Our Team

Get to Know Us

Rae Eubanks

Administrative Assistant

they, them, theirs

Alex Chinea

MSW Intern

she, her, hers

Rebekah Sykes

MSW Intern

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Our Team

Get to Know Us

Tayna Peña

MSW Intern

she, her, hers

Katie Seaward

MSW Intern

she, her, hers

Katie is a current MSW student at the University at Albany. Prior to beginning her internship at Rainbow Access Initiative, she has worked with adults who are struggling with substance use disorders. In March of 2019, she completed a research project abroad in Scotland to explore how public policy and treatment programs can better address problem drinking among LGBTQ+ identified clients. She is committed to advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and providing affirming, compassionate care to her clients. Outside of her clinical work, she enjoys creative writing, listening to podcasts, running, and playing video games.​

Tayna is a current MSW Advanced standing student at the University at Albany, specializing in the clinical concentration. A great deal of her experience has been working with the at risk youth population. Tayna being born and raised in the Bronx, where there’s a high rate of crime, delinquency and mental health problems, has given her the experience to understand the importance of healing trauma. She recently returned from serving as a Peace Corps Youth Development Coordinator in Costa Rica, where she was able to help create sustainable youth projects that promoted healthy behaviors, and volunteerism. She loves to dance, and stay active by playing sports, hiking and practicing yin yoga.

Rhett Eubanks, LMSW

Clinical Administrator

he/him/his

Rhett is a graduate of The University of Albany's MSW program. He has experience working with the LGBTQ community here in Albany, New York. His focus includes queer studies, work within transgender/non-binary populations, and sex therapy. He has a background in Special Education from the University of West Georgia. Rhett is originally from Charleston, South Carolina and his hobbies include frisbee, hunting, fishing, and the great outdoors.

Contact Rainbow Access Initiative

10 Colvin Ave #106, Albany, NY 12206, USA

518-801-2521

Meet The Board

Experts in Comepetent Care

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President

She, Her, Hers

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Angela Lewin

Vice President

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Courtney D'Allaird MBA

Treasurer

They, Them, Theirs

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Yi Zhou MSW

Secretary

She Her Hers

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Acey Mercer LMSW

He. Him, His


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Dr. Jennifer Castellani

She, Her, Hers


Meet The Board

Experts in Competent Care

Arlene Istar Lev LCSW-R

Board President

Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev LCSW-R, CASAC, CST is a social worker, family therapist, educator, and activist who has been serving the LGBTQ community for over 30 years. She is the Founder and Board President for Rainbow Access Initiative, Inc., and also serves as the Clinical Supervisor for our interns. She is committed to providing accessible, affordable, culturally sensitive therapy for LGBTQ individuals, families and communities.

Ari is an international lecturer on issues related to sex and gender, and has taught in many colleges and universities, including the University at Albany, School of Social Welfare where she is the Project Director of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Project (SOGI). She has served as a committee member of World Professional Association for Transgender 7th revision the Standards of Care which has revolutionized the medical and mental health treatment of transgender people worldwide. She is also a Credentialed Alcoholism Counselor and a Certified Sex Therapist (ASSECT).

Ari has been writing about LGBTQ health for many years, and has authored three books: The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide, Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and their Families, winner of the APA (Division 44) Distinguished Book Award, 2006, and the brand new Families in Transition: Parent Perspectives on Raising Gender Diverse Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults (with Andrew Gottlieb, Ed).

Yi Zhou, LMSW

Board Secretary

Yi is a psychotherapist at Choices Counseling & Consulting. She specializes in queer and trans-affirming sexuality, gender, and relationship therapy. Yi's graduate studies were in Women's,Gender and Sexuality Studies and Social Work at SUNY-Albany.  She happily served on the RAI board for the past three years. Yi loves karaoke, Buddhism meditation, coffee/tea with friends, and all sorts of adventures.

Ace Mercer, LMSW

Board Member

Paula Pressley

Board Member

Paula E. Pressley joined the Rainbow Access Initiative Board of Directors in July 2019.  She has 30+ years experience in non-profit management and fund development, including the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Director of Individual and Planned Giving), in Winston-Salem, N.C.; SAGE, Inc. (Director of Development), in NYC; the Partnership for the Homeless (Director of Development) in NYC; and NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (aka Legal Momentum, Director of Corporate Gifts), in NYC, among other organizations. In 2018 she was development consultant for Motus Theater’s UndocuAmerica Project in Boulder, Co.  She has extensive experience in social and economic justice, LGBTQ+ rights, social services and higher education settings.  She served on the Boards of the Astraea National Lesbian Action Foundation, GLAAD (NYC) and Unity ’94 (Gay Games IV) in the early ‘90s.  Paula holds an MFA in Painting and Drawing from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and a BFA in Drawing and Printmaking from the University of Iowa.  

Kevin Barhydt

Board Member

Kevin Barhydt joined the Rainbow Access Initiative Board of Directors in July 2019.  He has 20+ years professional experience in both higher education and information technology. Kevin has served on a non-profit board in the roles of president and vice president, in addition to directing fundraising and event committees. He serves on several professional committees related to LGBTQ+ issues, as well as diversity and inclusion. Kevin has an eclectic educational background with a MS in Education, and a BA in Theater. 

Jeremy Boyce, LMHC

Board Member

Jeremy Boyce is a licensed psychotherapist, with a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University at Albany, and a Bachelor’s in Biology and Psychology from SUNY Geneseo. Jeremy has worked in various settings within the mental health, substance use, and healthcare industries, including a counselor at an elementary school, clinician and teacher at a community mental health program for adults with severe mental illness, living skills trainer at a home care practice with individuals with traumatic brain injuries, and various outpatient clinics. For the past several years, Jeremy has worked at CDPHP, a local health insurance company, where he provides suicide prevention and crisis intervention trainings, and oversees the Behavioral Health Access Center, which assists members in locating mental health and substance use providers and resources.  In his clinical work, Jeremy specializes in children, families, and trauma-informed care, and holds a certificate as a Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional through the International Trauma Training Institute. Jeremy joined the Rainbow Access Initiative Board of Directives in the Summer of 2019, and is excited to assist in its ongoing growth. Jeremy enjoys running, traveling, cooking (and eating) food, and playing piano. 

Acey A. Mercer, LMSW is a graduate of the University at Albany School of Social Welfare, where he obtained his Master’s in Social Work. Prior to graduate school Acey studied at Radboud Universiteit in the Netherlands where his academic focus was in Gender and Sexuality Studies. These foci ignited Acey’s passion to further explore and examine human behavior, relationships and the dynamics of class, race, ability, gender and sexuality. These motivating factors drew Acey to pursue social work and ultimately to become a licensed psychotherapist and educator. Acey is currently Practice Manager at Choices Counseling & Consulting in Albany, NY where he oversees clinical referrals and is responsible for the overall daily operations. He is also a Clinician at Choices and counsels clients exploring gender identity and expression. He works primarily with youth and their families as they navigate questions and challenges related to the social, legal and medical aspects of gender transition. Acey’s clinical lens gives a strong compliment to the professional education services he delivers as Senior Consultant of the Training Institute for Gender, Relationships, Identity, and Sexuality (TIGRIS). Acey specializes in providing clinical training and policy development as it relates to best serving transgender and nonbinary populations in medical, mental health and educational institutions. Acey is excited to be on the Board of Directors and to utilize his professional background to contribute to the charitable and educational mission and vision of Rainbow Access Initiative (RAI)!

Meet The Board

Experts in Competent Care

Arlene Istar Lev LCSW-R

Board President

Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev LCSW-R, CASAC, CST is a social worker, family therapist, educator, and activist who has been serving the LGBTQ community for over 30 years. She is the Founder and Board President for Rainbow Access Initiative, Inc., and also serves as the Clinical Supervisor for our interns. She is committed to providing accessible, affordable, culturally sensitive therapy for LGBTQ individuals, families and communities.

Ari is an international lecturer on issues related to sex and gender, and has taught in many colleges and universities, including the University at Albany, School of Social Welfare where she is the Project Director of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Project (SOGI). She has served as a committee member of World Professional Association for Transgender 7th revision the Standards of Care which has revolutionized the medical and mental health treatment of transgender people worldwide. She is also a Credentialed Alcoholism Counselor and a Certified Sex Therapist (ASSECT).

Ari has been writing about LGBTQ health for many years, and has authored three books: The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide, Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and their Families, winner of the APA (Division 44) Distinguished Book Award, 2006, and the brand new Families in Transition: Parent Perspectives on Raising Gender Diverse Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults (with Andrew Gottlieb, Ed).

Jeremy Boyce, LMHC

Board Member

Jeremy Boyce is a licensed psychotherapist, with a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University at Albany, and a Bachelor’s in Biology and Psychology from SUNY Geneseo. Jeremy has worked in various settings within the mental health, substance use, and healthcare industries, including a counselor at an elementary school, clinician and teacher at a community mental health program for adults with severe mental illness, living skills trainer at a home care practice with individuals with traumatic brain injuries, and various outpatient clinics. For the past several years, Jeremy has worked at CDPHP, a local health insurance company, where he provides suicide prevention and crisis intervention trainings, and oversees the Behavioral Health Access Center, which assists members in locating mental health and substance use providers and resources.  In his clinical work, Jeremy specializes in children, families, and trauma-informed care, and holds a certificate as a Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional through the International Trauma Training Institute. Jeremy joined the Rainbow Access Initiative Board of Directives in the Summer of 2019, and is excited to assist in its ongoing growth. Jeremy enjoys running, traveling, cooking (and eating) food, and playing piano. 

Kevin Barhydt

Board Member

Kevin Barhydt joined the Rainbow Access Initiative Board of Directors in July 2019.  He has 20+ years professional experience in both higher education and information technology. Kevin has served on a non-profit board in the roles of president and vice president, in addition to directing fundraising and event committees. He serves on several professional committees related to LGBTQ+ issues, as well as diversity and inclusion. Kevin has an eclectic educational background with a MS in Education, and a BA in Theater. 

Faith Schlesinger, LCSW

Board Member

Ace Mercer, LMSW

Board Member

Acey A. Mercer, LMSW is a graduate of the University at Albany School of Social Welfare, where he obtained his Master’s in Social Work. Prior to graduate school Acey studied at Radboud Universiteit in the Netherlands where his academic focus was in Gender and Sexuality Studies. These foci ignited Acey’s passion to further explore and examine human behavior, relationships and the dynamics of class, race, ability, gender and sexuality. These motivating factors drew Acey to pursue social work and ultimately to become a licensed psychotherapist and educator. Acey is currently Practice Manager at Choices Counseling & Consulting in Albany, NY where he oversees clinical referrals and is responsible for the overall daily operations. He is also a Clinician at Choices and counsels clients exploring gender identity and expression. He works primarily with youth and their families as they navigate questions and challenges related to the social, legal and medical aspects of gender transition. Acey’s clinical lens gives a strong compliment to the professional education services he delivers as Senior Consultant of the Training Institute for Gender, Relationships, Identity, and Sexuality (TIGRIS). Acey specializes in providing clinical training and policy development as it relates to best serving transgender and nonbinary populations in medical, mental health and educational institutions. Acey is excited to be on the Board of Directors and to utilize his professional background to contribute to the charitable and educational mission and vision of Rainbow Access Initiative (RAI)!

Paula Pressley

Board Member

Paula E. Pressley joined the Rainbow Access Initiative Board of Directors in July 2019.  She has 30+ years experience in non-profit management and fund development, including the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Director of Individual and Planned Giving), in Winston-Salem, N.C.; SAGE, Inc. (Director of Development), in NYC; the Partnership for the Homeless (Director of Development) in NYC; and NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (aka Legal Momentum, Director of Corporate Gifts), in NYC, among other organizations. In 2018 she was development consultant for Motus Theater’s UndocuAmerica Project in Boulder, Co.  She has extensive experience in social and economic justice, LGBTQ+ rights, social services and higher education settings.  She served on the Boards of the Astraea National Lesbian Action Foundation, GLAAD (NYC) and Unity ’94 (Gay Games IV) in the early ‘90s.  Paula holds an MFA in Painting and Drawing from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and a BFA in Drawing and Printmaking from the University of Iowa.  

Yi Zhou, LMSW

Board Secretary

Yi is a psychotherapist at Choices Counseling & Consulting. She specializes in queer and trans-affirming sexuality, gender, and relationship therapy. Yi's graduate studies were in Women's,Gender and Sexuality Studies and Social Work at SUNY-Albany.  She happily served on the RAI board for the past three years. Yi loves karaoke, Buddhism meditation, coffee/tea with friends, and all sorts of adventures.

Marina Franchild

Board Member

Faith Schlesinger is a licensed clinical social worker with a Master’s degree from the University at Albany, School of Social Welfare. Faith has worked with healthcare organizations providing a range of services including clinical therapy, healthcare administration, consulting, and policy and program development. She has focused her career on bridging the gap between medical and behavioral health services working with hospitals, clinics and medical systems. Faith worked with the New York State Department of Health on Medicaid Redesign and was a lead architect in the development of health and behavioral health policies for the administration of Children’s Home and Community Based Services. She also served as the Project Director of the State Opioid Response Grant. Currently, Faith is the Program Manager of Medicaid Operations, Implementation at MVP Health Care. She seeks to continue supporting her community as a board member of RAI and is eager to contribute to the expansion of the organization and its commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.    

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