Ellen joins AYUDA as Executive Director after spending the past 28 years in education administration cultivating youth to serve as agents of change. She brings a breadth of experience in non-profit organizational advancement, from public relations to fundraising and grant writing. Of the many hats she has worn, her most inspirational experiences have been in leading students on domestic and international service-based learning trips to engage with disenfranchised communities. Ellen holds a Master's degree in Education Administration and Social Policy from Harvard University and numerous certifications in high school reform, team building and youth leadership. Ellen has co-authored a youth leadership curriculum and is humbled by the power of young people who are relentless agents for social change. Her 8 year-old daughter, Sophia, is already asking when she can go abroad with AYUDA!
Director of International Operations, Haiti Program
Merith currently serves as the Director of International Operations for AYUDA's programs in Haiti. She first joined the organization in 2004 following her postgraduate studies on Latin America at La Universidad Complutense in Madrid. The UK native went on to serve as AYUDA's first Country Officer in Ecuador, later joining the headquarters in Washington DC as Global Program Director, where she was responsible for growing AYUDA's country programs and strengthening local capacity in Ecuador, Bolivia and Belize. Following a Master’s degree in Public Health in Developing Countries at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, she worked with the Constituencies team at the World AIDS Campaign in Amsterdam. Merith returned to AYUDA in June 2010 to help lead the organization through its next stages of development and has been focused on strengthening partnerships and outreach to resource-poor diabetes communities primarily in the Dominican Republic and Ecuador. Following her recent support of the first diabetes education camp for young people with DM1 in Haiti, she is also seeking ways to help strengthen the work of the local diabetes organization on the ground.
Director of Communications
After trying out the fields of business, government, academia and television production, Molly Lepeska has spent nearly ten years working in the field of health communications. She worked in a communications capacity for over five years for the World AIDS Campaign in Amsterdam collaborating on global AIDS campaign theme-setting for World AIDS Day and other international mobilization days and producing global advocacy tools. She has been with AYUDA since 2010 and has a Master's Degree in Life Science Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Molly has been living with Type 1 diabetes since 1999.
Jon currently works as AYUDA's Director of Volunteers and AYUDA's programs in the Dominican Republic. He is in part responsible for the recruitment, selection, training and general management of all AYUDA applicants, nationally and while abroad. A Philadelphia native, Jon recently graduated from Colorado College, where he studied biology pre-med, global health, and social and political ecology. He first volunteered with AYUDA five years ago in the Dominican Republic, and helped to establish the country’s first diabetes camp, working closely with local partners, volunteers and medical students. Since then, he has worked to further develop the D.R. programs, advancing from volunteer, to experienced Volunteer Mentor, to a full time staff member with AYUDA. Jon is passionate about medicine, travel, and social change; he has volunteered as an EMT in Colorado, and has studied abroad in several developing countries on four continents. Jon is very excited to continue his work with AYUDA to empower youth.Stephanie Boyle
Stephanie grew up in Brooklyn, NY and recently graduated from Bates College where she studied Psychology, History and Public Health. While at Bates she was also an active member of the Habitat for Humanity club and volunteered as a tutor and mentor at an afterschool homework help program in a nearby housing community. Before finding AYUDA her junior year, Stephanie spent two summers working as an intern for public health non-profit organizations. In 2012 Stephanie joined AYUDA as a volunteer in Ecuador. The following summer, she served as a volunteer mentor in the Dominican Republic for the Campo Amigo program. She is excited to join the AYUDA staff as the Program Coordinator and to kick start a career in public health!
Country Liaison, Dominican Republic
Volunteer Mentor Campo Amigo
Chris Noble is 24 years old and originallyfrom San Diego, California. He is currently living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as AYUDA's In-Country Liaison with our partner organization Aprendiendo a Vivir as well as teaching English at The Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. Chris studied Endocrinology and Nutritional Science while at UC Berkeley and is involved in multiple Diabetes health organizations throughout the year including: InsulinDependence out of San Diego, Ca; Camp Conrad Chinook out of Big Bear, CA; and the Stanford Medical Center as a clinical research assistant. Chris will be pursuing a Masters in Public Health in Boston in the fall to continue learning about how to make a positive,effective impact in the world of diabetes health and education. He has been with AYUDA since 2013 and has participated in Ganémosle 2013 and World Diabetes Day 2013. Chris has been living with what he calls his"Live"abetes for 19 years now and believes everyone should have the opportunity to thrive alongside their condition as he always has.
Country Liaison,Dominican Republic
Volunteer Mentor Ganémosle
Shannon, 21 years old, originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, is currently serving as one of AYUDA's In-Country Liaisons in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Sheis currently attending Universidad Llebroamericana as an exchange student inthe medical school for the spring semester. While studying abroad at the localuniversity she is also serving as a volunteer at our local partner Aprendiendoa Vivir and working to improve her ability as a health educator. Shannon iscurrently a junior at the University of Delaware in the college of HealthScience and is studying towards a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences and a B.S. in Public Health. She began volunteering with AYUDA in the summer of 2013 during the program Ganémosle and will continue to serve as a volunteer for our summer program in 2014. Working with AYUDA has given her the opportunity to use her knowledge acquired from her university studies and apply it to real world situations.
Melanie is 19 years old and is from Los Angeles, CA, but is currently studying at Washington University in St. Louis. She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2007 and has been living healthily and happily with it ever since. Melanie is an active volunteer, both with AYUDA and the JDRF, and enjoys dancing, photography, traveling, and spending time with her friends. Melanie first joined AYUDA in the summer of 2012 as a volunteer at Campo Amigo Ecuador and had, what she describes as, "the best experience of her life." Melanie joined AYUDA for a second summer in the Dominican Republic in 2013 and is excited to return to the DR again this coming summer.
Sam was born and raised in Southern California and is currently a second year student studying Politics at the University of California - Santa Cruz. Sam first began with AYUDA in 2011 as a volunteer at Campo Amigo, Ecuador and returned the following year as a training VM
for the same program. Sam does not have diabetes but says Ayuda has been a great influence in his career interests and field of study. He now speaks Spanish fluently and accredits Ayuda programs for making that goal possible for him. Sam aims to remain involved in AYUDA operations indefinitely. Sam is "tremendously excited to work with this years Ganémosle team. I'm confident that all of the volunteers already have the tools they will need to succeed in-country: a true desire to enrich people's lives through simple education and empowerment and the willingness to manifest that passion by going to the DR to further that development in a tangible way!"
(Ganémosle - Volunteer Mentor-in-Training)
(Campo Amigo- Volunteer Mentor-in-Training)
(Ganémosle - Volunteer Mentor-in-Training)
(Campo Amigo - Volunteer Mentor-in-Training)