Leadership

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VIBS’ Leadership and Management Team:

Jennifer Hernandez, Executive Director
Phone: 631-360-3730, ext. 3143 | Email: jhernandez@vibs.org

Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Stony Brook University, and is certified in Trauma Informed Care through the University of Buffalo School of Social Work, with a focus on systems and organizations. Mrs. Hernandez has been in the non profit sector for over 9 years developing and implementing innovative programing to serve victims of abuse, including domestic violence, human trafficking, and incarcerated youth. Mrs. Hernandez began her human service career as a bilingual court advocate serving the Suffolk County Family Court, Supreme Court, and District Court. Through her experiences with victims of abuse, Jennifer has come to understand the important role trauma informed care plays in a victims healing process. In August of 2015 Jennifer, and four other dedicated human services agents took a leap of faith, and Co-Founded ECLI to ensure all victim of abuse are treated holistically.

Feride Castillo, Executive Leadership Team and Director of Programs (Legal, Advocacy, and Education)
Email: fcastillo@empowerli.org

Mrs. Castillo holds a Degree in Paralegal Studies, a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, with a minor in Women, and Gender Studies from Stony Brook University. Mrs. Castillo is certified in Trauma Informed Care through the University of Buffalo School of Social work with a focus on individuals and service providers within the criminal justice system, as well as a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC-T). For the last five years, Ms. Castillo has provided bi-lingual court advocacy, case management, and other supportive services to victims of domestic violence, victims of human trafficking, and at-risk, incarcerated, and/or court involved youth who are often suffering from on-going trauma. She is an actively engaged service provider in Suffolk County’s Human Trafficking Intervention Court, as well as the Suffolk County Felonly Youth Part, and continues to assist in the development of services, and referrals for victims of human trafficking on Long Island. Ms. Castillo also assists the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Special Investigation Bureau in providing advocacy, and community services to trafficking victims.

Stephanie Frisz-Gioia, Executive Leadership Team and Director of Programs (Counseling and SANE)
Email: sfrisz-gioia@empowerli.org

Stephanie Frisz-Gioia received her Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies from The State University of New York, Albany, and holds a Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Queens College. Mrs. Frisz-Gioia is a certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC-T) and is certified in Trauma Informed Care through the University of Buffalo School of Social work, with a focus on psychological trauma and self care. Throughout her educational and professional career Mrs. Frisz-Gioia has had a passion for advocating on women’s issues, jail reform, and the LGBTQ community. Mrs. Frisz-Gioia has provided direct mental health counseling services and implemented various counseling and housing programs to victims of domestic violence, victims of human trafficking, incarcerated women and youth for over 18 years.

Heather Parrott, Director of Development & Education
Phone:  631-360-3730, ext. 3102 | Email: hparrott@vibs.org

Dr. Parrott oversees fundraising, donations, data management, community education, volunteer management, and communications at VIBS. She got her Ph.D. in Sociology from The University of Georgia, where she also earned graduate certificates in Nonprofit Management and Women’s Studies. Dr. Parrott has direct service experience with victims of rape, domestic violence, and child abuse. She taught classes in gendered violence, race, immigration, statistics, research methods, and social problems at Long Island University for over a decade, in addition to helping local nonprofits with their data management and research needs. Dr. Parrott is excited to be putting her data, program evaluation, and fundraising skills to good use, helping to support and expand the services provided by the dynamic VIBS team.

Loretta Klein, Director of Finance
Phone:  631-360-3730, ext. 3136 | Email: lklein@vibs.org 

Ms. Klein oversees the organization’s budget, various grants, financial reporting, billing, reimbursement and payroll of all employees. With over two decades of experience working for local not-for-profits, she has established herself as a true asset to the community and has earned many successes including the creation of several financial programs and systems that increased efficiency and maintained overall organizational continuance.

Taryn Kutujian, Community Education Manager
Phone:  631-360-3730, ext. 3117 | Email: tkutujian@vibs.org

Ms. Kutujian coordinates with schools, professional organizations, nonprofits and other agencies by raising awareness about the mission of VIBS throguh community outreach. A former AmeriCorps VISTA, Ms. Kutujian specializes in program development, virtual learning and volunteer coordination. Ms. Kutujian is a licensed social worker and has experience working with community members from all walks of life.

Julie Marmol, Court Advocacy Manager 
Phone:  631-360-3730, ext. 3222 | Email: jmarmol@vibs.org 

Ms. Marmol began as a Hotline Counselor at VIBS back in 2014. She provides crisis intervention and advocacy services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, accompanying clients through the criminal justice system. She is also a Rape Crisis Counselor, providing emotional support and education to victims of sexual assault and rape. Ms. Marmol received her BS in Criminal Justice and is fluent in both English and Spanish, frequently assisting in community education/outreach in Hispanic communities.

Karen Oprea, Director of  SANE/SAFE
Phone:  631-360-3730, ext. 3115 | Email: koprea@vibs.org

Ms. Oprea oversees the training, scheduling, and implementing of the SANE/SAFE program and volunteer rape crisis counselors (RCC) at four partner hospitals in Suffolk County. She has had over a decade of experience leading various teams to success and has even been voted as an “influential leader” at the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training for her unique skills in the field of management. Ms. Oprea has a passion for guiding others and in the past, has created new company-wide strategies and procedures that have had immensely positive quantitative results.

April Zimmerman, Director of Adult Counseling Services
Phone:  631-360-3730, ext. 3134 | Email: azimmerman@vibs.org 

Ms. Zimmerman is the current Director of Adult Counseling Services at VIBS. She was an MSW intern at VIBS in 2007 and has been with the agency ever since. As director of adult counseling, she oversees all aspects of the adult counseling services program and provides clinical supervision to counseling staff and interns. As a licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Zimmerman maintains a clinical caseload and provides trauma-informed therapy and crisis intervention to victims of domestic violence, rape/sexual assault, elder abuse and human trafficking.

VIBS Office: 631-360-3730  |  VIBS 24/7 Crisis Hotline:  631-360-3606