Deb Kelleher
Deb KelleherExecutive Director of Annie C.
Deb is the founder of Annie C. Annie was Deb’s grandmother and hero. One of Deb’s projects is managing a regional community coalition of foster care agencies which she has done for over 9 years. Prior to that, she was a case manager for families involved with the Department of Children and Families preparing to reunite with their children. She has also worked as an advocate for foster, adoptive and kinship families and taught pre-licensing classes to prospective foster and adoptive parents for 10 years and is, herself, an adoptive mother of 3 boys adopted through the CT foster care system. Deb’s passion is helping older youth find and maintain permanent connections. Currently, Deb serves on the board for Sun Scholars, a 501(c)3 serving former foster youth attending post-secondary schools in CT; QUEST, the Queer Unity Empowerment Support Team, a grassroots group in Waterbury serving the queer community; and Naugatuck Valley Project, a community organizing non-profit serving the Naugatuck Valley. She is also a voting member of the Statewide Advisory Council for DCF and co-chairs the Regional Advisory Council for northwestern CT. In the past, Deb has served as a board member for other CT community organizations and commissions and enjoys giving back to her local community.

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Charneil Bush
Charneil BushPresident of the Board
Charneil entered state care at age 10 and remained a ward of the state of Connecticut until his aunt became his legal guardian at age 16. Charneil went on to Central Connecticut State University where he graduated with a major in criminology and a minor in psychology. He’s an active volunteer with several youth organizations as well as a mentor for True Colors, Inc. Aside from his legal and corporate background, Charneil has begun to pursue his passion of social justice and human services, even beginning a peer support group for young adults dealing with intersectionality issues. Charneil also hosts a popular podcast called “What About Your Friends.”
Roger Ames
Roger AmesTreasurer of the Board
Roger is the Vice President, Branch Manager for People’s United Bank. He has nearly forty years experience in financial services, providing business clients with banking and borrowing solutions to better operate and grow their businesses, as well as finding the right banking, borrowing, and insurance solutions for consumers.
Roger is an active board member for Mattatuck Museum. He is passionate in his interest in drum and bugle corps. Roger loves to teach and offers financial literacy classes to youth through Peoples Bank. His passion for social justice drives him to work for a better world for young people.
Philip Cowit
Philip CowitBoard Secretary
As a single foster parent for over seven years, the adoptive parent of his own son, an individual who over the years has taken several homeless families into my own home, and a teacher working with students with many different special needs for over 17 years, Philip is very understanding of needs of the children placed into the system, the foster parents, as well as other professionals involved in the care of these children. He remains very deeply committed to searching for every opportunity to help children who have experienced foster care to succeed in their journey through life.

In his words: “I believe that as a foster parent, that I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to care for the children who were placed in my care, and that as foster parents we inspire their dreams, provide them with a sense of security, safety, and self-confidence; we encourage within them a love for life, and help them to find within themselves and others the strength necessary to reach their aspirations.

Being a foster parent isn’t easy, and it’s often accompanied by many unexpected challenges. As a result of entering the system, there are often many social, emotional, academic, physical, and behavioral differences that children have developed to adapt to their lives both before and after entering the system. When children have been placed into the system, it’s essential that a strong network of supports be put in place both for the children and their families, and that all professionals work cooperatively together in order to assure that placement is successful. This can be a difficult undertaking, but one that offers much joy if done correctly, and which remains much less costly than losing a child into the criminal justice system along with the opportunities lost to help a child better their lives.”

Doris Maldonado
Doris MaldonadoBoard Member
Doris has bachelor’s degrees in Spanish Language, Literature & Linguistics; International Relations; and Political Science as well as a Master’s in Foreign Language Education. Her Action Research “Academic Achievement in Foreign Language Education through Multisensory Intervention” presented universal design and achievement for All students. Doris was born with congenital disabilities. As a foster and adopted mother to twin boys with special needs, the three thrive with over 15 physical, mental and invisible disabilities.

Doris is a Certified Community Health Worker and Statewide Bilingual Health Information Specialist for PATH CT as well as the National Family Voices Cultural Responsiveness Team representing CT. A graduate from Partners in Policymaking 2016, the UCEDD LEND program in 2017, UMKC Project ECHO 2018, she became the North Central Leader after completing the Charting the Lifecourse Linguisitics Ambassador training. She has been a statewide NAMI SMARTS advocacy trainer, Ending the Silence Facilitator, NAMI BASICS Bilingual Trainer, CAFAF bilingual trainer and KTP Legislative Leader.

Doris has dedicated over 25 years to amplifying the voices as a community advocate for the marginalized and was recognized as one of the 2020 top 50 Latino Leaders in CT as a Community Leader, 2020 Hispanic Women’s Leadership Award and has been interviewed by Identidad Latina, NBC Univision, El Show de Analeh and CT Latino News regarding the health disparities among the marginalized Latino, disabled and youth in foster care. She has served as: Keep the Promise Coalition Co-Chair, Unitarian Society of Hartford Accessibility & Inclusion Ministry Co-Chair, Children in Placement Guardian ad Litem & Board, Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance, Mental Health CT Policy Committee, Ct Children’s Family Advisory Council & Behavioral Team, CT Developmental Disabilities Council Lifecourse Linguistics Ambassador & Board, Dept. of Education State Advisory Council Legislative Committee, Yale PRCH Latino Colectivo, CT Family First Prevention Community Team & QRTP, CT 2020 Census Complete Count Committee, CT Emergency Support Function (ESF) #15 (Public Information and External Affairs) Diverse Communities & Disabilities Task Force, National Family Voices Cultural Responsiveness Team-Telehealth, and Police Accountability Taskforce: Disabilities and Youth Subcommittees. Doris and her sons founded the CT Luggage Of Love initiative procuring over 1k gently used donated luggage & toiletries for youth in foster care as well as the housing insecure.

In her spare time, Doris enjoys community and faith-based initiatives involving youth and family supports as well as witnessing the progress and impact of Alpha Sigma Omega, Latina sorority, Inc. She founded in 1997 and is now nationally empowered by its multicultural membership leading many grassroots initiatives today!

B. Selina Daniels
B. Selina Daniels Board Member
After 20+ years working in corporate, Selina decided to follow her true passion to work with children that are at risk, improving their lives and strengthening their families. Over the last 10 years, her mission has been to advocate, engage the community, create collaborations, partnerships, developing new initiatives and programs that will educate, strengthen families and focus on the needs of our youth. She has coordinated support groups, organized community service projects and hosted community events that educate and support families. Selina is a long-term licensed therapeutic foster mom, currently for Boys and Girls Village.
Michelle Smith
Michelle SmithBoard Member
Michelle is the Branch Manager for Ion Bank in Naugatuck. Michelle has been an active donor for Annie C for over four years. Every summer Michelle collects backpacks for kids in care. Every holiday season Michelle collects items for our teens. Michelle has a big heart and wants every child to feel loved and secure.
Rachael Levine Carpaneto
Rachael Levine CarpanetoBoard Member
Rachael is a former foster youth with a passion for finding a way to give back. Adopted at 17, she spent the majority of her teenage years in the system.
After graduating from Danbury high school she attended college at Western Connecticut State University and went on to obtain her J.D. from Roger Williams School of Law. Rachael spent the last five years of her career as an Assistant Attorney General for the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General as one of several attorneys representing the Department of Children and Families.

Making her son and daughter her priority, she left state employment and has begun her own practice focused on child protection matters and various other areas of law. Rachael and her husband Jeff have two beautiful children. Her son Hunter is two and her daughter Hudson is four months old. They are her world and she shares the struggle of fitting everything else in with them in her blog Carpaneto Chaos.

Rachael hopes to bring her love for networking and socializing to the Annie C. Courtney board as the point person for fundraising.

Trayvonn Diaz
Trayvonn DiazBoard Member
Trayvonn joined Annie C in 2021. He wants to give back in ways he wished he could have received support during his 9 years in the CT foster care system. His experience during that time shaped his passion for serving and uplifting communities through connection.
Trayvonn studied Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Connecticut, graduating in 2015. His passion for politics led him to the world of public service where he now works in a U.S. Senate Office and serves as a Commissioner for the City Planning Commission of Waterbury. Trayvonn was also a part of UConn’s premiere First Star Academy program for mentoring and supporting a group of 25 youth in the foster care system achieving Mentor of the Year for impact on the lives of the students. Today, he hopes to reach foster youth feeling uncertainty in their journey for identity and one day elevate from a former foster youth to a Foster parent. What you might not guess at first glance: Trayvonn is a local property manager, is an uncle to 8, and can solve a Rubik’s cube in 90 seconds.
Patricia Courtney McGovern
Patricia Courtney McGovernBoard Member Emeritus
Pat is Annie’s oldest daughter and an identical twin. Pat represents the family’s interests on the Board of Directors. Deb Kelleher is Pat’s oldest daughter. Pat has worked a variety of jobs during her life, finding her calling to teach piano after her children were grown. She currently teaches piano to students in Fairfield County where she has done so for over 20 years. She is most proud of being a mom to five children. Her passions include crocheting, crossword puzzles and, most importantly she is a well-known New York Mets fan. Pat and her twin sister, Mim have attended every baseball opening day in New York for the Mets with the exception of 1965 when she was expecting her youngest son. They are regularly interviewed by the media on Opening Day.

Photo Pat and her twin sister. Annie C’s oldest girls.

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