Vidhya R. Kelly, LMSW, Executive Director
Vidhya joined CBSBB in 2017. She is a LMSW, receiving her BA from Lehigh University and her Masters from NYU. Ms. Kelly has spent her entire career in youth development, most recently as Chief Program Officer at Harlem RBI, where she supervised Harlem RBI’s East Harlem and South Bronx kindergarten through college continuum. Prior to Harlem RBI, Ms. Kelly spent 15 years at Big Brothers and Big Sisters of New York City, rising to Deputy Executive Director where she developed specialized programs to serve the city’s most vulnerable youth, including teen mothers, new immigrants and children with disabilities, and opened up satellite offices in the South Bronx, Jamaica, Queens and East New York, Brooklyn. Ms. Kelly has testified extensively at government, corporate and professional conferences as a recognized leader in the field of mentoring. Vidhya is a first generation American from India, where she often travels and has been involved in supporting the educational needs of impoverished children and adults living in the villages of south India.
Ryan Sheppard, Senior Director of Community Engagement and Quality Assurance
Since joining CBSBB, Ryan has designed and implemented skills learning/college bound programs to provide our Littles with the correct tools for future success. In addition, Ryan conducts academic counseling for families and matches, to ensure that Littles are in supportive schools, on track to graduate from high school and go on to college or career training. Ryan also oversees the organization’s family and volunteer recruitment efforts.
Ryan grew up in California and graduated from Georgetown University with a BA in Psychology. Prior to joining the CBSBB team, Ryan spent over three years as the Life Skills College Bound Coordinator at a college prep organization in New York City. Before that, Ryan served as a Mathematics and Physical Education teacher at Tutorial Academy in New Amsterdam, Guyana.
Susan Varghese, MSW, Senior Director of Mentoring Programs and Support Services
Susan Varghese has her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. She is an accomplished program and volunteer manager, with extensive experience in developing and supporting mentoring programs that exceed national retention norms. She was previously the Program Director and the Mentoring Program Director at Girls Quest, a youth development program for girls from lower-income families. Susan joined CBSBB as the Transition Director for GQ’s merger with CBSBB in July 2012 and became our Program Director in November 2012. She is a certified Mentoring Supervisor/JP Morgan Chase Fellow and is a member of the New York Association of Volunteer Administration as well as a co-chair of the Provider Council of the Mentoring Partnership of New York.
Fun Fact: During my trip to South Africa, I went shark cage diving in the middle of the Indian Ocean!
Robert Watson, CPA, Director of Finance and Operations
Born and raised in Jamaica, Robert serves on CBSBB’s staff as Director of Finance and Operations. He graduated from CUNY’s York College. Robert has a CPA certification, passed the first exam for his CMA and is currently studying for the second CMA exam. Robert has been happily married for 32 years and is the father to a beautiful daughter.
Fun Fact: Robert is World’s #1 fan of track and field and a die-hard fan of the New York Knicks & New York Giants.
Tamanna Vaswani, Development Diretor
Over the last 15 years, Tamanna has been privileged to serve New York City children and families as a nonprofit leader at several esteemed youth development organizations. She’s worked as a Senior Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, where she started the New American Partnership and went to manage program for various at-risk populations. At the YWCA of the City of New York, Tamanna served as Senior Director of Girls Initiatives, leading research, planning and designing efforts for a pilot 21st Century girls empowerment launch initiative. Additionally, Tamanna has worked at Harlem RBI as the Director of Teen Programs and The Osborne Association, where she facilitated expansion of Video Visiting programs for children of incarcerated parents. In addition to following her passion for youth, social justice, and empowerment issues, Tamanna has also consulted on human resource, finance and public relations project with LeadDog Marketing Group, a turnkey marketing solutions firm. Tamanna received her undergraduate degree in social work and economics at New York University and her MSW in community organizing at Hunter College. Tamanna was born and raised in Singapore but has made New York City her home since the age of 16.
Fun Fact: Tamanna is a certified yoga instructor and holistic health counselor specializing in Ayurvedic nutrition, meditation and breathing, and has written freelance articles for a lifestyle magazine on Yoga and Spirituality. In 2016, Tamanna launched Samana Unlimited, a wellness company providing customized guidance in diet and self-healing practices.
Jessica Castillo, Research and Data Analyst/Administrative Assistant
Jessica Castillo is a graduate from St. John’s University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Jessica serves as the Research and Data Analyst / Administrative Assistant at the organization she holds very deeply in her heart. As a young child, she was a little sister and although her match formally ended, she keeps in contact with her Big sister Rochelle. On top of working at CBSBB she works as a medical scribe in the Emergency Room at the Mount Sinai Hospital Network. She is studying for her MCATs and hopes to apply to medical school in June.
Fun Fact: I used to be a little!
Dilim Dieke, MSW, Program Manager of Mentoring Services
Dilim serves as Program Manager of Mentoring Services with CBSBB. She conducts and oversees the family and volunteer intake process, supervises the mentor/mentee matches, supports in event planning, and serves as the field instructor for MSW interns. Dilim brings to CBSBB over five years of experience in youth development, social services, student affairs, and nonprofit management. After her undergraduate studies, Dilim embarked on a rigorous education fellowship within the Southside of Chicago. From there, Dilim moved to NYC where she worked for two social services organizations while attending graduate school at New York University. Dilim also work as a Senior Resident Assistant during her undergraduate and graduate studies. Prior to joining CBSBB, Dilim worked for Harlem RBI as the Academic Program Coordinator where she managed an afterschool academic enrichment program for middle schoolers, conducted academic interventions, and supervised volunteer tutors.Dilim is a graduate from Arizona State University where she earned her bachelor's degree in Global Studies and Economics with a minor in international business. In 2015, Dilim obtained her Masters in Social Work from New York University and is working to obtain her LMSW certification.Aside from her education and professional career, Dilim is a social entrepreneur and advocate for access and equity. She is the Co-Founder of The Women of Color LIT (Learn Innovate Transform) Network. The LIT Network first ever women of color young professional network of emerging leaders nationally to inspire multicultural women through education and training on self awareness, personal enlightenment, leadership development, and career advancement.
Joshoan Lamourt-Rivera, MPA, Coordinator of Mentoring Services
Josh joined CBSBB May 2015 and is responsible for making and supervising matches, conducting family and volunteer intake, training newly accepted mentors and planning events. Before joining CBSBB, Josh worked as a Health Educator at the MOCHA Center and as a Community Services Worker at Child and Family Services both in Buffalo, NY. Josh was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico and then moved to The Bronx where he was raised. Josh attended SUNY Buffalo state where he obtained a Bachelor's of Science in Health and Wellness and a Master's in Public Administration. Fun Fact: Josh is an adjunct lecturer at Hostos Community College where he teaches the Fundamentals of Public Speaking.
Lilli Lawner, MSW, PT Social Media and Recruitment Specialist
Lilli enjoyed an 11 year career at Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of New York City where, in 2002, she initiated a program for children who lost a parent in the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. As a Senior Director at BBBS, she oversaw multiple specialized mentoring programs, including the Young Mothers Program for teen moms, the Incredible Kids program for youth with disabilities, and the Education Initiative. She also managed the Lindsey Morehouse Scholarship Fund and spearheaded several special events and public relations efforts, including serving as the department head for the annual fundraising event, Race for the Kids. Prior to her work at BBBS, Lilli worked at the Jewish Child Care Association as a Social Worker in their Preventive Services Department and at the Bronx Children's Psychiatric Center as a Social Work Intern for an Inpatient Adolescent Unit. Prior to her work as a consultant for CBSBB, she held a short term contract with the Robin Hood Foundation where she managed relationships with 40 grantees affected by Hurricane Sandy. Lilli holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Vermont and an M.S.W. from New York University, and currently serves on the board of Animal Welfare Trust. Lilli resides in New York City with her husband Kevin and is the mother of two children, Leo (3) and Lucy (5). Fun Fact: I am an avid animal lover. My first job out of college was at the Bronx Zoo. Since then I have taken in 3 rescue dogs and 1 cat. I am also On the board of an animal welfare organization.
Ana Melo, MA, Coordinator of Mentoring Services
Ana joined CBSBB a year ago and in addition to making and supervising new matches, Ana works on family intake and family engagement. Previous to this position, Ana was the Family Engagement Manager at the youth development organization Harlem RBI and before that, was Associate Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City.
Ana is originally from Ecuador, and attended Oberlin College for her undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies, then moved to New York and worked as a Volunteer Coordinator for the non-profit Learning Leaders, before attending graduate school at Tufts University and receiving a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School.
Ana’s favorite thing about working at CBSBB is making matches!
Ana has been playing violin since age 8 and currently is a member of the Jackson Heights Orchestra.
Diane Rubino, LCSW, Clinical Associate
Diane Rubino is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who trained at the NY Institute for Psychotherapy in Infancy, Childhood and Adolescence. Diane has worked with children and adolescents for over 20 years. She began in San Francisco at a Youth Crisis Shelter and a Free and Confidential Teen Clinic. She then worked in The Bronx as a Social Worker at a shelter for pregnant teens in foster care, and then as Program Manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters Young Mothers Mentoring Program. She is currently in private practice providing therapy to children, adolescents, adults and families, and clinically supervises aspiring therapists. Diane joins CBSBB as our part-time Clinical Associate and will be conducting professional development training's to our team over the course of this year.
Gerry DiCicco, Administrative Assistant, PT
Gerry DiCicco joined CBSBB as an Administrative Assistant in April 2017. She is happy to be a member of the team. She brings her experience in Development and assists the program staff in various capacities.
Fun Fact: Gerry enjoys drawing, film, and volunteering at Italian cultural events at NYU.
Rich Paul, Recreation
Rich oversees CBSBB’s Fitness Fun Fridays programming. He facilitates recreational activities on-site for Littles. Rich owns a business in the same district as CBSBB and wanted to find a way to give back within his community. Rich resides in the East Village with his wife and 11 year old son.