Board of Directors
Founder | President
Evelyn Kessler's family is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo; she was born in Amherst, NY. Her family left Western, NY in 1986 to return to the Congo after her father obtained his Ph.D. in Education from the University at Buffalo. She left the Congo in 1994 when the Genocide turmoil in neighboring Rwanda began to trickle into the Congo during the large influx of refugees. She was fortunate to have left before the war was in full swing and traveled to Paris, France for High School then to Buffalo, NY in 1997 to continue her education. She obtained her Bachelor's in Business Administration degree from Medaille college.
Evelyn recognized how blessed she was to not be a victim of the Congolese war which caused over 5 million deaths including some of her family members. Recognizing she too could have been an orphan or could have faced brutal violence like many others, she has made it her mission to help abandoned children not only in her country of origin but in other countries around the world.
Evelyn was among other Social Entrepreneurs celebrated by Afrimpact Magazine on December 2nd, 2017 for her work empowering disadvantaged children in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Learn more here:
"We have all heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child, my goal is to help people see that we live in a global village therefore when we help these disadvantaged children get educated and become self sustaining, it benefits all of us in the long run."
A native of Western New York, Bob Little received his B.S. in Finance at Canisius College before moving to Boston, MA, where he earned his J.D. from Boston University School of Law. After graduating, Bob worked as a corporate lawyer in New York City for six years before moving back to Buffalo in 2016 with his wife, a California native. In 2017, Bob made the transition from attorney to entrepreneur, becoming the owner of Choco-Logo Confectionery Design.
Bob is passionate not only about chocolate, but about the opportunity to give back both through his business and his work with local charities. Bob is excited to be supporting the incredible work done by ICA to provide education and empowerment to children in need around the world.
Adrienne Garr, LMSW is a Buffalo, New York native. She is an alumna of the University of Buffalo School of Social Work. Adrienne graduated from UB in 2017 with a Master of Social Work. She is licensed by the New York State Department of Education.
Adrienne's interest in International Child Advancement comes from a commitment to support the Founder's vision of self-efficacy for the staff and children of GUAOA. Adrienne is committed to supporting the agency's vision of empowerment through education for the orphaned children of Goma, DRC and underpriviliged children around the world.
Novi Paluch made her way to Buffalo, NY in 2008 by way of Jakarta, Indonesia where she worked as a trader at an Indonesian Stock Exchange. After spending some time in Buffalo, she saw an opportunity in the local market to offer a fine selection of hand made Indonesian Batik, an artform and style of fashion. From there, she made the bold decision to set up operations for Sasmita Batik at the Market Arcade.
Novi has created opportunities for underprivileged children in Indonesia by selling goods made by them in her shop. Profits from the proceeds are sent to Indonesia to benefit the children.
Novi has been a supporter of International Child Advancement and is excited to bring her passion of helping underprivileged children worldwide by serving on ICA’s Board.
Tony Lizza has over a decade of experience in technology, working in a variety of roles in both the private and public sectors. He has worked with large organizations such as AARP, Limited Brands, Politico, and Netflix, where the project he worked on was nominated for an Emmy. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife.
Serah was born and raised in Kenya, East Africa. She is a wife and mother of three. Serah and her family settled in Buffalo in 2014, after her daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. The family had a wonderful experience at Children's Hospital (now Oishei Children's Hospital). It was after that experience that she was made aware of all the work that needs to be done for children diagnosed with cancer.
She joined International Child Advancement as a volunteer Country Liaison for Kenya in January 2018 when we partnered with Hope for Cancer Kids – Kenya. Serah is dedicated to help the children ICA supports in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.