Henry Perez, of We W.I.L.L. Thru Sports, was born May 24 1974 on 114st Amsterdam Avenue, New York NY. His father passed away when he was 5 years old leaving his mother Carmen Amaro to raise him along with 8 other siblings. While growing up, there never seemed to be a dull moment with such a big family. Looking back, he appreciates the struggles and hard times that life dealt to his family and him. One of the most important pieces of advice instilled in Henry from a young age was “if there’s WILL and hard work it pays off in all aspects of life”. He attended schools in NYC, and graduated from Norman Thomas HS in 1995. Henry persevered on to attending and graduating from Herbert H. Lehman College where he received a BA in Recreation Administration and a Masters in Recreation Education. He held several therapeutic recreation positions, was promoted to rehabilitation counseling, and has since moved on to being a fitness teacher at Excellence Boys Charter School where he is touching the lives of young males. Through his professional career he has always coached young people and taken coaching way beyond teaching basketball. He has the greatest passion to help all young people reach their potential the best way he can; through sports. His desire for helping others is evident each and every day and in particular towards those who come from difficult situations/backgrounds as he did. His dedication and determination has reached many young people through athletics and he believes he can reach many more who need to hear and believe that they have a life worth living!
Mary Woods holds a Bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Art Therapy/ Counseling. In addition she is licensed and board certified in Creative Arts Therapy. She formerly held the position of Senior Recreation Therapist at New York State Psychiatric Institute and has since been promoted to a Rehabilitation Counselor. Ms. Woods has much experience with fostering the lives of individuals in multiple ways and looks to continue making a change in the world with her creativity and expertise. Ms. Woods grew up in Mount Vernon NY where she worked for a girls sports camp. During this time, she was able to teach, role model, and empower young girls. For the past 15 years she has also life guarded and instructed swim classes where she gets to touch many other youth lives. Ms. Woods has a passion to give youth hope and opportunities and joined We W.I.L.L. Thru Sports in 2013. She worked to establish a board of directors and obtain tax exempt status in 2015. She continues to grow the organization with her determination and dedication. Ms. Woods believes that all children deserve a chance at success no matter where they come from. Their circumstances do not define who they are and they matter, and she is committed to helping them realize this.
Dianne Woods, registered nurse, provides organizational and administrative support. Prior to her retirement in 2015, Dianne spent the last 11 years at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn NY. In her role as Deputy Director of Nursing, she led Performance Improvement, Education and Special Projects for Nursing. Prior to her tenure at SUNY Dianne was the Director for Performance Improvement & Organizational Learning at Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center, Bronx NY. Since her retirement, she has devoted more time to her interests in faith based and non-profit work.
She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Keuka College and a Masters in Nursing from New York University. She held certifications in Staff Development, and Nurse Executive. Dianne joined WE W.I.L.L. Thru Sports’ Board in 2015.
Joseph Cifone played high school basketball for La Salle Academy in New York City, in college at the University of Nebraska, and professionally in Italy. He has played basketball for over 40 years and still has so much love and passion for the game that he’s trying to instill this love and passion to the youth of our future. He loves to work with kids and teach them what it takes to play the great game of basketball. This great game can take anyone to different levels and he has a strong desire to help our youth reach their potential levels. Basketball is more than just scoring. Basketball is a team game and such a great way to build friendship’s and longtime relationships.
Joseph currently coach at Riverdale High School along with middle school kids. They were undefeated in 2014 with a record of 12 – 0. He believes that we should role model for our youth the best way we know how and teach kids more and more. Basketball is the sport of choice for him, but believes all sports are a great channel for children to learn and achieve goals.
Senior Associate, Insurance & Banking Practice at BDO USA, LLP
A native Southern Californian, Myesha played basketball and ran track from middle school to college. Through sports and academics, she was accepted to play at University Dubuque Iowa. Later transferring to St. John’s University, where she obtained her B.S/M.S in Accounting and M.B.A in International Business. Myesha’s career has lead her from IT implementation to assurance and advisory services.
Through her work experience, she has found ways to be of service in and out of the office. She is is the local leader of BDO’s Pride Alliance inclusion group. She is responsible for member engagement through LGBT networking, volunteering, and recruiting. She also is a team leader for New York Cares, usually volunteering at the Action Center Pantry Service. In addition, she is a board member to The Generations Project, committed to fostering dialogue and community-building across diverse LGBTQ populations of all ages at our live events.
As a board member for We W.I.L.L. Thru Sports, Myesha ensures organizational financial compliance and assists in increasing transparency and accountability. In addition, she Team Leads volunteers during tournament weekends.