2013 Volunteer Corps
VISITORS & TRIPS
Avi was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel. He served in the Israel Defense Force's Armored Corps as a Platoon Leader and an Operations Officer. Following his army service he managed an interactive archaeological excavation and guided tourists and educational missions from around the world. Avi has a B.A in Philosophy, Political Science and Economics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. While in school, he worked as a research assistant on The Bank of Israel's Monetary Team. Avi has several years of experience working with youth at risk in the Jerusalem area, in a number of programs. In the past year and a half he has volunteered at a day center caring for homeless youth at risk suffering from substance dependence. Avi loves traveling, hiking and rock climbing, and he looks forward eagerly to his upcoming adventure in Rwanda.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ENRICHMENT
Michelle is originally from Philadelphia, PA but moved to Pittsburgh, PA for college and made it her home. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in December 2011 with a BA in Political Science and Anthropology. After graduation and until her JSC placement, Michelle worked on a political campaign in Pittsburgh. In college, Michelle fell in love with travel and other cultures first by beginning work with the Somali-Bantu community through Keep It Real, a student-run organization. Through that organization, Michelle served as both a tutor and a friend to a family of nine and helped with daily needs. She also served as the Fundraising and Public Relations Chair of Keep It Real for two years. Michelle studied abroad twice in college, first through the International Honors Program to Brazil, South Africa, and Vietnam, and again to Morocco.
Courtney grew up in North Carolina, New Jersey and Texas before attending Georgetown University in Washington, DC. While at Georgetown, Courtney majored in Government, studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland and interned for a US Senator and a criminal defense attorney. After graduating in 1998, she began a career as an Information Technology and Management consultant. Courtney has worked in the Telecommunications and Internet Industry for clients in all over the United States and also for 2 years in Melbourne, Australia. While employing classic business methodology at a wide variety of clients, she has had the opportunity to hire and train interns and new employees. Courtney is excited about bringing her computer, business and project managements skills to the students of Agahozo-Shalom. She is passionate about volunteering and has coached youth sports teams and worked at animal shelters. It was her interest in volunteering that led her to be a short-term English volunteer at Agahozo-Shalom in January 2012 and subsequently fall in love with the mission of the Village. She enjoys travel, meeting new people and loves animals. She is most proud of being a conscientious, caring and considerate person on this crowded planet.
Shira, a native of Southern California completed her undergraduate studies in Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2005 and earned two Masters Degrees in 2009 in Communication Management from the University of Southern California and in Jewish Nonprofit Management from Hebrew Union College. Following graduate school, Shira spent time living and working in Cambodia as part of the American Jewish World Service, where she worked with the Cambodian Women’s Movement, a nongovernmental organization that trains women in factories in business and leadership. While in Cambodia, Shira coached and mentored staff on nonprofit organizational structure, management, fiscal responsibility, organizational communication, strategy and issues relating to international donor relations. She has worked with several nonprofit organizations, most recently as the Membership Coordinator at Temple Israel of Hollywood where she implemented initiatives in partnership with lay and professional leadership to develop engagement and sustainability strategy and programs. Shira is a published author, avid traveler, loves the outdoors, snowboarding, hiking and is thrilled to be a part of the 2013 JDC Jewish Service Corps at Agahozo-Shalom.
Jerrod hails from Denver, Colorado. He is a recent graduate from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned degrees in both Acting and Philosophy. His main instrument is acoustic guitar, however his listening tastes vary from classical to electronic. Outside of music, Jerrod enjoys travelling, photography, reading Shakespeare and anything Batman. He is thrilled about being a facet of the Agahozo-Shalom team, and looks forward to exchanging culture, music, and insight with the students of Rwanda.
MUSIC & THEATRE
Isabel was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. She is a recent graduate of Middlebury College with a BA in Geography and minors in Global Health and Spanish. Over the past four years, she has both studied and worked with children’s rights, female reproductive and refugee health, and the ways in which geography and mapping can contribute to a more nuanced, efficient, and community-driven practice of international development. She taught art, conducted research, and played a lot of soccer in Bajo Flores, a drug-ridden community on the margins of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and, most recently, returned to D.C. to work in Child Protection and HIV & AIDS at Save the Children. She loves documentary photography, museums, and enormous cups of coffee. Isabel is incredibly excited to make Rwanda her new home and learn all that she can from the students, teachers, and staff at Agahozo-Shalom.
INFORMAL EDUCATION: ARTS DEVELOPMENT
Elizabeth is originally from the small coastal town of Yarmouth, Maine. She received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in 2007 where she double majored in music and psychology. She studied abroad in New Zealand at the Victoria University of Wellington. Upon moving to New York City in 2008, Elizabeth began her career at the National Kidney Foundation where she managed the New York City Kidney Walk, a signature fundraiser raising awareness of kidney disease. Most recently, Elizabeth was Manager of Marketing and Development for the GENYOUth Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to child health and wellness founded by the National Football League and the National Dairy Council. In her spare time, Elizabeth sings at the Church of the Holy Trinity on the Upper East Side of Manhattan as well as with the Stonewall Chorale.
Kome was born in Lagos, Nigeria where he had his early education. With two brothers and three sisters, growing up was very eventful, laden with many beautiful memories. Right from primary school, his interest in sports developed. He holds a Bachelor of Science combined honours degree in Geography/Archaeology from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria where he played for the Science Faculty Soccer team winning the Sports Personality award twice and the handball team. Kome is often torn between a career in his chosen field and service to humanity. With a keen interest in the outdoors, culture and travel, his mandatory national service took him to Kaduna State Northern Nigeria to teach Geography and introductory technology in a rural area. With a keen imagination, love of the Arts and genuine interest in the affairs of young people, Kome initiated and completed a Library for the village school. It is therefore no surprise Kome jumped at the idea to serve Rwandan youth with the experience gathered from his life experiences and serving with the Foundation for Youth Development and Youth Resource Development Council. He relishes the idea of serving as Sports Development Coordinator at Agahozo-Shalom.
INFORMAL EDUCATION: SPORTS DEVELOPMENT
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 Agahozo-Shalom in May 2009 on a short-term service trip with Tufts University and 2013 will be in his 2nd year serving as a Long-Term Volunteer.
Michael "Miki" Vizner
* Denotes Volunteers who are part of the Jewish Service Corps program of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee