2012 Volunteer Corps

Kasandra Antoine


Kasandra grew up in a small town in Connecticut. She holds a BA in Religious Studies from the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.  After college, she spent two years teaching English to middle school students in South Korea. She appreciates the challenge that comes with immersing oneself into an entirely different culture.  She is also an avid photographer, proud Haitian-American, and obsessed with documentaries.

Jack Bates


Jack studied computing science at university, and gained confidence computer programming by contributing to many open source/free software projects.  He loves computer programming because it is a chance to participate in the technology that surrounds us.  Jack is a lifestyle cyclist from Vancouver, Canada. He is keen to spread confidence with technology and to geek out in Rwanda.

Jennifer Bellisario


Jennifer is a recent graduate of the music department at City College in New York, and is currently pursuing a degree in Ethnomusicology at Hunter College.  Her main instrument is the piano, and she enjoys teaching, accompanying, and learning new music.  She spent the past two summers as an intern in Rwanda, and is looking forward to returning to this beautiful country. Jennifer enjoys learning languages, playing the fiddle, and traveling.  She is excited about being a Music Instructor at the Village and working with the other volunteers.

Melissa has a background in biology and a love for mountain air.  She has interest in connecting people with nature through the food they eat.  She studied ecological/organic farming and permaculture at Linnaea Farm in Canada. Since then she has learned about tropical agriculture in Hawaii as well as solidified her market gardening skills on Saltspring Island.  Melissa is excited to meet everyone at ASYV and to get her hands into the red earth.


Melissa Flint


Barrett grew up in the quaint town of Novelty, Ohio, with 3 protective older brothers and extraordinary parents who are still her best friends to this day. She is a three-time graduate of Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA), having graduated in 2002 with a B.S. in Marketing and a B.A. in Theatre in January, 2003. Upon graduation, Barrett attended a post-baccalaureate acting program in association with The Moscow Art Theatre and The American Repertory Theatre. Barrett then spent several years traveling and working around the country before finding her way back to Bethlehem in August of 2006. For the past 5 years, Barrett has been working at Lehigh University as the Associate Director of Admissions & Alumni Education, recruiting students in the Southeast U.S., Hawaii, and Guam, as well as directing both the Alumni Admissions Outreach Volunteer Program and Legacy Program. Barrett completed her M.Ed. in Globalization and Educational Change in May 2011, which prompted her to take her acquired skills and combine them with her lifelong dream to live and work in sub-Saharan Africa. That led her to the ASYV year-long fellowship where she will be serving as International Coordinator and a member of the 2011 JDC Jewish Service Corps.

Barrett Frankel



Dorea is a recent graduate of New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, where she acquired a Master’s of Public Administration in International Public and Non-Profit Management & Policy. Previous to this she acquired her Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame. She is passionate about international development, with particular interests in linking vulnerable communities in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean to educational opportunities and representative public policy making processes.  Dorea, born and raised in Detroit, MI, enjoys traveling with her parents and three siblings. She also enjoys playing the guitar, singing, painting, playing soccer, and dancing.

Dorea Jackson


Nathan was born in Jerusalem Israel. Since 2007 he has been living in Israel's most northern town Metula, and he has recently graduated from Tel-Hai college with a BA degree in psychology and special education. Nathan has dedicated himself to working with varied groups of people from different backgrounds and communities. He has worked and volunteered in various settings including a high school, a psychiatric hospital, and leadership programs.  In the Israeli Defense Force, Nathan served in the Oketz dog unit and became aware of  the strength of  the special connection between dogs and human beings.  He has traveled extensively in Israel and around the world, and is thankful for the opportunity to be part of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village as a JDC Jewish Service Corps Fellow.

Nathan Pell


Maytal was born in Jerusalem, Israel and currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.  She graduated from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion, African American Studies and Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies.  She is active in the youth movement Habonim Dror and most recently served as the Director of Programs and Education at Habonim Dror Camp Moshava.  She really enjoys playing with kids, playing soccer and basketball and being an informal educator.  Maytal is really excited to travel to Rwanda and become an active member of the ASYV community.


Maytal Schmidt


Sika was exposed to humanitarian work as a young child while living in Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Republic of Congo (then Zaire) where her father worked for many years.  She was born in the former Yugoslavia and attended schools in Great Britain, France, and the US.  Professionally,  Sika has over thirty years of experience in the field of IT, of which more then twenty years were managing IT projects for Boston University.   In addition to her professional experience, she volunteered for nearly fifteen years for a refugee assistance organization in Boston.  She has also been active in organizations such as NOW, Mass Choice, and Health Care for All, and has volunteered for the American Red Cross and Enfants Refugies du Monde.  In 2008-2009 Sika was on a year-long placement in Malawi where she worked as a VSO volunteer for a micro-finance organization.  In 2007 she worked in Rwanda for 3 months as an IT volunteer for the Ministry of Education.   Sika is currently serving her 3rd year as a volunteer at Agahozo-Shalom and is devoting the majority of her time to coordinating our new Professional Skills program.

Sika Somberg


Miki was born in Boca Raton, FL where his passion for playful engineering began in his garage: redefining ordinary objects with his father (e.g. a cracker-tin steam boat, and a floating sukkah). He has been a nature instructor at a summer camp, run a vocational education program for adults with special needs, and worked as a TA for the Tufts Computer Science department. At Tufts University, Miki found a way to combine his love for people and all things science in the engineering psychology program. Miki took an inter-disciplinary approach to studying the way people interact with machines, devices, and systems in order to design easy-to-use technology. His particular interests are in sensory processing and integration and he hopes to one day apply them to the field of assistive technology. Miki is always making something: his latest creations include a hydroponic garden and a fermentation work station, and his senior research project, a multi-sensory cuing device. Miki is not all nerd; he also enjoys outdoor adventures, longboarding, and unique foods. Miki visited ASYV in May 2009 on a short-term service trip and is excited to return and share his love for science as a process.

Michael "Miki" Vizner