needs of the students, and leveraged that insight to engage prospective business partners, facilitating internships, career exploration trips and access to resources.

Joanna is excited to be back at Futures and Options and will continue to expand and improve our unique career development services to NYC high school youth.


Priya Murali

Assistant Program Coordinator

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Priya joined Futures and Options in April 2018 as an Assistant Program Coordinator. Prior to joining the organization, she served as a Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools, a nonprofit that addresses the opportunity gap by providing middle schoolers from underserved communities the opportunities they need to achieve greater academic parity with their more affluent peers.

Priya earned a degree in Anthropology from New York University and is excited to bring her experience working in youth development to ensure that New York City's young adults have the support and resources they need to succeed.


Jacques Onanga

Assistant Program Coordinator

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Jacques graduated from Royal Holloway University of London, with a degree in Political Science and International Relations with June 2017 and joined the Futures and Options team in April of 2018. His experience working at the United Populations Fund in Burundi offered him a first-hand insight into the complexities and nuances of youth development. There he understood the value of public and private sector partnerships in promoting youth entrepreneurship through education, as well as delivering vital services to impoverished communities. Jacques has also worked in the London Borough of Croydon, assessing the impact of community safety and justice policies on at-risk youth alongside elected borough representatives. His most recent role as a financial aid advisor at Frank FAFSA, a startup fin-tech company in New York, has provided him with a lengthy exposure to college access and success strategies, the financial aid process, and working with high schools and community based organizations. Jacques is passionate about helping students complete complex tasks in minute detail, and thinking critically with them about the key drivers of their development as future university students and young professionals.


Claudia Pelczarska

Assistant Program Coordinator

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Claudia joined the Futures and Options team in April 2018. Prior to that, Claudia interned at UBS, Financial Services, within the Field Development and Productivity Area of Wealth Management, and worked closely with All Bar None, an internal women's network that promotes recruitment, retention and advancement of women through networking, mentoring, and leadership opportunities. Claudia is grateful to be able to be a part of Futures and Options to help empower New York City's underserved youth.

Claudia immigrated from Poland in 2002, and is a first-generation college student. She graduated from Fordham University in May, 2018 where she majored in Economics. Claudia is a part of Fred's Team, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's running program through which she raises money for cancer research. Claudia is honored to work with underserved youth, and be a part of an organization that provides low-income, minority youth with training and the access they need to compete for jobs.  


ArisArisdehilys Reyes

Assistant Program Coordinator

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Aris joined the Futures and Options team in April 2017, as an Assistant Program Coordinator. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Aris worked with pre-kindergarten students as a Teaching Assistant at Mt. Carmel Holy Rosary School in East Harlem. She began her work in early childhood as a Group Leader in an afterschool program at Mt. Carmel in 2015, while also serving as an undergraduate Teaching Assistant at Hunter College, for a Statistical Psychology course.

Aris graduated from Hunter in 2016 where she majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology. She also interned at NYU's playLab, a social justice research lab measuring the efficacy of home visitation programs on school readiness outcomes for under-resourced students. Aris' Latina background and interest in serving underrepresented communities have inspired her to pursue her Master's degree in School Counseling with a Bilingual Extension at Lehman College, in hopes to positively impact the lives of students and their families.   


Marokey Sawo

Project Manager, Operations & Infrastructure

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Marokey joined the Futures and Options team in March 2018 as an interim Program Assistant. Marokey now works as a Project Manager as she audits Futures and Options' current structural and operational processes and spearheads building more effective methodologies that foster growth. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Marokey worked as a Partnerships Coordinator at the Opportunity Network. She was also a 2012 participant of the Futures and Options Urban Leadership Fellows (ULF) internship program.

Marokey graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in Economics in May 2016, where she also enjoyed studying Mathematics and Political Science. She is passionate about using quantitative and qualitative analyses to inform and empower fields dedicated to social change.


Carly Taylor

Development Associate

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Carly joined Futures and Options in April 2017. Prior to joining Futures and Options, she worked at The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) in their fundraising department as a Campaign Manager. During her time with LLS, Carly orchestrated marquee fundraising events and led the strategic planning of their Young Professionals Committee.

In 2012, Carly earned her Bachelors in Social Work from Immaculata University. Carly has always demonstrated a passion for helping others through causes and organizations.   She is excited to work alongside her team and with volunteers in the NYC area to further the mission of Futures and Options and provide more NYC youth an opportunity to reach their fullest potential. 


Mike Turay

Business Engagement Assistant

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Michael joined Futures and Options in April 2018, and became the newest member of the Business Engagement team as an assistant. He is passionate about helping young people in New York City grow and seek better options that can help build their future. As a former participant of the program in 2013, he realizes the importance and value F+O played in providing him a solid foundation prior to college.

In May 2017, Mike earned his Bachelor's degree in Communications and Journalism from the State University at Albany, where he was a contributing writer for Albany Student Press. Writing is another passion of Mike, he created his own blog, "Lai-Turay's ¾ Court Press" in 2018 and continues to produce daily content in sports.

During his tenure at UAlbany, he was an active member of several on campus organizations and clubs. He also served as a social media assistant for the Niskayuna Community Action Program, crafting flyers and brochures for their anti-drug/alcohol social media campaign. He has also interned at Legends Hospitality in both Human Resources and Sales. After graduating, Mike interned at Path Interactive where he learned essential digital marketing skills.

Mike's parents each worked for the New York City Department of Education, his dad being a retired principal and his mother working as a college advisor for over 20 years. He looks to continue their legacy of helping youth maximize their highest potential while cementing his own path at Futures and Options.


© 2017 Futures and Options. All Rights Reserved.
Futures and Options is a nonprofit career development and paid internship program for New York City youth.

120 Broadway, Suite 1019. New York, NY 10271. 212-601-0002.