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meet our team

Hello! My name is Melissa Elliott (she/her), I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-R, CPC, SIFI)

and I am the Founder and CEO of AGAPE Family Therapy &'s a little bit about me:

Melissa Elliott is the founder and CEO of AGAPE Family Therapy & Coaching, which provides psychotherapy to clients experiencing perinatal and postnatal anxiety and mood disorders, couple counseling, family counseling, & clinical supervision. She is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching Practice I & II and Field instruction I & II, Field lab experience, and Diversity, Racism, Oppression and Privilege. Provides clinical supervision to LMSW, LMHC, LMFT, LCAT, LCSW in the state of New York. Known co-facilitator of (DEIB) workshops/groups for Board of Directors across the country. Sought after facilitator of Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) affinity groups for organizations. Known for developing and facilitating retreats for Assembly Members and community based organizations in New York City. Provides trauma-informed coaching and consulting through a DEIB lens to BIPOC professionals and organizations. She provides life, leadership board and executive coaching internationally and nationally cultivating liberatory practices for those who experience inequities by examining internalized racial oppression and anti-blackness; developing voice and choice in the workplace. Her approach to coaching and consulting is rooted in five (5) core values, to create a space that is authentic, non-judgmental, confidential and transformative to all those served. If you want to learn skills to manage your inner critic and develop your inner author, actualize your highest potential in life, achieve academic success and/or maximize your gifts and talents in your professional career, or build deeper meaningful relationships, she is that coach.


Melissa holds a master’s degree in social work from New York University, a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in African and Latino history from CUNY-Bernard M. Baruch College. Melissa holds a certificate from Leadership that Works/Coaching for Transformation as a certified professional coach. She is a licensed clinical social worker (084193-1) with R privilege in the state of New York, she holds an executive education certificate from Fordham University and a Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI) certified from Hunter College (CUNY).

We have an amazing team of professionals that are here to get you to all the resources you are looking for. Each of them have specialized experience and training that allow for a diverse range of approaches.

José Rodriguez (he/él), LMSW, MPA, SIFI


José Rodriguez, pronouns he/him/his, has dedicated his life's work to helping individuals who look like him. As a queer Afro-Dominican, José understands the importance of addressing mental health concerns while respecting and celebrating unique cultures and experiences. Using his own lived experience, he has created bonds and helped foster safe communities within various intersectional spaces in adult health management, child welfare, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and workforce development. Much of José's work focuses on a person-centric approach utilizing an individual's strength to inform the partnership and process. José has obtained his Master of Social Work degree from New York University and is in debt from it. During his spare time, he enjoys bike riding, binge-watching literally anything, and Facetiming with his 4-year-old twin godsons.


Laura DeVore (she/her/hers), LMSW, SIFI


Laura has dedicated herself to improving the quality of life for others. As a black woman who has suffered her own intergenerational traumas, Laura recognizes the importance of combatting and healing from mental health conditions while embracing your own journey. Throughout Laura's lifetime and career, she has created safe spaces for individuals who face diverse complexities and needs; with ages from young children to geriatric individuals, individuals living with mental health diagnoses, infectious diseases, addictions, and so on. She has created safe spaces in person and using tele-health and attends various workshops, empowerment movements, and developmental courses to create change not only on the client level, but at a community level as well. Laura's work focuses on a person-centered approach while incorporating therapeutic modalities such as motivational interviewing, CBT and DBT, strengths based model, and play therapy. Laura earned her Master of Social Work degree from CUNY Hunter Silberman School of Social Work. Laura balances her career by enjoying time with her loved ones, cooking, and traveling. 


Nariya Worrell, LCSW, SIFI


Nariya a first-generation Black American woman of Afro-Caribbean descent. Nariya is a social worker, psychotherapist, and consultant based in Brooklyn. After graduating from Hunter College School of Social Work, Nariya became a Social Worker/Case Planner providing counseling and case management to youth and families. In addition to their private psychotherapy practice, Nariya is a professional development consultant. In both areas, Nariya supports people and organizations through life transitions including but not limited to career, relationships, loss, and grief. Nariya also provides clinical supervision to Master in Social Work (MSW) and Mental Health Counseling students. Nariya's professional background includes working as a Human Resources professional and a Volunteer Coordinator. Nariya values the power of connection through community and strives to build that into all aspects of their work.


Francis Colon (she/her), LMSW


Francis completed her Master of Social Work at Fordham University with a concentration in clinical social work for individuals and families.  Her therapeutic approach is trauma focused and holistic to help clients with quicker healing and lasting recovery. She considers the importance of the surrounding systems, adversity, and stigma clients may face and how this impacts therapy. Francis has over 15 years of experience working with clients in the community, incarcerated, homeless with severe mental health and substance use diagnoses, at risk adults and families, geriatric, developmental disabilities, and nonprofit community mental health. Francis has completed a training course for Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and uses several therapeutic modalities including but not limited to Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Reality Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Family Systems Theory. A holistic, strength based, person centered approach guides her practice. Francis specializes in the following areas: Childhood Abuse and PTSD, Substance Abuse, Pregnancy and Postpartum Maternal Mental Health, Grief, Mental Health, Depression, Generational Trauma, and Complex Trauma.


Erika Calderon, LCSW, SIFI


Erika Calderon, LCSW is the Program Director at Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden, where she provides trauma counseling to domestic violence survivors with disabilities while supervising a team of social workers and case managers. A bilingual Spanish Speaking Social Worker with 13 years of experience working with adults, children, and families as an agent of support and guidance. She can provide a safe place to have real talk and open discussions of all factors that impact who we are and what we do; as a person of color with cultural awareness and sensitivity. “Everyone’s journey looks different and how you become empowered, is within you; let’s discover it together”

Angela Mayack (she/her), MSW


Angela is a clinician with experience providing individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults living with anxiety and complex trauma. Her approach in treatment is the meet the client where they are by supporting clients through difficulty emotions and challenging interpersonal relationships through the use of various therapeutic modalities. Angela received her MSW from New York University in May 2023. 

Nadira Ramcharan (she/her), MBA

HR and Operations Consultant

Nadira Ramcharan, MBA is a consultant, trainer, coach, and executive with over a decade of professional experience. Nadira focuses on building partnerships with stakeholders and setting strategies for program, operations, projects and talent management. She supports leaders in creating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) Operations and HR policies and practices to enhance organizational operations and performance. She strongly believes that employees at all levels, regardless of roles and titles, should have access to professional development, opportunities, and career paths to support their professional growth. 


She holds an M.B.A. and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management. She has a B.A. from the City University of New York-Bernard M. Baruch College. She is a John C. Maxwell Certified Coach, Speaker, and Trainer. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) in Leadership. Nadira serves as the Board Treasurer at The Christmas Experience, Inc. and at Just As I Am YOUth Empowerment, and she is an Advisory Board Member for the Design Thinking Program at Pace University and at Black Nurse Rock Association - San Antonio Chapter.


G. Michael McDowell (he, him)

Intake Coordinator, MSW Intern (NYU)

Michael is an MSW intern clinician with 13 years of active and 9 years of Naval reserve service.  After release from active service in January 2002, he continued pursuits in aviation as a pilot at a regional airline, then private air transport before settling in for the past 8 years at a major airline. There, he flies to faraway places with many trusting people aboard. His pursuit of continued service to people and the community led him to pursue a Master’s of Social Work while continuing his dream of flight.  He is passionate about serving, connecting, and supporting each and every human soul that entrusts him on those flights over thousands of miles.  He is passionate about serving his community and all people in it. His approach in treatment is to meet the client where they are-at the controls of your life-and connect them to a deeper somatic awareness of the body and their experience.  The approach is to develop trust where there is giving and receiving without judgment which derives sustenance and strength from this relating. Through this processing, he guides each client through the everyday experience of their emotions and unique challenges that we all encounter in life.  Michael is in the extended enrollment program and will receive his MSW from New York University in May 2024.


Madelane Sadia (she/her), MSW

Intake Coordinator

Madelane Sadia (Ma-da-len Sa-dee-ya) is a Stony Brook University part time Social Work student looking to obtain her master’s degree. She has a bachelor’s degree in Health Science with a concentration in Healthcare Management. She is also a full time employee at a Skilled Nursing Facility working at the Admissions department, assisting the transition of patients from the hospital or the community so that they may obtain physical rehabilitation and other nursing services at the facility. She is a Filipino-American raised in Queens, NY; she is also bilingual and fluent in English and Tagalog. She enjots traveling, dancing, cooking, and going on outdoor adventures like hiking, snowboarding, and swimming. Her goal in joining AGAPE is to be able to help others navigate and facilitate problems and issues that one may encounter, and find ways to develop effective communication and coping skills to improve one’s mental and psychological health.


Jude Nagan (he/him)

Member Care Coordinator, MSW Intern (NYU)

Jude Nagan (he/him/his) is a second-year Master’s student at NYU Silver School of Social Work. Informed by his own experience as a trans man, Jude is driven by his passion for social justice and embodies this in his practice. He approaches social work through an anti-colonialist and client-centered approach, and strives to make all feel safe, welcomed, and heard. Jude is a lover of all animals big and small and spends his free time either dog-watching or reading sci-fi.


Zamansky Twum (she/her)

Outreach & Partnerships Coordinator, MSW Intern (SBU)

Zamansky Twum was born and raised in the South Bronx. In 2021, she graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelors in Women Gender Studies and Sociology. Post graduation, she has been working with a non profit organization to provide home based crisis intervention services to children and families living in the Bronx. Zamansky will be beginning graduate school this fall at Stony Brook to get her MSW. Zamansky hopes to continue to work with families and children in underserved communities get access to the resources they need.

Kamarra Straker (she/her)

Billing Specialist

Kamarra serves AGAPE Family Therapy and Coaching as the Billing Specialist. In this role, Kamarra coordinates all aspects of billing and supports the team with efficient billing operations. 

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