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Upcoming Events

9.15.18

ourBRIDGE Open House

3 P.M. to 6 p.m. / 3925 Willard Farrow Dr. Charlotte, NC 28205

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10.26.18

Words Matter: How Everyday Words Can Benefit or Damage Our Relationships to Communities of Color

6 P.M. / 3925 Willard Farrow Dr. Charlotte, NC 28205

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Upcoming Events

12.18.18

Winter Party

4:30 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. / 3925 Willard Farrow Dr. Charlotte, NC 28205

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12.9.18

Recognizing International Human Rights Day

12 P.M. / 3925 Willard Farrow Dr. Charlotte, NC 28205

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We are

ourBRIDGE Staff

Our staff is comprised of four full-time employees, four lead tutors (one per age group), eleven tutors, and many wonderful volunteers.

Sil Ganzó

Founder / Executive Director

sil@joinourbridge.org

Sil Ganzó is the founder and Executive Director of ourBRIDGE. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sil has been working with refugee, immigrant and 1st generation American children for the past six years. A strong advocate for diversity and respect among cultures, Sil created ourBRIDGE to continue her work supporting the education and the English acquisition of English Language Learner children, while encouraging them to feel pride of their culture, embrace their own heritage and others’.

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Linda Lang

Literacy Coordinator

linda@joinourbridge.org

Born and raised in Scotland, Linda is a British-trained educator, with 25 years of global experience in special education, remedial therapy, elementary classroom teaching, learning support, and tutoring.

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Natalie Cowart

Program Director

Natalie@joinourbridge.org

Natalie Cowart was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and attended The Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida for her undergraduate career and graduated with a dual-degree in Middle Eastern Studies and English in 2011. During her time at FSU, she studied abroad in London, England from 2007-2008 where she studied and traveled extensively to countries such as: France, Spain, Morocco, Germany, Austria, Romania, Poland, and Belgium. In the summer of 2010, Natalie studied in Beirut, Lebanon while attending the Lebanese American University. While completing the Arabic intensive language program, she completed an internship at the INAASH organization. INAASH supports Palestinian refugee women throughout refugee camps in Lebanon. INAASH works to preserve traditional Palestinian embroidery while providing employment and education to Palestinian artisans.

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Our Staff

Our Board Members

ourBRIDGE for Kids is a 501(c)(3) governed by a six-member board of directors.

  • Allen Shifflet, Treasurer

    Bank of America Merrill Lynch

    Read Bio
  • Erika Lopez, Fundraising Chair

    Global Impact (Formerly)

    Read Bio
  • Mark Weber, Board Chair

    Croixstone Consulting

    Read Bio
  • Meg Campbell Haynes, Esq., Secretary

    Center for the Support of Families

    Read Bio
  • Richard Lee

    Narrative

    Read Bio
  • Scott Waybright

    Charlotte Country Day School

    Read Bio

Sil Ganzó

Founder / Executive Director

Sil Ganzó is the founder and Executive Director of ourBRIDGE. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sil has been working with refugee, immigrant and 1st generation American children for the past six years. A strong advocate for diversity and respect among cultures, Sil created ourBRIDGE to continue her work supporting the education and the English acquisition of English Language Learner children, while encouraging them to feel pride of their culture, embrace their own heritage and others’.

Sil’s work with ourBRIDGE has been recognized nationally in articles published in The Atlantic and NBC News. A recipient of the 2014 Charlottean of the Year award, Sil has recently presented her innovative strategies to teach English to newly arrived children for the National Afterschool Association's webinar series, and with Youth Today and the HUB.

Sil lives with her husband and two children in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Linda Lang

Literacy Coordinator

Born and raised in Scotland, Linda is a British-trained educator, with 25 years of global experience in special education, remedial therapy, elementary classroom teaching, learning support, and tutoring.

Linda has mentored tutoring staff and volunteers, with responsibility for lesson planning and individual scholastic assessments for literacy and numeracy.

Linda has passionately dedicated her career to educating children of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Linda studied Elementary Education at Dundee University in the United Kingdom, earning a degree in Remedial Education (cum laude) from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

After receiving her teaching diploma in the UK, Linda traveled overseas to hold international appointments at schools in Abu Dhabi and South Africa, including 14 years as a Senior Teacher and Learning Therapist at Crossroads School, a distinguished remedial ‘clinic-school’ in Johannesburg.

In 2011, Linda met our founder Ms. Ganzó and began serving Charlotte-area immigrant and refugee children. Linda has mentored tutoring staff and volunteers, with responsibility for lesson planning and individual scholastic assessments for literacy and numeracy.

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Natalie Cowart

Program Director

Natalie Cowart was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and attended The Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida for her undergraduate career and graduated with a dual-degree in Middle Eastern Studies and English in 2011. During her time at FSU, she studied abroad in London, England from 2007-2008 where she studied and traveled extensively to countries such as: France, Spain, Morocco, Germany, Austria, Romania, Poland, and Belgium. In the summer of 2010, Natalie studied in Beirut, Lebanon while attending the Lebanese American University. While completing the Arabic intensive language program, she completed an internship at the INAASH organization. INAASH supports Palestinian refugee women throughout refugee camps in Lebanon. INAASH works to preserve traditional Palestinian embroidery while providing employment and education to Palestinian artisans.

After graduating in 2011, Natalie joined Teach For America as an Elementary teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina. Natalie served as a 5th grade teacher for three years. During which, her students made significant academic gains and personal growth. In 2014, she joined Teach For America staff as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In this role, she coached yearly cohorts of 20-35 teachers throughout their Teach For America commitment. Natalie graduated from Drexel University in 2017 with a MS Ed in Global and International Education and a concentration in Peace Education. Her thesis was titled The Landscape of Educational Support Services for Refugee Students in Charlotte, NC. She now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and two children.

CREDENTIALS
Bachelor of Arts in English and Middle Eastern Studies
North Carolina Teaching License K-6, Standard Professional I (SP1)
Master of Science (MS. Ed), Global and International Education, Drexel University (2017)
Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program), Social Behavioral, and Educational Research Investigators, Stage 1- Basic Course (2016)

Back To Team

Allen Shifflet, Treasurer

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Allen Shifflet manages a Credit Asset Financing team within the Global Credit and Special Situations Group at Merrill Lynch, focusing on financing portfolios of high-yield loans, bonds and similar securities.  His background includes a variety of marketing, product development, structuring and execution of interest rate and credit derivatives, loans and securitization. 

He began his career with a Bank of America predecessor bank after receiving a MBA from Harvard Business School.  Allen earned a B.A. from Haverford College. He is a partner with Social Venture Partners Charlotte and serves as the Treasurer of ourBRIDGE.

Erika Lopez, Fundraising Chair

Global Impact (Formerly)

Erika Lopez brings her passion for immigrant issues and expertise in strategic planning, revenue generation and partnership development to ourBRIDGE. Most recently, Erika led national fundraising efforts with the corporate sector for Global Impact, a non-profit alliance of over 100 international agencies that include Doctors without Borders, CARE, Stop Hunger Now and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Erika and her team of regional directors partnered with companies in the areas of CSR, employee engagement, workplace giving, and volunteerism to provide shared value to member agencies and to the companies and their employees.

Previously, Erika worked on the investment management team at U.S. Trust Company in Washington, D.C., providing relationship management and financial planning advice to high net worth individuals and families.

In the D.C. metro area, Erika served on the inaugural board of the Center for Social Leadership, which focused on capacity building in the nonprofit sector, and taught ESL as a volunteer with Hogar Immigrant Services.

Erika holds degrees in Economics and Psychology from the University of Virginia, and a Certificate in Non-Profit Business Management from Wake Forest. She currently lives in Charlotte with her husband and two young children.

Mark Weber, Board Chair

Croixstone Consulting

Mark Weber serves as Chair of the Board of ourBRIDGE He is the founder and managing partner of Croixstone Consulting, a boutique management consulting firm.

Mark also was co-founder and managing partner of DARTON GROUP Consulting, an Inc. 5000 provider of finance and accounting consulting services. Additionally, Mark served 13 years in senior management roles with 2 of the world’s largest workforce solutions firms and was named one of Charlotte’s “Top 50” entrepreneurs by Business Leader Charlotte magazine in 2010.

Mark is a partner with Social Venture Partners, a non-profit venture philanthropy organization. He also serves as Media Relations Chair with the Charlotte Affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network who honored him with its national “Media Relations Chair of the Year” award in 2016. Mark earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point and has completed Harvard Business School Club’s Management Development Program.

Meg Campbell Haynes, Esq., Secretary

Center for the Support of Families

Meg Haynes serves as Secretary of ourBRIDGE. She is a lawyer with the Center for the Support of Families.  Her focus is on policy and procedures development, legislative analysis, and training on child support.  

Meg has also served as Chair of the U.S. Commission on Interstate Child Support.  Additionally, she was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Maintenance.  She also served as an official observer to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) Drafting Committee of the Uniform Law Commissioners. Meg has been extensively honored for her work including: the OCSE Commissioner’s Distinguished Service Award for her work on behalf of children; ERICSA’s Felix Infausto Award for outstanding contributions in the area of interstate child support; and NCSEA’s Child Support Community Service Award. Meg is a former Trustee of Davidson College and a partner with Social Venture Partners. She earned a B.A. degree cum laude from Davidson College and a J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. 

Richard Lee

Narrative

Richard Lee serves as Vice Chair of the Board of ourBRIDGE. He is a professional consultant who helps corporate clients solve complex, global business problems. Most recently, Richard served for 13 years in a variety of senior leadership positions as Senior Vice President with Bank of America in roles including Corporate Compliance, Global Human Resources, and M&A Integration. He built new organizations around the globe and has been a strong advocate for building highly integrated work environments. Additionally, Richard served 8 years with Accenture, the global consulting firm, where he provided business, process and technology consulting to large financial services firms in Europe and the USA. Richard is a partner with Social Venture Partners, a non-profit venture philanthropy organization. Richard earned a MEng degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Leeds.

Scott Waybright

Charlotte Country Day School

Scott Waybright is a life-long educator and community volunteer. Scott found his passion for the Charlotte immigrant and refugee community after traveling to Africa and experiencing the isolation of being different for the first time.

Scott is the Assistant Head of School at Charlotte Country Day School. Prior to serving on the ourBRIDGE board of directors, Scott served on the board of Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency for six years.

A native of West Virginia, Scott has degrees from Marietta College (BA in Sports Medicine) and Winthrop University (MA in Middle Level Education).