About Us

Home / About Us

Santo Domingo 1749

Jennifer E. Jones, MSW (pictured at left) is the Owner/Director of Growing Minds of New York, Inc. is. Raised in New York City has given her the ability to get along with just about anyone and has spurred empathic responses. She is not only a true advocate for diversity but a culturally well-rounded individual. While attending to the full-time responsibility of parenting, Jones earned a Masters degree from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Work, with a specialization in Children and Families. She believes in possibilities and that if given an opportunity, people can achieve their full potential.

Applying theory to practice, Mrs. Jones has opened Growing Minds of New York Inc. Growing Minds brings to life leadership, education and creative skills, continually in exciting environments. The program focuses on the arts and humanities and will run all year. Her advanced degrees and interest in child development and families is the driving force behind all Growing Minds’ developing programs!

Des Pic

Desiree Pansarella (pictured at left)Yoga journey started, in 2008, when she was pregnant with my daughter. She believes that Yoga has always been a part of her path in life. In 2011 she became certified in family yoga, kid’s yoga, prenatal, postnatal and mommy and me instruction. “I feel the connection much stronger to yoga now that I am a mom of 2. The mind body spirit connection is a powerful thing and I am honored to help others feel what I once felt” (Desiree Pansarella).

Desiree also has a dance background with all ages, as well as fitness and Zumba. She is always trying to keep up with the trends to help her students grow and continue on to a healthy lifestyle.

Jesus Baez

Jesus Baez (pictured at left) is an emerging fashion photographer who has been at the forefront of fashion photography assisting renowned fashion photographers such as; James Weber, and Matthew Jordan Smith.
His professional experience with celebrities has given him a competitive advantage.While finishing his education at FIT Jesus Baez joined the Tearsheet team to further his education and career. Since his inception, October 2010, Baez has dedicated his extensive skill set to the growth of the Artistic Team.
 He attests to a wealth of opportunity at Tearsheet, where he has grown his professional network, deepened his experience with the marketing industry, and utilizes his photography proficiency in a high caliber organization. With these opportunities, Jesus anticipates an imminent ascension to the stature of high profile photographers such as his idol, Steven Klein.


Alessio (pictured at left)is a multi-talented creative artist. A drummer with a strong melodic sense, Alessio is constantly exploring the vast scope of improvised music with complex and insightful artistry. Beyond drums he also is an accomplished producer and audio engineer and is a Berklee College  of Music alumni with a dual major degree in “Music Production & Engineering” and “Professional Music” 2011. Alessio started his career using two sharpees as sticks and a chair as a drum set at age 13 and has continued to maintain the same fresh approach to music ever since. Over the last 10 years he has played as a drummer in Europe and the United States, in orchestras, small trios and rock bands.  In 1996 he received his music diploma at the N.A.M.M.  music school under the guidance of Italian master drummer, Tullio De Piscopo.

At age 18, Alessio started playing gigs and touring with the trio “Le Folli Arie” and played in jazz festivals, clubs, and events throughout Europe and Russia. At the same time he collaborated with a number of bands both playing drums and recording.

The striking similarity between the art of music and visuals brought him into the world of photography/videography and in 2002 he received his diploma in Photography at the University of Milan (Italy). After auditioning in 2006, Alessio received a scholarship for the renowned Berklee College of Music, in Boston MA. This launched him on a 4 year musical journey where he had the opportunity to study with wonderful musicians such as: Ian Froman, Skip Hadden, Jetro Da Silva, Ed Tomassi just to mention a few and to also participate in masterclasses and seminars with Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Ben Street and many more.

As an engineer he was mentored by many “giants” of the industry such as: Susan Rogers, Prince Charles, George Massenburg, and Jonathan Wyner. He has worked on various albums from young jazz talents to emerging alternative bands and pop singers. Alessio now calls Brooklyn, NY home.

Grand-Opening2013 (58)

Jacob Alerte (Pictured on left and Known as” Kyoshi Katana”) Kyoshi Katana was first introduced to Martial Arts in 1987, at the age of 17. In February of 1988 kyoshi Katana joined Shiryo-do “Warriors Domain,” located in Brooklyn, New York. This was one of the many schools of the Kuroshi-do system, “The way of the black warrior. In December of 1997 he received the rank of Shodan first degree black belt under Grand Master Soke Haisan Kaleak: the first step of a long journey in his career. With many sacrifices, hard work, teaching and dedication, Kyoshi Katana received his 5th Dan Master Degree in November of 2007.

Katana has competed in many tournaments throughout the states including Canada and took first place in the heavy weight fighting black belt division. Win, lose or draw he brings nothing but his best effort when competing, Kyoshi believes in “each one teach one”. With dedication hard work and determination, Kyoshi has been an instructor and inspiration for many of his dojo brothers and sisters who he helped to achieve their rank and goals.

New Roc Farmers Market2013 (76)

Acevedo, Victor (Pictured on left) began training with Jack Hoban in 1985 and was fortunate enough to meet his teacher Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi in 1986 at the first US Taikai in San Fansisco. His training was not limited to any one instructor but influenced by many, including Shoto Tanemura sensei, Fumio Manaks sensei, Stephen Hayes, Bud Malmstrom, Pedro Flietas, Joe Svaral and may more. Acevedo teaches Budo Taijutsu Self Defense. The Samurai were highly trained warriors and considered the protectors of feudal Japan. They were masters of the martial arts (Budo), especially the sword (Katana) which they believed held their spirit.

Samurai training began as soon as you were old enough to walk. Children were sent to Samurai schools and taught martial arts, calligraphy, poetry, literature, painting, archery, meditation and philosophy. The word “samurai” in Japanese means “those who serve”. Today, the Samurai are still considered the greatest warriors of all time. Their dedication to martial arts is legendary. Although the Samurai no longer exist, their martial arts has been handed down from master to student for many generations.

“Our Samurai Budo training will develop confidence, patience and discipline in a safe environment while having fun. Your child will begin his/her training just like the Samurai except with padded training swords. Training includes kata/forms, drills, stretching, rolling and then progress to self-defense (striking, kicking and throws)”(Acevedo, Victor). Dedicated to the spirit of Takamatsu Sensei.


006 (1)

Ms. Vasquez became a licensed Zumba instructor in 2010 and teaches Zumba, Zumba Sentao, and Zumba Toning. Her students enjoy the time dancing and each other’s company. As one of her trainers told her three years ago – “Zumba is a way to connect with happy thoughts while having a great workout through dance and happy times.”  Vasquez feels that Zumba has truly changed her life: “ Zumba for me is a great stress releaser and I enjoy dancing for one hour and forget the trials and tribulations of life for that time”.