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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, leading the charge of Building Great Futures in Newark's youth and families.

Cynthia M. Banks

Vice President of Operations
Cynthia has served the Boys & Girls Club of Newark with distinction for over 30 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, MPA

Chief Operating Officer
Catherine has been a part of the Boys & Girls Club since 2014 and started as an intern while attending Rutgers University in Newark, NJ. 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 Engagement & Volunteering
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 Engagement & Volunteering, overseeing partnership and volunteer opportunities for 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.
Staff Photos

Gardan Speights, LCSW

Executive 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.

Amanda Gonzalez, LSW

Development Manager
Amanda began with BGCN in March 2023, coming to us with a strong background in research and advocacy for at-risk populations and their involvement in the Criminal Justice system, specifically survivors of domestic violence. With a Masters in Criminal Justice and a Master of Social Work, along with experience across two prosecutors' offices, two domestic violence advocacy agencies, and a charter school, Amanda has sharpened her career focus in non-profit management, fundraising, program building, and grant writing. With a macro lens, she strives for the betterment of programs geared towards our youth to bridge the gap in community resources, because she believes that all adults and adolescents should be set up for success.

Program Team


Shontonette Crawford

Membership Manager
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 Registration department, coordinating with all our parents to ensure the successful enrollment of their children.

Fiona Ramdeo

People Operations Coordinator
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. After serving within the Enrollment and Registration department, Fiona has fit right into Human Resources, now serving as the People Operations Coordinator.

Kimberly Alfonso, LSW

Wellness Coordinator
Kimberly serves at BGCN as the Wellness Coordinator for our mental and behavioral health clinic. 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 as an on-site psychotherapist.

Portia Askew

Site Coordinator - SEEK Academy
Starting off as a Youth Development Specialist in 2017, Ms. Portia transitioned into the role of Site Coordinator for KIPP Seek Academy. 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.

Rebecca Innocent

Program Development Manager
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.

Tiffany Brown

Tier-II Trainer for Staff & Volunteers
Starting out a Youth Development Specialist almost a decade ago, Tiffany has served as a Team Lead, Site Coordinator for KIPP Life Academy, and is now a Tier-II Trainer recognized by our national branch BGCA. With a determined attitude and confident approach, Tiffany has reached many different milestones over the years, and continues to lead the charge in serving youth and families through preparing our caring and dedicated staff at the Club.

Nohely Campos

Teen Program Coordinator
Nohely is an experienced Boys & Girls Club professional, first joining the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula in San Francisco in 2018 and then BGCN in June 2023 to lead the teen program as the Teen Coordinator. Nohely has a dual bachelor's degree in Ethnic studies and Human Development and Spanish from Washington State University. She has over ten years of experience working with high schoolers and advocates for higher education. Nohely is a big advocate for mentoring as she had a mentor who believed in and supported her throughout high school and college. 

Ade'Kamil Kelly

Site Coordinator - THRIVE/BOLD Academy
Ade Kelly is a Boys and Girls Club of Newark alum, having started at 13 years old. During high school, Ade served as Keystone President for two years and was the 2013 Youth of the Year. Before re-joining the organization in January, Ade spent time in several industries including real estate, sales, accounting and finance, and politics. It was during his time at the Boys and Girls Club he developed a passion for serving the Newark community. This resulted in him championing many local education advocacy initiatives over the years. Currently, Ade is a site coordinator at one of BGCN’s school-based sites. Ade also serves as Vice-President of the Boys and Girls Club of Newark Alumni Association. 

Ryan Rhoomes

Clubhouse Director
Coach Ryan is an eight-year ex-professional basketball player with extensive youth development experience. He has exhibited a great dedication to personal improvement and assisting others in reaching their full potential throughout his career. Coach Ryan pursued nutritionist certification after gaining a thorough grasp of the impact of nutrition on sports performance, allowing him to provide expert advice on dietary choices and overall wellness. He also has certification as a group training instructor, which he uses to motivate and inspire people to reach their full potential. Coach Ryan's commitment to lifelong learning is evidenced by his master's degree in Sports and Business Management, which has provided him with significant insights into the business aspect of athletics. His diverse skill set, combined with his unwavering commitment and leadership characteristics, establishes him as a great role model and mentor for aspiring athletes and anyone seeking personal development. Coach Ryan's ultimate objective is to inspire our members to be leaders in their own life by emulating the principles of discipline, self-motivation, and resilience that have defined his journey.

Elvin Alicea

Site Coordinator - KURA
Elvin has been with BGCN for 3 years, starting as a Youth Development Professional and moving up to Site Coordinator. He is current acting President of the Areyto Chapter of Lambda Sigma Upsilon (LSU) Latino Fraternity, Inc. and is also serving on the Regional Board as the Community Service Chair. Elvin is also the Founder of the LSU Boxing Club. He currently attending college, majoring in Psychology and is a member of Psi Chi International Psychology Honor Society.

Jada Sarratt

Site Coordinator - LIFE Academy
Jada serves as the Program Coordinator at the Boys & Girls Club Newark. While being new to the club, she is not new to the Boys & Girls Club organization. In elementary school, Jada attended the Boys & Girls Club in Gaffney, South Carolina and won Youth of the Year while in 5th grade. During her high school tenure, Jada had the opportunity to volunteer at the club and while working on her undergraduate degree, she worked part-time as the Youth Development Professional that included being an Advisor for the Youth Committee and Mentor at the Boys & Girls Club Catawba. Jada has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a minor in Social Sciences from Winthrop University. Jada has a passion for youth and is excited to be a part of the Boys & Girls Club Newark team.

Julien Broomfield

Site Coordinator - SPARK Academy
Julien is a proud Southward Newark native. She attended KIPP schools from middle school through high school, then continued her academic career at Howard University from 2014-2018. Upon obtaining her bachelor’s degree in English, she then pursued a career in education with KIPP schools as a high school Physics and Chemistry Teacher, and servicing children with special needs until June 2023. She has experience coaching cheerleading and doing Race, Equity, and Inclusion work to improve upon the cultural conditions in the academic space for black and brown professionals and students. Although Julien decided to transition out of the classroom, she continued servicing the youth by working as a YDP at Thrive Academy for the Boys & Girls Club of Newark. Her diligence with kindergarten and 1st grades encouraged her to apply for a Site Coordinator position. Julien earned the role and is now the Site Coordinator at Spark/Justice Academy.

Hannah Bellinger

Wellness Social Worker and Psychotherapist, LSW
Hannah serves as Wellness Social Worker and Psychotherapist at BGCN. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she has a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Psychology from Syracuse University, and a Master of Social Work from Fordham University. Hannah has worked with individuals with developmental disabilities, youth in foster care, families and individuals impacted by chronic medical and mental health needs, and youth served in out-of-school time programming. She is passionate about helping our members to navigate the complexities of life and reach their full potential.

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!

Board of Trustees


Officers of the Board

Troy Glover, President
BNY Mellon

Sharad D. Madison, Board Chair
CEO, United Building Maintenance

Members of the Board

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

Sam Boraie 
Vice President, Boraie Development LLC

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

Maria R. Fruci 
Counsel, Genova Burns

Michael Gilfillan
President, Brick City Sports Capital

Michael Gruber, DMD
Dentist, Gruber Dentistry

Thomas R. Valen
Partner, Gibbons, PC

Gina Gruhn
Senior Vice President, Optum

Rayshine Harris
CEO, SHINE Tumblers

Jan Hines
Assistant Director, Transplant Community Relations

Kate Janukowicz
Counsel, Gibbons PC

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

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

Kelly Thompson
Self Employed

Patrick Walsh
Partner, Withum