Team

Jennifer G. Hernandez ECLI Co-Founder & Executive Director

Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Stony Brook University, and is certified in Trauma Informed Care through the University of Buffalo School of Social Work, with a focus on systems and organizations. Mrs. Hernandez has been in the non profit sector for over 6 years developing and implementing innovative programing to serve victims of abuse, including domestic violence, human trafficking, and incarcerated youth.  Mrs. Hernandez began her human service career as a bilingual court advocate serving the Suffolk County Family Court, Supreme Court, and District Court. Through her experiences with victims of abuse, Jennifer has come to understand the important role trauma informed care plays in a victims healing process. In August of 2015 Jennifer, and four other dedicated human services agents took a leap of faith, and Co-Founded ECLI to ensure all victim of abuse are treated holistically.

jhernandez@empowerli.org

Feride Castillo- ECLI Co-Founder & Director of Advocacy

Mrs. Castillo holds a Degree in Paralegal Studies, a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, with a minor in Women, and Gender Studies from Stony Brook University. Mrs. Castillo is certified in Trauma Informed Care through the University of Buffalo School of Social work with a focus on individuals, and service providers within the criminal justice system, as well as a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC-T). For the last five years, Ms. Castillo has provided bi-lingual court advocacy, case management, and other supportive services to victims of domestic violence, victims of human trafficking, and at-risk, incarcerated, and/or court involved youth who are often suffering from on-going trauma. Ms. Castillo is an actively engaged service provider in Suffolk County’s Human Trafficking Intervention Court, as well as the Suffolk County Felonly Youth Part, and continues to assist in the development of services, and referrals for victims of human trafficking on Long Island. Ms. Castillo also assists the Suffolk County District Attorney's Special Investigation Bureau in providing advocacy, and community services to victims of human trafficking. 

fcastillo@empowerli.org

Stephanie Frisz-Gioia- ECLI Co-Founder & Director of Counseling

Stephanie Frisz-Gioia received her Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies from The State University of New York, Albany, and holds a Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Queens College, is a certified Alcohol and Substance counselor, as well as being cerified in Trauma Informed Care through the University of Buffalo School of Social work, with a focus on psychological trauma and self care . While studying for her Bachelor's degree, Stephanie served as Women’s Issues Director at the Student Association and was a member of The Women’s Studies Teaching Collective where she co-facilitated five sections of Introduction to Feminisms. After graduation, Stephanie was hired as an Adjunct Professor to teach a summer session of Introduction to Feminisms and began working at a domestic violence shelter in Troy, NY.  Upon returning to her home town, Stephanie began working at a domestic violence shelter in Suffolk County where she spent four years as Shelter Director. Stephanie then took on the position of Program Director at a residential facility for homeless and runaway teen girls, where she worked an additional four years before returning to school for her graduate degree. Stephanie completed her Master’s Degree, and worked as the Director of Counseling at a domestic violence agency. During this time, Stephanie developed a transitional housing program for women re-entering the community after incarceration, as well as a counseling program for survivors of abuse which included group, and individual counseling services for inmates in Suffolk County 

sfriszgioia@empowerli.org

Giselle Pelaez-Carvano, MS, MHC Mental Health Counselor

Giselle Pelaez received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Sociology and holds a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Queens College. She has experience working with the a wide spectrum of mental health disorders, addictions and trauma.Giselle is dedicated to helping others reach their highest potential and achieve their goals in the face of adversity. She utilizes techniques from multiple evidence based theories depending on the specific strengths of her clients.  Activities for ECLI include; providing individual and group therapy to survivors of trauma and at risk youth within  ECLI's residential facility, Suffolk County correctional facilities and the community. 

gpelaez@empowerli.org

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