Schadrac St. Louis, Executive Director

5674952Schadrac, or Shad was born in the town of Sibert, Haiti, quite close to the 8067981current location of the HEART school.  His father worked tirelessly throughout Shad’s childhood in the United States to earn enough money to move his wife and children to New York because they feared for their lives during the political turmoil during the 1990’s. His father was able to get the whole family into the United States, only to die shortly thereafter in a car accident. This left Shad with a strong resolve to do well in school, go to college, and ultimately return to Haiti to create sustainable change through education. He currently manages our team on the ground in Haiti.

For situations requiring immediate attention, Mr. St. Louis can be reach at 1-845-283-8064.

George Garland, President

Dr. George Garland is currently President of the Board of the Southern New York Division of the United Nations Geoge GarlandAssociation-USA. He is a board member of HEART in Haiti.

Dr. Garland’s career with US-EPA spanned 34 years, culminating in a Distinguished Career Award. From 1988 to 1992, he was Chief Technical Advisor for Toxic Chemicals and Pollutants for the UN-WHO Regional Office for South East Asia and worked in India, Indonesia, Burma, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. He has done consultations with the World Bank and USAID in the Russian Federation to establish a national hazardous waste management system and specifically in Nizhni Tagil to improve the water supply system.

Over the last ten years Dr. Garland has held several positions in NGOs. He has been Director of the World Energy Forum, Executive Director for National Membership at the United Nations Association of the USA, and Executive Director of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area.

His many publications include articles in Biocycle magazine on organics management (compost).

Recent volunteer activities include supporting NGOs designing improved cook stoves and sustainable fuel using biogas, ethanol, and coconut husks in Haiti. His numerous speaking engagements have recently been concentrated on UN Sustainable Development Goals and climate change policy. His many teaching assignments include “The Energy Puzzle” for Collegium at Westchester Community College and international affairs at EF International in Tarrytown.

John Katzenstein, Treasurer

John Katzenstein is the Treasurer of Heart. His professional background includes thirty years of corporate experience in 6479168_origmanagement and staff positions in finance and education in various locations throughout the country; instructor positions in business and finance in three colleges; and at the present time, he manages the NYS Attorney General’s Westchester Regional Office Consumer Frauds and Protection Unit. He possesses a BS degree in economics and an MBA degree.

John was introduced to Schadrac St. Louis, founder and principal of Ecole Mixte de Sibert, and  President of HEART, when Shad while attending college, worked as an intern at the Attorney General’s Office. After Hurricane Katrina, John and Shad, with a group of college students, traveled to New Orleans to dismantle damaged homes. After the earthquake in Haiti, John and Shad traveled to Haiti to distribute clothes, food and hygiene products to displaced Haitians. Since 2011, John has traveled to Haiti numerous times as part of a medical mission and to review the operations of the school and its finances. On each visit, John was inspired by the enthusiasm and commitment of the staff and students, the learning that is occurring, and the respect that is fostered, with very limited financial resources and under very poor conditions. John is so impressed that the school is able to provide a quality education to over one hundred impoverished students for the same cost as educating two students in his hometown.

John believes that the future of Haiti is dependent on providing a superior education to its young people, including those children whose families are too impoverished to pay for the education. It is imperative, if Haiti is to break its shackles of being the poorest country in Latin America, that the future leaders receive a world class education.  John believes that the school, under the dedicated leadership of Shad and his staff, is providing an outstanding and unique opportunity to its students.

John’s primary responsibilities, as Treasurer, are to ensure accountability, creditability, control, accurate reporting, and efficient and effective management of HEART’s assets.  John believes that “you make a living by getting but you make a life by giving”.

Carina Blon, Community Liaison

Carina traveled to Haiti on 3 service trips while the HEART school was being formed and lived in Haiti for two and a half years 232256volunteering full time as Community Liaison for HEART.  While there she began taking courses online towards her degree, the first one being Community Organizing which was helpful to the work being done at that time! Carina has a Bachelor of Science in Human and Community Services with a concentration in Administration through Empire State College Center for Distance Learning. She is currently a Casework Assistant with the Department of Social Services in Orange County New York. Since January 2014 she’s been back in New York and continues to volunteer as Community Liaison maintaining the biographies of all Heart students, coordinating all Buddy Program correspondence and cross cultural learning exchanges between US and Haitian students, and providing input to the sustainable community empowerment initiatives for HEART.

 

Corinne Warren, Secretary

Corinne Warren is the Secretary of the HEART Board. Her professional experience comes from working in the mental health field Corinne Warrenas well as serving in various officer positions in organizations such as Key Club International in high school and the American Heart Association Club in college. She comes to the board with a bachelor’s degree in Community Health from Cortland State University and is currently pursuing her master’s in Healthcare Management from Clarkson University.

Corinne volunteered in Haiti in 2012 because her longtime friend and fellow board member Carina Blon was volunteering and living there at the time. After returning back to the states, she decided that her studies in athletic training were not global enough; she decided to change her major to reflect the way in which she wanted to impact more than just athletes. Furthermore, her professional and personal goals have been impacted because of the trips that she has taken to Haiti.

Corinne hopes that her knowledge of mental and community health can help the people of both Merger and Sibert. She is hopeful for the future of the school and the community that surrounds it.

Sandra Murray, Fundraising

Sandra Murray joined the Board of Directors of HEART in July 2014 to head up the fundraising efforts.  Sandy is past president of 3689468_origthe Midtown Atlanta Rotary Club and owned and operated a computer consulting and training company in Atlanta GA.  Dick Martin was a dear friend, who led the way on getting the school built.  She wants to see this school thrive.  She has a BS degree in mathematics.  She loves to bicycle, learn new things about science, go bird watching and spend time outdoors.

Maria Blon, Board Advisor

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Maria Blon is the past President of the HEART Board and has been volunteering in Haiti with Shad St. Louis since July 2010 when she traveled down upon the request of her daughter Carina. Maria has a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics from Penn State University and a Masters in Education from George Washington University. Her career as a college professor teaching mathematics and training future elementary teachers with hands-on, interactive methods have been helpful when training teachers at the HEART in Haiti School.

Maria’s lifelong passion for the environment is opening the school community to sustainable solutions to Haiti’s challenges with deforestation and health concerns with cooking fires. Read more at this link to Biodigestion.

Maria is a speaker and author, publishing a book called, “Living Passionately: 21 people who found their purpose and how you can too!” This book includes stories of the HEART school from Director Shad St. Louis and Community Liaison Carina Blon. A student, Jean Widletson Gaspard and school cook, Rosita Labousse also have stories in the book. All proceeds from this book are donated to HEART. Please follow this link to view and purchase the book: Living Passionately

 

EriK Fisher Ph.D., Board Advisor

Leading Emotional Dynamics expert, Erik Fisher, Ph.D., aka Dr. E…, has been changing the lives of children, teens and adults for two decades. As a psychologist, media consultant and author, his unique and creative approach to his work has earned him the respect and accolades of his clientele, his colleagues, and the media. As a resource to the media, he has appeared numerous times on networks such as CNN, HLN, CNN-I, FOX, and NBC, being a part of events that have changed the world, and providing his quick–hitting insights and advice on everything from International traumas to cultural issues, the state of the American family, and bullying.

On the radio, he has been providing interviews for more than 15 years on stations across North America and has been interviewed for countless print articles in magazines, from Parents to Cosmopolitan, and newspapers across the country from The Atlanta Constitution to the Chicago Tribune to the L.A. Times. Dr. E… has two published books, The Art of Empowered Parenting: The Manual You Wish Your Kids Came With and The Art of Managing Everyday Conflict: Understanding Emotions and Power Struggles and proposals for three book concepts and animated series.

Play has always been an integral part of Dr. E…’s work with kids and adults. It is through the process of play that he has reached many of those who seemed to be out of reach and been the subject of a CNN segment on his unique style of work. In the past year, Dr. E… has had the honor of becoming a Genius Expert for The Genius of Play, a Toy Association initiative that is focused on teaching the benefits of play, learning valuable life skills and providing helpful tips and pointers for parents to engage more with their kids in their play. He and his daughter, Grace, have had the pleasure of providing videos on the various benefits of play, and he is engaging people across the U.S. with his insights on the power of play.

In regards to his work with non-profits, he has been on the Board and was CEO of the Board of Directors for Special Needs Schools of Gwinnett, B.O.D. for the Innovative Health Foundation, Secretary for the B.O.D. of The ArtReach Foundation, Medical Advisory Board Member for the Worldwide Syringomyelia and Chiari Task Force, and Advisory Board Member for The Heart School in Haiti. For the past three years, Dr. E… has traveled to Haiti to deliver Community Building Workshops to community leaders and young adults to educate them on how to better durable community relationships for today’s and tomorrow’s generations.

Kathy McMillen, Board Advisor

Kathy comes from a nonprofit background where she gained experience in all areas of office management, development, member and volunteer care, special events. She has a BA in Art History/Women’s Studies from the University of Denver, Denver, Colorado.

Volunteerism is in her veins and after being introduced to HEART through friends, followed by a trip to visit and meet the students of the HEART in Haiti School, she was hooked. Kathy and her spouse Kurtis began volunteering in April 2016 in the area of visibility.

 

Kurtis McMillen, Board Advisor

Kurtis was born into an Air Force family, moving every two years, but considers his current city, San Diego, as his home town. He has a BA in English from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale Illinois, and an MBA from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. He worked in Information Technology for thirty-four years as a coder and project manager.

He learned about the HEART in Haiti School, through two friends who have been supporting the school for several years. He and his spouse Kathy visited the school in January 2016 and were impressed. They took on the maintenance of the school’s website in April 2016.

Vera Neusser, Board Advisor

Vera Neusser met HEART Board members while serving in Haiti from January to June 2015 as a volunteer for an NGO. She loved our school’s philosophy of empowering children and the community through education. While working with abandoned children in Haiti, she could personally relate to their struggle. She too had been an abandoned child in Germany and was raised by grandparents. Vera is passionate about helping children get the best education possible to initiate a change in their country.

Vera is the mother of 3 adult sons and a grandmother of two. Vera was widowed at the age of 28 when her husband died of a genetic disease. This drew her attention to human genetics and she went on to work in a fertility center as well as run clinics in the Middle East for 10 years. Her focus was to raise awareness of and prevent genetic disabilities. Vera is thrilled to be an advisor for the HEART Board, to support our health program and assist students as they graduate to higher education.

Barbara Rose, Board Advisor

Barbara B. Rose has more than thirty years experience in management, strategic planning, feasibility studies, development, BBR Headshot Smalltraining, board development, facilitating, writing and fundraising. After eleven years in development at Georgia Tech and four years as Vice President of Development of Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital (now Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta), Rose established New Generation Partnerships, a full service consulting firm specializing in not-for-profits. Her client list includes: College of Business-San Diego State University, California Human Development Corp., Tubman University (Harper, Liberia), Red Cross-Planned Giving Directors, Henry Grady Hospital Foundation, Callanwolde Arts Center, Morrow (GA) Business and Tourism Association, ALS Association of Georgia, and Soccer in the Streets. Ms. Rose is the co-author of Dollars for Dreams: Student Affairs Staff as Fundraisers and author of Halls of Poison Ivy and The Bad Ol’ Boys Club; detective novels set in Atlanta.

Renee Asofsky, Honorary Board Member

Renee Asofsky is a New York City native.  She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.  Renee spent Renee - cropped_4511080_origover two decades building her career in real estate in both in Boston and New York City and she is currently a Real Estate Broker for the Corcoran Group.

Renee has been involved with H.E.A.R.T. since her first volunteer trip in 2012. She is the Buddy Program administrator; her dedication to helping people is evident by her involvement in several non-profit endeavors.

Donna King, Honorary Board Member

Donna King brings with her several years of experience working on volunteer boards from those focused on students with special 7313629_origneeds to breakfast programs and co-operative housing initiatives.  She began working in the developing world in 2007 as the Assistant Director of a foundation that provided public education, testing and counseling to people living with HIV.  She served as an advisor to the UNDP’s Widow and Orphan Programs in that capacity and is involved in several local projects in her community.  Her prior history in establishing the policies and guidelines for non-profit agencies has allowed her to transfer these skills and knowledge to our organization and programs.Donna is a teacher who lives in Canada and is the mother of three children, two of whom have accompanied her to Haiti on several occasions.  She and her son, Luke, initiated the Livestock Program on their very first visit to the school and later, the Apiary Program.    Her main interest is in community development, having long ago realized that the health and well being of children is entirely dependent on the ability of the parents to sustain themselves and thereby their families.  Identifying and promoting these opportunities is a passion that she shares whole-heartedly with the HEART team.
Donna is also very supportive of the International Learning Partnerships, having developed and acted as liaison for our partner schools in Canada.  These collaborations encourage positive cultural exchanges and allow for an open dialogue to develop in their common language.  An example of this is when her daughter’s school in northern Ontario sang the Haitian national anthem on Flag Day to our school in Haiti via a Skype call.   Our students had also been prepared to sing the Canadian anthem back to them in French, proving to be a moving and enriching experience for all.   Another positive outcome of this exchange was the donation of all of the French library materials, curriculum and and classroom resources.In her role as a Board Advisor, her efforts are focused on our goal to provide a world-class education to our students. She envisions them as the future leaders of Haiti, propelling their country forward into an era of self-governance and self-determination.

Lynne LeBeau, Honorary Board Member

Lynne is in love with the children of Haiti and will use whatever abilities she has to help them.  She wants them to know the joy of 1329698_origindependence and the self respect of owning their own futures by the choices they make and she believes education is the key.  Her friendship with the Blon family, along with her own life experiences led her to the HEART school in its own humble beginnings.  She has seen the organization go through changes, growth, and loss and has witnessed the unwavering dedication of all involved, from founders to teachers, staff, parents and supporters. Finding her experience to be life-inspiring, she is invested in the future of HEART.  Lynne has sponsored students through the Buddy Program.  Her dream is to return for another visit to the HEART school and community where she previously taught sewing skills to the women there.  She has many other practical and sustainable skills to teach to and learn from the women of the community as they eagerly strive to be self-sufficient and be able to provide for their families in the coming years with the help of HEART.

Patricia Marinelli, Honorary Board Member

I was first introduced to Haiti 5 weeks after the devastating 7.0 earthquake struck. As a nurse, and given the timing , my 1944116_origassignment was strictly medical. I was part of a critical mission called OMAT. It was at that time, however, that I realized if Haiti was ever going to climb out of poverty and depression, a new approach to forward progress was needed.

Since January 2010 I have returned to Haiti numerous times and through the years I have shifted my work from medical to educational, social, economic and infrastructure development. I have had the opportunity to get involved with a wonderful and committed group of people and in turn HEART was formed in August of 2012. An Organization led by people who truly care about not only the future of Haiti, but how Haiti’s children fit into the equation. I believe that positive lasting social change in Haiti begins with the children. I am committed to helping the children of Haiti obtain a real chance at a great life.

Dick Martin, Honorary Board Member

Richard John Livingstone Martin, always called Dick, found Schadrac St. Louis in Haiti and it changed the direction of his life. He was richard-martinimmediately captivated by Haiti and what he and Shad could do to educate the children in one small town.

Dick was happiest when he was seriously into a project and being able to see the results of his design talents. This was especially evident when he designed and supervised building a school in Croix des Bouquets, Haiti, using shipping containers for the construction. He was honored at the school’s Ribbon Cutting when the 53 elementary-age children surprised him by singing the Haiti National Anthem in French and the American National Anthem in English.

Dick was born in French Indochina and lived in Shanghai, China until the Japanese invaded in 1939. His father remained in China with the British Army and his mother took Dick and his sister to live in Hawaii. Years later, Mr. Martin, became a United States citizen and lived in Hawaii until he came to the “mainland” to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. He later received his Masters Degree from UCLA. Mr. Martin’s great, grand uncle was the explorer Dr. David Livingstone who he always thought of as a role model for pursuing challenges. Dick’s son, James often said, “Dad was always the designer. He absolutely followed his own design of life.”

Mr. Martin retired in 2000 from the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech where he had taught for 25 years. Before coming to Georgia Tech, he was a Professor and Researcher at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA. Dick Martin died in 2013 just a few months after the Ribbon Cutting of the school.