While on vacation in Rwanda in 2007, April met an orphaned girl who in an instant changed the entire course of April’s life. This little girl (the one in the picture!) only wanted to be held. Her need for love and attention was so deep that April spent the rest of the week thinking about what she could do to provide for this little girl and for others like her, and by the time she returned to America, the seed had been planted for April to start a mentoring program for the kids.. To build Hope Shines, April started with her friends and family by asking for advice about the life lessons they had learned from their families. Then she talked to other nonprofits asking how they got started. She built a curriculum and then started recruiting, fundraising and collecting item donations. Within one year, she returned to Rwanda and with 6 other volunteers launched the first camp in 2008!
Since then, Hope Shines has continued to grow and mature under her leadership, creativity, enthusiasm and can-do attitude. Her motivation is to never let down the kids that Hope Shines works with. She says, “We tell them, ‘See you next summer!’ and if we say we are coming back – we do it. It’s that simple. I never want to let a child down by breaking this promise.”
April learned how to manage and build a nonprofit from nearly a decade of corporate experience in retail buying. She holds a BS from Virginia Tech and an MA in the History of Decorative Arts and Design from Parsons, The New School and Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum in New York City. She runs Hope Shines on a volunteer basis and without salary.
Clementine is a Glasgow native starting her second summer as the coordinator for our afterschool program. She works with the orphanages to assess their needs and those of the children so we can best tailor our programs to maximize their benefits.
Megan is the founding member of Eiss-Proctor Law, a New York law firm that focuses on family and adoption law. Prior to law school Megan became deeply acquainted with the needs of children in underserved populations when she participated in Teach for America and taught 5th grade at CIS 166 in the South Bronx. Megan has a B.A. from The George Washington University and a J.D. from New York Law School.
Megan travelled to Rwanda with Hope Shines in July of 2010 and was thrilled to get another opportunity to work hands on with children. Her experience in Kigali led her to be more involved with Hope Shines by seeking out and applying for grants and funding that will directly benefit the children of Hope Shines. Megan works with Hope Shines on a volunteer basis and without salary.
Dr. Chu is a family medicine physician who has fellowship training in sports medicine. She currently serves as Team Physician for the University of Colorado Athletics and is an appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine with the School of Medicine. She currently teaches CU medical students, residents and fellows and will also be teaching Family Medicine Residents in Rwanda to begin Summer 2010.
Stephanie joined the Hope Shines team in 2009 as a volunteer and quickly realized the medical needs of the Rwandan orphans she was privileged to have the opportunity to meet and mentor. Her experience in Kigali that summer led her to broaden her involvement and become the Medical and Hygiene Consultant for Hope Shines. She will be conducting routine physical exams on the children of the camps this summer and for summers to come in order to implement Preventative Medicine and Family Medicine for these Rwandan children. Stephanie works with Hope Shines on a volunteer basis and without salary.
Chelsea is a Virginia native and a graduate of Shenandoah University where she studied Dance Education. She lives in New York City where she serves as one of Hope Shines busiest volunteers, and lends major credibility to the dance components of the Hope Shines camps.
William Bahati Hill O’Connor
William is our on-the-ground coordinator and chaperone. He knows Rwanda better than anyone else because he grew up there! William has been driving the Hope Shines team around Kigali since our inception, and now that he owns his own travel agency, we depend on him more than ever!
After graduating from Tulane University with a Masters in accounting and a BSM in finance, Harper went to work for Malesardi, Quackenbush, Swift & Co, LLC in Englewood, NJ, a tax and accounting firm that specializes in working with local not-for-profit organizations. While working there, Harper realized how much he enjoyed the work he did to help these organizations fulfill their goals and missions. He became involved with Hope Shines after attending one of their fundraisers in the city and being moved by the dedication displayed by its members. Deciding he wanted to do more to help, Harper accepted an offer to join the Board of Directors. He currently serves as the organizations Treasurer, where he uses his experience working with not-for-profit organizations to help Hope Shines grow and become an even greater force for good in the lives of the children it helps.
Katy Kiick, Secretary of the Board firstname.lastname@example.org
Katy Kiick works as an editor in the magazine publishing industry. She received her BFA in Art History from Syracuse University and earned her MA in the History of Decorative Arts and Design from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum where she met April Riegler. Katy quickly became impressed with April’s dedication to Hope Shines, and as Katy began to volunteer and learn about the organization and it’s wonderful mission, she became inspired to help in whatever ways she could.
KimManocherian is a graduate of New YorkUniversity. She is currently a partner at both Pan Am Equities, a prominent real estate company inNew York City, and New York Health & Racquet Club, an industry leader in health clubs since 1973, where she oversees the daily operations of the club’s 11 locations. Kim’s involvement with Hope Shines began in the early stages when she met April Reigler and was moved by the cause as well as April’s dedication. Kim began volunteering with Hope Shines in the areas of development and event planning in 2009 and proudly joined the Board in 2011. Kimis also Vice President of National Road Safety, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting safe driving habits through public awareness and she has served on the Board of The Hewitt School inManhattan. As a mother of three, her philanthropic interests mirror her interests for her own children – safety, health, education and happiness.
Katherine graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Earth Science, followed by receiving her Masters degree from Teacher’s College at Columbia. Katherine is currently the director at the NYC Center for Space Science Education, and she helps design the projects and lessons we teach in our camps. Between her professional experience and her time spent volunteering with Hope Shines in Rwanda, Katherine is a truly great asset to our board.
Joanna is an educational consultant and writer who holds a Master of Sciences degree in education with a focus on early adolescence. With more than 10 years of experience in the field of education, both teaching and developing programs, Joanna is an incredible asset to the Hope Shines curriculum team! When she’s not teaching, writing, or volunteering on the Hope Shines board, Joanna can be found knitting, running, reading, or—her absolute favorite—traveling.