Ms. Zeinab El-Etr. was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt. She has a Bachelor’s in Science., obtained a second degree in information and Mass Communication, and a master’s in nursing. Zena immigrated to New York in the Mid. 90’s worked in Translation in New York Court System, then found her passion in Mental Health Services and has worked at Baltic Street AEH for 16 years.
Zeinab believes that Baltic Street AEH allowed her to contribute to society while expanding her skills, practicing her professional philosophy, and fulfilling her life purpose.
Taina Laing, MSW, NYCPS, has been employed at Baltic Street AEH, Inc. since 2002 and has been
appointed as the new CEO as of September 2020. Recently, Taina has graduated from Stony Brook University with her MSW and is looking forward in pursuing her PhD in Mental Health.
Taina sits on the New York State Peer Certification Board and the MHA National Certified Peer Specialist. She brings over 19 years of peer supervision, advocacy, and vocational services to those with lived experience.
Taina has a passion for service and advocacy that addresses equality and service disparities in low
socioeconomic communities. She believes in the power of peer specialists and the integration of peers in all areas of recovery and support. “Peer Specialist supports are an integral part of all social determinants of health! We cannot allow for social or health policies to be written without the inclusion of the peer perspective and insight.”
Taina Laing – Chief Executive Officer
When individuals experience stressors or trauma in their lives, they feel lost, misunderstood, and alone. My passion is to help alleviate stressors and to bring healing. I have worked with children, individuals, and families to help them obtain services that help them find their strengths, purpose, and potential to live fulfilling, happy lives.
My career in social services began over 30 years ago. I formerly worked in the education system and care management areas with children and adults living with a mental health diagnosis and developmental disabilities. More recently, I have worked in the healthcare system, specifically in the area of case management. During the last few years, I have been working as an administrator at Baltic AEH and thereby gained experience working in Peer Wellness areas.
I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work to enhance my skills and effectiveness in carrying out my responsibilities. I have taken on several projects for the betterment of the participants in Project Re-entry and other programs within Baltic Street AEH.
Amy Ortiz, COO and Division Director
Michael Nugent has worked for Baltic Street since August of 2010. He began as a full-time employment specialist and is now the Director of BalticWORKS Ticket-to-Work program and The Little Things Peer-Run Convenient Store. Michael takes pride in continuing the legacy of Steve Duke of providing a full range of peer-based employment services to Baltic Street participants. In his spare time, Michael volunteers on the editorial board of City Voices online journal and is interested in social causes from ending mass incarceration to developing ways for humanity to adapt to climate change.
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society” Krishnamurti
Michael Nugent, LMSW, Division Director
Yasmin Perez is a Division Director with Baltic Street AEH. Inc.; her educational background consists of a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science and completion of Certified Peer Specialist requirements. She oversees the Geriatric Advocacy Program, Kingsboro Bridger 1 Program, and the Manhattan West Self-Help Program. Ms. Perez aspires to support Baltic Street AEH with further growth and development of each program with assisting underserved individuals living with a mental health diagnosis while utilizing her 20+ years of experience. She prides herself on supporting the mental health community one phone call at a time.
David Ruiz, NYCPS-P, CMAA, CBCS, Has been the Program Manager of Staten Island Peer Advocacy Center since January 2016; in those 11 months, he has redefined the standards of service delivery, developed new procedures and policy for data collection, and also instituted new and innovated training in the area of the workflow. David has been an activist and advocate since 1995, advocating for the LGBT community as a teenager through various organizations based in or around the LGBT Community center.
David often likes to approach obstacles and or challenges in innovative ways. He has always been a fan of Albert Einstein and Nicola Tesla for always thinking outside the box. He has an associate degree in Pastry Arts and has an avid fascination with the Sciences, especially Marine Biology. As a teenager, he spent most of his days in the West Village doing outreach work to homeless teens on the street. He believes strongly in Harm Reduction as opposed to abstinence.
David’s future goal is to return to school and complete a Ph. D. in the Sciences but is presently has his eyes rising to an administrator in his current work field in the mental health field. He believes that no one is ever broken; they just haven’t found their niche/strengths. To quote A. Einstein, “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life that it is stupid.”
David Ruiz, Division Director of SIPAC
Known to have excellent problem-solving skills and even greater interpersonal skills, Mark Clarke has the drive to innovate as second nature. He has a love for technology that he is more than happy to leverage for the betterment of any assigned projects. Mark started working as a Peer Bridger in 2018 for Baltic, and through hard work and an environment of growth provided by Baltic, he is the Project Manager for the Adult Home Initiative.
Within the Adult Home Initiative, Mark has worked closely with his team to ensure that those involved in the Class Action Settlement of O’Toole vs. Cuomo (NY state) have the opportunity to transition from their current Adult Home living into the community of their choice. Mark’s great pleasure is to work with such a dynamic team to implement policies and processes that will affect the lives of those who are disenfranchised within the Adult Home or Assisted Living system.
Mark has completed course work in International Business Management out of Charles Sturt University in Sydney, Australia in 2008-2010. That experience of the world and sharpening of his business acumen has guided Mark’s work ethics. Mark is honored with the role he plays within Baltic Street and looks forward to growing with the organization as they seek to do the vital work of community-based Peer services.
Quote: “If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.” – Maya Angelou
Mark Clarke, Mark Clarke Adult Home Initiative Project Manager
In my role as Director of Education and Training for Baltic Street AEH, Inc., I’ve instituted and implemented a week-long New Hire training designed to acclimate peer staff to the culture of peer work, our agency, and the tools we use.
Additionally, I direct the Community Resource and Wellness Center, where the team and I strive to help our participants reclaim their power and learn new ways to approach the obstacles and barriers they encounter.
Before re-joining the BSAEH family, I was the Coordinator of Training & Education at the Howie the Harp Peer Advocacy Center. I’ve trained peers at Goodwill Industries Leadership Forum and Creedmor’s Peer Training Academy and presented to providers, including the Greater New York Hospital Association. I have keynoted 4 times at the Meet the Xperts! Conference in the Netherlands and Austria. I have presented at numerous NYAPRS and the New York City Working Peers conferences and at Alternatives, WRAP regional conferences, and USPRA. For four years, I served as a peer mentor to a Public Psychiatry Fellow at Columbia University. I hold certifications in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Health and Wellness Coaching, Expressive Arts Therapy, WRAP, and WHAM! Facilitation.
Working at Baltic Street AEH, Inc. has enabled me to create a life beyond my hopes and dreams for myself. I am blessed, grateful, honored, and humbled to be part of this amazing team of people who work so hard to help people enhance the quality of their lives.
Sara Goodman, Director of Training/ Resource and Wellness Center