Staff

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.

 

Joanna Munoz 

Program Director

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Joanna Munoz returns to Futures and Options in a new role.  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 we seek to implement a growth strategy striving to give more New York City teens access to our high quality career-readiness, internship and college guidance programs, she will be a vital leader on our team. In addition to helping Futures and Options reach more youth, Joanna will work to enhance program quality, effectiveness and impact. She will supervise our growing program team to ensure success in achieving programmatic goals and grant objectives; oversee tracking and analysis of program data; assist with programmatic strategy and development; support foundation grant writing and reporting, and collaborate on business engagement and strategic partnership initiatives.

Joanna first joined Futures and Options in October 2011. She graduated from Cornell University  with a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations. After attending Cornell, Joanna joined Teach For America, an organization that recruits college graduates to teach in under-resourced schools throughout the country. Joanna became a Special Education teacher in Philadelphia for two years, working with middle school students in both Learning Support and Autistic Support classrooms. While teaching she obtained a Master of Special Education from Chestnut Hill College.

Upon completing her Teach For America commitment, Joanna moved back to New York City and became a Program Coordinator for Futures and Options, working with our youth across our key career development programs: Career Essentials, the Internship Program and the College Guidance Initiative. Her main responsibilities included designing specialized program, recruiting and interviewing students, providing ongoing support for interns and facilitating career development workshops.

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.

We are delighted to have Joanna back on our team.  Her considerable experience in education, youth development, and career-readiness programming coupled with her effective leadership skills, positive energy and fantastic sense of humor make her our ideal Program Director.  Our entire team is already enjoying Joanna in this new role.


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. 

      

Program Staff


JamesJames 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.

 

Lily Downing

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. 

      

Sarah Kaufmann

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. 

      

Anthony Kuzma

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.  

         

Michelle ShinMichelle Shin

Program Coordinator

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Michelle joined Futures and Options in September 2017. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Michelle spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in South Korea. While in Korea, Michelle not only taught English language to third through sixth graders, but she also organized a cross-cultural pen-pal exchange between her Korean students and her former students in New York City. Prior to her Fulbright, she was a Teach For America corps member and taught first and second grade at Democracy Prep Harlem Elementary School. In addition to her role as a classroom teacher, Michelle served as co-advisor of the Korean Club where she taught her predominately African-American and Latino students basic Korean language and exposed them to Korean culture. 

Michelle earned a Masters of Art in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education in 2016. She received her Bachelor's degree from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in 2014, where she double majored in Cultural Anthropology and Women's & Gender Studies. Michelle's passion lies in creating equal opportunities for low-income minority students and holistically addressing their needs. 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.   


 Genesis Nunez

Program Assistant

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Genesis joined the Futures and Options team in September 2016 as the Program Assistant. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Genesis interned with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C. and the Drug Policy Alliance in New York City.

Genesis graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016 where she majored in sociology with a concentration in families and populations. She also completed a joint history and legal studies minor. Genesis looks forward to applying her studies and skills to increase career accessibility to students and is excited to be part of the organization.

 

LesleyLesley Orellana

Program Assistant

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Lesley joined the Futures and Options team as a Program Assistant in April 2017. Previously, she was an intern at Legal Services of Greater Miami and an undergraduate research assistant at the Wilbourn Infant Lab at Duke, researching the intersections between educational policies and language development.

Lesley attended Duke University and received a B.A. in Public Policy with a Latin American and Caribbean Studies Certificate. She studied human rights infringements in Latin America, traveling to Chile to research rights infringements in indigenous and politically marginalized groups. As a Peer Advisor for Duke she worked to better understand and solve issues first generation students face during their transition to college. She is excited to work with high school students to ease their transition into the professional world.


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.

© 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. info@futuresandoptions.org