Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of La Casa de Don Pedro consists of talented individuals that provide expertise to La Casa’s lines of business, represent Newark based businesses, and reflect the community that La Casa serves. The 17 member board provide direction and oversight and utilizes an active committee structure to undertake its work. The committees are: Executive, Finance & Asset Management, Governance, and Resource Development & Marketing Committees. The Board is also responsible for selecting and assessing the Executive Director, who is the chief operating officer, and in whom the Board delegates operational and administrative responsibilities.
Arcelio Aponte, President, Barclays
Rita E. Robles, Vice President, Legal Service of New Jersey
Daniel Czerniawski, Treasurer, Actors Federal Credit Union
Antonio Valla, Secretary, RBH Group
Jossue Bonilla, Bank of America
Enrique Dilone, Prothelia
Dawn Gammon, Prudential Financial
Steven Gomez, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Dr. Gayle Griffin
Lanny Kurzweil, McCarter & English, LLP
Zoraya Lee-Hamlin, RayZo Marketing Inc.
Jesus Mercado Jr., Secretary-at-Large
Eltia Montano Galarza
Richard W. Roper, Immediate Past President
Ivette Rosario, Rutgers University-Newark
Haydee Santana, Prudential Financial
Grizel Ubarry, GUbarry, Inc. Board Consultant
Senior Management Team
La Casa de Don Pedro’s leadership team’s personal experiences, professional track record and perseverance, ongoing training and leadership on coalitions and advisory boards, make us uniquely qualified to lead an organization whose foundation is to build community resilience. With an average La Casa tenure of 17 years, we are regional experts in our respective fields. Six grew into their position, promoted internally with two beginning as program participants. Most grew up in Newark or similar communities, faced similar challenges as our constituents, while others have community-based experience exposing them to these conditions.
Trend setters in neighborhood planning, multi-cultural preschool education, and foreclosure prevention, La Casa is regarded as the go-to organization for peer-to-peer learning and advice.
Peter T. Rosario is president and chief executive officer of La Casa de Don Pedro – New Jersey’s largest Latinx nonprofit serving Greater Newark’s most resilient Black and Brown communities.
Peter leads and serves with La Casa’s 280 employees, who collectively impact upwards of 50,000 people per year through programs that foster self-sufficiency, empowerment and neighborhood revitalization. As La Casa celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2022, Peter’s highest priorities include racial and social justice, affordable homeownership, high-quality early childhood education, and addressing the ongoing impact of Covid-19 that continues to disproportionally impact BIPOC communities.
Throughout his 26-year nonprofit career, Peter distinguished himself in multiple executive leadership, operational and fundraising roles for the YMCA and the Boy Scouts of America.
As president and CEO of the Ocean County YMCA in Toms River, N.J., Peter led a turnaround effort, attracting over 10,000 members and ultimately serving as the county’s leading provider of childcare, aquatics and wellness programs. Peter helped establish the Ocean County YMCA’s first-ever Summer Meals Program, which served 700 to 900 meals a day to residents experiencing food insecurity.
Peter also was senior vice president and chief operating officer for the YMCA of Newark and Vicinity, senior director of development for the YMCA of the Oranges, and served two terms on the Passaic City Board of Education as president, vice president and chairman of five committees.
Peter grew up in the South Bronx, N.Y., and his passion for community service began at an early age as a Boy Scout and member of his church. Peter is a Fordham University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communications.
Peter T. Rosario, President & CEO
Carrie Puglisi, Director of Program & Fund Development
Julia Ochoa, Director of Finance
Enid Roldán, Director of Business Office
Rosalina (Wendy) Melendez, Interim Division Director, Early Childhood Education
Laura Vazquez, Deputy Director, Operations, Early Childhood Education
Edward Hernandez, Division Director, Youth, Family and Health Services
Jacqueline Martinez, Deputy Director, Youth, Family & Health Services
Rosalina “Wendy” Melendez, Division Director, Personal Development
Gregory Hodne, Interim Division Director, Personal Development
Louis Prezeau, Jr., Division Director, Community and Economic Development
Norma Sessa, Division Director, Community Improvement
Cecelia S. Aiken, Home Energy Assistance Program Manager
Christopher Pagan, Weatherization Program Manager