Rosie WilliamsGroup Leader
Brieanna HayesGroup Leader
Michelle RolfsmeyerProgram Coordinator
Bryan Hill, LMSWCOO
Barry Chaffkin, LCSWCEO
Bio Coming Soon!
Brieanna is 24 years old and identifies as an LGBT youth. She has been in foster care since she was 15 years old. Brieanna believes things happen that we can’t always control, but we can always learn from them and grow stronger. People describe Brieanna as passionate, funny, thoughtful, artistic and caring. She plans to attend college to study grant writing and business management. She is working as a chef in training now. She serves as a member of the YGB Youth Collaborative to help educate prospective permanent parents about what it is like to be a teenager in foster care and how they can best prepare for the responsibility they are about to take on. Her message to adults is”you don’t always have to understand, but you should always be there to support young people the best ways you can.” In this position, she also meets with young people in care and helps them open up to the possibility of having a lifetime family. Brieanna also works with Fostering Youth for Children working as a group leader for an amazing group called Upfront that serves youth that have either experienced homelessness or who have gone through the foster care system. In this position, she is considered a mentor, advocate and an inspiration to youth we serve.
Michelle Rolfsmeyer is the Program Coordinator of Children’s Corps at Fostering Change for Children. She is a graduate of Creighton University, committed to working with marginalized populations, and has held various positions in social services since moving to New York. Michelle is also a member/alum of the 2012 Children’s Corps class, where she worked directly with families in the child welfare system. Additionally, Michelle is an avid sports fan (of all things Nebraska) and wannabe athlete. She enjoys traveling around the city, and other locales, in search of food and adventure.
Bryan Hill, LMSW, is the Chief Operating Officer at Fostering Change for Children. He is a child welfare professional with 19 years of human service experience. He is responsible for FCFC’s fundraising efforts as well as its operations. Additionally, he is a trainer/coach for the Children’s Corps and Child Welfare Training & Coaching programs and works very closely with the UpFront program. He also serves as an adoption social worker with Spence-Chapin Services, an Adjunct Lecturer with the Columbia School of Social Work, and an Adjunct Professor with the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College . Bryan is proud to be a birth father in an open adoption as well as a step-father.
Barry Chaffkin, LCSW, is CEO and co-founder of Fostering Change For Children. He has worked in child welfare for over 25 years, directly supervising the reunification of over 900 children with their families as well as finalizing adoptions of over 900 children from the New York foster care system. Barry is a nationally recognized speaker and trainer that was name Adoption Activist of the Year in 2005 by the North American Council on Adoptable Children. Barry also serves as an adjunct lecturer at Columbia School of Social Work in New York City and has guest-lectured in family counseling at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, NY. Barry strongly believes that every child deserves a safe and permanent family, and has dedicated his life to finding new and creative ways to achieve this. Barry has two wonderful children of his own with whom he loves to spend time.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Theonilla Lee-ChanBoard Member
Ronald KlempnerBoard Member
Robert ChirlianBoard Member
Melissa Potter FordeBoard Member
James MarinoBoard Member
Dorathy SunshineBoard Member
Adam JenahBoard Member
Theonilla is an officer in Institutional Supervision at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which she joined in 2008 at the start of the financial crisis. Prior to joining the Federal Reserve she has worked in the financial services private sector at Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and American Express. She holds a B.B.A. in Public Accounting from Baruch College, CUNY, and an M.Sc. in Statistics and Operations Research from New York University. Theonilla is an adoptive mother of a senior at Bronx Science and Lives in Jamaica Estates, Queens. As an adoptive parent with a vested interest in child welfare, Theonilla hopes to make a contribution toward the valuable work that Fostering Change for Children carries out in its mission.
Ron is our Board Chairperson. Ron is Senior Counsel over Collective Bargaining for the National Basketball Players Association, the certified labor union for all players in the National Basketball Association and Women’s National Basketball Association. Ron has championed the rights of the players against management through five separate rounds of collective bargaining, including through the six-month owner-imposed lockout in 1998, and has represented NBA and WNBA players in every discipline and contract case brought since he joined the union staff in 1993. Ron graduated from Binghamton University in 1984 and Hofstra Law School in 1987, and previously served as a law clerk to the Second Circuit United States Court of Appeals, and a litigation associate at the firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Through his work with Fostering Change for Children, Ron hopes to help create a supportive environment for children in need similar to what he was lucky enough to receive when many friends, neighbors and family members stepped up to help raise him after the passing of his mother. Ron is married with two children.
Bob, a NYC native, was a political science major at Manhattanvile College in Purchase, N.Y. He has owned and operated Going Places, Inc., a corporate travel management company in Manhattan since 1986. On Valentine’s Day 2003, Bob, an adoptee, was united with his younger biological sister Rosemarie after a search for his birth family which had transpired over many years. He was involved in Big Brothers & Sisters when he was in his early twenties and has been engaged as a mentor in the Adoptment program since its inception in 2004. Bob continues to draw on the journey of his adoptive experience to help imbue his mentees with the ideas and tools to meet the challenges found within our complicated world of today. The mission and vision of Fostering Change for Children is a welcome beacon in the fields of foster care and adoption. Bob has been married to Gail Pudaloff since 1989.
Melissa Potter Forde
Melissa Potter Forde is a results-focused leader in public relations and strategic communications with more than 10 years of experience driving and supporting the public relations needs of nonprofit organizations and boutique agencies. She received a BS in Sociology from Northeastern University and a MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication from New York University.
In her current role as Director of Communications and Marketing with Boys & Girls Harbor, Melissa is known for leveraging expertise in strategic and crisis communications planning, event management and branding, to optimize the organization’s presence across emerging media platforms. Melissa has a deep passion for youth and community development and resides in Bronx, NY.
Jim is a Director on the Fixed Income Finance Desk at Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. He has worked in the financial services industry for 21 years, as a manager in International Operations, and as a trader in Emerging Markets and Structured Finance. Jim earned an MBA from Fordham University in 1990, and a BS in Management from Binghamton University in 1984. Jim enjoys spending his free time with his teenage son and daughter… activities include attending their frequent musical performances and coaching his daughter’s softball team. Through his association with Fostering Change for Children, Jim hopes to create opportunities for children less fortunate than his own to receive the support and guidance they deserve.
BIO COMING SOON
Dorathy Sunshine joined Morgan Stanley in 2017 as Vice President of Product Operations and Services for Wealth Management Operations. In her role, Dorathy is responsible for driving the implementation and strategy for the Morgan Stanley Service Network (MSSN) a strategic platform for servicing the field. Dorathy oversees the division’s strategic Knowledge management infrastructure, a support strategic solution for the Wealth Management Financial Advisors and their support staff by providing by providing a tactical solution to deliver accurate and comprehensive knowledge in a itmely manner resulting inreduced time spent identifuying information and increased self-service. As part of her role, she partners with business unit leaders and other key stakeholders to drive chnage and implement new business processes in the broader WM initiative and startegically align content management, governencen framework. Prior to joining Morgan stanley, Dorathy was at Combs Enterprises a company owned by renowened entertainer Sean “Diddy” Combs focusing on improving business operations, implemented operational changes to drive efficiencies. In 2003, Dorathy began her career working as a Relationship Manager for Ultra Hiugh Network Individuals in the Private Banking division at United Bank for Africa in Lagos, Nigeria. Since she relocated to New York, she has worked in business Operatiojns Primerily. Dorathy received her B.S. in Communications from Madonna University, and MBA from KEller Graduate School of Management in NYC. Dorathy currently resides in Westchester with her husband and two children. In her spare time enjoys spending time with family as well as traveling and hanging out with friends.
Adam holds an HBA degree from Ivey Business School and an M.B.A from the University of Toronto. Adam joined Thomson Reuters in their Management Associates Program after completing his M.B.A. Adam is from Toronto. Canada and lived there before moving to New York. Prior to completing his M.B.A., Adam worked in supply chain, predominantly with the Home Depot in Canada. Adam is an avid traveler and enjoys engaging with people from all around the world. Adam has served as a Kid Coach for Future Possibilities for Kids. Adam joined Fostering Change for Children’s Board to support today’s youth and make a difference in the community in which he lives.
Stephen is an experienced, dynamic, and engaging trainer. He works as a consultant for provider agencies and is often a keynote speaker at conferences addressing foster care challenges. He has pioneered innovative family-finding and family support strategies for teens that have been successfully implemented by a broad spectrum of NYC foster care agencies, and he is currently doing permanency work for teens under a federal grant obtained by New York State’s OCFS, A Parent for Every Child. Not only is Stephen an experienced trainer but he has considerable experience as a foster and adoptive parent. Since 1998, he is the father of nine boys and one girl. In recent years, he has offered his real-life experienced as a foster and adoptive parent to organizations that are committed to developing and supporting permanency for adolescents.
Maris Blechner, M. Ed., LCSW
Maris Blechner is an adoptive and birth parent, a licensed clinical social worker, educator, and a nationally respected trainer and speaker who has spent the last thirty-eight years working for the improvement of adoption and the child welfare system. One of the founders of the parent-led multi-service adoption agency that she directed for twenty-six years, Maris relates proudly that she comes from the citizen-activist child-advocacy community and brings that neighborhood and personal family experience to her professional work. These days she always enjoys mentoring for Children’s Corps, and teaching on Wednesday afternoons at her alma mater school, the Silberman School s Social Work at Hunter College.
Danny Siford, MS/P
Daniel Siford (Danny) combines his 30 years of theatre experience and mixes it with over 15 years of child welfare experience. Danny began his child welfare career as a case planner for 12 LGBTQ+ youth that were living in a residential program. He went on the be the Program Manager of that residence. He became the first PTA President of the Harvey Milk High School and an advocate for LGBTQ youth in foster care. Preparing for his master’s degree in psychology, he worked as a recreational therapist and drama director at a school for children with cognitive developmental issues and intense behavioral needs. Danny became the supervisor of a program called Families of Teens which focused on providing services to over 120 teenagers with intensive case management needs. He continued to deliver trainings on LGBTQ and TGNC topics thanks to Doug O’Dell at SCO Family Services. He is now a full-time trainer and has trained on 14 different topics. He is currently a training consultant at the ACS Workforce Institute/CUNY and Fostering Change For Children. where he delivers training to child welfare professionals on changing perception and language of the open adoption process. Danny is a co-founder and Managing Director if as performing arts training program in Harlem called On Broadway Performing Arts Training Program. The Program founder and Executive Director is 18 years Broadway Veteran, Rema Webb.