Nicholas Metropulos

Executive Director

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Ryan Balmer

Boca Raton Program Director

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Dylan Nottingham

Co-Director of Fish Donations

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Jimmy Staten

Co-Director of Fish Donations

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Lucas Metropulos founded Fishing for Families in Need when he was 15 years old. Lucas also founded a nonprofit in the Bahamas called Lend a Hand Bahamas that works to bring more opportunities and activities to underserved communities of the Bahamas. He is currently a fundraising professional, and graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy Studies. He also holds a Certificate in Blockchain Strategy from Oxford University. He has been the recipient of multiple national accolades including being named One of Ten Outstanding Young Americans, an Environmental Educators 30 Under 30 recipient, SeaWorld's Environmental Educator of Year, a Nantucket Project Scholar, and he received the USA Weekend Magazine National Make a Difference Day Award. Lucas is the author of Civic Engagement: How to Start, Grow, and Sustain Your Efforts.

Founder and Chairman of the Board

Lucas Metropulos


Juan M. Pellerano-Rendon IV is a first-generation Hispanic-American. He embraces his roots by maintaining his native Spanish speaking abilities as well as a proficiency in Italian. Juan received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami, graduating with majors in Advertising and Sports Administration, with a minor in Marketing. Juan currently works in Advertising at Publicis North America. At Publicis, Juan launched a new indication for HUMIRA, the top grossing drug worldwide. Outside of the office, Juan is on the Young Professional committee member at Ad Club of New York where he helps connect young professionals and cultivate environments to exchange ideas. He also loves to travel, having visited 47 countries on 5 continents.

Vice President

Juan Pellerano


Matt has served in a variety of capacities from volunteer to CFO since Fishing for Families in Need’s inception. Matt’s passion for helping others resonated with the ability to help grow this outstanding organization as a board member. He hopes to contribute his accounting background, Bachelor’s in Accounting from Florida State and a Master’s in Accounting from University of Virginia with current Big 4 experience at Ernst & Young in New York to further develop the organization.


Matthew McKay


Tyler Papera is currently a student at Chapman University in Orange, California. He began volunteering with Fishing For Families in Need as a high school student. During that time, he volunteered as the Co-Director of the program. Through volunteering, he grew a passion for the organization’s purpose and a connection to the students.


Tyler Papera


Valentine is a trained lawyer in Canada who worked in finance and lived in London for 6 years. Now a published author, TV Host, speaker, accomplished chef and advocate of sustainable eating, she quit her well-paid job in Europe to become an entrepreneur and spread the word about eating responsibly.

The professional freediver and spearfisherwoman gives conferences all over the world on ocean conservation and sustainable food sourcing, while getting involved in policy changing on commercial fisheries.

Board Member

Valentine Thomas

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Natalie Miaoulis received her Master of Science in International Food and Resource Economics from The University of Florida. Natalie has experience in fisheries economic valuations in the region specifically in the USVI where she conducted her master’s thesis on the viability of a commercial lionfish fishery.  Natalie holds dual citizenship in the United States and The Bahamas. Natalie has served as conservation practitioner for The Bahamas program since October 2016. Her main duties as practitioner are to manage The Bahamas sustainable fisheries portfolio of projects. During her time as practitioner The Bahamas has received the international Marine Stewardship Councils certification for sustainability for Spiny Lobster, making The Bahamas the only MSC certified sustainable fishery in the region. Other spheres of work include piloting data application collection systems for fishermen, Implementing the TNC FishPath process for Queen Conch, advising on policy management for The Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, and implementing projects to combat IUU fishing. Natalie was also a recipient of The Nature Conservancy’s Caribbean Impact Award in April 2019. Being a certified rescue scuba diver and a recreational fisher Natalie is passionate about the work that she leads within The Bahamas program. “Sustainable Fisheries are the epitome of The Conservancy’s Caribbean mission”, “A place where both people and Nature Thrive”; and why she says its an honor to lead fisheries projects. Seeing TNC’s work directly impacting communities and making positive change within the country drives her to continue to improve fisheries sustainability.  When Natalie is not leading fisheries work for The Nature Conservancy you can find her on a boat or at a toastmasters meeting.

Board Member

Natalie Miaoulis

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Matthew Pursel is currently the Dean of Students at Saint Andrew's School in Boca Raton, FL. He has been an educator for the past 13 years as a coach, teacher, advisor, and administrator. During that time he has helped students develop their interests, and has been the lead advisor for clubs dedicated to giving back to their communities. He has helped lead service work in south Florida, in his home state of Ohio, and in multiple countries abroad. His passion for fishing and helping others helped draw him to the organization, along with the belief in the purpose of the charity. He attended Union College where he earned his B.S. in Education and Social Studies. He is also currently on the Alumni Board of Trustees. He has earned a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Lynn University. 

Board Member

Matthew Pursel


Adam oversees strategy at Lev Investments, a boutique real estate investment, development, and design firm in Los Angeles, CA. He is also a board member for the Duke SoCal Alumni Association. Outside of work, Adam is a helicopter pilot and high altitude backpacker. Adam graduated from Duke University and is currently pursuing his MBA at USC’s Marshall School of Business.

Board Member

Adam Gabay


Frank is an energetic, motivated, and community-oriented individual who has spent the past few years living in New York City. He currently works for a large management consulting firm, specializing in the healthcare industry and serving clients that range from large national payors to local hospitals. Growing up near Cape Cod and having spent time at many of the beautiful beaches along the eastern coast, Frank developed a passion for preserving natural marine ecosystems. In addition to environmental sustainability, Frank is involved in peer mentoring and pro-bono work with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. Frank attended Duke University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a B.S.

Board Member

Frank Cai


We are always looking for volunteer Program Directors for our different locations. Program Directors are tasked with planning and implementing the variety of weekly classes, recruiting and managing volunteers, and working with the organization to bring in new supporters. The time commitment is small, and the Directors get to work first-hand with MEI support staff. 


In addition, we are always looking for talented and passionate individuals who care about the environment and responsible angling to join our staff for specific efforts. If you are interested in joining the Marine Education Initiative team whether as a Program Director or Staff please send your resume to info@marineinitiative.org.


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P.O. Box 810102

Boca Raton, FL 33481



© 2020 by Marine Education Initiative.

Formerly known as Fishing for Families in Need.