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Our Founders 

Sheila Jaffe 

Sheila Jaffe was born in Manhattan and grew up in the Bronx. At eleven years of age, she found out she was adopted. Today, she is an Emmy winning casting director for HBO’s, The Sopranos and Entourage and films including The Fighter, Rocky Balboa, and Ted. Although casting is her profession, Sheila’s passion is helping children. As she sees it: “Felix is like my child and watching Felix grow in its reach to help these children has been an indescribable blessing.” Sheila currently sits on the board of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and the Advisory Board of the Savannah Film Festival. In 2013, she was honored at The Children’s Rights Gala for her work with children in foster care.

Darryl McDaniels 

For more than 25 years, Felix co-founder Darryl “DMC” McDaniels has had an influence on popular culture. The first rap group to grace the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine and the first to appear on MTV, Run DMC changed music. DMC continues to create, inspire and motivate. After discovering as an adult that he was adopted, DMC began his journey down another life path in search of his birth mother. While his struggle was captured in the Emmy-winning VH-1 documentary, “DMC: My Adoption Journey”, the process gave DMC insight and purpose, prompting him to become an advocate for adoption and foster children. He was invited to the White House by President Obama to address youth groups on responsibility and has appeared before Congress and State Legislatures in support of this cause. Along with his work as a musician, author, and speaker, DMC has been the recipient of awards including Hard Rock’s Love All Serve All Award for his philanthropic endeavors. DMC also sits on the board of directors of the JMJ Foundation, Children’s Rights, and Garden of Dreams. 

Our Founders

Honorary Chairs

Lorainne Bracco 

Actor, Producer

Sal Bellino

Retired, Principal at Tri-Star Construction Corp.

Founding Members 

Michael Lang (Deceased)

Co-Founder of Woodstock Ventures and Founder of The Michael Lang Organization 


Penny Marshall (Deceased)

Actress, Director, Producer

Loree Rodkin

Jewelry Designer

Georgianne Walken

Casting Director

Mark Wahlberg 

Producer, Actor 

Amanda Simonetta, M.S.Ed. 

Executive Director

As a former School Counselor with a Masters Degree in Education, Amanda has worked with hundreds of children in need. As Director of Institutional Giving at The New York Foundling, one of New York City’s largest social services agencies, she managed a grant portfolio of over $3 million, supporting programs to help disadvantaged youth. Perhaps most importantly, Amanda is passionate about camp. She loved her childhood summer camp so much that she eventually got married there. When the opportunity arose to start a camp for foster children, Amanda couldn’t wait to be a part of it. She became Camp Felix’s first on-site Camp Director and Program Administrator. As Executive Director, Amanda is working to expand the profoundly meaningful work of The Felix Organization.

Myra Scheer 

Creative Consultant 

Myra Scheer's life and career were forever changed after meeting with Sheila Jaffe and Darryl McDaniels in the spring of 2006.  Since that day, she has been an integral part of realizing Felix’s mission. Myra started her career as an assistant to the owners of Studio 54, the world-famous disco, where the dance floor was the star. She says she has come full circle with Felix, where the children are the stars. Myra’s enthusiasm and passion have guided Felix since its inception and helped grow Felix's anchor fundraiser DANCE THIS WAY. She explains: "I love bringing that part of my youth to the youth of today as we celebrate dance to enrich the lives of children growing up in the foster care system.”  Myra’s not-for-profit experience includes working with the Rainforest Fund and Foundation for nearly twenty years. 

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Tiffany Araya 

Program Director

Tiffany has had the special opportunity to experience the full Camp Felix evolution by starting as a camper at age 12, becoming a CIT at 14, volunteering at age 16 and finally becoming a counselor at 18 years old. Her time at Camp Felix both as a camper and counselor holds a profound place in her heart. Recently graduated from the University at Albany with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Women's Studies, Tiffany is proud and grateful that she can continue to work with her Felix family beyond camp at the Felix Organization. Tiffany hopes to bring Felix's message to the world and accomplish their mission with her genuine love and care for the children and with the insight and knowledge she has gained from being part of this family. 


Sapphire Tucker 

Manager of Marketing & Development

Sapphire received her B.S. in Human Health, Performance, and Leisure Studies with a concentration in Sports Medicine & a minor in Psychology from Howard University. She believes her mission in life is to help others become their best selves, and this includes foster youth. Sapphire is the co-founder of a mental health organization, Mind Your Mental, which is dedicated to breaking the stigma surrounding mental health. She joined Felix in 2020 as the Operations Manager and fit right in. She is dedicated, open-minded, flexible, and always eager to help. Sapphire's ultimate goal is to positively and consistently change the lives of others.



Board of Directors

Board of Directors 


Steve Abrams

CEO of Magnolia Bakery

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Scott Rosen

Senior Advisor


Constantine Baris

Treasurer, The Felix Organization

CPA, Baris Financial Management Ltd.

Saman Behbahani

 Vice President, Legal Affairs 


Laurie Parise 

Managing Director,

The Animation Project

Larry Ryckman 

President and CEO

AfterMaster Audio Labs

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Will Tell

Hip-Hop Producer and 1/2 of 

True Wine Connoisseurs

Laura Tufariello

President, Founder and Owner 

Design and Source Productions, Inc.

Advisory Board

Advisory Board 

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Erik Blam

Manager, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels

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Eve Brandstein


Regina Calcaterra

Author, and Partner, Calcaterra Pollack LLP

Denise Chamian


Casting Director 

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Scott Duquette

Masters of Social Work Student

Jolyn Farber 

Entrepreneurial Investor

Dolly Fox


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Mary Giuliani

Author and Founder of Mary Giuliani Catering & Events

Susan Gluck Papajohn

CEO & Founder 



Carol Kane

Actor and Comedian of stage, screen and television

Katie Kornfield

Founder / President

Katie Kornfield Consulting


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Joseph Lucius

Creative Director

Claire Mercuri 

Founder/ President 

Claire Mercuri Public Relations 

John Shaw 

Consultant & Coach

Vanessa Spencer 


Rodriguez Spencer Casting 


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Cydney Taylor

Physician Assistant

Hyperbaric Medical Solutions

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Judy Taylor

Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications, 
Events, Philanthropy, and Retreats at Equinox 


Junior Board

Junior Board 

Members of the Junior Board are dynamic young professionals who use their talent and experience to act as ambassadors for Felix by fundraising, becoming involved in Felix activities and engaging other young professionals (age 40 and under) to make a difference in the lives of youth in foster care.

Morgan Baker 

Designer at Omnicom Media Group



Erik Blam, Jr.

Creative Director for Run DMC

Dan Casarella 


Lightning Media Partners

Paloma Castillo

Restorative Practices Specialist

Mott Haven Academy


Olivia Colavito

Elementary and Special Education Teacher

Candice Daniels

TV Host, Actress, Producer

Juliet Forde

CEO of Flawless Smiles NYC



Justice Henry

Program/Health Director,

City Growers 

Justin Kirkland 

Basketball Coach & 



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Tatiana Laroche

Financial Information Analyst Assistant,

Harlem East Life Plan


Delon Marshall

Middle School Math Teacher,

Middle School for Arts and Philosophy


Alex Mines

Assistant to Talent Agency,

Gersh Agency


Alayah Ramos

Self-Confidence Coach  

Relationship Support Specialist 

Author and Poet


Yanallis Ramos

Mental Health/Emotional Support Coach, Suicide Prevention And Crisis Specialist

Tony Shapiro-Bey

Technical Implementation Specialist,


Travis Welcome 

Chief Program Officer,


Dan Wonderly 


Wonderly Imaging 

Foster Care Liaisons Board

Foster Care Liaisons Board

Our network of Foster Care liaisons play an instrumental role in the success of our programs, advising us regarding issues such as program development, organization policies and guidelines for interacting with youth, best practices for service implementation, and general support as questions arise.

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Gabriella McBride, LCSW

Adjunct Lecturer, NYU

Non-Profit Consultant

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Shirley Salomon

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

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