Mollie Flink, from Deerfield, IL, graduated from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary with Bachelors of Arts degrees in English and Bible. She received a Seminary fellowship in Jewish Social Entrepreneurship, during which she advocated for the West Side Campaign Against Hunger. She also served as a reading aide to sixth grade students struggling with literacy, and volunteered as a Big Sister. After graduation, Mollie worked as a counselor and resident advisor at TRY: The Ramah Jerusalem High School in Jerusalem, Israel.
Mollie will be working as a Shelter Assistant at the New Orleans Women’s Shelter, a facility for women and children in the Upper 9th Ward of New Orleans that provides temporary emergency shelter and food. The shelter is a family-style transitional women and children’s home with a focus on helping women stabilize, obtain proper medical treatment and other locally available social services to move onto successful independent living.
Dana Keren, from Milwaukee, WI, graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where she majored in Women’s Studies and Linguistics, and earned a TESOL Certificate. Dana worked as the Development and Outreach Intern at B-Word Worldwide Media Organization, and has done in-home tutoring for low-income public school students. She is currently studying for certification as a support group facilitator and as a doula, birthing assistant.
Dana will serve as the Community Coordinator at the Tulane University Community Health Center at Covenant House, where she will manage outreach efforts to improve the value of the clinic for the community. The Health Center was established in the days following Hurricane Katrina and provides continuous high-quality, holistic, accessible, community-centric care.
Rachel Laing grew up in Hastings on Hudson, NY, and attended Skidmore College, where she majored in International Affairs, with minors in Dance, Latin American Studies, and Spanish. She spent semesters abroad in both Buenos Aires, Argentina and Merida in Yucatan, Mexico. Rachel has extensive experience working with children as a camp counselor, nursery school assistant, nanny, and dance teacher.
As a Teaching Assistant at Success Preparatory Academy, Rachel will be working directly with underprivileged children and their families to ensure all students receive an education to prepare them for college, and to become the next generation of leaders in their communities and beyond. Success Prep is an open enrollment charter school, established in 2009 to meet the city’s need for high quality elementary education.
Sarah Murray, from Reisterstown, MD, earned Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from Goucher College, and was nominated to participate in the Leaders Encouraging Action and Development mentoring program. She has volunteered as a performer in therapeutic plays for children with developmental disabilities, as a reading and writing tutor for first and second graders, and as an assistant in the Infant Unit of a Baltimore hospital.
As a youth advocate at Juvenile Regional Services, Sarah will work directly with youth in the juvenile justice system who are on probation and parole. She will provide support to clients by connecting them to educational, vocational, and/or medical programs, advocating for services on their behalf, and providing guidance and support as necessary. JRS provides comprehensive legal services to indigent children accused of delinquency.
Ross Peizer, from Seattle, WA, attended Boston University, where he majored in Communication, with concentrations in Public Relations and Psychology. Ross visited New Orleans during an Alternative Spring Break trip, and has participated in two service trips to Israel, volunteering at a soup kitchen. He has also served as a Corps member in the Southwest Conservation Corps, maintaining and building nature trails, and has volunteered with other young Jewish professionals through the MenschWorks program of the Jewish Federation of Seattle.
Ross will serve as the Intake Assistant at Rebuilding Together New Orleans, helping homeowners through the application system so they can receive assistance and finally get their homes rebuilt. Ross will function as the primary point of contact with homeowners and will act as an advocate on their behalf, both within the organization and with other agencies citywide.
Elena Pinsky, from Silver Spring, MD, earned a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, with a major in Anthropology, and a minor in Spanish. While in college, she served on the planning committee for the Black Jewish Freedom Seder, and participated in the Campus Entrepreneurs Initiative to engage Jewish life on campus. After spending a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Elena received a grant to return to the city to conduct research for her senior thesis.
In her position at the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC), an agency which seeks to eradicate housing discrimination throughout the greater New Orleans area, Elena will help identify opportunities to instate fair housing practices in the rebuilding process and will develop outreach activities to educate the greater New Orleans community about GNOFHAC’s services.
Mitio Rothstein grew up in Westlake Village, CA, and attended Eckerd College, where he earned a degree in International Relations and East Asian Studies. As an ADAMAH fellow, Mitio helped operate a small organic farm. He spent a summer as an American Jewish World Service (AJWS) volunteer in the Ukraine, restoring Jewish cemetaries and completing a research project on the trafficking of Ukrainian women in the sex industry, and also served as an AJWS World Partners Fellow, working with nomadic shepards in Pune, India to develop sustainable livestock practices in the region.
As a Community Food Security Outreach Assistant at New Orleans Food and Farm Network, Mitio will be working with individuals, communities, and growers to build a just food system where all community members have access to safe, nutritious, and enjoyable food. NOFFN uses neighborhood-based initiatives to improve food access citywide, encouraging direct participation from community members to create collaborations and build sustainable projects.
Tamar Toledano, from Elkins Park, PA, attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, with a minor in Public Service and a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. Tamar also attended a year-long intensive Jewish Studies program at Midreshet HaRova in Jerusalem, and spent alternative spring breaks in Israel and New Orleans. She served as president and co-founder of Pitt’s Tunnel of Oppression, joined fellow student leaders in the Student Allies Coalition, and served as a peer educator and faculty liaison for the campus’ Sexual Assault Services.
As an Art Speaks Coordinator for Ya/Ya, Tamar will work with local youth to create public art projects that raise awareness of social justice issues. Ya/Ya (Young Aspirations/Young Artists) teaches art skills and entrepreneurship to creative young people, with the broader goal of empowering them to become successful adults by providing positive educational experiences while fostering and supporting their ambitions.
Leah Varsano, from Northampton, MA, studied Religion and Asian Studies at Vassar College, and spent a semester abroad at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Madurai, India. Leah organized campus events and lobbied Congress to advocate for Farm Bill reform, and participated in Vassar’s Operation Donation, collecting and distributing goods to local community members in need. She also has experience teaching theater and filmmaking to youth.
As the Assistant Neighborhood Coordinator at Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative, Leah will work closely with residents of the Central City neighborhood to identify and implement programs to revitalize the community. Jericho Road supports affordable housing for neighborhood residents by building new construction homes and rehabilitating existing structures.
Maggie Yates, from Spokane, WA, attended Macalester College, where she majored in Anthropology and International Studies, with a concentration in African Studies, spending a semester abroad in Kampala, Uganda. Working for the UJAMAA Medical Missions, Maggie initiated an ongoing medical and public health collaboration between the Rwandan-based program and physicians in Spokane. In college, she founded and led a chapter of STAND: the Student Coalition Against Genocide, and co-led the Macalester Jewish Organization. Maggie is an avid soccer player, participating in an NCAA tournament and coaching at a soccer camp for underprivileged youth.
Maggie will serve as a Client Welfare Specialist at the Orleans Public Defenders (OPD). OPD provides legal services to indigent defendants and client-centered representation that respects the humanity and dignity of those accused of crimes. The Defender Services Program - a division within the office of social workers and client welfare specialists - work in teams with staff attorneys and investigators to address an arrestee’s underlying problems as well as his or her criminal charges.