Janelle Rienstra Jones, President
JANELLE’S STORY: Teaching and acting have been my passions in my adult life and I’ve sometimes found it difficult to do both whole-heartedly at the same time. After a good number of years spent focused on acting, and supplementing the sometimes meager financial returns of that profession by working as an Office Manager in the digital advertising space, I longed for a return to teaching.
In 2008, inspired by a friend who found an international volunteering opportunity on idealist.org, I found information on VIN and immediately knew that was going to be my next adventure. I left my job(s) and spent eight weeks living in a Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu and teaching English to the monks there, and the experience changed my life. After returning to the “real world”, I wanted to stay connected to the place and the people, and encourage others to do the same. My time on the Board of FVIN has inspired, challenged, and changed me and I hope to inspire others to join me on this journey!
Sadie Green, Vice President
I am fortunate to have a supportive family and community in Nepal, in the US, and around the world. Since my first trip to Nepal in 2009 to meet my in-laws, I have been working on and researching with many wonderful individuals on important issues and ongoing projects in Nepal that I am passionate about. These include the education and economic empowerment of women and girls, and sustainable agriculture and community development.
I am committed to Nepal’s bright future. My ongoing work here includes with Volunteers Initiative Nepal (VIN) as Vice President of Friends of Volunteer Initiative Nepal USA (FVIN) and with Astha Women’s School and the Chetana Women Skills Development Project. Meeting the strong, beautiful women of Nepal has been particularly moving and motivating to me. My mission is to support local programs by and for women and girls.
Wendy McElvain, Secretary
Maddison Rosenberg, Treasurer
MADDIE’s STORY: The first time I saw my younger sister, I was hit with an overwhelming feeling of love. We shared no blood relations and were born on different sides of the world. The only ties binding us were circumstantial. Any number of factors—a delay in paperwork, governmental policy changes, the choices available to her birth parents—would have changed the outcome and the girl I know as my sister would be someone else entirely. I love my sister because she is family, but that love could easily have been for any other girl. Why then, shouldn’t I treat everyone with the same generosity and compassion I give to my family? We are each of us members of a human family.
With this conviction, I sought ways to offer aid to my human family where it was most needed— in developing countries. I am especially passionate about women’s rights, so I spent twelve weeks in 2012 volunteering for VIN’s Women’s Empowerment projects. My continuing mission is to support the people of Nepal as they work towards gender equality and a higher standard of living.