Board of Directors
Arthur R Hunt
Principle, RWS Advisors. RWS provides strategic planning, operations, finance, marketing, change management, process improvement, software implementation, data conversion and project management assistance to small and medium non-profits.
Active contributor to a variety of political and social justice causes including the Hamden, CT Democratic Town Committee (Sixth District Chair), Presbyterian Peace Fellowship in Stony Point, New York (Deputy Director), First Presbyterian Church in New Haven, CT (Ruling Elder), and EmergeCT, a reentry program in New Haven, CT (Tutor).
Anne Calabresi is a long-time New Haven civic leader. She is one of the founders of LEAP and The New Haven Arts & Ideas Festival. In 2013, she began meeting with local civic organizations to find space where people lacking permanent homes or sufficient food could find safety, welcome, warmth, a free healthy cooked breakfast of their choice and shelter from the weather in the morning as an alternative to being isolated outside.
In March 2015, with encouragement and support from John Bradley, then Liberty Community Services Executive Director and initial funding from the Carolyn Foundation, Sunrise Cafe – an independent 501c3 since 2019 – opened as a program of Liberty Community Services.
Robert Dargan, MBA
40 years of significant achievement in corporate, entrepreneurial and non-profit environments including: Retired from General Re Life Corporation (Subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway) as Director of Treaties, Assistant Secretary. Previously one of three founders of Connecticut American Inc which was affiliated with then named Blue Cross Blue Shield. Bob is a Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI) and a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). He is a board member of the Willoughby Wallace Library (Stony Creek). Previous non-profit activities include Past President, Branford Jaycees; Past Chairman, Branford Board of Ethics and a Past Member, Branford Board of Education.
Sally Fleming, MSW
Ms. Fleming is a former nurse and retired social worker. She spent 25 years working with the Department of Children and Youth Services and 8 years in clinical work with Yale Child Study Center.
She is currently President of the Board of Loaves and Fishes, the New Haven non-profit food pantry and clothing closet. She serves on the Vestry of St Paul and St James Episcopal Church and is a longtime volunteer with Sunrise Cafe.
Claren is a newcomer to the New Haven community, having recently moved here from Canada. A grant writer and trustee of the Carolyn Foundation, she is experienced in the administration of nonprofits. As an anthropologist, interpreter, and artist, Ms. Copp-LaRocque centers community input in her work. Currently caring for her grandmother outside of the city, she looks forward to the opportunity to volunteer in person once this pandemic eases.
Keisha S. Gatison, JD
Keisha Gatison is the Director of the Project M.O.R.E. Reentry Welcome Center where she is responsible for securing new partnerships, coordinating community partners and fundraising to provide more opportunities for clients, program improvements, and creating a platform for data sharing. She is also an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Gateway Community College.
She graduated From Duquesne University Law School (Juris Doctor, 2003) and
Hampton University (Bachelor of Arts In Psychology,1999)
Keisha has experience with grant writing, labor relations, contract negotiations, criminal justice and research. In her personal life, she writes short stories, does scrapbooking and enjoys outdoor activates with her son.
Kelli is a native of New Haven and attended the city’s public schools. She completed her undergraduate studies at CCSU with a dual major in Psychology and Criminology and her Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School where she concentrated primarily on the intersectionality between law and religion focusing extensively on the association between trauma, faith, and healing.
During her time at Yale, she successfully completed Yale Divinity School’s Black Church Studies certificate program, while serving as President of the Yale Black Graduate Network and serving on the Graduate and Professional School Senate Community Engagement Committee where she tutored inner city youth in low performing schools. During the summer, Kelli completed a 12-week supervised ministry in London, England, working on strategic organization programming to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals (also known as Global Goals), a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
Kelli has most recently worked as an Episcopal Church in Connecticut’s Racial Justice Resource coordinator during the season of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation where she helped to address the history of white supremacy; facilitated virtual conversations on racism; identified models of reconciliation around the issue of racism; and encouraged more civic involvement with local organizations surrounding the issue of racism.
Outside of work, she enjoys volunteering, outdoor activities, DIY home projects, and most of all traveling the world.
Elise works for Kamp & Nielsen Realtors selling residential real estate in the New Haven area. She is a long time Sunrise volunteer and also volunteers with Columbus House and Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen and has tutored inner city children with the Bridges of Hope. Originally from Ridgefield, CT, Elise moved to New Haven in 1982 after graduating from Fordham University with a degree in Communications. She has worked in advertising sales for WELI Radio and the New Haven Register. Elise currently lives in the East Rock neighborhood of New Haven. She has two grown children, Abigail who works for the US Department of Foreign Aid in Washington DC and Rees who works at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, CA.
Merlyn V. LaPaix, MSN, MBA, Consultant
Retired from Yale as Director of Nursing. Over 35 years of executive and management leadership experience. Ms. LaPaix has been recognized for her extensive and effective work in patient safety and nursing leadership. She was responsible for financial program management of five inpatient units and the psychiatric observation unit, with revenues totaling approximately $260 million. Ms. LaPaix spearheaded a shift in culture away from the usage of restraints (75% reduction) and toward other less restrictive interventions. She has played an integral part in creation of a fully staffed, 24/7 Psychiatric Observation Unit that effectively reduced emergency department wait times and dramatically improved patients’ connection to ambulatory care. She currently is a Nurse Consultant for Joint Commission Resources a resource for nursing quality and safety including staff education programs survey readiness tools and peer networking.
Y’Isiah is the Community Services Coordinator for the Town of Hamden. He is responsible for planning, organizing and administering a comprehensive community social services program, which includes referrals for emergency assistance, employment, food, recreation and shelter. He coordinates programs and activities with Town and state agencies, and partnering organizations which assist with assessing the needs of the community. Y’Isiah is also responsibility for near-term and long-range planning to address changing social and human services. In this effort, he works closely with Town, state, federal and private organizations in determining program parameters, funding opportunities, and joint efforts to meet individual and community needs. Y’Isiah previously worked for over a decade with the City of Orlando in a community that faced disadvantages
Sara Ohly, Ph.D.
Awarded Ph.D. in Anthropology by Yale University in 1994 and an M.A. in International Relations with a Special Focus on Refugees and Immigrants, Ethnicity, and Bilingualism from Yale In 1986.
Performed fieldwork research among Turkish migrant families in the Netherlands between 1990 and 2006 studying visiting and hospitality as practices that express ethnic and religious identity, shape gender relations and patterns of education and marriage, and structure the formation of groups by religious sect, orthodoxy, politics, region, and ethnicity.
Prior to retirement, she worked as a Research Affiliate at Macmillan Center, Yale University working on a book on Visiting Turkish Migrants in the Netherlands and taught at Connecticut College and Wesleyan University as a Visiting Adjunct Professor in Anthropology.
Ms. Ohly is fluent in Turkish and studied French, Italian; Spanish, Greek, and Dutch. She is a Volunteer English as a Second Language Teacher with the Integrated Refugee and Immigration Service in New Haven, and serves on the boards of the Urban Resources Initiative at the Yale Forestry School, the New Haven Land Trust; the Center for Independent Scholars and the Neighborhood Music School. She has been a volunteer with Sunrise Cafe since 2016.
Bob graduated from the University of Rochester in 1971 with a BA in psychology. He returned to school to study computer programming and had a rewarding career in Information Technology, retiring in 2014.
Bob has been a volunteer at Sunrise Cafe since moving to New Haven in 2016. When not in the kitchen, Bob loves to photograph Sunrise events and share the photos with Sunrise guests. In addition to photography, Bob loves gardening and is an avid bridge player. Bob also volunteered for many years as a basketball coach, tutor in the public schools, and helping out at the local food pantry.
Ms. Stewart is a self-educated professional. She attended Gateway Community College. She manages a hair salon in New Haven where she is also a sought-after makeup artist. Active in the LGBTQ community.
She is a fine artist and has curated art shows for local New Haven artists at Barracuda, Rimage Salon and Spa and Counterweight Brewery. She is currently creating a mural on State Street in New Haven. Volunteer at Sunrise since 2016.
Dr. Joanna Vincent, MD
Dr. Vincent received her BS from Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing, her MA from New York University and her MD from the Medical University of South Carolina. She was board certified in Internal Medicine, Rheumatology and Geriatrics, and practiced over the years in Waterbury, CT, on Cape Cod, and in the greater New Haven area.
More recently Dr. Vincent was a volunteer (licensed) physician at the Hospital of St. Vincent, Merton Center Clinic, Bridgeport, CT and AmeriCares Free Clinic, Danbury, CT
In retirement she is a volunteer (license inactive) at Cornell Scott – Hill Health Center in their Homeless Outreach Program and a longtime volunteer with Sunrise Cafe.
Terry M. Holcombe, Yale BA l964 and MA l971, PhD (Hon) Muskingum University 2016
with his wife Marya
Mr. Holcombe retired from Yale University in 1997. He served as the University’s first Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs responsible for all development activities, including the Alumni Fund, the Association of Yale Alumni, Alumni Records and other alumni relations activities. He received the Yale Metal – the highest award presented by the Association of Yale Alumni – in 1995.
After graduating from Yale, Mr. Holcombe worked for ACCION International, a nonprofit micro-loan corporation providing grants and technical assistance to development projects in Latin America. Mr. Holcombe then served as vice president of Whittier College; executive director of The Campaign for Yale; and vice president for university development and alumni relations at Columbia University.
Mr. Holcombe’s consulting activities have included Ford Foundation, Dartmouth College, Brown University, Joint Commission on Hospital Services, Institution Getulio Vargas (Brazil), American University in Cairo, Agency for International Development, Peace Corps, Save the Children Foundation and Special Olympics International.
Mr. Holcombe is a Fellow at Timothy Dwight College and serves on the Board of the Yale Alumni Fund, the Association of Yale Alumni and the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children in Westminster, VT. He is a longtime volunteer at Sunrise Cafe.
Kathy Priest is a trust and estate attorney with the firm of Davis O’Sullivan & Priest and is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association Elder Law and Estates and Probate Sections. She is a 1970 graduate of Vassar College, and received her law degree in 1979 from State University of New York at Buffalo. Ms Priest has lived in New Haven for 40 years and is a long time volunteer with Sunrise Cafe.