Empowering youth, families and communities with gender affirming services, training and research.



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Matt Amore

Group Facilitator

Matt Amore (M.Ed., M.A) is an elementary school teacher for the New York City Department of Education. He has taught a range from 2nd to 7th graders (general and special education) during his nine years in the classroom. He has taught primarily in progressive schools, currently at The Neighborhood School in the East Village. In addition to teaching the core subjects, Matt is dedicated to guiding students in work around understanding their identity and incorporating social justice themes throughout the curriculum. He is preparing to transition out of the classroom and into school administration within the next couple of years. Matt lives in Brooklyn with his husband and their dog, Duncan.

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Nicole Avallone

Training & Capacity Building Associate

Nicole Avallone, LCSW, is a clinical social worker, trainer and educator with nearly 20 years of direct practice and management experience in LGBTQ and youth settings. Her most recent roles include serving as Director of Youth Services, and later Deputy Director of Programs and Policy, at the NYC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center. She now provides psychotherapy in private practice, as well as consultation on a range of progressive causes. Nicole has trained thousands of people on best practices in working with LGBTQ communities, with a focus on providing core training on gender identity and expression, as well as strategies for more effectively engaging family support.

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Kristina Garcia Bonhomme

Group Facilitator

Kristina Garcia Bonhomme received her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from the Inter American University and her MSW from Hunter College. She completed an internship with the Ackerman Institute’s Social Work and Diversity Program and after graduation completed Ackerman’s Live Clinical Supervision program. Kristina currently works at NYU Langone as a School Behavioral Therapist in a High School in Brooklyn. In her role, she provides ongoing therapy to students in her caseload.

Kristina moved from Puerto Rico to New York after she finished her Bachelor Degree. In New York, she met her partner, got married, and together they are raising their three children.

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Derrick T. Jordan


Derrick T. Jordan, M.Div, LMSW, is the Director of the Ackerman Institute’s Gender & Family Project. In addition to being a highly-trained mental health professional, he is a classically trained musician who earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, cum laude, from Virginia Commonwealth University; a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary; and a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University. For years, Derrick has led spiritually-based educational initiatives while serving in various ministerial capacities at nationally recognized faith organizations. Derrick’s pastoral care and counseling experience helps guide his clinical work; navigating the complexities of faith and spirituality at the intersection of race, ethnicity, culture, gender identity/expression, and sexuality.

Derrick trained with the Ackerman Institute’s Social Work and Diversity Program, the Gender & Family Project’s Unity Project in Family Engagement and Acceptance, The Minuchin Center for the Family, and has experience as a therapist working with those impacted by the child welfare system. The lens through which Derrick’s work is informed is one that celebrates the richness of diversity and culture to create a greater sense of wholeness and wellbeing. In addition to providing leadership to the Gender & Family Project, Derrick is a GFP family therapist and group facilitator. In his leisure time, Derrick is a long-distance runner, avid reader, foodie, and music enthusiast.

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Renee Reopell

Group Facilitator

Renée Reopell (they/ them), is a gender-free New YoRican advocating for intentional mental resilience and well-being for TGNC/NB folx. Renée received their master's in social work at New York University, and has been privileged to support young adults at Hetrick Martin Institute and Trinity Place Shelter. Renée also launched Montefiore Hospital's first LGBTQ youth program, the Umbrella Program serving youth & families, through the Adolescent AIDS Program. Currently, Renée is the Mental Health Therapist and Montefiore's Adult AIDS Center and group clinician at the Ackerman Institute.They also work in private practice from a health equity framework.


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Nat Roberts

Research Coordinator

Nat Roberts is a Ed.M student in the Counseling Psychology at Teachers College of Columbia University. After completing their Bachelors in English Literature, Nat spent four years working as a community organizer before returning to academia. Currently, their research focuses on the intersection of gender and racial identity development for trans and gender non-conforming POC and the development of accessible alternatives to traditional counseling.

Nat dreams a world where trans and gender non-conforming folks can live safely and authentically. Their hobbies include dance, puppet making, reading psychology articles and breaking the gender binary.

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Ariel Roland-Waring

Group Facilitator

Ariel Roland-Waring, LCAT in-progress, is from Queens, New York. They completed their BA in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College. In May 2019, they graduated from School of Visual Arts with a MPS in Art Therapy. Ariel’s prior experience includes youth development in after-school programming, family therapy for domestic violence survivors and their children, and anti-oppressive art therapy for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing street homelessness.

They are interested in building systems of care outside of the medical model and providing culturally-relevant mental health services for trans youth of color. Their pastimes include embroidery, painting, and gender anarchy.

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Sanniel Sanabia

Program Coordinator


Sanniel Sanabia (he/him) is the Program Coordinator for Ackerman Institute's Gender & Family Project. An immigrant from the Dominican Republic, he has worked in the non-profit sector with queer BIPOC and Latinx populations since moving to New York City. With over 7 years of experience in project management and advocacy, he is passionate about impactful community work that creates equity for all marginalized people, while reducing the effects of systemic oppression until that is achieved.

Sanniel currently resides in Harlem. His hobbies include photography, traveling, and indoor gardening. His idols are James Baldwin, Bell Hooks, and the lady whose voice narrates the Popeyes commercials.

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Futaba Shioda

Social Media Coordinator

Futaba Shioda (he/him/his) invests his energy and care into advocating for transgender and gender expansive folks, communities of color, and youth. He has been involved with Gender Conference NYC and New York Transgender Advocacy Group and has been a consultant on numerous writings, including work in The New York Times and with Penguin Random House. Futaba’s activism extends into the arts world, where he works as an actor, a script and program consultant, and an advocate to uplift marginalized voices in the film and theatre communities. He is constantly inspired by the next generation and strives to create a safer, freer world for them and for all of us. futabashioda.com

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Paul Silverman

GFP Project Associate

Paul Silverman, LCSW, is a Project Associate at the Ackerman Institute’s Gender & Family Project. Paul was born and raised in Brooklyn and has been a social worker in New York City since graduating from Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work in 2017. For the last five years, Paul provided trauma-informed therapeutic services to families impacted by parental incarceration. He believes that therapeutic healing alongside advocacy and mitigation practices have the potential to create meaningful systemic change.

Prior to becoming a social worker, Paul worked in elementary school education, volunteered in a college-in-prison program with people earning bachelor’s degrees, and was a leader in community-based youth development programs. Outside of his professional life, you can find him biking around Prospect Park, cooking for friends and family, or spending time with his 4 nieces.