NYC Aging-Out Storyteller Bios

YVONNE ALLOWAY: PHOTOGRAPHER
New York, New York
Yvonne Allaway is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts whose work has appeared in Surface, Blackbook, Bust, Urb, Map and Neuemode magazines among others. She is most passionate about horses, photography and the issues children over 18 face when aging out of the foster care system. Frustrated by the illusion that foster care is a lovely utopia for children, she joined SalaamGarage to help shed light on those issues and is proud of the success stories that continue to arise, including that of the young woman she photographed.”
CONNECT WITH YVONNE
Website: www.allawayphoto.com

VANESSA ARRIOLA: WRITER
New York, New York
A former teacher and school counselor, Vanessa Arriola has spent the past ten years working to provide students from low-income areas with a better education. Vanessa is originally from Southern California, and has lived in New York City for the past two years. She currently provides operational support to New Visions Charter High Schools located in the Bronx, New York. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and a Masters in Education from UCLA. Vanessa enjoys volunteering in the Minds Matter mentoring program.

BRUCE BYERS: PHOTOGRAPHER
New York, New York
A storyteller who presents a compelling photographic narrative, Bruce Byers’ passion and innate ability to immerse viewers in a world of private reflections have led him to travel and photograph extensively throughout the world.  From China, to the the Dominican Republic to the West Bank, Bangladesh and Cambodia, he  has documented children’s medical missions since 2006, concentrating on Cleft and Dental missions into third world countries. “I am fascinated by the emotional power of an individual’s private reveries which are typically unobserved by the outside world.”
CONNECT WITH BRUCE
Website: www.brucebyers.com
Blog:  www.imagesthathealny.blogspot.com
Missions:  www.imagesthathealny.com

AMELIA COFFARO: ASSISTANT PRODUCER
Brooklyn, New York
Amelia Coffaro is a photographer and producer based in Brooklyn, New York.  Her studies in Photography and Global Affairs led her to join the SalaamGarage team where she employs skills from both backgrounds to affect positive change through humanitarian and artistic projects.  She believes in the power these precious, untold stories have to see past each of our own boundaries into the hearts of others.  Amelia plans to continue producing SalaamGarage Local stories for the NYC chapter and can’t wait for what is to come.
CONNECT WITH AMELIA
Website: www.ameliacoffaro.carbonmade.com
Twitter:
@ameliaacoffaro


DAPHNE EVIATAR: JOURNALIST
New York, New York
Daphne Eviatar is a lawyer, journalist and Senior Counsel for Human Rights First, based in New York. She started her legal career representing children in foster care, and participated in a class-action lawsuit against New York City’s foster care system that led to a landmark settlement agreement for reform. As a journalist, she has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Harper’s, The Nation and many more. Although now focused on human rights abuses in the U.S. global “war on terror,” especially in Afghanistan, she’s still fascinated and disturbed by much of what goes on around her at home in New York City and was thrilled to work with SalaamGarage to help document the lives of children aging out of foster care.
CONNECT WITH DAPHNE
Blog: www.huffingtonpost.com/daphne-eviatar
Twitter: @deviatar

MATT FURMAN: PHOTOGRAPHER
Brooklyn, New York
Matt Furman grew up in a small town called Hollidaysburg, Pennyslvania, best known as ‘The Birthplace of the Slinky’. He went to art school in Greece, and then moved to New York in 2001 to start his photography career. He currently resides with his wife and two daughters in NYC, where he works as a freelance photographer.

CONNECT WITH MATT
Website: www.furmanfoto.com
Blog: www.furmanfoto.com/blog
Twitter: @furmanfoto

SHANNON GREEN: JOURNALIST
Woodside, Queens, New York
Shannon is a former lawyer, present-day journalist, and soon-to-be aunt. She writes mostly about corporate legal issues, but never forgets about the human aspect of her work. Shannon, who has a passion for human rights issues, is thrilled to be raising the voice of the unheard. The Aging-out of Foster Care in NYC project is especially important to her since she grew up with her parents fighting over who would get custody of her and she actually didn’t realize how lucky she was.
CONNECT WITH SHANNON
Twitter:
 @shannondgreen

TOMMY HALLISSEY: JOURNALIST, EDITOR
Nassau County, New York
Tommy is a journalist who has worked as a police reporter for The Chief in Manhattan and The Riverdale Press in the Bronx. The uncle of 11 nieces and nephews, he has been published in the New York Post, The Village Voice, City Limits and The Downtown Express to name a few. He currently works as an Intern Writer/Editor for the non-profit Life’s WORC, which provides supportive services to the developmentally disabled and the autistic in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens.Tommy knows how fortunate he is to have a big family that can help in difficult times and he admires those who can keep a positive attitude without a family to share in their struggles.
CONNECT WITH TOMMY
Website: thallissey.tumblr.com

ROBERT HOOMAN: PHOTOGRAPHER
Brooklyn, New York
For the past 12 years, Robert Hooman has been channeling his passion for stories and the visual arts into photography, both motion and stills. Having lived his teenage years under oppressive conditions and war in Iran, bookend by childhood in California and College in NYC, Robert brings a unique insight and sensibility to his work. A graduate of film/tv production from NYU’s Tisch school of arts, his photography fuses a cinematic vision with a photographer’s eye for light and darkness, creating indelible imagery. Robert very strongly believes that it is the responsibility of every member of society to help make it better, create awareness and share stories and perspectives that otherwise would go un-noticed.
CONNECT WITH ROBERT
Website: www.RobertHooman.com
Twitter: @RobertHooman

DIMITRA KESSENIDES: WRITER
New York, New York
Dimitra Kessenides is a NYC-based editor and writer who in her free time sings as a member of the Choral Society of Grace Church, rides her bike around Manhattan and takes lots of pictures. She was born, raised, schooled and has worked in and around NYC, with stretches of time spent living in and exploring her ancestral homeland of Greece.

CONNECT WITH DIMITRA
Twitter: @dimitrakny

AMY KOLZ: JOURNALIST
New York, New York
Amy is a senior reporter with The American Lawyer magazine where she covers the business of law. A mom of two young boys, Amy recognizes how fortunate she is to be able to offer her sons a childhood with stability, security and love. She hopes that the stories told by the Aging-Out project will inspire all of us to correct the gross inadequacies in the foster care system.

 

MOYA McALLISTER: PHOTOGRAPHER AND WRITER
Brooklyn, Kings County, New York
Moya McAllister is an assignment photographer who divides her time between New York City and Dublin, Ireland.  She holds a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.  Moya’s previous career as a photo editor spanned multiple media outlets, most notably: InStyle, Time Inc., Harry N. Abrams, Roger Black Studios, Newsweek and Scholastic & INK publishing. She is also co-founder and administrator of PictureEditors.Org, a network for editorial photo editors.
McAllister is passionate about support and funding for New York City public education and teachers, as well as many other social issues including the welfare and needs of children without means and women’s reproductive rights globally. She believes the current situation for poor men, women and children should concern every human being on the planet. If there’s something she can do to change a person’s life, her time has been well-spent.
CONNECT WITH MOYA
Twitter: @moyamcallister

MOLLIE NEAL: WRITER, EDITOR
Huntington, New York
Mollie Neal is a freelance writer and editor who has worked for numerous consumer and business publishers. She has spent the past 15 years focusing much of her time writing about individuals who have triumphed over obstacles with the goal of educating and inspiring readers. Having had a cousin who was adopted into the family out of the foster care system, she has seen the lasting emotional scars of a troubled childhood and the powerful impact supportive family roots can have. Now she wants to give voice to the young adults who age out of the foster care system and the struggles they face while fending for themselves.

PATRICIA PAINE: WRITER
New York, New York
Patricia Paine was born and raised on Cape Cod, and moved to Manhattan in her late twenties. She spends her free time writing fiction, and is an avid reader. Her husband and two grown children are her jewels and fuel her desire to work hard and savor every day. Understanding people and listening to their stories is a mission she strives to perfect, for everyone needs to tell their story and enjoy the triumph of being heard.

 

AMY SERNATINGER: WRITER
New York, New York
Amy Sernatinger received her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Hunter College in 2007. Upon graduating she discovered American Sign Language, and studied it over the next three years. Sernatinger remains passionate about and dedicated to the art of writing saying, “I fell in love with writing when I learned how it felt to speak without talking; discovering the ultimate outlet for my creative self”.
Currently Sernatinger works in administration at a charter school in Harlem. Her spare time, among other activities, has her writing.  With a passion for people’s stories she says, “ This world is full of characters from a book-except the people I meet and the stories I get to hear are real. I am forever intrigued by where people come from, how they came to meet me and where they want to go next.”

Sernatinger believes the US graciously helps countries abroad and wants to give a heartbeat to the issues that her own country deals with that she believes deserve the same attention and support.

 

JIM SEWASTYNOWICZ: PHOTOGRAPHER
Brooklyn, King Co., New York
After graduating with a degree in photojournalism, Jim Sewastynowicz has spent several years as a staff photographer at small-town daily newspapers recording daily life. Telling stories through imags is one of his passions. Working in media gives him an opportunity to shine a light on the stories and people that may not be receiving the attention they deserve.

CONNECT WITH JIM
Website: www.jimsewasty.com
Blog: www.missedperceptions.wordpress.com
Twitter: @eyechart

CARRIE VINING SPAINER: WRITER
Long Beach, New York
Carrie Vining Spanier is a stay-at-home mom of two busy little boys and lest we not forget… the CEO, CFO,event planner, social worker, and maid of her household! And yes, a writer too!  She cares deeply about human rights issues, hunger and poverty, especially when those issues involve children.

CONNECT WITH CARRIE
Twitter: @cvspan

IAN SPANIER: PHOTOGRAPHER
Long Beach, New York
Ian Spanier began taking photographs at six years old when his parents gave him his first point and shoot camera. After majoring in photography in college, Spanier worked in publishing as an editor, but making pictures never left him. Having only known 35mm, he taught himself medium and large format as well as lighting.
Spanier’s work has won numerous awards and accolades from the photographic community for his commercial work. Clients include: MTV, Conde Nast Traveler, Field & Stream, Muscle & Fitness, Men’s Fitness, Marie Claire, Time Out NY, Psychology Today, The New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine, AirTran’s Go Magazine, The New York City Economic Development Corporation, Bank of America, Gerber Knife Company, WP Carey, HBO, A&E,Time Inc. and Simon and Schuster among many others.
Ian is a member of the Lowepro Team and a member of the Brunton Pro Team,
 as well as ASMP, and a featured photographer for Photoflex and ImagenomicThe original masters of photography have always inspired Spanier as they shot what they saw. For him, there is no “one” subject that he photographs; he also chooses to shoot what he sees.
Currently, Spanier lives with his wife and two sons in New York. His most current work can be seen at www.ianspanier.com
CONNECT WITH IAN:
Website:  www.ianspanier.com
Twitter: @Ianspanierphoto

WILLIAM VAZQUEZ: PHOTOGRAPHER
Brooklyn, New York
Born and raised in New York City, William Vazquez grew up reading books about the interesting lives of others and collecting stamps of exotic places, vowing to one day visit and experience what he had been reading and imagining  about for years.  William’s passion and current profession involves quite a bit of travel, providing him the opportunity to meet people with interesting stories he believes need to be shared so as to inspire others to listen and be curious about different cultures and people.  Vazquez believes dignity, respect and understanding are three things everyone deserves and hopes his work helps people to achieve these ideals by giving them a voice and raising awareness to their situations.
CONNECT WITH WILLIAM
Website: www.williamvazquez.com
Blog: www.williamvazquezblog.com
Twitter: @williamvazquez

ALEJANDRA VILLA: PHOTOGRAPHER
Staten Island, New York
Alejandra Villa combines a photojournalist’s instinct with an eye for art to capture life’s most poignant moments, striving to reveal the essence and beauty of her subjects. A native of Medellin, Colombia, Alejandra came to the US to follow a lifelong dream of becoming a professional photographer. For the past 10 years, she’s been an award-winning staff photographer for Newsday in New York, covering pivotal news events. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Sun Sentinel, Urban Latino magazine, Harvard Nieman Report and Essence magazine. Alejandra infuses passion and dedication into every assignment, using the camera as a passport into people’s lives. She lives in New York City with her children, Daniella and Moises.
CONNECT WITH ALEJANDRA
Website: www.alejandravilla.net
Blog: alejandravilla.net/wordpress/

HEATHER WALSH: PHOTOGRAPHER + PRODUCER OF SALAAMGARAGE LOCAL NYC
Saint James, New York
Heather Walsh began her career in the arts as a fine art painter in New Mexico. As her creative vision took shape she found her passion and life’s work as a photographer telling stories about people and places that are often overlooked. With respect, sensitivity and empathy she connects with her subjects and captures authentic emotions about our shared humanity. She is a freelance photographer based out of NYC, living on Long Island. A regular contributor to Newsday, Walsh’s work has also been showcased at the National Arts Club and Lincoln Center in New York City.
CONNECT WITH HEATHER
Website: http://www.heatherwalsh.com/
Blog: http://heatherwalshphotoblog.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @HWalshPhoto

LISA WEATHERBEE: PHOTOGRAPHER
New York, New York
Lisa is a NYC based photographer with a special interest in editorial/documentary work. She was an attendee of this year’s Phoot Camp, an invite-only creative retreat and photography workshop hosted by Laura Brunow Miner, founder of Pictory and former editor in chief of JPG Magazine.  Lisa enjoys travelling and working with non-profits on a domestic as well as international level, most recently working with Mayan Families in Guatemala.  Locally she enjoys working with the Red Cross of Greater New York.
CONNECT WITH LISA
Website: www.weatherbee.arloartists.com
Blog: flickr.com/photos/slinky_caterpilla

LUKE WHYTE:  WRITER
Brooklyn, New York
Luke Whyte is a freelance writer seeking to tell stories that help us empathize with each other. In early 2010, he founded Voices of Justice, an online multimedia project that focused on telling the real life stories of Californian inmates, parolees and correctional officers in order to humanize and raise awareness about the state’s correctional crisis.  The means and consequences of aging out are not inexorable. With this project, he hopes to raise enough awareness to put positive progress into motion.
CONNECT WITH LUKE

Website: www.lukeallanwhyte.com
Blog: www.voicesofjustice.com
Twitter: @prisonstories