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Our Board

Bienvenido “Ben” Abiles, Chairman served nearly 28 years of commissioned service in the US Coast Guard. He   retired as a Captain.  He has lived in Florida since July 2000.  Worked in property management for a few years.  Obtained real estate license in August 2000 and currently active as a real estate agent with a specialty in short term vacation properties.  He served as the interim executive director of Free the Kids in 2013. He is active with his church as a lector, cantor and choir member, plus a volunteer for many church activities.  He has been married to Regina for 43 years. They have four grown children, five grandsons and expect another grandchild in January.  He is an avid golfer.

Jacqueline A. Wilson, Secretary has been involved with Free the Kids since 2012. In 2003, she founded a local non-profit and was board chairman of the Ten Thousand Villages store in Greensboro, an organization that helps disadvantaged people in third world countries sell their hand-made products in the Triad region. She continues to sit on that board. Jackie is also on the Friends of the UNCG Library board and several years ago served on a start-up furniture ministry board, Barnabas Ministries. She is an elder at First Presbyterian Church (ordained, but rotated off the session). Jackie holds a BA degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Brian Farley, Treasurer lives in Southern California.  Brian is a Financial Executive with diverse background in the operational and financial oversight of small and mid-market companies, Brian has extensive experience conducting financial, operational and marketing analysis and developing financial/sales forecasts. He has been married to Therese, for nearly 26 years and blessed with three children, Patrick a graduate from University of San Francisco, Anne Marie a senior at Loyola University in New Orleans and Kathleen a new freshman at University of Oregon.

Clifford D. “Seth” Sethness is a Los Angeles attorney and a partner in Morgan Lewis’s Labor and Employment Practice and has been practicing exclusively labor and employment law for more than 30 years. He is the practice group leader for the Labor and Employment Practice in Los Angeles. Mr. Sethness handles and oversees the labor and employment law litigation and advice for the West Coast shipping industry through his wide-ranging representation of the Pacific Maritime Association. A former staff attorney at the National Labor Relations Board, Mr. Sethness has an active litigation practice representing shipping, trucking, retail, hospitality, and transportation industry clients in wage and hour and other types of class actions and discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuits. Seth has his doctorate in jurisprudence from the George Washington University Law School.

Jack Reynolds, was born and raised in Haddonfield, NJ near Philadelphia.  He graduated from Guilford College, Greensboro, NC.  in 1965 and then attended Navy OCS in Pensacola, FL.  He was assigned to the Armed Forces Air Intelligence Center at Lowry AFB, Denver for one year training.  After a five year active career in anti-submarine intelligence as well as six additional reserve years attaining the rank of Lt. Cdr, Jack joined U.S. Steel Corp. in 1970 as a sales trainee.  He was assigned sales territories in Syracuse, NY, Philadelphia, and Bethlehem, PA. before becoming marketing manager for the steel mill at Fairless Hills, PA.  In 1982 Jack was promoted to Sales Manager- Northeast located in Ridgewood, NJ, a position he held until retiring in November 2002. Jack is married to Monique a native of Lewiston, Maine and they have three grown children, Marc – Gilbert, AZ, Jonathan, Ridgewood, NJ and Christian, Greensboro. In 1999, Jack and his brother-in-law, Fr. Marc Boisvert (Monique’s brother) founded Free The Kids. Jack and Monique now reside in Fountain Hills, AZ after spending most of their adult lives in Ridgewood, NJ and Greensboro, NC.  Jack is a 42 year member of Rotary and now belongs to the local Four Peaks Rotary Club.

Kenneth Graff is a Regional Vice President for Salesforce.com in Boston, MA.  Ken has over 20 years of technology sales experience in the Northeast with Hewlett Packard and CA Technologies and has been involved in providing technology solutions for Fortune 100 companies around the world.  His Specialties include Cloud technologies, Application Security, Mobile, Social, Sales, Customer Service and Marketing technologies.  He has worked with Manufacturing, Technology, Professional Services, Healthcare, Retail and Insurance Services and Financial companies of all sizes.  Ken studied Business and Marketing and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Eastern Connecticut State University.  He has an interest in Theology and has studied at Franciscan University of Steubenville in the Masters Program.  Ken served in the Connecticut Army National Guard as well.

William Foudray lives in Eden Prairie, MN. Bill co-owns Vantage Financial, an equipment leasing company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Bill has over 20 years of progressive financial services leadership experience while at Ford Motor Credit Company, Winthrop Resources Corporation, and Fidelity National Capital, Inc. Bill co-founded Fidelity National Capital, Inc. in 1999 with Bob Murphy and was instrumental in growing the company to over $275M in leased assets and one of the leading third party technology leasing companies. While at Fidelity, Bill served in numerous roles including Vice President of Operations, Chief Financial Officer, and Executive Vice President. He was also instrumental in the sale of the company to TCF Bank in 2009. Bill has an MBA from the University of Minnesota.

Neil Cohen is located outside Chicago and is a senior partner, practicing as a CPA and investment advisor. He works with many individuals and small businesses providing personalized services in accounting, tax planning and preparation as well as financial planning and investment management services. Neil and his wife enjoy many outdoor activities including skiing, tennis, and hiking. They also enjoy traveling and spending time with their two children as much as possible.

 

I fell in love with Espwa during my first visit last year. Hard to put into words, but there was a real "heart" connection with the kids and staff. It is a special place. My visit was focused primarily on the girls and the teachers. Relationships were initiated during that first visit that I treasure very much!

- Maria Simeone

There is hardly a more heartbreaking sight than seeing an orphan in Haiti--many of them who have families who simply cannot feed and clothe them. Of course there is the emotional response to their plight, but there is a more pragmatic hope--that given a chance in a loving, caring environment, these children can grow up to be leaders, people who can move their communities and the country itself in a positive, healthy direction.

- Jackie Wilson

This place is amazing! The kids and their caregivers will restore your faith in the human spirit. The magic of Espwa is that there is a childhood provided for the kids there that would not exist otherwise.Haiti has a very very long way to go, but this is a hopeful place with clean, well fed, happy children, teachers, house moms, and support staff. Fr Marc and all of the others should be very proud of their accomplishments. Help them in any way that you can!

- Kerri McDonough Croland
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