Staff Bios

Jana Karp, M.Ed
Founder and Executive Director

Jana Karp graduated from Union College in 1999 with Honors in English. After graduating, she went on to teach third and fourth grade at St. Patrick School in Roxbury from 1999-2009 and continues to mentor former students. Jana started a Girl Scout Troop in Roxbury in 2003; the troop has since transformed into a Female Empowerment Group and currently serves former troop members now in their teenage years. In 2006, she received her Masters in Education from Lesley University, where she now sits on the Board of Trustees. Jana worked as a home-based Case Manager in Dorchester, MA from 2010-2011 where she coordinated services for children with mental health issues and their families. In 2013, she joined The Board of Trustees for The Steppingstone Foundation and in that same year, was awarded the Elizabeth Ann Seton Community Leadership Award. In 2014, she became a member of the Crossroads for Kids Board of Directors. In 2015, the Chamber of Commerce named her one of Boston’s Ten Outstanding Young Leaders. Jana’s work in Boston’s inner city over the past fifteen years has allowed her to communicate directly with families about their needs and the types of services they find most helpful; this work is what led her to found Boston Youth Sanctuary, Inc.

Denise Hamilton, LICSW
Chief Operating Officer

Denise joins BYS with extensive experience in the Massachusetts child welfare system. She is a Michigan transplant who graduated with a BSW degree specializing in child and family studies. After moving to Massachusetts, she started her career with The Home for Little Wanderers in their adolescent program for girls, in Dorchester, as a Child Care supervisor. When Everett House closed, she moved to Knights Children’s Center, with The Home, and was a Supervisor in their 766 school. During her tenure with The Home, she completed her MSW at Rhode Island College specializing in child and family trauma and administration. Her MSW internship, at Italian Home for Children, culminated in being hired as a clinician in their Family Preservation dorm. Denise spent the next 19 years moving through IHC’s expanding continuum of services as the Director of Residential Services, Director of Marketing and Admissions and, most recently, Director of In Home Services/CBHI Program. Denise’s experience has consistently been with children, youth, and families who have a significant mental health history and are survivors of trauma. Denise currently teaches various classes in the MSW program at Wheelock College. Denise has served and consulted on several boards including BAGLY, New England Network, and CWLA’s Military Advisory Group. She has completed a Primary Care Behavioral Health Clinician certification through UMass Worcester and is a NASW member with her LICSW.

Jordan Wright, MA
Milieu Director

Jordan Wright graduated from The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Economics in December 2008. He began working as a Child Care Worker for The Italian Home for Children in December of 2008. In October of 2009, Jordan became a Therapeutic Mentor for the Italian Home, working with youth in the Boston community. In September of 2010, Jordan received an Outstanding Service Award for his work with youth as a Therapeutic Mentor. In November of 2010, Jordan began working as an Intensive Care Coordinator at The Home for Little Wanderers, continuing his work with families in the Boston community. In July 2012, Jordan joined the BYS team as a Case Manager. In July 2013, Jordan was promoted to Milieu Coordinator. In July 2015 Jordan was promoted to Milieu Director. Jordan received a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology from William James College in July of 2016.

Danielle McFarlane
Director of Family Services

Danielle began her journey in youth work while still in high school, where she worked as mentor for the BELL Foundation and went on to work as a Youth Service Specialist for Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD). Prior to joining Boston Youth Sanctuary in 2015, Danielle served as the Director of Out-of-School-Time Programs for the YMCA of Greater Boston for the past ten years. As a long-time resident of Boston, she has always been an active member of her community and an advocate for the youth she serves. Her passion to support the families in her community has always been evident in the work she has done. Danielle received her Bachelors of Science degree from Springfield College in December of 2015. In her leisure time, Danielle truly enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading and writing poetry, and an occasional art class.

Esthephania Gomez (Steph), LICSW
Associate Director of Clinical Services

Esthephania has had a vast number of experiences volunteering in youth programs—such as after school programs—prior to 2010. In 2010, Steph began her path to obtaining a graduate degree. In 2010, Steph did her internship at Travelers Aid Family Services providing case management and stabilization skills to homeless families. In 2011, Steph did an internship with The Home for Little Wanderers: Children’s Collaborative—a residential treatment program providing individual, group and family therapy to the children in the program, as well as some home-based work. In 2012, Steph graduated from Boston College School of Social Work. After graduating, Steph worked as an In-Home Therapist (IHT) with Latino Health Institute and The Gandara Mental Health Center. During her work as an IHT Clinician, Esthephania provided individual and family therapy to children with behavioral and emotional needs and their families. Additionally, Steph aided with case management and advocacy needs of the families. In June of 2016, Esthephania was promoted from Child Clinician to Associate Director of Clinical Services at Boston Youth Sanctuary.

Nan Patriquin, MA
Expressive Arts Therapist

Nan was raised in Massachusetts and has lived in Boston since 2010. She graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Photography and Fine Arts in 2007, at which point she joined the AmeriCorps program, City Year. She spent two years in Washington, DC during which time she served in high-risk urban schools, spending her first year teaching drug education in middle schools and her second year leading a team of volunteers in a K-8 school, providing tutoring, mentoring, enrichment programming, and school and community events. Her work at City Year Headquarters in Boston (2010-2013) inspired her to return to school and study expressive arts therapy – combining her love of the arts and creativity with her desire to help others. She joined Lesley University in the fall of 2013, serving her second year’s internship at the Boston Youth Sanctuary. Nan received her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy in May of 2015 and is thrilled to start her Expressive Arts Therapist career path as a member of the Boston Youth Sanctuary clinical team.


Josh is originally from Orlando, FL and has lived in the Boston area for over three years. Josh originally moved to Boston to receive a graduate degree after he graduating with his undergraduate degree in 2013. Josh graduated with his Masters degree from Boston University in 2015. While attending graduate school, he developed a passion of creating therapeutic experiences for those around him. He also interned at Doc Wayne Youth Services, a non-profit that provides sports-based therapy for the children in the greater Boston area. Throughout his time there, he strengthened his skills providing therapy to kids and became a part of the South Boston community. Josh has experience working as a camp counselor for different organizations, and has also done work as an AmeriCorps Fellow mentoring youth from North Philadelphia. Josh joined the BYS team the summer of 2016.

Shane Cheltenham

Shane graduated from Bryant University in 2005. Prior to joining Boston Youth Sanctuary, Shane worked at Tides Family Services in West Warwick, Rhode Island as a Case Manager for four years. As a Case Manager, Shane’s role was hands on, home-based counseling for adolescents ages 10-18 that were referred by the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), Juvenile Probation, and Truancy Courts. Shane also worked at The Evergreen Center as a Special Needs Teacher in Milford, Massachusetts for one and a half years. His role as a Special Needs Teacher for this residential-based group home/school included assisting adolescents from ages 12-18 in daily household routines (day/night), transporting them to the school, and facilitating daily school lessons. Shane joined the BYS Team in 2013 as a Family Liaison and was promoted to Milieu Coordinator in June of 2016.


Altemis graduated from Salem State University in 2015 with a Bachelors of Science in Sociology with a minor in Social Work. Altemis’ commitment to human services can be evidenced by the various organizations she has interned, volunteered, and worked for throughout the city of Boston. Altemis has worked as a counselor for the PBHA’s South Boston Outreach Summer program, served as a mentor to neighborhood teens and most recently, worked as a group leader at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston which included translating for their Director and families in English and Spanish to enhance communication. Altemis’ career has been focused around her passion for serving and impacting change in her community.


Danhai graduated from Mount Ida College with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. Danhai’s passion for working with children came at a young age, working as a camp counselor for camp Saint Augustine Ministries in the South End. Danhai was also the youngest board member elected to Saint Augustine Ministries’ board. After graduating from college in May of 2006, Danhai began working as a child care worker at the Italian Home for Children in their Crisis Stabilization unit program and within a year, became a child care supervisor. In 2010, Danhai became a Therapeutic Mentor for the Mentor Network, working with youth in the Boston community and the surrounding areas. In 2012, Danhai began working at the Home for Little Wanderers as an Intensive Care Coordinator providing services for families who have children dealing with mental health issues. Danhai joined the BYS Family in September of 2016.

Lindsay Walcott
Administrative Liaision

As a native of Dorchester, Lindsay has always had a passion for working with youth in her community. Prior to BYS, Lindsay worked in administration as well as direct care in youth programming for the YMCA of Greater Boston. Lindsay came to BYS as an intern in 2014 from Lesley University, joined the staff team as a Milieu Counselor in October of 2015 while completing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work (December 2015), and has recently accepted the role of Administrative Liaison in May 2016. Her passion coupled with her warm personality is well noted by the entire BYS team. Her commitment and connection to young people in her community continues to motivate her each day.

Estevon Barbosa Ribeiro
Milieu Counselor

Prior to joining Boston Youth Sanctuary, Estevon was a high school student at North Cambridge Catholic High School, now known as Cristo Rey Boston. During his high school career, Estevon worked at the Boston Catholic School Foundation, New England Aquarium and Cambridge City Hall. Estevon’s passion for working with kids sparked when he started working at Boston Youth Sanctuary in April of 2013; Estevon is a former 3rd grade student of Jana Karp (Executive Director of BYS). He has been amazed by the work being done at BYS and would like to have a career which encompasses work with school-aged children.

David Sherman
Milieu Counselor

David spent the last ten years as an advocate for sustainable agriculture at farms, farmer’s markets, and restaurants. He has taught hundreds of children about the importance of knowing where their food comes from and the connection between the environment, food and themselves. David has worked as an educator at in public schools, community centers and universities in diverse places from New York, China, to Colombia. As the assistant manager at Denver Urban Gardens’ DeLaney Farm, David worked as the Education Instructor at the farm. As a Greenmarket manager at the Union Square, David not only helped manage the largest farmers market in the US, but served as an Education Coordinator. David worked as an Art and Healthy Living teacher under the Seed-To-Plate Program in conjunction with Studio in the School. David began working at BYS in September 2014.

Sinclair Fashaw-Braxton
Milieu Counselor

Sinclair grew up in the Dorchester area and started doing community service at the age of 10. He worked with his grandmother to help the communities close to where he lives. He has continued to do community service around the Dorchester area as well as venturing into areas like Cambridge for new community service experiences. He has done service projects varying from fundraising to working for nonprofits that benefit the community. During the summers of 2005 and 2006, Sinclair worked as an assistant teacher for the Boston Pilot School Program in hopes to further get involved with the community. Having worked with the City Year program and Dream it Do It organization, Sinclair raised funds for charity and logged over 600 hours of service while attending high school. Embodying integrity, energy and hard work, Sinclair will continue to pursue community service opportunities while in college and exemplify the passion his grandma introduced to him. Sinclair joined the BYS team in September 2014.

Shakeil Samuel
Milieu Counselor

Before starting at BYS, Shakeil spent five years working at the Boys and Girls Club of Boston on Talbot Avenue where he was the Social Recreational Assistant working to build skills with children from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences. While working with them, he started to develop a love for working with kids. Shakeil completed two years at Roxbury Community College and plans to further his education in the child care field. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised on the island of Saint Lucia before moving to Boston. During his travels he has developed a very enthusiastic personality and is a great fit to work with kids. Shakeil began working at BYS in February 2015.