Our Founder

 

Dr. Samarth Joseph

Founder/Executive Director of ESPOIR Youth Program Inc.

   Dr. Samarth Joseph graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 2001 and earned her Masters degree at D'Youville College in 2003. She is responsible for starting an after school program for the Choir Academy of Harlem, helping struggling minority students with dedicated tutoring while eliminating truancy and doubling college applications. She has worked with the New York City Board of Education, The After School Corporation (TASC), the United Federation of Teachers and various community organizations to help improve education for underprivileged children. 

Dr. Joseph earned her Ph.D. in Geography, and specializes in International Economics and Business Development at the University of Buffalo. She founded Espoir International Youth Program in May of 2012 following her dream of bringing her expertise and the opportunities that come with it to developing countries across the world.


Our Board of Directors


 

Vinneth Barnes

Chair of the Board 

 
Vinneth Barnes was born in St. Catharine, Jamaica WI.  She is one of six children born to Beryl Barnes and Medrock Barnes. She likes to tell that she is the “first child for both her parents and the second child for both her parents” this is because each parent had a child from a previous marriage and she is the first child of the union. Ms. Barnes completed her undergrad studies in food and nutrition at Northern Caribbean University and migrated to the United States in 1986. She pursued studies in Dietetics at Valhalla Community College, but after considering her career path and where it would lead financially, she decided to own her own business.

Vinneth launched her first company, Padjav Educational Source, an educational software enterprise in 1992. After a decade of moderate success she closed Padjav because of the increasing competition that the technological explosion posed. In 2001, she incorporated Sydmac Properties, Inc. (SPI) a property management and construction company which provides property management for her real estate holding as well as for her clients. She is currently the CEO of SPI and it is her full time occupation. Ms. Barnes is also the president of Colors of Success Investment Club, a partnership she started twelve years ago. It provides investment opportunities for its members.

Ms. Barnes currently resides in Melville New York. She attends Bethany SDA Church where she is serving her second term as Women’s Ministries Leader and Investment Leader. Vinneth enjoys cooking, traveling and reading.  



 

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.


 

Gopal M. Burgher

Chair of Fundraising and Development Committee
 
 
Gopal M. Burgher is a Partner at Burgher Gray Haile & Jaffe LLP (New York). Mr. Burgher’s principal practice area is capital markets/finance, with a concentration in structured finance and securitization. His finance experience is quite extensive and also includes banking and institutional investing, public finance, real estate finance transactions.

Mr. Burgher has represented issuers, underwriters, arrangers/initial purchasers, lenders, borrowers, asset managers, credit enhancers, liquidity providers and other transaction parties in various capital markets public and private debt and equity finance transactions. Other areas of practice include real estate and community development, mergers/acquisitions, joint ventures, and general corporate and commercial transactions. 
 

Prior to joining Burgher Gray, Gopal was Counsel in the structured finance/capital markets group at McKee Nelson LLP (New York), before which he spent approximately 10 years at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (New York). He studied at SUNY Fredonia and New York University Law School.



 

Clarence Wilson Jr.

Secretary and Treasurer

 


Clarence Wilson Jr. has been employed with Volunteers of America – Greater New York since February 2012.  Currently serving as the interim Director of Internal Audit, he is responsible for performing financial, operational, and information systems audits, ad hoc projects, and investigations for all programs and division lines of the agency.  Clarence was previously employed as an internal auditor with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (six years) and with the Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General as a staff auditor (one and a half years).

Clarence was born in Vicksburg, MS to Clarence Wilson, Sr. and Annie Wilson.  Clarence received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration from Kent State University. Currently he serves as Stewardship Assistant, Men’s Ministries Assistant and Sabbath School teacher at Ebenezer SDA Church in the community of Brownsville, in Brooklyn, NY.  Clarence has also served as an ordained Elder, Deacon, Treasurer, Sabbath School Superintendent, and Adventist Youth (AY) Leader. He is very much involved with AY Ministries, as he assists with the AY programs at Ebenezer and is currently serving his second consecutive term as Pathfinder Club Director.

Clarence is married to Kathy Cornwall-Wilson; they have one daughter, Saraiyah Lillianne Wilson.  In his spare time, Clarence enjoys watching and playing basketball, football, reading and studying bible prophecy.   



 

William D. Pruitt, LMSW

Board Member


William Pruitt is the Founder/Executive Director for the McCoy Center Family and Youth Services Inc. Mr. Pruitt possesses a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is licensed to practice Social Work in New York State. He spent twenty-two years working with two of the largest human service agencies on Long Island where he has held various administrative positions. Mr. Pruitt’s work experiences have centered on Adolescent Development, Family Therapy, Quality Assurance/Performance Improvement, Business Affairs and Housing Development.

Mr. Pruitt is a Certified Peer Reviewer with the Council on Accreditation for Children and Families Services (COA). As a Peer Reviewer, he utilized national standards to accredit organizations implementing quality assurance methods and best practice procedures in servicing youth and families. Additionally, his quality assurance experience included assessing external audits of service programs to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.

He works collaboratively to make McCoy Center Family and Youth Services an agency that provides quality services focused on wellness of families, individuals and empowerment of youth while promoting strong partnerships with schools, businesses and community service organizations.




 

Dr. Estelle Weinstein

Board Member


Dr. Estelle Weinstein holds the rank of Special Full Professor in the Department of HealthProfessions and Kinesiology (HPK). Over her career at Hofstra, she served as the Chairperson of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Sports Sciences as wellas the first Chair of the then newly formed Health Professions and Family Studies. Her administrative activities also included directing the graduate programs in both health education and health administration and her teaching responsibilities include a range of graduate courses in both majors. She has published several textbooks, chapters in texts and an array of journal articles that cross a variety of disciplines including teaching health, delivery of health services, and sexual, couple and family therapy. She has presented numerous papers and workshops at national and regional professional conferences. Her primary research interest is in the area of human sexuality across the life cycle and her primary educational interests are in teacher preparation in health. Dr. Weinstein is a NYS licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.