The 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 $4.5 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.

Jenet Ferris

Board Member
Jenet, a Peekskill High School graduate is a former H.O.P.E. for Youth scholarship recipient. Mrs. Ferris is currently the chief marketing officer at Club Fit. Most recently she was the senior marketing director for Greater Hudson Bank. Previously, she worked in Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s marketing department. Prior to that, she worked in the events and catering department for the St. Regis New York. She also supported the travel public relations team for the Jamaica Tourist Board account while working for Ruder Finn public relations agency. Mrs. Ferris earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She married her childhood sweetheart, Nick and has two young sons.

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.

George Oros

Board Member

George Oros, a resident of Cortlandt Manor where he resides with his wife of 37 years Marianne, was born in Trenton New Jersey. Upon graduation from Pace University and Pace Law School, George settled in the Cortlandt area and has remained ever since, though he has never waived in his support of his first “home town” team the Philadelphia Phillies.

A practicing attorney, George has been involved and political, governmental and community organizations for the past 35 years. His most recent position was serving as Westchester County’s Director of Economic Development. Prior to that he served as former County Executive Rob Astorino’s Chief of Staff. George has held elected office as a Town of Cortlandt Town Board member and in 1995 was elected as the County Legislator representing Cortlandt, Peekskill and portions of Yorktown. Reelected 6 times, he also held serval leadership positions on the Board including Chairman and Minority Leader.

Active in not for profit groups, he is a past board member of the Hudson Valley Hospital and the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce (HVGCC). Currently he is active on the Boards of the Westchester County Leadership Prayer Breakfast, the Peekskill Museum, the HVGCC Foundation and the Westchester Polar Plunge for Special Olympics.

George is known as a “gearhead” with a passion for classic cars, including his own 1972 Lincoln, as well as avidly following NASCAR.

However, by far his most enjoyable and rewarding role is father to grown children, John and Christina who reside in New York City.

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.

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.

Arianna Hurtado

Board Member
Arianna knows how important community service and social justice is to our community. Her efforts and talents were well known while she was a student at Peekskill H.S. and in 2017 Arianna earned a HOPE for Youth scholarship. In March of 2020, while still attending college, 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.” She is skilled at event planning, marketing, advertising, strategic planning, and social media management; and was appointed Co-chair of our Marketing Committee. Arianna attends New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is working towards her BFA in Drama with a minor in Business Entertainment Media and Technology. She looks forward to continuing to be an integral part of HFYF after she graduates in May of 2021.

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.

Richard (Ric) Swierat

Board Member
Ric has been in Special Education since 1971, starting as a volunteer and enjoying many years in the classroom in New York schools in Rochester, Valatie and Hyde Park NY. He served as a Special Education administrator and Executive Director for three Arcs in Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties. He retired after 35 years as executive director of Arc Westchester and 47 years of professional work with people with developmental disabilities as a teacher, program director and executive director. Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor for the Pace University graduate Public Administration program. Ric also has a wide variety of current volunteer and board experiences with the Arc US, Arc New York, and Business Council of Westchester. In addition, he is president of the board of trustees of the Mid-Hudson Library System, a board member of the Westchester Children’s Museum and a volunteer grants reviewer for the United Way of Dutchess and Orange Counties. Among his hobbies, he is a member of the Waterman Bird Club, Audubon Society in New York and Massachusetts, and the Mid-Hudson Cycling Club. Ric and his wife, Catherine, have lived in East Fishkill (Hopewell Junction) NY since 1983 and raised their three children there. They also enjoy time with their three grandchildren who live in Brooklyn and Alexandria Bay, NY.

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.

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.

Madeline (Maddie) Freed

Board Member
Maddie is a lifelong resident of Westchester County and now lives in Ossining after 40 plus years in Yorktown Heights. She has over 45 years of experience in child development and education including a B.S. in Education from CCNY, an M.S. in Special Education from College of New Rochelle and a Professional Degree in Administration and Supervision from Pace University. Maddie has taught early childhood, elementary and middle school, chaired the Committee on Special Education, and was Director of Special Education and Pupil Personnel for the Lakeland School District. She is the founder of All Aboard Childcare Education Centers in Valhalla and Ossining. All Aboard has Infant, Toddler, Pre-K and School-Age Programs and serves approximately 400 children and families each day. In 2018, Maddie was honored with a “Joey Award” by the Childcare Council of Westchester and recognized by the Westchester County Board of Legislators for her unwavering commitment to children.  Maddie’s vision is that “childhood is a journey and never a race.”  Her lifelong advocacy for children brings a deep well of experience and knowledge to the HOPE for Youth board.

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.

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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