Our Board & Partners

© 2010 Jessica Brandi Lifland

Li, Li, Li! Read Partners

Konbit Pou Ayiti/Konpay
Global Fund for Children and Global Fund for Children Books
Haiti Response Coalition
Haiti Justice Alliance of Northfield
Haitian Peoples Support Project - Woodstock
Working Group on Media Protocols on Sexual Gender-Based Violence in Haiti Launched in Support of UN Campaign to Eliminate Violence against Women
Beyond Borders
Ti Moun Annou Li Update- Children Let's Read
Bond Street Theatre 
Etsberthony Vieux

Li, Li, Li! Read Board & Advisory Board

Rene Aubry (Advisory Board) is a Haitian national, currently living in the United States. Aubry is admitted to practice law in NY and DC, holds a JD from Columbia Law School, a MBA from Columbia Business School and a MPA from the Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard University. Aubry has professional and academic experience in investment banking, having worked at JPMorgan and Citigroup, law, microfinance, elections (1995 in Haiti), logistics and the operations of distributed service delivery systems, particularly in the context of developing countries. Two days after the earthquake in Haiti, Mr. Aubry, along with several colleagues from Harvard and a network of associates in the US, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, created "Denise," a relief organization named after his mother, to deliver medical personnel and materials to Haiti. In a little under four weeks. Denise raised $25,000 and transported over 50 relief personnel and 10,000 pounds of medical supplies to Haiti, impacting over 25,000 lives. Mr. Aubry and his team are now seeking to have an impact on what he calls the "remaking" (distinct from "rebuilding") of his home country. raubry@post.harvard.edu

Amelia Burgess (Advisory Board) is a pediatrician working at Park  Nicollet-Minneapolis, an urban pediatric clinic. As a medical student, she worked at the GHESKIO Centers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for one year. She  continues to visit Haiti regularly. She volunteered at a temporary hospital in Leogane after the 2010 earthquake, and more recently participated in a 2-day training in Haiti on the psychosocial needs of children after disasters. She also volunteers at an orphanage in Honduras. Her work in Minneapolis focuses on the developmental, health, and mental health challenges to children growing up in impoverished communities. She currently has projects centered on improving health services to children in foster care, and on enhancing knowledge and practices of Somali families about early brain development. She is particularly interested in the effects of violence exposure and family disruption on child health. She has participated in the Minnesota  Medical Home Learning Collaborative for Children with Special Health Needs. She received her M.D. from Cornell University in 1998 and her M.P.H. from the University of Minnesota in 2008. burg0248@umn.edu

Alain Charles (Advisory Board) is a recent law school graduate living in Haiti and serves as the coordinator of the Patricia Fleming Fund safe house program for victims of sexual violence and their families since shortly after the 2010 earthquake. Alain is a former counselor for Alternative Chance program in Haiti and in 2009 - 2011 he worked part-time for Health through Walls, a prison health care program in Haiti. Alain played a key role in the aftermath of the earthquake in assisting journalists and delegations in Haiti and was named in a National Emmy Nomination for his assistance to television journalist Benno Schmidt who extensively covered the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. 

Jennifer Cheek Pantaléon (Advisory Board) is a documentary photographer who has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area over 25 years. Her projects with at-risk youth began in the late 1980's in SF's Tenderloin neighborhood taking photographs for children's advocacy agencies working to create after school programs, playgrounds, and a school for the areas 4,000 children. This work culminated in a permanent exhibit for the Tenderloin Community School in 2002. From 1997-2001, Jennifer taught photography to homeless teenagers at Youth Industry's in San Francisco. Since 2004, she has collaborated with teachers in the Photography in Education programs in San Francisco schools. Her documentary projects include young Alaskan gold miners, landmine victims in Cambodia, victims of AIDS in a San Francisco residential hotel, and homeless and runaway teenagers living on the streets of San Francisco. For the last ten years, Jennifer has been teaching photography workshops and photographing street children in Haiti. Jen is the co-founder and Executive Director of Zanmi Lakay, a program that helps current and former street children in Haiti to improve their lives. 

Wadson Fortune (Advisory Board) was born in St. Marc, Haiti but moved to the United States at age 13 where he later attended the International High School at La Guardia Community College. Wadson participated in the CAT Youth Theater in conjunction with New York University, and worked as an intern at the Haitian Center's Council where he counseled new immigrants.  He currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.

Edwidge Danticat (Advisory Board), an internationally acclaimed author, and recipient of the 2009 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, received a B.A. (1990) from Barnard College and an M.F.A. (1993) from Brown University. Danitcat's books depicting Haitian culture, both in Haiti and in the diaspora, include Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994); Krik? Krak! (1995); After the Dance: A Walk through Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti (2002), Behind the Mountain (2002), The Dewbreaker (2004), Anacaona: Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490 (2005), and Brother, I’m Dying (2007),  Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work (2011), Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (2010), Claire of the Sea Light (2013) and other prominent works. Danticat was a visiting professor of creative writing at New York University (1996-1997) and the University of Miami (2000 and 2008).

Caitlin Karshan (Board) first visited Haiti at age 5 in 1986. Later, Caitlin lived an adventurous life in Haiti during her adolescence -- attending high school, teaching english, and making lasting relationships there. Caitlin sings, writes song lyrics and currently works as a tutor and a real estate agent while raising two young sons in Brooklyn, New York. Caitlin has made storybook reading an important part of her mothering and has her own library of engaging books she regularly reads to her boys. Caitlin’s sons attend public school in Boerum Hill, are both gifted in art, and together with Caitlin they participate in cultural, science and physical activities through frequent visits to museums, violin lessons, trips to the parks and the other wonders that Brooklyn has to offer.

Michelle Karshan (Co-founder & Executive Director) first journeyed to Haiti in 1986 where she met Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide at the St. Jean Bosco Church in La Saline. Later Michelle lived in Haiti for more than a decade while serving as the Foreign Press Liaison for Presidents Aristide and Préval. In addition to her many years counseling and advocating on behalf of youth and adults in conflict with the law in New York, Michelle was a contributing author to the Alternatives to Violence Project manual and served as a facilitator/trainer in prison workshops for a decade. In 1996, Michelle founded Alternative Chance/Chans Altenativ, a peer-counseling program for Criminal Deportees in Haiti, and serves as an expert witness before immigration court on behalf of Haitians facing deportation to Haiti. From 2008-2009, Michelle served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center. Michelle currently sits on the Boards of Zanmi Lakay program for Haiti’s street children, the Aristide Foundation for Democracy and Health through Walls. From 2009-2011, Michelle served as the Health through Walls Haiti coordinator of a large scale prison health care program aimed at preventing, identifying and treating infectious and contagious disease at Haiti's national prison. Michelle has established, or contributed to, many libraries including raised monies for a multi-cultural library at Greenwich House daycare center (1983), founded a library for prisoners in Immigration Detention Center at Varick Street, New York (1987), founded the Alternative Chance library for criminal deportees in Haiti (1996),  donated books to Haiti’s National Library, to the Haitian-American Institute and to Haiti’s National Penitentiary library (1996-2003), founded the Li, Li, Li! library (2010) and recreated the Alternative Chance library that was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake.

Youme Landowne (Advisory Board) has been nationally recognized by the American Librarian Association and the Jane Addams committee for Peace and Social Justice in children's literature for the books she writes and illustrates. Selavi (That is Life) A Haitian Story of Hope was first published in 2004 continues to celebrate Haiti, now also available in Kreyol and paperback editions. Youme is a community artist who has worked internationally for over twenty years developing murals, poetry performances and collaborative public art for all ages in Haiti, Cuba, St. John, Laos, Kenya, Ghana, Vietnam, the U.S., Japan and London. Affiliations include Groundswell Murals in Brooklyn, NY, Tammakhoung Children's Center, Vientiane Laos, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, N.Y., Miami Friends Meeting, Miami, FL and the New School for Social Research, NY. Now based in Chicago, she is honored to serve on the board for Li! Li! Li! http://youme.landowne.org/

Teresa Leroy (Advisory Board) is the co-founder and treasurer of the Haitian People's Support Project, based in Woodstock, New York. Leroy also oversees volunteers for the Ulster County Habitat for Humanity. Leroy is a retired Teacher Leader for Reading Recovery, a successful program in many public schools for at risk first graders behind in their reading skills. The learning takes place through the use of beautiful books. In relation to Reading Recovery, Leroy served as an Adjunct Professor at New York University. By the time Leroy retired, she had served 67 teachers, 4 counties and 44 schools. "Books, literacy and storytelling are central to my beliefs in how children learn."

Melinda Miles (Advisory Board) first visited Haiti in 1993 and has spent the last fifteen years developing her knowledge about the country. Miles maintains an extensive network of personal relationships inside and outside Haiti with non-governmental organizations, grassroots-based groups, academics, analysts, Congressional staffers, Haitian government officials, major international institutions and other key stakeholders. Miles worked for five years at the Haiti Reborn project at the Quixote Center, four years with Jubilee USA Network, and participated or led more than a dozen delegations over the years. Miles co-edited Let Haiti Live: Coalition For a Just U.S. Policy, and later formed Konbit Pou Ayiti/KONPAY (Working Together for Haiti), an NGO that strengthens existing organizations, builds national networks and creates relationships between individuals and organizations in the U.S. and Haiti. KONPAY focuses on Haitian solutions to environmental, social and economic problems and supports collaboration and the sharing of technology and expertise. In response to the earthquake, Miles put together the Haiti Response Coalition working with twenty-five organizations to provide relief and recovery.

Riva Precil (Board) is currently a Music Therapy major within Loyola University New Orleans' Music Department where her concentration is voice. Riva Precil is a recipient of a Loyola music scholarship as well as a Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund (Jay Z) scholarship. A jazz vocalist, Riva won first place in Loyola’s Black Student Union Annual Talent Show in 2007. In the wake of Haiti's earthquake, Riva has contributed both her voice, dance and choreography, and music composition skills to various not-for-profit benefits, most recently for the Ayiti Cheri benefit at Loyola University New Orleans followed by Loyola University's ballet department annual performance. Growing up in Haiti (from age 5 to 15), Riva studied acting at Eclosion Atelier and acted and danced in various productions including in Haiti's Bicentennial celebration at the National Palace, which starred Danny Glover. Riva studied Haitian folkloric and modern dance at Viviane Gauthier’s school, at Artcho Danse, at Tschaka Danse, and also trained under Jenny Malary (Yogadou), and Raphaelle Francois. Riva began singing publicly at an early age appearing on Haitian television, in clubs and cultural events. Graduating in 2007 as a music major from NYC’s “Fame” school (La Guardia HS for Performing Arts) where she trained in classical and gospel singing, Riva received a gold medal for excellence in French. In 2006, Riva participated as the French-speaking delegate representing Haiti on women’s and environmental issues at the Model United Nations (NYDR) conference held at the United Nations.

Chari Rabinowitz Goldberg (Advisory Board) worked at ABC News where she created award-winning television projects for programs such as 20/20, Day One and Peter Jennings Reporting. She reported extensively on Haiti for projects that include "House on Fire: America's Haitian Crisis," which examined US foreign policy towards Haiti before the 1994 US military intervention, and "Haiti and Voodoo," about Haiti's spiritual practices. Chari also produced "Power of One," an ABC Special about energetic initiatives designed to combat youth violence. Other production credits include "Never Say Die," about the tactics of the tobacco industry, "They Were Young and Brave," about US war veterans returning to Vietnam, and "Scarred for Life," about the controversial ritual of female circumcision. Chari also worked as a producer for Beliefnet, the religion and spirituality website. A lecturer on Engaged Journalism, Chari's work has been honored with the Cine Golden Eagle, Overseas Press Club, and George Foster Peabody awards. She is the founder of Dragonsnap Media and works as a documentary producer and writer in New York.

Lionel Vital (Advisory Board) was born and raised in Haiti but more recently moved to Boston.  At age 13 he started working for a Haitian children's radio station in Port-au-Prince called Radyo Timoun -- which literally means children's radio in English. In 1997, at age 15, Vital represented Haiti at an international conference on children's rights held at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  In 2004, amid political turmoil, Vital left his beloved Haiti and moved to the United States. In November 2005, Vital was invited to speak about Selavi, a children’s book written by Youme  Landowne at the United Nations section on books about children.  Vital attended Bunker Hill Community College in Boston where he received his AA degree in Education and World Studies.  Vital currently serves on the board of Li, Li, Li!, a children’s literacy project in the tent camps in Haiti. Vital is dedicated to social justice and increasing human understanding across borders. He recently completed a semester in France studying international politics.  Vital is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Boston, where he is completed a double major in French and Political Science. Vital is currently studying in Germany where he has become proficient in German and will pursue his master’s degree in international relations with a focus on conflict resolution, development and good governance policy making in third world countries.