Pete Carney – DIRECTOR

He/Him Pronouns

Pete supervises Pride for Youth’s day-to-day operations and program staff. He is responsible for grant writing and the management of all government and foundation grants to the program. Pete is responsible for program development and ensuring that PFY’s services are cutting edge and meet the ever changing needs of the client population. Pete is available to present workshops on LGBTQ cultural competency, YMSM concerns and PrEP/PEP to health and human service professionals. In addition, Pete provides counseling to young gay/bi men and their families, and facilitates the agency’s HIV Positive support group.

A New York State licensed clinical social worker, Pete has 20 years experience working in the field. He has worked with youth at a residential drug and alcohol treatment center and provided interventions to at risk youth in school and home settings. Prior to joining Pride for Youth in 2008, Pete spent six years working with Deaf-Blind adults and created and facilitated a ground-breaking LGBTQ support group for Deaf-Blind adults. Pete has provided training on various mental health/disability topics for other professionals throughout the country including service providers in Alabama, Washington and Texas. He is a graduate of Marywood University and Misericordia University School of Social work. He was the Recipient of the NYS DOH Commissioner’s Special Recognition Award for improving the health and wellness of LGBTQ New Yorkers, in 2014. In 2015 he was appointed as a voting member to the NYS HIV Advisory Body.

Contact Pete: PCarney@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000 ext. 11

Tawni J. Engel – DIRECTOR OF LGBT SERVICES

She/Her Pronouns

Tawni oversees all administrative aspects of LGBTQ programming at Pride for Youth, including Coffeehouse, TransAction, YAAS, Queer Connect, Individual & Family Counseling, and Community Education. She supervises staff and interns, and coordinates the day-to-day operations of the agency. Tawni also facilitates the monthly “Pride for Parents Night,” and carries a caseload of individuals and families. She is available to conduct trainings on Adolescent Self-Injury, Eating Disorders and LGBTQ Cultural Competency to other professionals who work with youth. Tawni is also a trained counselor on Long Island Crisis Center’s crisis intervention hotline.

Tawni is a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and has a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from CW Post/Long Island University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Hunter College. Tawni has been a lifelong ally of the LGBTQ community, and came on board to PFY as an intern in early 2009.

Contact Tawni: TEngel@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 12

Galo Cunto – DIRECTOR OF HIV SERVICES

He/Him Pronouns

Galo oversees all YMSM and HIV related programming here at Pride for Youth. Galo assists in development, evaluation, grant management and administrative duties associated with related programming including : HIV testing, Nassau and Queens PrEP/PEP, Mpowerment LI, Mpower VIDA, Mpower +, Project PUSH and CLEAR. Galo carries a caseload of LGBTQ individual clients and families and provides bilingual counseling. He also supervises staff and interns. Galo is available to present professional trainings on HIV and STIs.

As a licensed master social worker, Galo has a strong background in HIV education and prevention, LGBTQ Latino Immigrant populations, LGBTQ supportive services, as well as clinical therapy. Galo is bilingual (English/Spanish), and has a B.A. in psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Master’s in Social Work from Adelphi University.

Contact Galo: GCunto@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 15

Jamie Peeler – HIV SERVICES NAVIGATOR

He/Him Pronouns

Jamie provides confidential HIV testing and counseling on-site at Pride for Youth, as well as linkage to medical care for newly positive clients. He also offers initial screening, linkage to medical services and ongoing monitoring and support for all the agency’s PrEP/PEP clients. In addition, Jamie coordinates linkage for clients for Project PUSH, our collaboration with Northwell Health to provide extensive HIV/STI testing and sexual health medical services here at PFY. He also conducts community and social media outreach for HIV and PEP/PrEP services.

Jamie received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from York College in Queens, and plans to receive his Master’s Degree. Jamie had fond memories of attending Pride for Youth as a teenager, and returned in 2013 as an intern and then volunteer before taking on the role of Program Assistant, and then being promoted to HIV Navigator.

Contact Jamie: JPeeler@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 22

Scott Petersen – COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION COORDINATOR

He/Him Pronouns

Scott carries a caseload of LGBTQ clients and families. He is also available to provide LGBTQ sensitivity trainings to other professionals who work with youth. In his role as Community Mobilization Coordinator, Scott oversees the Long Island ETE Project which aims to end the HIV epidemic here on Long Island. He organizes community events, multimedia campaigns, and coalition building to spread this message and educate the community. He sits as a Co-Chair on the Nassau County Ending the Epidemic Committee. This is a committee put forth by Governor Cuomo to strive towards ending HIV in New York by 2020. The committee works to do this through increasing access to HIV testing, linking people living with HIV to comprehensive and sustained care, and providing access to PrEP/PEP (HIV prevention medications).

Scott is a New York State licensed master of social work. He graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work. In his time at Stony Brook he was also an active member of the Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps, providing emergency care as a New York State EMT-B. He previously worked as an HIV tester and counselor on Long Island, and has held roles as an intern and Community Educator at Pride for Youth.

Contact Scott: SPetersen@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 17

Aiden Kaplan – LGBT YOUTH SERVICES COORDINATOR

He/Him Pronouns

Aiden oversees all aspects of the Coffeehouse and TransAction programs and carries a caseload of individuals and families. Aiden also coordinates Pride for Youth’s Project PUSH (Protecting and Understanding Sexual Health) program. Additionally, as a Community Educator, Aiden facilitates workshops in middle schools, high schools and colleges across Long Island and Queens through Pride for Youth’s renowned Community Education program. He is available to present on the topics of Understanding Homophobia and Understanding Transphobia, which help to create safe spaces in an ever-increasing number of school and agency settings.

Aiden graduated from Purchase College, where he studied Psychology, Gender Studies and Human Sexuality. He is currently attending Stony Brook University where he is working towards a Masters degree in Social Work. Aiden is an active member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. He also is a member of the Education Advisory Committee of Planned Parenthood Nassau County. On behalf of Pride for Youth, Aiden also attends monthly meetings as a member of the Community Advisory Board for Northwell Health’s Center for Transgender Care. Aiden has prior experience working with survivors of domestic violence, children who are survivors of sexual abuse and individuals with physical and developmental disabilities.

Contact Aiden: AKaplan@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 16

Uriel Loman – YMSM SERVICES NAVIGATOR

He/Him Pronouns

Uriel co-facilitates the Mpowerment Long Island program, our sexual health program for young gay, bisexual and queer men, through age 30. In addition, he conducts online and community based outreach, to link potential participants to HIV testing, PrEP/PEP, Project PUSH (medical services), counseling, support groups, and all other PFY services. He can be found at Mpowerment on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and conducting outreach throughout Long Island and Queens.

Uriel was first introduced to Pride for Youth as a participant, and quickly realized his passion for working with the LGBTQ community. He has since worked for the agency as a Peer Navigator, providing social media outreach and community education primarily to young gay, bisexual and queer men on sexual health and HIV prevention, as well as speaking about his own experience living with HIV. In January of 2016, Uriel was interviewed by CBS News, for a national news story, about living with HIV and engaging other young men for PrEP. Uriel, an immigrant from Mexico, is bilingual in both English and Spanish.

Contact Uriel: ULoman@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 27

Nicholas Dantuono – OUTREACH SPECIALIST

He/Him Pronouns

Nick provides community-based outreach to young gay, bisexual and transgender individuals throughout Long Island, with a focus on YMSM (Young Men having Sex with Men) of color, to connect them to the Coffeehouse and Mpowerment programs. Outreach is done through various means including social media, apps, bars/clubs, and schools. Along with outreach, Nick facilitates Popular Opinion Leader, a community-level prevention and intervention program that attempts to change social norms and reduce the risk of HIV infection, along with other sexually transmitted infections. He is also responsible for facilitating and hosting our successful bi-monthly Club Nights for YMSM. Nick can be found at Mpowerment on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 4:00- 8:00pm, as well as weekend Club Nights, which take place every other month. Nick is also available for drop-in counseling.

Among his many interests, Nick’s eclectic taste in music is at the forefront. From Country to Pop and House, he has a strong passion for all varieties. Additionally, Nick finds great fulfillment in leading his peers, and is consistently connecting with the LGBTQ community all over Long Island and Queens. After struggling with body image in his early years, he is an avid supporter of body positivity. Nick finds gratification in empowering his peers by helping them find their own personal strengths. Nick has also attended college at the University of Albany.

Contact Nick: NDantuono@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 19

Vincent Maltese – PROGRAM ASSISTANT

He/Him Pronouns

Vincent is in charge of managing the office during evening hours. He provides clerical support to staff, and helps to keep PFY’s programs and events running smoothly. Additionally, Vincent is available to provide transportation for various programs and services on an as-needed basis.

Vincent received his Associates degree from Nassau Community College. There, he realized his passion for hairstyling, and is planning to attend school in order to obtain his license in cosmetology. He is a firm believer in the importance of physical health, and is most happy when he is exercising or dancing. One of Vincent’s biggest role models is Britney Spears, who has inspired him to be fearless, work hard, and most importantly to overcome the hardest times in life.

Contact Vincent: VMaltese@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 10

Eric Thompson – PROGRAM ASSISTANT

He/Him Pronouns

Eric is in charge of managing the office, provides clerical support to the administrative staff and helps keep PFY’s programs and events running smoothly. He is also the primary point of contact for Community Education scheduling.

Eric is currently working on a Bachelor’s in Social Work at York College. He plans to pursue his Masters’ in the future at Hunter College in Manhattan. Eric began his career with Pride for Youth in 2011, first working as a Program Leader, then Peer Navigator, prior to taking on the role of Program Assistant. In his down time, Eric enjoys shopping, hanging out with friends, and traveling.

Contact Eric: EThompson@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 10

Anne Concepcion – YHA COORDINATOR

She/Her Pronouns

Anne provides personalized counseling to individual clients and their families. She also supervises our Peer Navigators, who deliver community education and outreach under the Youth Health Advocate program. In addition, she coordinates the Young Adults After-School (YAAS) program, Ladies United for Sexual Health (LUSH) group, as well as our monthly Queer Connect events. Anne provides clinical support at Coffeehouse, and is available for drop-in counseling the first and third Friday nights of every month.

Anne is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), and is working toward her New York state licensure in Mental Health Counseling. She obtained her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Hofstra University in May 2017 and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with minors in Disaster Studies and Art Studio from SUNY New Paltz in May 2014. Anne has held various roles including Peer Crisis Counselor and Resident Assistant at SUNY New Paltz, and Career Counselor at Hofstra University, which contributes to her passion in working with the adolescent population. Anne began as an intern at Pride for Youth, gaining experience working with most all of our programs.

Contact Anne: AConcepcion@mail.longislandcrisiscenter.org or (516) 679-9000 ext. 14

Lauren McCarthy – COMMUNITY EDUCATOR

She/Her Pronouns

Lauren facilitates Pride for Youth’s Community Education program, offering workshops in both high schools and middle schools across Long Island. She is available to present on the topics of Understanding Homophobia and Transphobia. These workshops aim to create safe spaces in schools for LGBTQ youth through interactive learning in classroom settings.

Lauren graduated from LIU Post where she studied sociology and criminal justice. She has been involved with many organizations throughout her academic career including LIU Post’s LGBTQ+ club, Autism Speaks, Girl Scouts, and the community service organization Circle K. It was her involvement in these programs that ultimately led her to pursue a master’s program in Social Work from Fordham University. Her graduate program has given her opportunities to work in fields involving mental health, substance use, adolescent and adult counseling, and LGBTQ+ support. Lauren came on board as an intern at Pride for Youth in 2016, and is now working as the lead Community Educator while she continues to pursue her master’ degree in social work.

Contact Lauren: LMccarthy@mail.longislandcrisiscenter.org or (516) 679-9000 ext. 10

Maria Wurtz – ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

She/Her Pronouns

Maria assists the Pride for Youth Director with ongoing budget management, grant research and writing, marketing/fundraising and a variety of administrative tasks associated with the effective management of the PFY division. In addition, Maria manages PFY’s main social media accounts and webpage, also being responsible for the development of all new PFY print and digital materials to promote our various programs and services.

Maria received her Associate’s Degree in Photography at Nassau Community College, and is continuing her education in the BFA Photography and Digital Image program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. As well as a free-lance photographer, Maria is the Founder/Editor-In-Chief of Sugar Magazine. She created Sugar to remind young women that we stand for matters so much more than our bodies. Maria is a self-love enthusiast, vegetarian, and people lover.

Contact Maria: Mwurtz@mail.longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000 ext. 13

Jairo Chalas Brito – QUEENS OUTREACH SPECIALIST

He/Him Pronouns

Jairo provides community-based outreach to young gay, bisexual and transgender individuals throughout Queens in English and Spanish, with a focus on young men of color, to connect them to PrEP/PEP services with our community partner Northwell Health. Outreach is done through various means including social media, apps, bars/clubs, and schools, in various communities throughout Queens. In addition, Jairo provides ongoing sexual health education and adherence counseling to all PrEP/PEP enrolled clients.  Jairo is also trained to administer HIV tests as needed here at Pride for Youth.

Jairo started his path at Pride for Youth as a participant in the Mpowerment LI and Mpower VIDA programs, and grew a passion for community based work. Jairo enjoys educating his peers about sexual health and having an impact on how people use education to make healthy decisions. Jairo became a Peer Navigator and was promoted to Outreach Specialist in 2017. Jairo is bilingual and currently attends an Associate Social Work program and aims to continue his studies well into his future.

Contact Jairo: jbrito@mail.longislandcrisiscenter.org or call/text 929-326-4113

Devon Zappasodi – YMSM Services Coordinator

He/Him Pronouns

Devon oversees Pride for Youth’s Queens PrEP/PEP program, supervising and facilitating staff development, community education/mobilization, creating strategic targeted outreach initiatives, program reports and administrative duties. Additionally, Devon facilitates Mpower + and carries a counseling caseload of LGBTQ individual clients and families. Devon is available to present professional trainings on HIV, STIs and Transgender Health. 


Currently, Devon is working towards his Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University with a May 2018 graduation date. In 2017, he was elected into Phi Kappa Phi, one of the most prestigious multidisciplinary academic honor societies in the United States. Devon has a long and successful professional history in YMSM and TGNB program development, implementation and oversight. He was the Chair of Northwell Health’s TGNC Community Advisory Board from 2016-2017 and is currently an active member of the Transgender Professional Association for Transgender Health (TPATH), Worldwide Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) and the Queens Ending the Epidemic committee. Theoretically oriented towards feminist theory and anti-oppressive practice (AOP), Devon incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness techniques and acceptance and commitment therapy within his counseling work.

Contact Devon: dzappasodi@mail.longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 20