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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.

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Karen D'Agostino

Director of Development

Karen is the newest member of the Felix Organization team having recently joined as Director of Development. She brings a wealth over 15 years of experience to the Organization through her background in the nonprofit world. Karen discovered her true passion in life by founding the Music Resource Center - Cincinnati, a non-profit after-school music and recording studio for teens in Cincinnati.  She quickly realized that working with disadvantaged youth was extremely rewarding and is looking forward to transferring this experience to Team Felix. Immediately prior to joining Felix, Karen was Director of Development for the Cincinnati ToolBank, an organization that lends tools and equipment to nonprofits so they can realize their most ambitious goals. She is excited to use her know how of development and fundraising for the benefit of the Felix Organization and its many foster youth.

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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 to continue working 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. 

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Kaitlin Wright

Americorps VISTA

Kaitlin Wright is happy to be joining the Felix Team for a year-long contract under AmeriCorps after being our AmeriCorps summer intern. Kaitlin is a recent graduate of Molloy University with a BFA in Theatre Arts. Upon graduation, Kaitlin joined the Carnegie Hall sales team and quickly became the highest grossing sales representative for that season. With that experience under her belt, she brings her passion for service and sales to The Felix Organization. She fell in love with The Felix Organization after her summer VISTA term, and is excited to help behind the scenes this year.



Board of Directors

Board of Directors 


Steve Abrams

CEO of Magnolia Bakery

Constantine Baris

Treasurer, The Felix Organization

CPA, Baris Financial Management Ltd.

Laurie Parise 

Youth Justice Network 

Director Law Library

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Scott Rosen

Senior Advisor


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Will Tell

Hip-Hop Producer and 1/2 of 

True Wine Connoisseurs

Saman Behbahani

 Vice President, Legal Affairs 


Larry Ryckman 

President and CEO

AfterMaster Audio Labs

Regina Calcaterra

Author, and Partner, Calcaterra Pollack LLP

        Myra Scheer 

Radio Host, Former Creative Consultant to The Felix Organization 

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



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

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Louise Jones

CEO, LJ Capital LLC

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.

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Grace Accetta

Manager of Corporate & Foundation Donor Relations, Food Bank NYC

Morgan Baker 

Designer at Omnicom Media Group



Erik Blam, Jr.

Creative Director for Run DMC

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 

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Sydney Jones


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

Travis Welcome 

Chief Program Officer,



Yanallis Ramos

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

Tony Shapiro-Bey

Technical Implementation Specialist,


Dan Wonderly 


Wonderly Imaging 

Foster Care Liaisons Board
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