Jim Witt's HOPE for Youth Foundation

The HOPE for Youth Foundation continues to have a profound and lasting impact on children.

Founded in 1986, the Foundation, a 501(c)(3), has proudly distributed more than $6.0 million to better the lives of local youth in the Hudson Valley by funding worthy charities (with a focus on children), scholarships to local high school students and local programs that promote healthy academic, emotional or athletic programs.

Funds are raised primarily through the proceeds of the sales of the foundation’s popular long-range weather calendars, the generosity of our faithful donors and signature fundraising events.

Founding members of HFYF are Gary Pease, former owner of WHUD/WLNA radio, and Jim Witt, former owner of Fleetweather Inc. and former educator.

Board Members

Jim Witt

Founder and CEO
Jim taught science and chaired the Science Department at the Lakeland Schools. It was at Lakeland where he established and operated a nationally famous secondary school weather program. Jim was on the faculty of Columbia University and taught a weather program for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In addition, he was an instructor of meteorology at Western Connecticut State College and Pace University. From 1970 to 1996, Jim was co-owner and Vice President of Fleetweather, Inc. Jim has received multiple awards for distinguished community service. In 2011 he was “The Special Award” winner of the American Meteorological Society for leadership in teaching meteorology. He authored a number of publications in meteorology and pedagogy. Jim is an on-air radio personality who is currently broadcasting on WHUD and WKIT (Bangor, Maine). Jim frequently guest lectures on long and short range forecasting, speaks to students of all ages at local schools and continues his research on long range weather.

Bruce Lindenbaum

Bruce graduated from Tufts University in 1974, with a civil engineering degree and started working in Boston at Camp Dresser and McKee. He left there in 1976 to join his family owned business, Frank & Lindy Plumbing & Heating. He has been involved in many community activities. He was a member of the Hudson Valley Hospital Board of Trustees and an officer of their foundation. Bruce founded the Peekskill Celebration Festival and served as their Chairman. He twice served as Board Chairman of the Hudson Valley Chamber of Commerce and continues as a Board Member. Bruce has been a Rotarian since 1979. He was awarded the Chester A. Smith award by the Field Library in Peekskill for his community service and received the Maureen Erickson Volunteer of the Year award by the Chamber of Commerce. Bruce has two grown children, Scott and Brian, and lives in Cortlandt Manor. His wife, Cheryl, died of breast cancer in 2005 and the Cancer Center at New York Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital is named in her honor.

Clare Rosen

Vice President

Clare very recently moved to Cortlandt Manor after living in Briarcliff Manor for 48 years with her late husband Paul. They have two married children and two wonderful granddaughters.

Clare spent her entire 47 year professional career working with children both in her private practice as a clinical psychologist and in schools, first as a school psychologist and later as an assistant superintendent retiring in 2016. Clare has always been involved with volunteer-work including serving on ethics boards in the Village of Ossining and previously in the Village of Briarcliff Manor and on the Westchester County Pychological Association’s (WCPA)ethics committee and was the president of WCPA. She is currently the Education Committee Chair at Congregation Sons of Israel in Briarcliff and a member of the synagogue’s Board of Trustees.

John W. Burke

Vice President

John was born in Peekskill and is a graduate of Peekskill High School. He currently resides in Peekskill with his wife Jan, along with her mother Peggy and their cat Maggie Mae.

John received a scholarship to the Art Career School that was located in the Flat Iron Building in Manhattan. Upon graduating, he began his career as a Commercial Artist. After many years commuting, he became an Art Director at Mastandrea Studios in Mt. Kisco, NY. In 2004 he joined CitationAir, a private jet company in Greenwich, CT as their Accounting Specialist and Customer Relations Representative.

He is an Elder of the Peekskill Presbyterian Church and has served on their Session and on their pastoral search committees. He was chairperson of their Stewardship Committee for many years. He also served on the Board of Directors at Stonegate Apartments. John has been involved with the Hudson Valley Weather Calendar as a volunteer for the past 17 years. He initially worked with Joe Deutsch in choosing the photos and on the production of the calendar. He now handles all aspects of the calendar each year from start to finish until it is delivered to the printer.

Joel Greenstein


Joel is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at New York City College of Technology, a branch of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, located in Brooklyn. He began his teaching career at the City College of New York (CCNY) in 1970 and joined the faculty of City Tech in the fall of 1972. Prior to teaching in CUNY, Joel was a member of the U.S. military serving as a Truck and tank mechanic and rising to the rank of Specialist 5th class.

Joel holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts degree in Mathematics from CCNY and has taken additional course work at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Joel and his wife Jill moved to the Village of Croton on Hudson in 1977 and have lived in the area ever since. They have been actively involved in many charities in the Westchester area, raised their daughters there, and love their Teatown neighborhood.

Mike Dardano

Board Member

Mike Dardano brings 43 years of marketing and sales experience to BuzzPotential. His company focuses on making a positive difference for his clients that includes increasing profitable sales and enhancing community give back efforts.

Prior to forming BuzzPotential, Mike was a Senior Vice President at Co-Communications where he oversaw day-to-day operations, account management, strategic and new business development, media planning, research, and event management. Mike held senior positions in marketing and advertising sales at Burst! Media, Editor and Publisher, Media Passage, and The Los Angeles Times.

Mike is an active member of The Business Council of Westchester, Armonk Chamber of Commerce, Eastchester Tuckahoe Chamber of Commerce, Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce and Tuckahoe Environmental and Sustainability Committee.

Mike believes in supporting local charities and has recently helped raise funds for WestCop, Cluster Community Services, Latino U College Access, Support Connection, Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley, March of Dimes, Homes For Veterans, Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, Scarsdale Public Library and North Castle Public Library. He and his wife Susan, were awarded the Support Connection Maria Rubino Jennings Spirit of Caring Award for their charitable work on behalf of the Yorktown based charity.

Roger Gorevic

Board Member
Roger was former president and treasurer of The Appraisers Association of America, the largest non-profit appraisal organization in America. He was also the former owner and President of the New York Centaurs – professional soccer team in the A-League. He was previously a member of the board of directors of at St. Christopher’s Inn – a drug and alcohol rehab facility in Garrison.

Arianna Hurtado

Board Member
Arianna knows how important community service and social justice is to our community. She began her journey with the Hope for Youth Foundation in 2017 when she earned the Howard and Neva Goldstein scholarship award. In March of 2020 she joined our Board of Directors. At the start of the pandemic she quickly set out to organize and produce our first virtual fundraiser, “An Evening of HOPE and Music” earning over $10,000. Arianna has a BFA from New York University and a minor in Business Entertainment Media and Technology. She is currently working in the insurance field and actively pursuing her career goals. She looks forward to continuing to be an integral part of HFYF.

Cathy Johansen

Board Member
Cathy enjoyed being part of the City of Peekskill Police Department for 24 years. She is most proud of her work creating and supervising the Community Policing Unit, wherein she started the popular youth police academy in 2010. After retiring from the Peekskill Police Department as a Lieutenant in 2013, Cathy became a member of the Peekskill Rotary and rose through the ranks to become President in 2018. Cathy maintains a solid connection to her career as a New York Women in Law Enforcement board member, committed to supporting and strengthening women’s leadership roles in law enforcement. She is currently the 2023 President and will oversee the 2023 training conference.

Barbara Kerasiotes

Board Member

A Life-long resident of Peekskill, Barbara has dedicated her life to serving her community – both in her career as an educator, as well as a volunteer, board member and executive of numerous civic, cultural, and not-for-profit organizations.

As a retired educator in the Lakeland School District for over thirty years, Barbara served on various school, district-wide and regional committees, as well as department coordinator. As co-founder and Officer of the Westchester Hellenic Association, she has served as the Director of its Afternoon Greek School for the last twenty-three years.

Barbara has also donated her time and expertise to many other organizations. As past President of the Lincoln Society in Peekskill, she spearheaded the fundraising efforts to restore the almost century-old historic Lincoln Exedra Monument, overseeing every aspect of the project. Some of her other community affiliations include, Trustee of the Putnam/Westchester Women’s Resource Center, Executive Board of the Paramount Center for the Arts, and member of the Rotary’s Lapolla Scholarship Committee. In more recent years, she has joined the Lincoln Depot Museum Foundation Board, the Support Connection Board, the Rotary and the Daisy Jopling Music Mentorship Foundation Board.

Barbara holds three degrees: a B.S. in Business

Administration/Marketing and English Literature, an M.S. in Counseling from Fordham University, and an M.S. Ed. In School Administration from the College of New Rochelle. She was also trained in Contextual Phobia Therapy at White Plains Hospital.

Jerry Layefsky

Board Member
Jerry is a long time resident of Cortlandt Manor, where he resides with his wife , Barbara, of 44 years. They have three daughters and three grandchildren. Both Jerry and his wife graduated from Lakeland High School and both were students of Jim Witt. Jerry has a BA from Washington & Jefferson College and an MBA from Pace University. Jerry is now retired after about 40 years in the advertising agency business in NYC with Saatchi & Saatchi and Darcy Masius Benton & Bowles, where he was Senior Vice President heading the National Burger King account. He then was Partner, Chief Innovations Officer at Good Eats Agency.

Rika Levin

Board Member

Rika Levin has lived in Ossining with her husband Judge Mark Reisman for three decades where they have raised their two daughters. Rika brings with her many years of Marketing, sales and community outreach experience in the financial services industries and non-profits. For the past two decades she has been actively involved in Westchester politics and is the Mayor of the Village of Ossining, the second largest Village in NYS with one of the most diverse populations.

Rika is an active member of many local charities, business associations, and political groups.

Kelly Maloney

Board Member

Kelly has always enjoyed working with children. She is a retired elementary school principal from the Croton-Harmon School District. She taught fourth and fifth grade for fourteen years before becoming a school administrator. She thoroughly enjoyed her job and of course, the best part of it was the children! Kelly has been a member of “too many to count” committees, she has led numerous workshops both for educators and parents, and she has moved forward a number of school district initiatives including adding Spanish instruction for all students in grades K-4. Kelly is very excited to be a part of the Hope for Youth Foundation as it provides her the opportunity to get involved with local organizations that will benefit students in need.

Kelly has lived most of her life in the Hudson Valley area; she grew up in Brewster and currently lives in Cold Spring with her husband, Rick. Kelly is a very busy retiree. She helps to organize activities and events in her neighborhood that include collecting food for a local pantry; she plays tennis, pickleball and skis, and recently she learned to play golf.

Chapman Manzer

Board Member

Chapman Manzer (Chappy) is owner/President of Manzer’s Landscaping Design & Development, in Peekskill, N.Y., with extensive experience managing construction and large landscaping projects. Previously Chappy worked at Cantor Fitzgerald in Operations and holds a Master of Science in Physical Education. Besides running a successful business, Mr. Manzer spends his time and energy giving back to others through involvement in community events in and around the City of Peekskill including, Support the Troops, Gift of Life, and coaching wrestling at the pee wee, middle school and high school levels. In addition, Manzer’s has donated materials and labor for 100 cherry trees to the City of Peekskill to commemorate Peekskill Rotary’s 100th Anniversary, VA Quiet Garden, Peekskill Riverfront Green 911 Memorial, and several memorials for fallen friends and police officers of the local community. Chappy has served as President of the Peekskill Rotary Club and is a member of the Peekskill Chamber of Commerce.

Most recently, with the onset of Covid-19 and the devastating financial implications, he has devoted himself to organizing programs that provide food and donations to those in need.

John McCann

Board Member

John McCann has been in Sales and Sales management for over 35 years. In his current position he is a Business Performance Advisor with Insperity Corporation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Mercy College. John’s previous non-profits include Vice President of Philipstown Little League and Vice President of Haldane Booster Club. John has also been involved in many community projects in Philipstown.

John currently resides in Garrison with his wife of 35 years, Renee and together have three adult sons and a dog named Yogi. He is very excited to be part HFYF and looks forward to helping with the organization.

Deb Milone

Board Member

Deb has a 40+year career in Marketing and Sales. Deb worked as a Writer/Producer at CBS from 1976-1989, as VP of Marketing for Guide Communications from 1991-2007 and District Sales Manager at Yellow Book USA from 2007-2010.

She has served as President of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce since 2010 bringing her years of business relationships and marketing background to the position. Over the last 11 years, the chamber has grown from 324 members to 500+. New programs and initiatives have been added including the creation of a non-profit 501c-3 whose focus is Workforce Development, Scholarships and Tourism. The Chamber is now the number one business voice of Northern Westchester County.

Deb has an extensive background of community service and has been recognized by the Westchester County Board of Legislators, State & Local elected officials, for community service.

Mickie O’Connor

Board Member
Mickie O’Connor, originally hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, has resided in Westchester County for over 30 years. From her early upbringing, she was raised in a family where giving back to the community was emphasized and regularly practiced, and she has carried these lessons with her throughout her life. Mickie is currently the Branch Manager of M&T Bank in Mohegan Lake. Additionally, she is an active member of the Peekskill Rotary Club, Master Networks-Cortlandt Chapter, Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, and serves as Vice President of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. In her spare time, Mickie also volunteers in her community at her church and two local food pantries. Mickie has two grown children and presently lives in Peekskill with her son, Travis.

Jim Sacci

Board Member
Proficient WordPress developer with a strong history in website management and development. Experienced in SEO and creating landing pages that convert. Ten years of experience in all aspects of WordPress website creation, including design, plugins, optimization and implementation. Skilled in creating engaging and interactive websites. Detail-oriented and knowledgeable in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP programming languages.

Robert Schneiderman

Board Member
Rob and his wife, Diane, live in Cold Spring since 2018, after calling Chappaqua home for 29 years. They have three adult children and one grandson. Rob graduated from the University at Albany with a BA in Political Science and Adelphi University with an MBA in Finance. He has completed real estate certificate coursework at the Appraisal Institute, the Institute of Real Estate Management and NYU. Rob has spent his entire career, spanning over 49 years, in commercial real estate. He was trained as an institutional real estate lender and co-founded his own firm specializing in investment, capital markets, asset management and institutional advisory services. He is a past member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors and the Mortgage Bankers Association. Rob has been a speaker and panelist at industry conferences and accredited seminars. Rob is an avid tennis player and golfer, looking forward to doing more of each and participating in community based activities as retirement approaches.

John Weeks

Board Member
John is the owner of Arthur Weeks and Son Jewelers, a family owned Peekskill business since 1896. He is Registered Jeweler of the American Gem Society. He is very involved with community service. He is a Member of Salvation Army Advisory Board, a Member of the Board of Directors of the Cortlandt Cemetary Association, a Member of the Board of Directors of the Peekskill Rotary Club, and a Member of the Poughkeepsie United Methodist Church. He and his wife Debra have resided in Hopewell Junction, Dutchess County since 1994. They have two children Brittany and Robert.

Ronald G. Worth, DDS, FAGD

Board Member

Dr. Ronald Worth has been practicing dentistry in Cortlandt Manor, New York since 1988. Dr. Worth has been recognized by his colleagues to be included in the database of topDentists and listed in Westchester Magazine as such since 2011. He is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, member of the American Dental Association, New York Dental Association, Ninth District Dental Association and Past President of The Peekskill/Yorktown Dental Society.

Dr. Worth graduated with honors from Binghamton University and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine. He was president of the dental school in his 3rd year and received numerous awards upon graduation. After a General Practice Residency at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, he joined a group practice in Cortlandt Manor. Dr. Worth became the owner of the dental practice in 1995 and continues to provide dental care to the area residents.

Ron learned the value of community service early in life while growing up in Newburgh, New York. He became an Eagle Scout in a very active Boy Scout Troop 27. He was a committee member of Troop 238 in Shrub Oak, New York, for seven years while his son Matthew was a member and earned his Eagle Scout Award. Ron is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Peekskill where he led fundraising efforts to support numerous organizations including large donations for the support and treatment of opiate dependency. Ron received a Paul Harris award from the Rotary Club of Peekskill and has been an active board member for numerous years. Ron lives with his wife, Deborah and 3 college age children in Mohegan Lake, NY. He enjoys time with his family in the Adirondacks hiking, kayaking, skiing and relaxing in the mountain air.

John C. Sullivan, Esq.


John is is the founder of the John C. Sullivan P.C. a law firm in Yorktown Heights. He represents clients in a variety of legal matters, including real estate, wills, trusts & estates, business law and litigation.

Prior to founding the firm in 1992, Mr. Sullivan was an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. He received his law degree from New York Law School in 1988. He is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and is a member of the New York State Bar Association.

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