Project Hope Team

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Marcela Cardenas 

Crisis Counselor (English/Spanish)

Marcela Cardenas is a native of Ecuador. She worked as an ophthalmic technician and interpreter for 12 years, and she has also helped at a youth group in Hampton Bays for several years. One of her passions is to help her community, which is why she decided to earn her B.A. in Psychology at Stony Brook University.


Fernando Hurtado

Crisis Counselor (English/Spanish)

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Fernando has been working with children in pediatrics for seven years. During that time, he has helped families and children receive the services they need. Helping families and making connections is one of Fernando’s passions.


Tom Oleszczuk

Crisis Counselor (English)

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Tom moved to Noyack, NY nine years ago from Brooklyn. A former professor, Tom has 25 years’ experience as an administrator in Academic Computing, including customer service (Help Desk). Since being here on the East End, he has an increasing commitment to human and civil rights issues and to assisting the neglected members of our community in need. 

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Laura Putzulu

Team Lead (English/Spanish)

Laura Putzulu is what you might call "All American," since her father is Argentinian, her mother is Costa Rican, and she was born in New York. Laura has experience working with people with intellectual and physical disabilities. She has also worked on the administrative side of home care, managing the paperwork and insurance for people who use the CDPAP program. Laura is currently working towards her Bachelor in Social Work degree. Before serving as Project Hope’s Team Lead, she was a crisis counselor with the program.


Evelyn Rivas Torres

Crisis Counselor (English/Spanish)

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Evelyn is a passionate Latina who believes anything is possible. She has a background in design and works in the hospitality industry. Her goal is to serve the community where she is raising her four children. With her knowledge about public education, youth activities, and special education services, Evelyn is proud to facilitate connections for New Yorkers coping with these uncertain times. 


Nicole Robinson

Crisis Counselor (English)

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Nicole Robinson is from Queens, NY. She has ten years of experience working with children, and five of those years were spent working with special education and at-risk youth. Nicole is currently a Human and Community Services major at Empire State College.


Maria Villarreal

Fiscal Coordinator (English/Spanish)

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Originally from Colombia, Maria settled with her family in Montauk 15 years ago. Maria has worked her way up to a supervisor position at a local bank, and for the past 12 years has been a member of the Montauk Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary as well as a board member of the Montauk Community Church Spanish Service. She is also on the advisory committee for the Montauk PlayHouse Foundation. 


Melissa Vogt

Project Coordinator (English)

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Melissa was born and raised on Long Island. She has a Master's Degree in Social Work from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a New York State Social Work License (LMSW). She has experience working with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a service coordinator and behavior intervention specialist. Before becoming the Project Coordinator for Project Hope, Melissa served as Team Lead.