About Us

Our Program   Founders    Board of Directors 

5 Steps to Five At 5 Steps to Five, we advise and empower Port Chester parents by coaching them how to give their children the best possible start to life. In parent-child group sessions, our trained instructors model ways to interact with infants — starting at birth — to build cognitive, verbal, emotional, physical and social skills using five basic but crucial steps: Nurture, Talk, Play, Read, Explore. 


When:  Every Saturday morning, 9:30- 11:00 am, except holidays.


Where: Port Chester Head Start classrooms, 17 Spring Street, Port Chester


Staff:  Teachers and family workers from Monday-Friday Head Start program; minimum of two staff per room with parents and infants together.  Program Manager, also from Head Start during the week, supervises the activities and payroll. Founders and new Director oversee total program.

Participants:  Port Chester residents who qualify for Head Start from before birth to infants between 0 and 36 months.


Sections:  pre-birth and 0 to 12 months – “Foundation”;     13-36 months – “Exploration”


Curriculum:  90-minute sessions including discussion of baby’s brain and the five steps, parents’ role in development, review of previous week at home, reading, singing, dancing, special creative projects that parents can replicate at home, snacks and cleanup.


Books:  New, age-appropriate books (mostly bilingual) are bought by the program for free distribution to participating families once a month.  The average cost is less than 50% of retail.


Outreach:  Flyers are distributed at Carver Center, WIC offices in Port Chester, and by all participating parents to friends and neighbors.  Open Door has just started distributing flyers, as well.


Analysis:  Over time, the program has developed questionnaires for use with parents after they have completed 10 or more sessions.  Both quantitative and open-ended qualitative responses are collected.  Recently, we also started asking parents to tell us how frequently they now read with their infants compared to before the program.  Finally, we will have access to the very detailed student analyses Head Start does regularly to see how “graduates” of 5 Steps to Five are doing relative to the norms.

Budget:  Through the generous support of many family foundations, individuals and local churches, we were able to raise funding in advance to cover the first three years, which was a requirement for partnership with WestCOP.  The budget is 100% privately funded.  Almost all funds go to program due to very low administrative overhead.

Our Mission

Our Mission is to empower parents of infants and toddlers by coaching them how to prepare their children for success in Kindergarten and their lives beyond. 

Our Program

5 Steps to Five is a parenting program, coaching parents and their infants in groups with trained facilitators, who model ways of interacting with the babies to build cognitive, verbal, emotional and social skills. 

Our Goal

To prepare these children for school, using the five steps– Nurture, Talk, Play, Read, Explore. Parents learn the importance of being the child’s first and most important teachers – beginning at birth.

Our Founders

Kent Warner


Kent Warner returned to Rye from New Hampshire in 2013.  Feeling the need to give back to the under-served community in next-door Port Chester, he and his wife Mary Alice started 5 Steps to Five, which he says has been one of the most rewarding involvements in his life. He received a BSME from Princeton Engineering School before starting an engineering/consulting/construction company.  Kent has long been involved with nonprofit organizations, including being board chair of Westchester Planned Parenthood and Board of Spaulding Youth Center for autistic children in New Hampshire. He was president of the nonprofit company that built the 99-unit Ferris Avenue affordable housing building in White Plains.   

Allen Clark

Founder/Board Representative  

Mary Alice Warner


Allen Clark joined Kent and Mary Alice Warner as Cofounder in late 2013 to start 5 Steps to Five.  80-year year resident of Westchester County, he has lived in Rye since 1984. A cum laude graduate of Amherst College, he worked in advertising for 40 years, including being Partner of Della Femina & Partners for 16 years. He is Publisher Emeritus of The Rye Record newspaper. In the mid-1960s he helped the Mamaroneck Community Action Program build the first community-owned CAP building in the country and served on the Mamaroneck Village Human Rights Commission. For the past three years, he has organized and run a literature discussion program at the Rye library with guest lecturer from Yale, Dr. Mark Schenker.  Allen and his wife, Whitney, live near their daughter, Margot Clark-Junkins and her family.

Mary Alice Warner, with four teenagers, took a course in Parent Effectiveness Training, beginning her special interest in parenting.  A graduate of Smith College and later with a degree in counseling, she worked as a parent, family and youth counselor, in the White Plains Youth Bureau for 9 years, before moving to New Hampshire.  There she volunteered for 16 years in the state prison, leading parent support groups and coaching inmates in parenting their children. She also co-led Parent Journey groups in the local Family Resource Center working with at risk parents to build self-esteem, confidence and enjoyment as parents.  She is happy to have been involved in the planning and setting up of 5 Steps to Five

Our Board of Directors 

Board of Directors and Executive Director Biographies

Allen Clark - Founder, Board Representative 

Kent Warner - Founder, Director Emirates 

Mary Alice Warner  - Founder, Director Emeritus  

In addition to our Founders bios above..

Kristin Jautz (President)

Kristin Jautz grew up in Germany and worked as an international producer for CNN before moving to Rye with her husband and two children in 2002. Since then, Kristin has volunteered in a number of roles. She served on the board of the Rye Youth Council for seven years, two as board president and two as VP of Communications. She is an Elder at Rye Presbyterian Church, ran its annual stewardship campaign twice, served twice as a member of the nominating committee, and is a member of the RPC Women’s Association. She is also a co-founder of Zero Waste Day, a county-wide recycling effort benefitting local nonprofits. Kristin graduated from Fordham University with a BA in communications. 

Ann Magalhaes [Vice President],

Ann has been leading positive parenting courses, workshops and private sessions for over nine years as part of The Parent Practice, both in the UK, and more recently in Westchester and Fairfield Counties.  Her programs provide parents with practical skills to bring out the best in their children while making their family life more harmonious. Ann also sits on the committees for Heard in Rye and Rye’s Healing Arts Collective.  In her earlier career, she was part of the Aerospace group at Mitsubishi Corporation in Toronto. Following her MBA she worked with a boutique organizational change consultancy in London.  She has been volunteering her time with 5 Steps to Five since 2016, providing our parents with positive parenting skills during the Saturday sessions.


Betsy White [Treasurer] is a graduate of Vassar College and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University.  She worked for 27 years at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Since retiring from the Federal Reserve in 2003, she has taught Economics at Manhattanville College. She was the Finance Chair for the American Association of People with Disabilities (2007-2010). Currently, she is Treasurer of the Jay Heritage Center and on the board of the Apawamis Foundation.

Carolee Brakewood (Secretary) 

Carolee Brakewood is a 20-year resident of Port Chester and the mother of two children in the Port Chester Schools.  A certified music teacher with degrees from Northwestern University and Indiana University-Bloomington, Carolee works for the Port Chester Council for the Arts teaching music to Kindergartners, and maintains a private instrumental studio in her home.  Carolee also directs the Rye Town Community Band, and is currently in her 8th year as a Trustee on the Port Chester Board of Education.  She assisted the Warners in forging connections with the school district in the earliest stages of 5 Steps to Five.

Emily Borell

Emily graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Florida State University and later obtained her Master’s Degree in Reading Education from Florida Atlantic University. After graduating from college she taught third grade in the public school system for six years after which she accepted a position as a visiting professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Florida Atlantic University. Emily held this position for three years before moving to New York City with her husband. Once in the city she taught at Little Learning, a private pre-school promoting early childhood literacy, until the birth of her first child and subsequent move to Rye. Since moving to Rye, Emily has served as both the Co-Chair and the Chair of the Early Childhood Center preschool Parent/Teacher Association and holds a position as well on the ECC Council.

Rachel Fleming, OTR/L

Rachel is a therapist at the Saturday sessions. She is a pediatric occupational therapist who has dedicated her career to working with children from birth through adolescence, helping them succeed in their daily occupations. Rachel is the owner of The Therapy Nest, which is an occupational therapy sensory gym and clinic located in Rye Ridge Plaza in Rye Brook, NY.

Robin Jovanovich

Robin is Publisher/Editor of The Rye Record newspaper, which she helped build over the past two decades. A graduate of Skidmore College (BA), she worked at Time, Inc. and other consumer publications.  For the last three years she has served as president of the Alfred Harcourt Foundation, which provides need-based scholarships and mentoring to 75 college students in and around New York City. She has been a longtime board member and active supporter of The Rye Free Reading Room.  She was head of the deacons at Rye Presbyterian Church, helping expand their community outreach.

Carolyn Russell Mauritz    

Carolyn is a graduate of Wellesley College and has a JD degree from Wake Forest University School of Law. She is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association.  She worked for several years for ABC Network News as an Assistant Producer and for NBC News as a Bureau Manager.   She then changed course and went into computer programming where she worked as a programmer/product developer and senior product manager for Nelson Information in Rye, NY, then for Thomson Reuters/Lipper and then as a senior website manager for Broadridge Financial Solutions.   She is currently employed by Walter Nelson as Chief Administrative Officer for Nelson Enterprises.


Dr. Molly Ness, PhD

Associate professor in childhood education at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education, Molly graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the Johns Hopkins University. After teaching in California with Teach For America, Molly earned a PhD in Reading Education and a Masters in English Education from the University of Virginia. In 2006, she served as director of the University of Virginia’s McGuffey Reading Clinic. Molly is a prolific researcher and writer. Her current research focuses on reading comprehension, teachers’ instructional decisions and beliefs, and the assessment and diagnosis of struggling readers. I hold over fifteen years of teaching and clinical reading experience. In her current job as a teacher educator and university professor, she teaches language, literacy, and research classes to masters and doctoral level students.

Ilaria St. Florian, CDN 

Ilaria St. Florian has a master’s degree in Nutrition Education from Columbia University and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.  She works at Stamford Hospital as the Manager of KIDS’ FANS (Fitness and Nutrition Services) which is a non-profit pediatric wellness and obesity prevention program which encourages healthy eating and physical activity for children ages 3 to 18. Although the program is created for all school-age children, special emphasis is placed on those coming from at-risk and food insecure households. Ilaria also works as an outpatient Nutritionist at White Plains Hospital Community Health Center where she provides nutrition counseling to adult and pediatric patients.


Lisa Field [Executive Director]

LIsa Field of 5 Steps to Five starting spring 2016.  Lisa served on the Board of the Rye Historical Society, the Auxiliary Board of the Rye Free Reading Room and has volunteered in a variety of ways throughout Rye, including with The Rye City School district and at all Rye preschools.  Before moving to Rye, Lisa was Manager of Marketing at a nonprofit, America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth, in Washington, D.C., and Manager of the Expulsion Program for the Shaker Heights Youth Center in Ohio.  Lisa received her BA in Communications from the University of Georgia.

PO Box 923

Rye, NY 10580

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© 2023 by THE HOPE CENTER. 

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