Child Day Care Centers Suffolk County New York

Board of Trustees

Alternatives For Children

James Buzzetta Chairman
Jim was raised in Smithtown and graduated from Smithtown High School East, before attending the University of Vermont, graduating with a finance degree. After graduation, Jim worked in investment and commercial banking for several years before joining the family automotive business - Competition Automotive Group - founded by Jim’s father, Joseph Buzzetta, in the early 1970s.

Since 1998, Jim has been instrumental in the growth of the Competition Automotive Group, and today the family owns many Long Island dealerships: Competition Infiniti of Smithtown, Competition Subaru of Smithtown, Competition BMW of Smithtown, Mercedes-Benz of Huntington and Mercedes-Benz of Smithtown. Competition employs more than 400 people and sells nearly 10,000 vehicles annually. Jim personally oversees the family’s Mercedes-Benz dealership in Huntington. He is proud of the fact that the company has become a successful second generation business run by the three Buzzetta siblings; Jim, his brother Joseph, and sister Nancy, and looks forward to welcoming his own children into the business.

Jim is actively involved at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, where he is one of the founding members of the St. Charles Hospital Foundation, serving for three years as Foundation Chairman. Jim was recognized by St. Charles Hospital in 2009 for his business achievements, as well as his charitable and philanthropic efforts across Long Island, and named recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Award.

Jim joined the Board of Trustees in 2005 where he quickly became a strong advocate for, and an ardent supporter of the administration, staff, and the vision and mission of Alternatives For Children. Serving as the event chairperson, for fifteen years Jim has literally been the driving force behind our annual Fall Fundraiser, the Alternatives For Children Classic and Sports Car Rally. Through his sponsorship of this fundraising event, Jim has been personally involved over the years in raising much needed funds to assure that Alternatives For Children can continue to offer the highest quality educational and therapeutic services to the children and families we serve.

Christina Van Vort, Esquire

Tina joined the Alternatives For Children Board of Trustees in 2006 and served as Secretary until being appointed Vice Chair in 2023. Tina is a healthcare attorney and has served as Chief Legal Officer of MJHS Health System since 2022. MJHS Health System is a New York City-based not-for-profit organization which provides a range of post-acute care and health plans for Medicare and dual-eligible individuals. Serving patients along a continuum of need, MJHS and its related entities provide home care, hospice and palliative care for adults and children, rehabilitation services and nursing care (through Isabella & Menorah Center), operate health plans (through Elderplan) and conduct research (through MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care).

Prior to joining the leadership of MJHS Health System, Tina was a partner at the health care law firm, Garfunkel Wild, PC. Her practice was dedicated to the legal and business needs of clients in the health care industry for over twenty years. During her years with Garfunkel Wild, PC, she amassed substantial expertise in addressing the legal and regulatory issues facing health plans and health care providers, including home care agencies and nursing homes.

Tina began her legal career at Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts, now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. She received her JD from Brooklyn Law School and attended SUNY Binghamton, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with a concentration in Computer Science. 
Tina seeks to utilize her professional skills and experience and contribute toward the stewardship of Alternatives For Children in serving the needs of its children.


Jason Hsi, Esquire

Jason Hsi, Esquire a partner at Garfunkel Wild, P.C., joined the Board of Trustees in 2018. Jason Hsi, Esquire a partner at Garfunkel Wild, P.C., is a member of the firm’s Litigation and Arbitration Practice Group, which advises clients on a host of litigation issues in both state and federal court. Mr. Hsi is experienced in representing both plaintiffs and defendants in business and health care litigation. He has a broad range of litigation experience handling complex employment law and discrimination cases, health care reimbursement, and collection matters. He has counseled both individuals and businesses from a diverse range of industries and in all phases of litigation and appeals, in state and federal courts, as well as mediation and arbitration. We appreciate Jason’s willingness to share his vast knowledge and experience with Alternatives For Children.


Peter Lessing
Mr. Lessing joined the Board of Trustees at Alternatives For Children in 2016. Mr. Lessing, C.E.C., is Director of System Analytics for Lessing’s, Inc., a family owned Long Island business spanning six generations and one of the leading companies in the catering and dining industry for the New York region. Mr. Lessing's knowledge of the Long Island community and his broad experience in business and event planning will be an asset for Alternatives For Children.


Leigh Tomlinson

Leigh Tomlinson joined the Board of Trustees in 2022. Leigh is a seasoned and accomplished HR professional with a track record of exceptional leadership in the field of talent acquisition and recruitment strategy. With a wealth of experience spanning over a decade, Leigh has played pivotal roles in both the technology and financial sectors, driving significant growth and impact through her innovative and strategic approach to recruitment.

From 2013 to 2022, Leigh served as the Executive Director of Recruiting at JPMorgan Chase. In 2022, Leigh joined Meta as the North America Recruiting Manager, where she led the firmwide talent acquisition strategy for Data Engineering. With her background in all things recruiting, she looks to bring an additional dynamic component to the Board of Trustees at Alternatives For Children.


Craig Hamer

Craig Hamer joined the Board of Trustees in 2022.  Mr. Hamer brings to Alternatives For Children a wealth of knowledge and a strong background in financial and strategic planning.

Mr. Hamer has extensive global experience managing large teams and running businesses.  He is a highly skilled and knowledgeable advisor to leading financial institutions and their boards.

Mr. Hamer is Ex-Chairman of PwC’s Global Financial Services Innovation Centre.  While at PwC he proved to be an experienced global leader, running a global business of $12 B revenue, and managing some 8000 PwC Advisors. 

Since leaving PwC, Craig continues to be involved in a number of consulting firms.  Craig has acted in both an audit and advisory capacity on behalf of a number of major global clients.  Mr. Hamer brings his finance and strategic planning expertise to Alternatives For Children.

Susan Lubrano

Susan Lubrano joined the Board of Trustees in 2020.  Susan is a licensed occupational therapist and is certified in Neurodevelopmental Treatment.

Susan currently owns and operates her own company, Therapy Services of Greater New York in Great Neck.  The agency serves a pediatric population of children 0-21 years of age with neuro-developmental delays, sensory processing disorders, fine and gross motor deficits, and dyspraxia.

Ms. Lubrano serves on the Board of NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and is a past member of the Sands Point Preserve.

Susan brings over thirty years’ experience in the field of occupational therapy and special education to the Alternatives For Children Board.


Vincent O'Leary - Chairman Emeritus

Mr. O'Leary has provided longstanding stewardship, guidance and support for our organization since its inception, during both the challenges and our many accomplishments.

Mr. O’Leary has been a guiding force at Alternatives For Children since its inception in 1988. Through the years he has shared his managerial insight, derived from twenty-nine years experience as Associate Director of Administration at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and later as CEO of Nassau-Suffolk Lumber and Supply.

During his time at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Vince also served as the president of St. Charles Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Port Jefferson; treasurer of Brookhaven Town’s Industrial Development Agency and chairman of its Economic Commission; vice president of the Emma Clark Library in Setauket; vice-president of the Boy Scouts of America Suffolk County Council; trustee of the Stony Brook Community Fund; and United Way Campaign Cabinet Member.

Mr. O’Leary is an active and enthusiastic community and civic minded volunteer, where his experience is valued by numerous community-based nonprofit organizations. Mr. O’Leary continues to make the rounds of his favorite organiza-tions, including Maryhaven Center of Hope, the Stony Brook Community Fund, Suffolk County Boy Scouts, and Meals on Wheels.

Dr. Frederic Mendelsohn, MD - Chairman Emeritus

Dr. Mendelsohn, a practicing neurologist, board certified in Neurorehabilitation and Neuroimaging, served from 1987 through 1993 as Medical Director at St. Charles Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Port Jefferson. In addition to his private practice, Dr. Mendelsohn is an adjunct clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology at Stony Brook University Medical School. During his tenure at St. Charles Hospital, Dr. Mendelsohn was instrumental in the establishment of the St. Charles Educational and Therapeutic Center, serving medically fragile children, children with special needs, and children with a broad spectrum of disabilities. With the guiding hand and assistance of Dr. Mendelsohn, the St. Charles Educational and Therapeutic Center would grow to include locations in Aquebogue, Southampton and Melville, and eventually transition in 2003 to the establishment of Alternatives for Children.

Having attended undergraduate school on a music scholarship before he entered medical school, Fred has now turned to painting and writing to assuage his creative yearnings. He is an accomplished professional artist, maintaining a studio in New York City; and a published author, having released his book, A Doctor’s Journey, inspired by his patient encounters during thirty-five years of clinical practice.

Dr. Mendelsohn has always been one of Alternatives For Children’s staunchest advocates and supporters. In 2003, he, along with the Board of Trustees, oversaw the expansion and development of Alternatives For Children’s main campus, a spacious 36,000 square foot facility in East Setauket, ensuring that there will always be a place for children with special needs and their families to come to.

Dr. Mendelsohn, and his wife Sunny, Co-Chair Alternatives For Children’s Annual Golf Outing, which every year has shown growth in the funds raised in support of Alternatives For Children’s Capital Campaign. Fred always takes the time to talk about “his kids” to anyone who will listen, to enlist their support in furthering the mission and goals of Alternatives For Children.

Vivian Mirza - Trustee Emeritus
Mr. Mirza joined the Board of Trustees at Alternatives For Children in 2016. Mrs. Mirza, together with her husband Dr. Ather Mirza, are long-time supporters of Alternatives For Children. We are delighted that Vivian has chosen to serve as a Trustee and share her unique abilities and perspectives withe the Board as Alternatives For Children continues the important work of fulfilling its mission.

Michael E. Russell - Trustee Emeritus
Mr. Russell, with over thirty years experience in the financial field, is Senior Partner of the Russell Wealth Management Group of UBS Financial Services Inc. in Port Jefferson. He joined the Board of Trustees of Alternatives For Children in 2001, bringing with him broad based experience and a wealth of knowledge, having served as New York State Cable Television Commissioner; Chair of the New York State Small Business Development Corporation; Member of the MTA Capital Review Board, Chief of Staff for the New York State Senate Majority Leader; Chairman of Health and Hospitals for the State University System; Member of the Board of Directors of the State University of New York; Chairman of the Nassau/Suffolk Hospital Association; founding member of the board of Jefferson's Ferry, CCRC; and Trustee of John T. Mather Memorial Hospital.

In 2005, the Board of Trustees of Alternatives For Children undertook a bricks and mortar $2.3 million Capital Campaign. The Capital Campaign, chaired by Mr. Russell with the same level of personal service and professional integrity that he offers his clients, is vital to ensuring the viability and continuing growth of Alternatives For Children’s programs and services. All fundraising efforts and solicitation of gifts from major donors for the Capital Campaign would go towards two efforts. The first, which was accomplished in 2010, was paying for the land on which Alternatives For Children East Setauket is located. The second goal, which we hope to accomplish by February of 2013, is raising funds for a special redemption of up to a $1 million, reducing our principal debt on the IDA Bond for the construction of the East Setauket facility.

Mr. Russell, along with his wife Barbara, are residents of East Setauket. Mike is proud of his longstanding affiliation with Alternatives For Children, and feels privileged to be associated with an organization that has been there for so many families. He is steadfast in his commitment that Alternatives For Children be poised for the future, to help the children still to follow