The Nueva Esperanza Team



Nelson Roman

Nelson Rafael Roman –
Interim Executive Director  

Nelson Rafael Roman was born and raised in Waterbury, CT. He is the proud Puerto Rican son of Yvonne Roman. Nelson has two brothers, one older; David Roman Jr, who is in his final year of being a Catholic Priest. As well as one younger brother; Ivan Roman who is finishing his Master’s Degree in Communications. Nelson also has family members in Puerto Rico in the town of Guanica. He lives with his partner Manuel Hernandez on Commercial Street, in the Churchill section of Holyoke.

Nelson moved to Holyoke in 2011 and immediately became immersed in the culture and fabric that makes Holyoke unique. Overcoming obstacles such as homelessness, and poverty, Councilman Roman immediately began giving back and organizing in the Puerto Rican and LGBT Communities. He has worked for or with many Holyoke Non-for-profits such as Enlace de Familias, New England Farm Workers Council, LightHouse Personalized Education for Teens, Valley Opportunity Council & Nueva Esperanza to name a few.

Nelson is currently the Founder / Board Member of Pa’lante Theater Company & Founding Member / Past President of the Imperial Court of Western Mass Inc. Nelson has also previously served on the boards of Holyoke PRIDE, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center of Springfield, the AIDS Foundation of Western Mass, and Springfield MASS PRIDE. He has received numerous awards including the Audre Lordes Founder Award (the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition of Boston, 2013), and an International Court Commendation (Queen Mother Nicole the Great, 2014).

In November of 2015, Nelson was elected as the City Council representative for Ward 2. He is the Chairman of the Joint Committee of the City Council & School Committee and serves on the Council’s Development & Government Relations Committee. Nelson has helped to create three Neighborhood Associations, Co-Founded & Chaired the Inaugural “Taste of South Holyoke Festival,” and helped the city to create, plan and execute the first ever “Holyoke World AIDS Day Event.”

He is known for his continued presence in the ward, (Especially South Holyoke), and as someone who is always available to his constituents, colleagues and others. Nelson Roman has proved time and time again that he is a proven leader, proving real results for the businesses/churches/residents of Ward 2 and Holyoke as a whole. Now he will perform the same for Nueva Esperanza

Jose Colon – Staff
Maintenance & Grounds

Jose, a community organizer, has been working for Nueva Esperanza, Inc. for over 30 years and has been the lead Director of the El Arco Iris youth program.

Today Jose is in charge of transforming Nueva Esperanaza and preparing it for programming and restoration.






Meet the Board of Directors and Staff of Nueva Esperanza, Inc. Any person interested in becoming a member of the Board of Directors to advance the mission and vision of Nueva Esperanza, Inc., please send a letter of interest to the Board President and Chairman at   The Board of Directors meets the third Monday of every month, 402 Main Street, Holyoke, MA 01040.



Maria Salgado-Cartegena
Board President & Chair, Board of Directors

Bio coming soon…






Irene Feliciano
Board Secretary, Board of Directors

Bio coming soon…








Rosa Pantoja
Board Treasurer, Board of Directors 

Bio coming soon…







Juan Sanchez
Board of Directors

Juan Sanchez is a lifelong resident and community activist in Holyoke. He has an Associates Degree in Education from Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and hopes to pursue his Bachelor’s Degree.

Juan’s passion is with grassroots community organizing. He has worked on numerous campaigns and initiatives throughout the city and the region to help advance progress on issues impacting marginalized communities which include issues of homelessness, economic and workforce development, LGBTQ equal rights and opportunity, and social equity. He states that his passion comes from his own personal experiences and gives credit to those he recognizes as community mentors during his upbringing. Juan currently is the LGBT Outreach Coordinator for WestMass Eldercare.


Samuel Mateo
Board of Directors

Sammy has been a resident of Holyoke, MA for over 20 years. He is the media director and community liaison for the Apostolic Christian Church of Bethsaida located in South Holyoke. With Sammy’s help, the church has launched several community outreach and service program activities including the Back 2 School Fair and Feeding the Needy. At the Back 2 School Fair over a thousand families of low to medium income are provided with backpacks full of school supplies in the hopes of alleviating the financial burden of sending children back to school. Feeding the Needy is a program that offers the less fortunate a free meal and clothing in the greater Holyoke area. Their outdoor events are held 4 times a year. Since its inception in 2010 they have served hundreds of families in South Holyoke and the rest of the community.

Professionally, he is the Marketing & Web Manager of JC Danczak, Inc. He joined the business in 2001 and has built 4 thriving online eCommerce websites that cater to the product packaging needs of thousands of businesses across the US, Canada & Puerto Rico. Mr. Mateo has an associate’s degree in IT services, however has specialized in working in the Graphic and Web Design industry for over 20 years in his own business Pro D’ZYNES and if you could not tell he is a professional drummer as well.


Dan Battat
Board of Directors

Dan is a glassblower and arts educator. Beginning a career through internship in a public access glassblowing studio in Boston, MA, Dan pursued art and design for a Bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College. He landed in Holyoke in 2013 to co-found Brick CoWorkshop, an art and design based workspace in the downtown area, where he maintains a personal glass-working studio.

Dan also works as art teacher at The CARE Center, where he leads young mothers through art making and art history lessons. He particularly enjoys leading the students in an eight-week glassblowing class once per year.

Dan brings creative talents to the table, as well as a keen determination to uphold the history and longevity of Nueva Esperanza, Inc. as a force that serves and advocates for the community.


Jason Ferenc
Board of Directors

Bio coming soon…








Carlos Peña
Board of Directors

Bio coming soon …









Mildred Lefebvre
Board of Directors

Bio coming soon …