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Staff

ROSE ROTHE
Executive Director

Rose’s background in nonprofit management brings valuable experience to Endeavor. She oversees Endeavor’s high quality equine programs, personnel, participant experiences, fundraising, strategic planning and financial/legal administration. As Founder and former Executive Director of SPARC, Inc., Rose brings many years of knowledge and high credibility in meeting goals with special needs populations through award winning programs modeled to NYS agencies, professional organizations and educational institutions.

Rose has a BS and MA from New York University in Therapeutic Recreation. She is a nationally certified (CTRS) Therapeutic Recreational Specialist. She has provided recreational, social and therapeutic services for children and adults with autism and other development disabilities, including: inclusionary after-school social skills, transitional day programs for young adults, consultation to schools- group residences & day hab settings, specializing in program design in film/art/poetry and recreational horseback riding. Rose has taught at Lehman and Mercy Colleges. Her awards and honors include: People of Distinction Humanitarian Award; NYS Therapeutic Recreation Association: Outstanding Professional & Organization of the Year; National Therapeutic Recreation Society: Professional Appreciation, Presidential Awards; NYS Recreation & Park Society: Distinguished Service, TR Professional Service, Presidential Citations. She looks forward to enhancing professional skills through PATH, EAGALA and working with Endeavor’s own incredible team!

MELISSA JARZYNSKI, MSPT, HPCS
Clinical Director

Melissa is one of only four physical therapists in New York who have been Board Certified by the American Hippotherapy Association as a Clinical Specialist, the highest level of certification possible. She has been practicing physical therapy for over 15 years, devoting her career to helping the pediatric population utilizing traditional physical therapy strategies as well as hippotherapy. For over 6 years, she traveled many hours to treat children in Southern New Jersey as the Senior Therapist at the Special Strides Therapeutic Riding Center, one of the largest Therapeutic and Hippotherapy Centers in the Country before starting her own business, Happy Trotters, in 2009. She currently works with clients at Endeavor.

As Clinical Director, Melissa oversees and leverages the contributions of all of Endeavor’s clinical staff and clinical operations, implements a data collection process that can be utilized across all programs for outcome measurements, and helps oversee the development and growth of partnership programs.

 

DANIELLE YACKO
Farm Director

Serving as Endeavor's Farm Director, Danielle has responsibilities for everything related to Endeavor’s horses and facilities. This encompasses full oversight of the horse and farm supplies and equipment.  Danielle began riding at age 9 and competed in hunter/jumpers for several years. She bought and trained two horses while still at Nonnewaug High School in Connecticut, where she was able to focus her studies on Horse Management. She graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a BA in Psychology and has spent the last six years supporting equine-assisted therapy programs. Danielle’s love of animals extends to her mixed breed pup, Tiki, whom she has trained and competed in agility and rally.

 

SARAH-JANE CASEY
Lead Instructor

Sarah-Jane was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand where she rode competitively from age 8 to 20 in Eventing, Show Jumping and Dressage.  In 1999, Sarah-Jane moved to Sydney to pursue acting professionally, which eventually brought her to New York in 2001.  She resumed teaching and riding in 2004 at Claremont Riding Academy in NYC and 2007 at Bergen Equestrian center in NJ.  It was at Claremont in 2005 that SJ was introduced to Therapeutic Riding as an instructor, obtaining her PATH International Registered Instructor Certification in 2005 and PATH International Advanced Certification in 2014.  Prior to her work with Endeavor, Sarah-Jane worked with GallopNYC in New York City for 10 years as a teacher, mentor and Manager.  Alongside her teaching, she has continued to work professionally in theatre, film and TV.  She has a wonderful husband Jeremy, an awesome step daughter, two amazing children, and a crazy, but very sweet, dog.

AMANDA COLLINS
Office Manager & Volunteer Coordinator

As Office Manager, Amanda keeps the office running smoothly by assisting with all day-to-day program and administrative operations, including accounts payable and receivable, filing and paperwork, social media and website updates, and event support. She is also the point of contact for all volunteer scheduling, training, and continuing education opportunities.

EMILY BUSHNELL
Instructor

Emily Bushnell is an Instructor and was among the founding members of Endeavor. She is a PATH Intl. Advanced Instructor, Mentor, Evaluator, and a Special Olympics Coach. Emily completed the PATH Intl. Equine Services for Heroes program in 2015, and was the recipient of the prestigious 2015 Regional PATH Intl. Certified Professional of the Year Award for Region 2. 

In addition to Emily’s experience in the world of equine-assisted activities and therapies, Emily has a background in marketing, non-profit management, and business development. Emily holds a BA in Psychology from Duke University and a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. She also obtained a certificate in Non-Profit Management from NYU’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising. 

KELLY SLONAKER
Instructor

Kelly started at Endeavor in 2015 and is a PATH Intl. Registered Instructor, PATH Intl. Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, PATH Intl. Mentor, and EAGALA certified Equine Specialist. Kelly completed the PATH Intl. Equine Services for Heroes program in 2017, and currently sits on the PATH Intl. Equine Services for Heroes Committee. She was the recipient of the prestigious 2017 PATH Intl. International Credentialed Professional of the Year Award, and Region 2 Credentialed Professional of the Year Award.

Prior to joining Endeavor, Kelly served as an instructor and equine caretaker at Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Center and worked at Grey Healthcare Group, and in the Fundraising and Development Office at HealthRight International (formerly Doctors of the World (DOW) USA).

She holds a Masters in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and is fluent in French.

LAURA STRINGER
Instructor

Laura has been with Endeavor since it was founded in 2014, and is a PATH Intl. Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, a PATH Intl. Registered Instructor, EAGALA Equine Specialist, and a Special Olympics Coach. Laura has over 10 years of equine experience both as an equestrian and as an equine vet technician.  Laura was the recipient of the prestigious 2016 Regional PATH Intl. Certified Professional of the Year Award for Region 2.

Tomi Beck
Instructor

Tomi has just started with Endeavor but her impact can already be seen in her enthusiasm and innovative program ideas! More info to come!

JENNIFER HEFFER
Program Coordinator & Instructor

Jenny began as a volunteer at Endeavor in 2017 and is now a PATH Intl. Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. She rode horses competitively from the ages of 6-18, competing in Hunters and Equitation. She has completed internships with Dr. Stephanie LaFarge at the ASPCA in NYC and at Green Chimneys Farm in Brewster, NY. Jenny holds a BA from Colby College in Maine and a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College in New York. Her thesis work focused on Animal Assisted Therapy, specifically the benefits of animals as partners in helping children learn to read. Jenny developed, presented and implemented reading curriculums with her certified therapy Labrador Retriever at schools in NYC. She worked at St. David’s school in NYC as a Kindergarten Teacher until 2007 and has been working there as a member of the Admissions team since 2000. 

 

JENN PERKINS
Ground Instructor & Barn Hand

Jenn began interning at Endeavor as part of her degree in Therapeutic Horsemanship from SUNY Cobleskill in early 2017. She then spent several months at another therapeutic horsemanship center in Wyoming before returning to NY to continue helping at Endeavor, and to get her PATH Intl. Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning certification. She loves hitting the trails, and riding Western.

 

Consultants

MEREDITH S. BAZAAR, CCC-SLP, HPCS

Endeavor offers speech and language therapy with Meredith S. Bazaar, CCC-SLP of MSB Therapy, LLC. Meredith is a New Jersey and New York licensed speech-language pathologist, and a board certified hippotherapy clinical specialist. She is the Past President of the American Hippotherapy Association, Inc. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Hearing from The George Washington University and a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology from Northwestern University. Prior to starting her own practice, Meredith provided speech language services in the Montefiore Medical Center CCU, ICU, NICU and rehabilitation departments and managed a day program for adults with traumatic brain injuries at United Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State. Meredith regularly presents at professional conferences, conducts training seminars for parents and community groups and supervises graduate student interns. She is trained in PROMPT I and II, Kaufman Speech Praxis Treatment and Beckman Oral-Motor assessment and intervention.

JOANNA BECKER, Ph.D.

Joanna Becker, Ph.D. works with children and families to help them reach personal goals through activities with horses.  As a psychologist and PATH Intl. Registered Instructor, she is excited to be able to bring horses into “the office” through equine-assisted psychotherapies. Joanna uses adaptations of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART) to help children and families increase their ability to cope with stress and to develop effective communication skills through interactions with horses.  The SMART model can be particularly beneficial for families dealing with issues related to adoption, divorce and grief.  Using SMART, children are actively engaged in equine-activities that offer opportunities for them to recognize and regulate their emotions, to develop healthy attachments and to process challenging life experiences.

 

BARBARA CARBONE, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)

Barbara holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Psychology and a Masters in Clinical Social Work from Columbia University in New York. Barbara has more than 20 years of experience treating adults and adolescents with a variety of issues related to depression, anxiety, self-esteem, relationships, work, career and parenting challenges. She has expertise in the areas of trauma, crisis intervention and addressing major life transitions. She has worked extensively with victims of violent crime and survivors of sexual assault and incest. Ms. Carbone is also trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) a comprehensive, integrative psychotherapy approach for treatment of trauma and PTSD. In addition, she is a certified EAGALA Mental Health provider.

LAURIE CIAVARDINI, LCSWR (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)

Laurie has a wealth of experience working with addiction, codependency, mood disorders, anxiety and a multitude of life issues such as grief, coping with medical diagnosis, disability and illness and major life transitions. Ms. Ciavardini has more than 15 years of experience working with psychiatric disorders and addiction both inpatient and outpatient. She is an Eriksonian hypnotherapist and is also certified in Animal Assisted Therapy. Laurie is an avid equestrian having worked with horses for more than 20 years. She is a certified EAGALA Mental Health provider and certified EAGALA Equine Specialist. Laurie is currently working on obtaining her military designation.

 

JANET MAURANTONIO, M.A.P.T.

Janet Maurantonio is happy her love of horses, physical therapy and treating patients are combined in her work with Endeavor. She’s an experienced physical therapist and has worked with patients in a variety of settings. Janet specializes in orthopedics and vestibular rehabilitation. She began as a volunteer with Endeavor and is thrilled to now be a part of the professional team. Janet has completed the foundations of continuing education offered by AHA and plans to sit for the HPCS boards soon. She looks forward to helping people gain physical strength and confidence as they interact with horses.