Our Founder


 
 

Dr. Samarth Joseph

Founder/Executive Director of ESPOIR Youth Program Inc.

 

Dr. Samarth Joseph is a native of Haiti. She came to the US when she was 17 years old. In June 1997, she graduated from Westbury High School. Joseph earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in French from SUNY Fredonia in 2001. Upon graduating from SUNY Fredonia, she went on to earn a Master's degree in International Business as well as an MBA from D'Youville University in 2003. For three years, she worked for the After-School Corporation where she:

  • Developed academic after-school programs for ten after-school sites. For instance, Choir Academy of Harlem (CAH) was one of the sites Dr. Joseph Managed, students passing grade increased, and parents were satisfied with the results. For grade 12 English Regents’ scores from 13% to 78% and Math Level 3 scores from 7% to 47%; contributed to the school being ranked number one in grade 5 Math for Regions 5 and 10, and number one in the district and Region 10 for English Language Arts and Reading.

  • Built from scratch curriculums of academic and recreational classes to assist minority students struggling with Math and English; introduced innovative learning tools, directly hired and managed and tracked teaching performance.

  • Reduced endemic truancy to zero after one year by developing amongst both CAH students and staff a respect for discipline and accountability; wooed parents with a monthly appreciation day and encouraged their full involvement.

  • Taught CAH parents and staff how to prepare students for college from the 6th grade and increased percentage of students applying to college from 55% to 100%.

Joseph felt from an early age to reach the highest level in education, and in the Fall 2006, she was accepted in a Ph.D. program at the University at Buffalo. Where she earned a dual degree in Economic Geography and International Economics and Business Development in 2010. As a McNair alumnus at SUNY Fredonia and D’Youville University, Joseph was honored for many outstanding achievements. Of particular note, she was chosen from 127 nominees for the 2009 Ethnic Geography Specialty Group Award. She also received the leadership award from New York City Department of Education. In December 18, 2014, Dr. Joseph was one of the New Leaders Award recipients from the Town of North Hempstead. In addition, in October 10, 2015, Dr. Joseph’s community work was honored by the New York State Assembly, the Long Island 2015 Somos El Futuro “We Are The Future” Convention. Also, on Saturday, October 21, 2017, Dr. Joseph received the Alumni of Distinction Award from The Westbury Union Free School District. She is a lifetime member of the Empire Who’s Who Executive and Professional, and a lifetime member of the Epsilon Rho Chapter. Dr. Samarth Joseph is a member of Caribbean Philosophical Society and a member of the American Association of Geographers. Dr. Joseph is also a chaplain associating with the NY State Chaplaincy.

In addition, Dr. Joseph taught at various institutions from elementary to graduate school level. She is currently an adjunct professor at Suffolk Community College. Dr. Joseph had the opportunity to speak at various events. For instance, In July 8, 2007, she was one of the speakers at the Global Third Way called “Becoming One with the Environment” that was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. In June 14, 2008, she was a guest speaker at the Third Annual Global Forum called “Miracles of Development: Good governance and capacity Building” that was held at the World Bank, Washington, DC. Furthermore, in August 13, 2009, she spoke at the Caribbean Philosophical Association Conference called “Shifting the Geography of Reason: Migration and Diaspora” that was held at the University of Miami. In addition, she was one of the speakers for ALANA graduation ceremony in May 7, 2010. On July 18, 2010, Dr. Joseph was one of the guest speakers at the National Conference of McNair Scholars in Washington, DC. In May 24, 2014, Dr. Joseph was the guest speaker at the Christian Hands’ Fundraising event. Dr. Joseph also spoke at various churches including the Victory Temple church in Buffalo, NY, the Ebenezer Haitian Baptist Church and the Bethany SDA church in Westbury, NY. On Wednesday, February 19, 2020, Dr. Joseph was awarded by the United Nations, FOWPAL and COJEP International. Also, that day, Dr. Joseph was also one of the speakers at the United Nations’ 58th Commission Convention.

Dr. Joseph published several scholarly articles in various scholarly journals. Dr. Joseph is a hard working young woman. Currently, she is working on her book entitled “It’s Not Over Yet,” in which she shares her life story.

Dr. Joseph’s goal is to help disadvantaged youth in her community and beyond, and that is why on May 7, 2012, she founded ESPOIR YOUTH PROGRAMS, Inc. to provide educational services to such youth in the United States, specifically in Westbury, New York. ESPOIR, which in French means “hope," has been spreading plenty of hope in the US and abroad for over eight years. ESPOIR has served 1,350 youth throughout long Island and has distributed pounds of food to the residence of Westbury, NY. ESPOIR will continue to give hope to the youth as it continues to fix its eyes above.

 


Our Board of Directors



 

Dr. Clarence Wilson Jr.

Chair of the Board 

 


Dr. Clarence Wilson Jr. has served as Chair of ESPOIR's Board of Directors since January 2017. Prior to 207, Clarence served as Treasurer and Secretary for the Board.

Clarence is current employed as Deputy Director - Special Audit Projects with the New York City Department of Social Services - Human Resources Administration. He was previously employed from 2015 to 2019 as a Management Auditor II with the New York City Police Department. Clarence was also previously employed with nonprofit social services organization Volunteers of America – Greater New York for three years and as an internal auditor with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for six years.

Clarence was born in Vicksburg, MS to Clarence Wilson, Sr. and Annie Wilson. Clarence received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting (2001), a Master of Business Administration from Kent State University (2003), a Doctor of Business Administration from Capella University (2014) and a Doctor of Theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary (2017). Currently, he is pursuing a Master of Divinity (M. Div) from Liberty University's Rawlings School of Divinity. Within his local congregation at the Ebenezer SDA Church in Brooklyn, NY, Clarence serves as an ordained Elder, Stewardship Director and Sabbath School Superintendent. He is also very much involved with Adventist Youth Ministries. Clarence has been an ordained chaplain with United Chaplains, State of New York since 2018 and is a Certified Hospice Chaplain.
  
 


 

Gopal M. Burgher

Chair of Fundraising and Development Committee
 
 
Gopal M. Burgher is the Managing Partner and head of the Capital Markets and Finance practice group of BurgherGray LLP, a corporate law firm with offices in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Miami. The firm represents clients ranging from start-ups and emerging growth enterprises to Fortune 100 companies on a range of complex business litigation and sophisticated corporate transactional matters, including finance, investment management, M&A, commercial transactions, securities law compliance, corporate governance, intellectual property, data privacy/cybersecurity, technology and real estate matters.
 
While Gopal maintains a dynamic and diversified practice, his practice is largely concentrated in the area of capital markets/finance, including structured finance and securitization and other capital markets credit transactions, asset-based lending, commercial lending, warehouse financing, risk retention financing, debt private placements, middle market lending, financial restructuring and real estate finance, among others. He regularly serves as a trusted advisor to business executives and in-house counsels of global and regional financial institutions, community banks, insurance companies, private investment funds, financial advisory firms, asset managers and other financial services companies (including financial technology firms), among others, in a wide range of finance, securities law compliance, and other corporate transactional matters.
 
Gopal started his legal career in the New York offices of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where he spent approximately 10 years before joining then structured finance and capital markets powerhouse, McKee Nelson LLP, in its New York office. He is a graduate of New York University School of Law, where he was an Association of the Bar of the City of New York Fellow, and The State University of New York, College at Fredonia (magna cum laude, double major in political science and philosophy). He is also a graduate of the Strategic Steps for Growth Streetwise MBA Program offered by the NYU Stern School of Business (in collaboration with Interise and the NYC Department of Small Business Services), as well as the Freddie Mac Vendor Academy Program.

Over the years, Gopal’s commitment to community activism has manifested itself in his service to and support of a number of charitable and philanthropic organizations and causes, including the American Foundation of the University of the West Indies, The Fredonia College Foundation, ESPOIR Youth Program Inc., Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) Inc., Professional Jamaicans for Jamaica Inc., and the Dance Theater of Harlem, among others. He is also active member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New
York, the National Bar Association, the Structured Finance Industry Group, and the National Association of Minority and Women-Owned Law Firms (member, Transaction PAC; Co-Chair, Banking and Finance Practice Area Subcommittee), among other industry groups and organizations.
 
Gopal is admitted to the Bar of the State of New York.

 

 

Dr. Sean Semper

Chair of Marketing/Communication Committee



Dr. Sean Semper is an Aerospace Engineer currently employed at the Goddard Space Flight Center. He has six years’ combined experience in engineering research and teaching experience in various institutions from elementary to the graduate school level, and has received awards for outstanding service, leadership and diligence from varied church, educational and community organizations. Born in the United States to parents originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Sean has reaped the benefits of being raised within two cultural influences allowing him to serve the needs of those from different societies and backgrounds.

Presently, he is working on an intuitive handbook for communication directors at small churches that are seeking to move into the 21st century on a minimal budget with the spiritual ministry being the focus. He also has led a growing communication department from over 400 miles away and now supports two church's departments to assure effective service within each church and to their surrounding communities.

 

 

 

Manuel D. Torres

Board Member



Manny has been with Oppenheimer and Company for 22 years and is currently an Executive Director in the Equities Division. He started his career at Salomon Brothers Inc. and has spent over 30 years in the finance industry.
He has been Grand Knight of the St. Thomas Knights of Columbus and is currently a member of the Pastoral Council at St Thomas the Apostle R.C. Church in West Hempstead.
His main passion is being a Crisis Chaplain for the New York State Chaplain Task Force, he is currently a board member and is the Supervisor for Long Island. He has been deployed to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria to provide assistance along with Paris for human rights His current project is running the Compassion Line (833-697-2831) for the NYSCTF, a 24-hour hotline geared towards providing ministry of presence to those in immediate need regardless of location or time.