Ellen Graber Donohue
Ellen is the Executive Director of Restavec Freedom Alliance, BEM Inc. Ellen grew up in Wethersfield, CT and graduated from the University of Connecticut. She spent most of her career as an executive for an insurance company working in information technology. In her last role, Ellen spent two years in Tokyo heading a technology division. She retired from corporate life in 2010. Originally a Child Development major in college, Ellen returned to her roots working with poor children in the Dominican Republic starting in 2006. This work introduced her to Bethesda Evangelical Mission Inc, a church run non-profit organization working in Haiti. Ellen worked in orphanages there both before and after the earthquake. Most recently she took on the project of developing and managing homes and schools for Restavek, or slave children in southwestern Haiti. In addition, since retiring, Ellen obtained a Registered Nurse (RN) degree. She works at Horizons Inc, a program for special needs individuals as well as serving as Executive Director.
Elise is the Director of Social Outreach. She grew up in a loving family, thinking that everyone had one. She believes that every child deserves to feel loved and believes that we can change the world, one child at a time, one smile at a time. Elise has been a teacher in middle school for 28 years, lives in Connecticut, loves teaching and can’t imagine doing anything else. She is married and has one son, Caleb, who is a chef and has also been to Haiti with Restavec Freedom Alliance. Elise doesn’t tolerate the Haitian heat very well, so her efforts are here in the states where she works endlessly to support this effort.
Nina is the Co-Director of Social Outreach. It was fate that directed her to Haiti in May of 2012. The children have captured her heart and become part of her family. Nina lives in Hamden, Connecticut and graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in Global Health. Nina’s goal is to be able to extend her compassion for the children through not only the love in her heart, but on a health level as well. Nina has been to Haiti numerous times, and plans to continue returning with hopes to make a difference in the lives of these beautiful children.
Alli is the Arts and Education Coordinator. Alli lives in Columbia, Connecticut and attends The University of Connecticut. In May of 2016 she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts with a concentration in piano, and a Bachelor of Science in Education, and is now working towards obtaining a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction, with a goal of teaching elementary school music. She also enjoys dance and photography, and has a long-term goal of pursuing a degree in Creative Arts Therapy, with a focus in pediatrics. Alli’s first trip to Haiti was in June of 2013, where she quickly discovered a love for not only the children, but also for the beautiful country. Since then she has returned four times, focusing her efforts on engaging the RFA and community children in music and literacy activities. Alli feels these trips have broadened her world view, and now sees all through the lens of her Haiti experiences. She hopes to have an opportunity to remain in Haiti for an extended period of time in the near future, to teach and learn from the people of Haiti. Alli is counting down the days until she is back in her home away from home!
Kathy Novak Gribs