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Administrative Team


Ameer Washington

Chief Executive Officer
Ameer Washington grew up at Boys & Girls Club of Newark, having joined the Club as a six-year-old in 1989. By his senior year in high school, he was elected Keystone Club President and Youth of the Year for the state of New Jersey. Ameer went on to earn a bachelors degree in economics from Temple University, and then returned to the Club to hold numerous leadership positions in the organization, including coordination of BGCN’s first school-based site at First Avenue School. He currently serves as BGCN’s Chief Executive Officer.

Cynthia M. Banks

Vice President of Operations
Cynthia has served the Boys & Girls Club of Newark with distinction for over 25 years in several leadership roles, though no single title could ever contain the full force and scope of her impact on the children who have been in her care. She has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2009 Ms. BGCN Award, and selection as a 2011 Professional of the Year for Outstanding Service by the Garden State Chapter for her work with women and minority professionals. Cynthia currently serves on the Youth of the Year Committee for Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey, working with colleagues from across the state.
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Catherine Plymel

Chief Operating Officer
Catherine has been a part of the Boys & Girls Club since 2014 and started as an intern while attending Rutgers Newark. After her internship she joined the team and has been hard at work ever since. Catherine completed her Bachelors of Arts in Public and Non Profit Administration and is pursuing her masters in Public Administration and Non Profit from Rutgers Newark with a concentration in leadership. She has over 10 years of experience in organizational leadership and is passionate about harvesting a healthy, happy workplace with real emphasis on a strong organizational culture.

Rosa Arenas

Director of Programs, Metrics, and Outcomes
Roselle “Rosa” Arenas has been a part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark family for over 25 years. She was first a member and then joined the BGCN staff as a camp counselor. Her responsibilities grew within the organization, leading our team as the Clubhouse Manager. Today, Rosa serves as the Director of Programs, Metrics, and Outcomes, overseeing programs for youth at our Clubhouse facility and external school-based sites. Rosa is a dedicated employee of the Boys & Girls Club of Newark and is passionate about the care and nurturing of the all of our Club Members and their families.
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Gardan Speights

Director of Community Wellness
Gardan Speights is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 13 years of experience in the field of mental health with a focus on child/ adolescent behavioral and mental health. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Black Studies from SUNY New Paltz, and a Master in Social Work (MSW) from Columbia University. Gardan is a Doctoral candidate and has a passion for mentoring and coaching future leaders. Gardan’s clinical experience includes working with adults with developmental disabilities and co-morbid mental health challenges, providing psychotherapy and crisis stabilization to adults and adolescents in NYC’s largest jail system, served as an inpatient psychiatric social worker at one of the largest inpatient behavioral health hospitals in NJ and currently provides consultation and supervision in private practice. She has also co-facilitated programming for the Tyrone D. Franklin Technology Center in Westwood, NJ. Gardan is a social worker at heart and grounds her personal and professional values on integrity, service, and social justice.  Gardan enjoys ensuring that members and their families at BGCN have access to equitable support and services.

Berlynn Eustache

Resource Development Specialist
Berlynn Eustache began her journey at the Boys & Girls Club of Newark as a Development Associate and Grant Writer back in 2019, a few months before the height of the pandemic. After getting her Master's of Public Administration degree from Kean University in 2018, Berlynn hit the ground running applying her skillset in the nonprofit world. With COVID-19 bringing forth so many organizational changes, Berlynn and the BGCN team worked together to pivot as necessary, ultimately providing her with the experience and training necessary to effectively support the Development department under the guidance of the CEO. Currently serving as the RD Specialist, Berlynn continues to assist the organization in providing resources, information, or help needed to serve Newark's youth through partnerships, social media engagement, grants, and event fundraising.

Program Team


Shontonette Crawford

Membership Coordinator
Shontonette has been with the Boys & Girls Club of Newark for over 11 years. An integral member of the BGCN team, she has served a number of different functions at the administrative level, including managing the Club's office and coordinating with all our parents to ensure the successful enrollment of their children.

Fiona Ramdeo

Membership Specialist
Fiona started out at the Club as a Youth Development Specialist, winning over kids and parents with her bright smile and bubbly personality. Assimilating into BGCN culture and also enrolling her son into the program, Fiona has since grown tremendously as an integral member of the BGCN team. Fiona serves alongside the Enrollment and Registration department coordinate with all our parents to ensure the successful enrollment of their children.

Kimberly Alfonso

Wellness Coordinator
Kimberly joins BGCN as a Licensed Social Worker. She has a Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology with minor in Social Work from Montclair State University, and a Master's in Social Work from Rutgers University with a certificate in Violence Against Women and Children. Kimberly has worked with families impacted by domestic violence and has found herself as an advocate for those impacted by various types of trauma. She also has experience working with populations impacted by the legal system. Kimberly is excited to be a part of BGCN and continue to help families stay healthy and well at BGCN.

Chayjillah Oliver

Teen Service Coordinator
Chayjillah Oliver is the Teen Service Coordinator for Boys & Girls Club of Newark. Ms. Oliver, or Ms. "C", has been working for the organization for over a year, with a focus to highlight a variety of things to engage and prepare today’s youth for the world from community service to interview skills & resume building. In the time that she has worked here, Ms. C has had the opportunity to cultivate and nurture the choices, paths & decisions teens make that affect their daily lives and help them move in positive directions. As she has been able to impact the lives of our future leaders through BGCN, Ms. C has also grown personally from her earlier days as a Youth Development Specialist at the Club.  The Club has served as family to Ms. C and her daughter, and she continues to build to build on that momentum for many more years to come.

Rebecca Innocent

STEM Coordinator
Rebecca joined the BGCN movement last year, hitting the ground running assisting in building out the STEM program at the main Clubhouse facility. Rebecca oversees all operations related to STEM programming and instruction. With a passion for teaching, Rebecca instructs grades K-12 in a variety of topics such as coding, robotics, science, and implementation of technology in classroom. With hopes to expand the STEM program to all our school-based sites full-time, Rebecca conducts STEM programming at the Club House, Kura Academy, Seek Academy, and Life Academy throughout the week, bringing the fun and flair to every site she enters.

Austin Koiquah

Site Coordinator: SPARK Academy
Austin Koiquah graduated from New Jersey City University with a BA in Political Science and Minor in History and is a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. He has been a part of the Boys and Girls Club organization/movement for four years, holding positions as a Youth Development Specialist, Teen Specialist, Team Member and Site Coordinator for Spark Academy. Austin's goal every year is to bring a high-quality club experience to our members.

Portia Askew

Site Coordinator: SEEK Academy
Starting off as a Youth Development Specialist in 2017, Ms. Portia is now the Site Coordinator for Seek Academy (beginning in 2021). Ever since graduating with a B.A in Mathematics from William Paterson University, the Boys & Girls Club of Newark has been her home. Although she is not a product of the Club, she feels that working with the organization has helped her grow into the leader that she is today.

Tiffany Brown

Site Coordinator: LIFE Academy
Starting out a Youth Development Specialist, Tiffany has served as the Site Coordinator for Life Academy. With a determined attitude and confident approach, Tiffany has led her site to reach many different milestones over the years, and continues to lead the charge in serving the kids that enter Life Academy as well as their families.
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Mariam Abdul

Site Coordinator: KURA Academy
Mariam Abdul serves as the Site Coordinator for KIPP Upper Roseville Academy (KURA). Joining the team in 2022, Mariam hit the ground running with her leadership and operation skills. With a background in social services and a passion for youth, Mariam is just what KURA needs to take BGCN into the future of youth development.

John Wilson

Head of Custodial Staff
Mr. John Wilson has served the Club for almost three decades, making sure that the facility is running smoothly and efficiently. Mr. Wilson heads the custodial department in order to ensure that our youth at the Clubhouse have a safe and enjoyable experience every day. Thank you, Mr. Wilson!

Ana Marrero

Janitorial Operations
An integral part of the operations of the Boys and Girls Club of Newark, Ana joined us at the Club after enrolling her four children following a pivotal time in their lives. Coming from another country, Ana took on the challenge of learning a completely new language while raising her kids, working to ensure that the Club remained safe under the janitorial department. Ms. Ana has since assimilated into many other different areas of the Club, translating for Spanish-speaking parents, assisting with the food distribution operations under the Wellness department, and spending time teaching the kids Spanish and facilitating fun activities at the other school sites. The breadth of Ana's professional and personal experience at the Club spans over almost ten years, and she continues to impact Newark's youth and families every day.

Board of Trustees


Officers of the Board

Troy Glover, President
Head of Third Party Governance, AIG



Thomas R. Valen, Board Chair
Partner, Gibbons, PC



Members of the Board

Joseph F. Accardo Jr.
Deputy General Counsel, PSEG Services Corporation

Sam Boraie 
Vice President, Boraie Development LLC

Dan Colleton
Vice President of Partner Marketing, Mastercard

Ryan S. Curran, CPA, JD
Principal and Founders, Curran Unger LLP

Maria R. Fruci 
Counsel, Genova Burns

Michael Gilfillan
President, Brick City Sports Capital

Kate Gratto
Vice President, HR Service Delivery, Prudential Financial

Michael Gruber, DMD
Dentist, Gruber Dentistry

Sharad D. Madison
CEO, United Building Maintenance

Gina Gruhn
Senior Vice President, Optum

Rayshine Harris
CEO, SHINE Tumblers

Jan Hines
Assistant Director, Transplant Community Relations

Heather McFeely
Managing Director, Head of Multi-Asset Sales, HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.

Marshall McLean
Senior Vice President, Private Client Advisor, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Wealth Management

Charlie Rubin
Executive, MCJ Amelior

Stephen Gilbert
Lawyer, Retired

Jason Sobel
Of Counsel - Real Estate, Sill Cummis & Gross P.C.

Dean Thompson
Vice President of Finance, Enterprise Holdings

Kelly Thompson
Self Employed

Patrick Walsh,
Partner, Withum