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Upcoming Events

10.24.19

Becoming Trauma-Informed OPEN DOORS EVENT

6:30 pm / 3925 Willard Farrow Drive, Charlotte, NC, 28215 (Corner of Tipperary and Shamrock)

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We are

ourBRIDGE Staff

Sil Ganzó

Founder / Executive Director

sil@joinourbridge.org

Sil Ganzó is the founder and Executive Director of ourBRIDGE for KIDS. Sil moved to Charlotte, NC in 2003 from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Sil became involved with refugee and immigrant families in 2010, when she recognized the lack of educational and socio-emotional support for newly- arrived children. She was inspired to create ourBRIDGE; a safe, nurturing, and respectful environment where refugee and immigrant children can learn English, be encouraged to achieve academic excellence and cultural pride, and where their families could feel welcome and embraced as they strive to start their lives anew in the United States.

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ourBRIDGE Board of Directors

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

Sil Ganzó

Founder / Executive Director

Sil Ganzó is the founder and Executive Director of ourBRIDGE for KIDS. Sil moved to Charlotte, NC in 2003 from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Sil became involved with refugee and immigrant families in 2010, when she recognized the lack of educational and socio-emotional support for newly- arrived children. She was inspired to create ourBRIDGE; a safe, nurturing, and respectful environment where refugee and immigrant children can learn English, be encouraged to achieve academic excellence and cultural pride, and where their families could feel welcome and embraced as they strive to start their lives anew in the United States.


As a strong advocate for love, education, respect, and diversity among cultures and people, Sil has received several accolades for her work throughout the years including Charlotte Magazines 2014 and 2018 Charlottean of the Year and was recognized as a “Social Interruptor” by Community Building Initiative in 2018. She also received the 2019 Legacy Award for the work done at ourBRIDGE supporting the education of newly-arrived and 1st generation American children. Both Sil and ourBRIDGE have been widely recognized locally and nationally, with national media coverage and attention. In 2017 Sil was invited by Congresswoman Alma Adams to attend the State of the Union address in Washington DC. Most recently, ourBRIDGE was invited by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to present on how to ensure English Language Learners can have equal access to STEM. Sil continues to work as Executive Director of ourBRIDGE for KIDS, driven by her vision to make Charlotte a more welcoming, equitable city for immigrants and refugee families.

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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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Dima Daher

Board Member

A native of Jordan, Dima Daher migrated to United States and permanently settled in Charlotte, North Carolina in the year 2000. After acquiring a degree in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dima worked in the Imaging Software industry at LEAD Technologies, Inc. from 2004-2017. There she led the Multimedia department. Dima and her husband continue to live in Charlotte with their two children.

As a Jordanian with a mother of Syrian decent, Dima felt that she could put her Arabic speaking skills to good use when the war in Syria broke out and the influx of Syrian refugees increased. That is when she became involved with the refugee community in Charlotte through organizations such as the CRRA (Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency) and ourBRIDGE for Kids.

Being a migrant herself, Dima knows the challenges that one goes through trying to acclimate and fit into a new culture. She is thrilled to help other families as Charlotte becomes their home.

Scott M. Waybright

Board Member

Scott Waybright is a life-long educator and community volunteer. Scott found his passion for the Charlotte immigrant and refugee community after traveling to Malawi 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. Scott is also serving on the board of TESFA for Ethiopia.

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

Jordan Pineda

Board Member

Jordan started his career as a high school English teacher before entering education management. In his time outside of the classroom he has recruited teachers of color and also spent time as an equity coach for first year teachers. He has since transitioned into policy and works with states and localities across the country identifying, aligning, and scaling equity centric policies that impact young people of color. Now based in Washington, D.C, Jordan has continued to lead multiple Charlotte based non-profits from the advisory board level, and remains active in local education reform advocacy..

With a BA in Sociology and Education Equity from Wake Forest University in 2015, his strengths lie in articulating the micro-level effects that macro-level policies have on opportunity youth and their communities. He is currently earning his masters at Harvard University, where he researches pragmatic reform policies that target racially isolated schools.

Emily Yaffe

Secretary

Emily is the Immigrant Integration Specialist for the Office of Equity, Mobility and Immigrant Integration at the City of Charlotte. She is committed to supporting the success of a diverse, welcoming & globally connected Charlotte. She manages the language access programming, and the City’s Welcoming initiatives.

Becca O'Neill, J.D.

Board Member

Becca O'Neill is an immigration attorney and former social worker. She was raised in Charlotte and is happy to be a part of Our Bridge and other organizations leading the way to make Charlotte a better place. She is committed to reducing systems of oppression and violence in NC and beyond.

Claudia Marra Jacobson

Board Member

I have worked in the counseling field for over 20 years providing mental health counseling for individuals, couples, and families. I am a native Brazilian, my passion is to the study of and working with Cultural Diversity and all the challenges, learning experiences, and adversities that come with it.

Lisa Luth

Board Member

Lisa began her career at an ad agency, focusing on client engagement and marketing. After earning her MBA from Vanderbilt University she went to PepsiCo’s Taco Bell division. While there, she received the Presidents Award for creating the first Product Research group. She then went on to head up Marketing for Family Restaurant Group, spearheading a revitalization of a national restaurant chain. Leaving the corporate world behind in 2000, Lisa started a nonprofit in hunger relief, then moved to youth development where she spearheaded the growth of a Girls on the Run council before moving to the national office to head up council growth in the US. When she isn’t working to grow the business, you can find her snow skiing, hiking near her home in North Carolina and spending time with her husband and their four kids.

Manoj P Kesavan

Board Member

Manoj P. Kesavan is an architect/educator/organizer based in Charlotte, NC. He is the Founder and Executive Director of BOOM Charlotte, a multidisciplinary artist collective and non-profit that addresses issues of equity, access and opportunity in the community through innovative & collaborative cultural programming. They create open and inclusive platforms for creative professionals to engage and create social impact at a large scale. Their main program, the annual BOOM festival, was launched in 2016 and has grown into the largest, most diverse gathering of creatives in the city, showcasing the work of hundreds of regional and national artists and organizations. Their other initiatives range from the design of an off-the-grid free rural clinic in Haiti to launching the Pecha Kucha Night series in Charlotte. Kesavan has been a visiting lecturer/panelist/juror at several universities and writes/speaks internationally. He also consults on urban design/planning, community engagement and public art projects.
www.boomcharlotte.org

Emily C. Plauche'

Chair

Emily C. Plauche’ is a CPA who is dedicated to utilizing her financial and operational expertise to build infrastructure and support the financial accounting and procedural needs of nonprofit organizations.

A native of Louisiana, Emily acquired a BS in Accounting from the Honors College of Louisiana State University before pursuing an MSc in International Security from the School of Public Policy at University College London where she focused specifically on which justice institutions are most efficacious in achieving reconciliation between ethnic groups after genocide.

Emily relocated to Charlotte in 2012 to work as an auditor in the Banking and Capital Markets space for PwC before transitioning into the nonprofit sector where she first worked as the Director of Accounting and Subsidiary Controller for Girls on the Run International and now as Accounting Manager for Nuru International, an NGO dedicated to ending extreme poverty in remote, rural areas of Africa most susceptible to violent extremist recruitment.

Although she knows how to be an accountant, Emily’s true passion is for marginalized groups both locally and globally. Emily has volunteered extensively throughout Africa and South Asia and remains involved with the immigrant community here in Charlotte, NC.

Stefania Arteaga

Board Member

Stefania Arteaga is an organizer and strategist who has played a crucial role in advancing immigrants’ rights organizing in North Carolina. Stefania has co-founded the grassroots group Comunidad Colectiva and the immigration legal non-profit the Carolina Migrant Network. For years she has worked on push back the tide of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement collaboration. As an immigrant from El Salvador, she spent years organizing undocumented students, deportation defense campaigns, and toward the successful end of 287(g) in Charlotte/Mecklenburg County. She is a 2019 recipient of the Z Smith Reynolds All for NC fellowship and protagonist in the 2020 Netflix original documentary, Immigration Nation.

Lorraine Elliot

Treasurer

Bio forthcoming!