Center Staff

Peter Criswell (he/him)

Executive Director

p.criswell@lgbtqcenter.org

Peter Criswell is the Executive Director of the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College and a Master of Science degree in Business Leadership and Strategic Management from Manhattanville College.

Peter Criswell is the Executive Director of the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College and a Master of Science degree in Business Leadership and Strategic Management from Manhattanville College. His professional career has taken him from Seattle to Philly to New York City, and around the world. He’s focused on the nonprofit sector and has worked as Executive Director for five nonprofit groups: Hudson River Heritage, Historic Philadelphia Inc. & Betsy Ross House, the International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership, the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus & Youth Pride Chorus, and, most recently, the Dharmakaya Center for Wellbeing. 

Peter is currently in his second term as an Ulster County Legislator representing District 7 – City of Kingston Wards 6, 7, and 8. He’s in his third term on the City of Kingston’s Arts Commission. He sits on the Bard College Alumni/ae Association Board of Governors and served as that body’s president for two years. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Key of Q, the Hudson Valley’s LGBTQ and Allied Acapella Singers.  

A fun fact is that he portrays old Rip Van Winkle in the annual Sinterklass parade in Kingston. His ability to perform has aided in his ability to lead as he encourages his staff to have fun while getting the job done. Peter is looking forward to deepening his connection to the Hudson Valley’s LGBTQ+ community and working with the board, staff, and volunteers of the Center to best support the needs of the community. 

Signy Furiya (she/her)

Director of Well-Being Institute

s.furiya@lgbtqcenter.org

Signy Furiya, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), is the Director of the Center’s Well-Being Institute.

Signy Furiya, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), is the Director of the Center’s Well-Being Institute. Signy obtained her Masters in Social Work from New York University and received psychoanalytic training at the National Institute for Psychotherapies. She has extensive clinical experience in private practice as well as a Clinical Supervisor and Clinical Director at substance use outpatient clinics in New York City. She has worked with clients using DBT, motivational interviewing, interpersonal and solutions focused modalities.
A native of NYC’s Greenwich Village, Signy moved to the Hudson Valley in 2012 and joined the LGBTQ Center in 2019. Signy first majored in filmmaking during her undergrad experience at City College of New York, and her life-long love of film and literature inform her work with an understanding of the transformational power of story-telling. Signy also is a goldsmith who loves working with metal and hopes to continue that hobby in her spare time. She feels very fortunate to be part of such a vibrant community both here at the Center and beyond.

Amanda Norton (she/they)

Director of Programs and Services

A.Norton@lgbtqcenter.org

Amanda Norton is the Director of Programs and Services at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center. She moved to the Hudson Valley from Long Island in 2011 after receiving a double degree in Childhood & Special Education from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.

Amanda Norton is the Director of Programs and Services at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center. She moved to the Hudson Valley from Long Island in 2011 after receiving a double degree in Childhood & Special Education from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. They later received their MPS in Humanistic & Multicultural Education from SUNY New Paltz. Amanda spent her first nine years in the Hudson Valley working within Student Affairs at The Culinary Institute of America and SUNY New Paltz. At both colleges she took an active role in organizing LGBTQ+ trainings, programming, and student support/crisis response.  

Amanda regularly trained students and staff members on ByStander Intervention, Mediations, Title IX, addressing hate/bias incidents, and Conflict Resolution. Their work also involved mental health support, crisis response, alcohol/drug intervention and wellness programming. She served as a facilitator for New Paltz Allies, the school’s LGBTQ+ inclusivity training. Amanda was also a founding Steering Committee member and, later, Director of Rivera House (New Paltz’s LGBTQ+ living learning community), which provided housing, programming and support for students. After volunteering as a trained R.A.D. Systems of Self Defense instructor for six years, Amanda designed and implemented a queer-inclusive self-defense course, ‘Defense for All’. They also served on the LGBTQ+ Belongingness committee which planned and produced the college’s first ever Lavender Graduation Ceremony for LGBTQ+ identifying graduates. Amanda developed and organized the ‘Trans*Action’ conference for 3 consecutive years, providing day-long workshops to celebrate gender diversity, provide resources and support for trans+ identifying attendees, and educate allies on the evolving needs of the TGNC community and ways to provide inclusive environments for all to thrive.  

Equity and inclusion has always been at the heart of Amanda’s work. Before coming to the center, Amanda served 2 terms as a presidential-appointed member of SUNY New Paltz’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, which steered programming and training on campus. This Council was also responsible for a 19 month process of conducting research and inclusive dialogue among students, faculty/staff, alumni, and local community members regarding the Hasbrouck Complex naming, which resulted in renaming six campus buildings which had been named after families of former slave-owners. Amanda also spent 6 years overseeing the Residence Life Cultural Advocate program; training and facilitating discussions surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism for paraprofessional staff and students. She also served on the Black Lives Matter at Schools Planning Committee before leaving to work at our center.

Outside of work, Amanda has been a part of End the New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN) in Poughkeepsie and is currently enrolled in the Ulster Leadership Development Institute. During ‘off time’ Amanda also enjoys traveling, hiking, exploring around the Hudson Valley,  cookie decorating, baking, meditating, music festivals, and spending as much time as they can outdoors and with friends! 

Renita Principe Garcia (she/her)

Office Manager

r.principe@lgbtqcenter.org

Renita has over 10 years experience in the field of accounting . . .

, certified as a Full Charge Bookkeeper. In her spare time she enjoys music and the outdoors. She’s a people person, and enjoys meeting others and sharing good times. She also volunteer in various organizations and her favorite writing is “The Invitation” by Oriah

 

“It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.”

Beverly Yuen Thompson (she/her/hers)

Program Assistant

b.thompson@lgbtqcenter.org

Beverly Yuen Thompson (she/her/hers) is an academic whose research has focused on marginalized communities and subcultures. She has written on the topic of mixed race and bisexual identities, social movements, and women in the tattoo subculture.

Beverly Yuen Thompson (she/her/hers) is an academic whose research has focused on marginalized communities and subcultures. She has written on the topic of mixed race and bisexual identities, social movements, and women in the tattoo subculture. She has earned a Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University, in addition to a BA in Government from Eastern Washington University. She teaches sociology at Siena College, in Albany, New York. At the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center, she is the Program Assistant, collaborating with the Director of Programs and Services and Program Coordinator, to support and evaluate programs, activities and special events. Beverly is happy to be working in an applied and hands-on manner, to assist in the development of meaningful activities and events for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. Some of her current hobbies include gardening, collecting reptiles, and making crafts with social justice themes.

Group Facilitators

Julia Reischel (they/them)

Well Being Institute Counselor and Group Facilitator

j.reischel@lgbtqcenter.org

Julia Reischel is working towards their Masters in Social Work at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, on track to graduate in 2023.

Julia Reischel is working towards their Masters in Social Work at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, on track to graduate in 2023. They bring a queer, polyamorous, sex-positive, somatically-rooted and trauma-informed approach to counseling and therapy.
Born in Washington D.C., Julia went to Harvard College and then worked as a journalist at newspapers in Boston and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They moved to the Catskills region in 2010 to run an online newspaper with their family. After shutting down the paper in 2017, Julia worked as a paralegal and became the first openly queer elected official in the history of their town of Middletown in Delaware County, NY. In 2019, they moved into public health, building out a harm reduction-based opioid response program at Margaretville Hospital in the Catskills. They are a member of the board of the Catskills Addiction Coalition.
Julia is the parent of a teenager and a rambunctious pug boxer mix. A former jock and a lifelong nerd, they love physical activity, group singing, gardening and learning new things.

Agique Anderson (AJ) (he/him)

Group Facilitator

Agique Anderson (AJ) (he/him) is a gay adult with a disability called Cerebral Palsy. Born and raised in NY, tough as of August 2022 AJ moved to North Carolina. AJ is your facilitator for the LGBTQ+ Abilities group and has a passion for supporting individuals in the LGBTQ+ and Disability communities.

Agique Anderson (AJ) (he/him) is a gay adult with a disability called Cerebral Palsy. Born and raised in NY, tough as of August 2022 AJ moved to North Carolina. AJ is your facilitator for the LGBTQ+ Abilities group and has a passion for supporting individuals in the LGBTQ+ and Disability communities. In his past work experiences, AJ worked part time as a Peer Advocate providing Peer Support and counseling to individuals in nursing homes and volunteered as a Support Group Facilitator. Over the past 3 years he has run a total of 4 support groups in Hudson Valley.

Anthony Cuellar (he/him)

Group Facilitator

Having grown up in the Hudson Valley, Anthony Cuellar (he/him) is very excited to be a part of the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center team and to help create a safe space for our youth.

Having grown up in the Hudson Valley, Anthony Cuellar (he/him) is very excited to be a part of the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center team and to help create a safe space for our youth. Anthony received his BBA from Pace University in New York City and has worked in the film, media, television, advertising, health, finance, and music industries throughout his career. He is passionate about the issues that our community faces and has been a collaborator, problem-solver and contributor for fundraising events, job fairs, activism, volunteering, and more in New York and online.  Anthony works with our teens as a facilitator for the Chill Out Teen Drop-In.

Michael Erp (he/him)

Group Facilitator

Michael Erp (he/him)  has lived in the Catskills over 30 years, and has been married to his husband Kyle for nine years.  A former administrator and professor at Marist College, he is now semi-retired, but enjoys running an Airbnb with his husband and working as a server for local catering events.

Michael Erp (he/him)  has lived in the Catskills over 30 years, and has been married to his husband Kyle for nine years.  A former administrator and professor at Marist College, he is now semi-retired, but enjoys running an Airbnb with his husband and working as a server for local catering events. He finds that facilitating Mankind: the Men’s Group and the Rainbow Lounge: Senior Group continues to be a rewarding learning experience.

Erin Garcia (she/they)

Group Facilitator

Erin Garcia (she/they) facilitates the LGBTQIA+ Solidarity for Middle Schoolers group at the center! Erin is 21 years old and am currently studying psychology.

Erin Garcia (she/they) facilitates the LGBTQIA+ Solidarity for Middle Schoolers group at the center! Erin is 21 years old and am currently studying psychology. They think having a support system at a young age is extremely important and it her goal to make sure everyone can feel safe in their coming out journey.

Cam Hoffner (she/they)

Group Facilitator

Cam Hoffner (she/they) is a recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz with a BA in Sociology and the current facilitator of Gayme Night at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center.

Cam Hoffner (she/they) is a recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz with a BA in Sociology and the current facilitator of Gayme Night at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center. In their free time they enjoy playing video games, spending time outside with their dog, and advancing their Duolingo streak. Cam is the center’s group facilitator for Gayme Night.

Sabrina Kee (she/her)

Group Facilitator

Sabrina Kee (she/her), an artist, activist, and perpetual learner, was born and raised in the Hudson Valley and is a SUNY New Paltz alumnae.

Sabrina Kee (she/her), an artist, activist, and perpetual learner, was born and raised in the Hudson Valley and is a SUNY New Paltz alumnae. Existing at the crossroads of queerness, blackness, womanhood and neurodivergence, she is passionate about building community with her peers and educating others. She is currently facilitating the groups “Sisterhood Support & Sanctuary” and “The Queer BIPOC Intersection”.

Phoenix Laxton (he/they)

Group Facilitator

Phoenix Laxton (He/They) is the Facilitator for the “Early Gen-Z Queer Hangout” and “Getting Crafty” groups. They are dedicated to providing a safe space for his fellow queers.

Phoenix Laxton (He/They) is the Facilitator for the “Early Gen-Z Queer Hangout” and “Getting Crafty” groups. They are dedicated to providing a safe space for his fellow queers. Phoenix has met wonderful friends through their group and hopes the same for others.

Melissa Zola (she/her)

Group Facilitator

Melissa Zola (she/her) identifies as a lesbian and lives in Kingston with her wife Marlene, son Dario, and their tuxedo cat Lucy.

Melissa Zola (she/her) identifies as a lesbian and lives in Kingston with her wife Marlene, son Dario, and their tuxedo cat Lucy. Melissa is passionate about social justice and building safe spaces where all people are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. She is the facilitator for our new QFam group, for queer parents and caregivers to come together.