I'm the daughter of a Jewish New Yorker father who converted to Christianity, and an immigrant mother from the country of New Zealand.
All my life has been a series of juxtapositions. Having parents from such different backgrounds profoundly shaped me, and I have always felt most comfortable around others who can identify with these types of complexities.
After graduating from college with a B.A. in English, I taught high school English for six years in mostly segregated Latino and Black schools. In 2014, my husband and I (along with our two tiny girls) decided to move into the DeKalb neighborhood of Buford Highway to be closer to the schools and communities in which I worked.
That's why Presencia resonated with me from the moment we moved to Buford Highway and met Ruthie and Ian. Their love for their community was clear, and I immediately began assisting Ruthie with mentoring some of the older high school girls.
Since then, my work at Cross Keys High School, at Los Vecinos de Buford Highway, and in advocacy has overlapped with Presencia in myriad ways. I love working with Ruthie and Ian to help support students from the neighborhood with academic, emotional, and spiritual support.
Presencia's work has been meaningful to my life as I continually see the lives of my students and the lives of my friends' children deeply impacted. I especially admire how students in the program grow up to become leaders in Presencia, and this genuine leadership development model has shaped my own work in fundamental ways. The sincerity and dedication I see in both Ian and Ruthie -- and the fact that they have been able to help cultivate these qualities in the lives of the children involved with Presencia -- continues to both astound and inspire me.
After Ruthie and Ian spoke about their ministry and passion at my church in 2009, I immediately felt that I needed to be a part of what God was doing. I am a Weekday Preschool teacher with a love for children and a passion for sharing God's truth. I have been privileged to see dozens of children at Presencia grow in respect to academics, confidence, social skills, manners but more importantly spiritual matters. Yes, they are hungry for help with homework but they also receive love, encouragement and spiritual truth. Presencia has been a tool to connect the church to the community and invest in the lives of the next generation.