Leadership

Bobby Ferazi, Founder / Executive Director

Bobby earned a Master’s of Science in Urban Affairs/Non-profit Management from Hunter College and has over twenty years’ experience working with NYC’s most vulnerable youth. He started his career working in a homeless shelter for teens and young adults. He then taught for several years at a high school located on Rikers Island. Although extremely rewarding, Bobby felt that he could do more to help young people once they were released from jail and soon made the decision to return to the non-profit sector.

In 2004, Bobby was hired by the NYC Police Athletic League (PAL) to create programming for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. One program, Youth Link, worked with over 1,500 teens helping them to not only successfully complete the terms of their probation but more important, graduate high school and avoid any future involvement with the courts. Eventually, Bobby oversaw Teen Programming citywide for PAL that included a wide variety of programming such as College Prep, Summer Youth Employment, Theatre Arts and Teen Recreational Centers.

Ultimately, Bobby decided that he wanted to create a new non-profit that would provide much needed resources to youth in one specific neighborhood. With his family roots in Brooklyn, Bobby chose the neighborhood of Coney Island where his Italian immigrant grandfather grew up. In addition, Bobby’s father and many other family members had attended Lincoln High School in Coney Island so the neighborhood had a special connection to him as well. He began attending monthly community board meetings in addition to meeting many of the neighborhood’s residents. The consistent feedback was always, “There needs to be more opportunities for the young people of Coney Island.”

With that, Thompson Drive was born. Bobby decided to name the agency after the very street that he grew up on because of what that street represented to all the kids growing up there: fun, security, and a connectivity to all the families on the block. One of Bobby’s biggest observations in working with NYC youth over the last 20 years has been that so many teens seemed to be exposed to and even worse, pulled into, negative behavior from their very own stoop. Thompson Drive sets out to create that “old school” sense of camaraderie from generations before that many kids seem to be missing out on today.

Karen Trank, Board Member

A Brooklyn native, Karen has a diverse professional history, which includes nonprofit management and fundraising, entrepreneurial restaurant ownership, public service, screenwriting and journalistic pursuits, as well as various volunteer positions in the fields of youth development, food insecurity, environmental protection and disaster relief. She holds a Master’s of Science from SUNY Stony Brook.

Both Brooklyn and Coney Island are near and dear to Karen’s heart, as is the mission of Thompson Drive. As a kid, Karen spent summers with her family and friends swimming at Coney Island beach, eventually becoming one of the first female lifeguards on Coney Island’s busiest bay at Stillwell Avenue in 1982. She later spent several years volunteering with Big Brothers/Big Sisters as a “Big Sister” to a young girl from the Surfside Houses.

Karen grew up on a block in Brooklyn surrounded by positive peer and adult role models who helped shape her path towards a productive adulthood. Motivated by the experiential knowledge that kids surrounded by good neighbors and role models have a better chance of succeeding, Karen is proud to be a Founding Board Member of Thompson Drive.

Charles Reichenthal, Board Member

Charles, a life-long Brooklynite, is the former District Manager of Community Board 13, Brooklyn, an area covering Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Sea Gate and Gravesend. He served in this role for 22 years, leaving a legacy as one of the most respected civic leaders in Coney Island.

Charles has also produced numerous special events, not only in CB 13, but all throughout NYC. He is one of the founders of Atlantic Antic and other borough festivals and has produced “Brooklyn Night” at Lincoln Center. Having a passion for theatre, he is the co-founder of the Brooklyn Arts and Culture Association (BACA), and has written several stage productions including “Hit Tunes from Flop Shows”. Charles was a former editor at Bay News and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from CUNY Brooklyn College.

Our Inaugural Giving Drive

Please join our kick-off campaign and become an inaugural “neighbor” to Thompson Drive youth in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Donate Now

Thompson Drive is fiscally sponsored by FJC, a 501c3 public charity. As such, all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Want to learn more about Thompson Drive and our vision?
Contact Us

(718) 751-5643
Program Site:
2828 Neptune Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11224
Office Mailing Address:
PO Box 245805
Brooklyn, NY 11224