Our Community

WE are a vibrant group of people who love to celebrate  life with all its 'ups and downs'. We support one another during difficult times and we celebrate and enjoy life.


Friends of L'Arche Long Island has a dedicated Board who are working hard to make a different kind of L'Arche community for intellectually challenged adults a reality on Long Island.  


Michel Berty  was born in France, holds a PhD in Physics and MBA, and started his business career in Consulting and IT Services, in a new French Group, Capgemini, who became quickly one of the world ‘s leaders. He moved to the USA in 1981 to create the American subsidiary and after a few years  in Paris,came back to New York and became an American citizen .He took an early retirement in 1998 and since then helps some N G O like FLLI and SOH (Surgeons Of Hope).  He lives in Wainscott with his wife Marie Eve and their daughter Aurore.

Virginia Isaacs Cover holds both Masters of Social Work and Masters of Business Administration degrees.  She has worked with children and adults with developmental disabilities and chronic medical conditions throughout her career in non-profit health care agencies and universities.  Now retired, Ms. Cover continues to conduct a private practice assisting young adults and their families in developing and managing self-determination supports to permit them to live in work in the communities rather than in segregated settings.  Ms. Cover is also the parent of a young adult who has autism and Klinefelter syndrome.  With the support of a self-determination plan, her son lives successfully in an apartment in the community, working part-time and studying at a vocational college for an associate’s degree.

Denise Galloway is the Executive Director and founder of Letitia Agada Services, where she serves people with Traumatic Brain Injuries. She earned her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and her Masters of Social Work (MSW) at Adelphi University and a Masters in Public Administration at Baurch College. Denise has an extensive career working with and serving people with disabilities. Her vocation in service to others is also being extended to the community as she pursues her studies for Holy Orders as a Deacon in the Episcopal Church.

Joseph Gartner MD is a board certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist.  His post graduate training for adult psychiatry was at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and for child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of California-Los Angeles.  He currently practices child, adolescent and adult psychiatry at the Maryhaven Center of Hope seeing individuals with developmental disabilities who are in residential treatment.  He also continues to do psychiatric evaluations for children, adolescents and adults via positions with Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Education (BOCES) and the Cody Center at the State University of New York.

Marcia Gaudet graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in Education. She taught in elementary schools in California before moving to the East Coast.  She raised 4 children on Long Island, the youngest of which has Down Syndrome.  Because of him, she became active in Early Intervention Programs as well as becoming an Advocate on the Committee for Special Education for the many special needs students being educated in our local public schools.  She was employed for 15 years at St. Joseph's College, Patchogue, NY in Student Services helping college students develop leadership potential and in Campus Ministry creating and coordinating spiritual and service programs for students and faculty.  She and her husband, Jack, are founding Community Leaders of a Faith & Light community on Long Island and have been serving as leaders for 4 years.

Jean Lanier has been in business in the financial industry of insurance and banking since 1970.  He was until 2004 CEO and founder of Euler Hermes a publicly listed company, the world leader in trade credit insurance. Since 2005 he has been an independent director serving on the board of banks and insurance/reinsurance companies. Jean and his wife Judith have been involved with l'Arche since 1992.  Jean has been director then chairman of the board of the French Foundation “les amis de l'Arche”.  Since 2009 he has been a director on the board of the International Foundation of l'Arche chairing it since 2012. He is also a board member of l'Association Jean Vanier.

Sunanda Mehta is currently Nursing Quality Analyst for Stony Brook University Medical Center. She previously served as the administrator for the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities multidisciplinary clinic. She is also one of the founding members of MUSKAAN, a vocational training center for adults with mental disabilities in New Delhi, India. Finding few services in India for children with developmental disabilities such as her son, Ashvin, Ms. Mehta and other parents started the Center in 1989. Ms. Mehta served as Executive Director from 1989 to 1999. The Center started with 2 clients in a garage, and under Ms. Mehta’s tenure, grew and developed into a professionally run organization supported by parent volunteers, private donations, and government grants. Ms. Mehta’s son now lives in a group home for adults on Long Island.

Thomas Preston PhD is the director of the Neuropsychology Service at Stony Brook University Hospital and is on the Neurology faculty there.  Dr. Preston earned his PhD at Vanderbilt University, and completed graduate and postdoctoral fellowships at Yale University and the University of Rochester.   He has 25 years' experience working with developmentally disabled individuals and their. families, and has had a special interest in the rights of the disabled and in the complex emotional, social, vocational, and housing issues they face.  Dr. Preston is married and has two adult children.  His wife, Kim, is a teacher of the deaf.  In his spare time, he likes to ride a bike, paddle a kayak, and bang on a guitar.

Paul Rogers is and architect and has been a partner in Chaleff and Rogers Architects for thirty years. He lives in Water Mill, NY, is married and has three children. He has been the president of East End Special Players for the past 10 years. This is a theater group for adults with developmental disabilities. Paul is an elder in the Southampton Presbyterian Church.

Valerie Slonecki is a native Long Islander with degrees in Biology and Hydrogeology. In recent years her interests have been focused on walking the path of a Lightworker and Special Needs Advocacy. In 2012 she completed the Early Intervention Partners Training Program sponsored by the NYSDOH. Currently she leads FLLI Community Group meetings and is the liaison between FLLI