Meet the Board of Directors for Haiti Scholarships

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Meet Julie Faughnan

Julie Faughnan has been happily married to Don for 37 years and considers her three sons (Donnie, and "the twins", Patrick and Gregory) her biggest accomplishments. She retired from IBM after 30 years and also enjoyed her time as a Procurement Consultant for the University of California Health Systems.

Finally fully retired, she enjoys the sunshine and life in Florida and spends a lot of her free time painting kindness rocks. Julie and Don still travel North to Endicott, New York, which is much closer to St. Bonaventure and her favorite charities: Haiti Scholarships, BonaResponds, and Positive Ripples.

Her love for the people of Haiti began when her son Greg traveled to Leogane, Haiti with Jim Mahar to help out with various projects. The pictures of the sweet children who waited for Greg, Jim, and the others to return from their day at work just melted Julie's heart. She was very happy to accept the invitation to be on the board for Haiti Scholarships because she very much believes in our mission and knows she can help change the world one little act at a time.

Meet Greg Faughnan

While a student at St. Bonaventure University, Greg Faughnan volunteered in Haiti with Jim Mahar and BonaResponds to rebuild the school in Leogane. Although he only stayed in Haiti for a few weeks, it provided him with a glimpse of how difficult life is for Haitians without an education.  Greg believes in the mission statement of Haiti Scholarships and that education in Haiti is key to our students having a future.  He hopes that through the Haiti Scholarships program, our scholarship recipients have a lasting impact on their own lives and their country’s future.  Greg graduated from St. Bonaventure University, SUNY Upstate Medical University and is currently a family medicine physician in Syracuse, NY.  When he is not working, Greg enjoys camping and fishing in the Adirondacks and golfing.  

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Meet Jerry Godbout

Jerry Godbout was introduced to disaster relief volunteering by Jim Mahar and BonaResonds after Hurricane Katrina devastated the US Gulf Coast in 2005.  He has joining BonaResponds on several disaster relief trips since then and now serves as an advisory board member.  His introduction to Haiti was a too-brief stay in Leogane with All Hands Volunteers in May 2010, along with several other BonaResponds members.

Jerry holds a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University.  When not teaching Chemistry or helping Jim and/or BonaResponds, Jerry likes to grow super hot chilies and make maple syrup (though generally not at the same time).

Meet Jim Mahar

Jim Mahar is the founder and leader of BonaResponds, a volunteer organization that was started after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. BonaResponds has grown into a successful volunteer organization that has responded to disasters in thirteen states as well as helped in any way possible from cleaning kennels and walking dogs at the SPCA to building wheelchair ramps and houses, to cleaning parks, and pretty much everything in between. In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, the group has sent over 35 pallets of supplies including 11 pallets of medical supplies, over 113,000 meals, 400 soccer balls, many tents, tarps, and now almost 20 barrels of school supplies. Jim and others from the group volunteered in Leogane with All Hands Volunteers.

 

In his day job Jim is an associate professor of finance at St. Bonaventure University. He has a PhD from Pennsylvania State University, an MBA from the Simon School at the University of Rochester, and a BBA from St. Bonaventure. He is an avid runner and a cyclist.

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Meet John Thomas

As an Egyptian who immigrated to the United States, John Thomas benefited greatly from the opportunities of education. Through financial aid and work-study jobs, he graduated from Boston College in 2012. John brought into the mission and vision of Haiti Scholarships his views of education as one of the vehicles of upward social mobility. Through scholarships, students can be placed in an opportunity to flourish that they would otherwise not have access to. He assisted with budget planning at Root Capital, a social investment fund operating in poor rural areas of Africa and Latin America. John also volunteered and taught summer school in mountain villages in Jamaica as well as with his church's youth in Anaheim, CA. Other hobbies include reading, traveling, working out, and listening to podcasts. John is currently a strategy analyst at Bank of America.

Employees

Meet Berlyne Bien-Aime

Berlyne Bien-Aime is our only official employee, and she lives in Leogane, Haiti, with her husband, Guito, and her beautiful son, Moony. Most of our board members met Berlyne in Haiti with All Hands Volunteers, as she was one of their official translators (she has also translated for Duke University, Oxford University, and International Medical Relief). Berlyne has also worked as a facilitator, fixer, team leader, and assessor for Haiti Kids Kino Project, All Hands Volunteers, and the International Organization for Migration. She has also presented several seminars and workshops within Leogane and its surrounding communities.

 

Aside from currently working with Haiti Scholarships, Berlyne also works with GOALS Haiti by teaching children how to read and write, and teaching them how to manage stress through sports. As if all of these professional accomplishments are not enough, Berlyne has a beautiful smile and contagious laughter which she now shares with our students during the monthly workshops that she organizes. We are so lucky and excited to have her on our team!

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