ABOUT US

National

Bill Herman. International Director. Director of YES! Teacher Training. Bill received his BFA and teaching credentials in 1975.  Several years later he received his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. For more than twenty years, Bill taught photography and art in high schools and colleges across the United States. Inspired by working with youth, Bill initiated and conducted IAHVs first Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP) in the United States in 2001. Since then, he has organized and taught YLTP in Mexico, Belize, Haiti, India and Pakistan. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bill managed a team of people to organize and deliver trauma and stress relief programs and YLTP for the people of New Orleans. In 2008, he began a partnership between IAHV and Friends of Petit Anse to conduct an ongoing YLTP reforestation project in Haiti. Inspiring and training young people to teach the Youth Empowerment Seminars (YES!) in schools across North America is his most recent passion.

Elan Gepner. Executive Director.  Elan has spent the last 10 years organizing and delivering empowerment programs for youth, including leadership academies, poetry and theater festivals, youth film productions, and personal development coaching and instruction. In his current role he serves as the U.S. Director of the YES! for Schools program, where he has spent the last 4 years overseeing the creation of sustainable and scalable programming to support long term school climate shift in programs across the country.  In previous work as a filmmaker, Elan produced documentaries for educational purposes, and as a theater director/performer, he created pieces for youth in the US and internationally. The intersection of all of Elan’s work is alleviating stress and violence in the lives of youth and communities in need. Elan graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Art Semiotics from Brown University.
New York/New Jersey

Narciso Cruz.  YES! Teacher. Narciso was born in the Dominican Republic and studied Political Science at the City College of New York. He has more than twenty-five years of professional experience in youth development, and seven years of experience as a YES! teacher. He is currently the Director of the Youth Programs for IAHV in York City, and oversees all YES! programs in New York and New Jersey. In addition to teaching YES! in schools and in the community, Narciso teaches YES! programs at youth correctional facilities nation wide.

Hitesh “Harry” Monga. YES! Teacher. Hitesh recently graduated with his BS in Construction Engineering Technology at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Since childhood, he has had a passion for giving back to society. Having volunteered with several service-based, non-profit organizations, Hitesh could have never imagined that his passion for giving back would manifest as the Youth Empowerment Seminar (YES!). Hitesh has since assisted and/or facilitated the YES! Program to over 10,000 students nationwide. Inspired by the overall vision of YES!, creating a stress-free environment for both students and educators, Hitesh is driven to continually look for new ways to convey this profound wisdom. He enjoys playing competitive sports, reading and self-development.

IMG_6854Juan Mosquera. YES! Teacher. Juan joined the YES! team in New York full-time in 2014. With his roots in Colombia, Juan was raised in Ohio and attended the Ohio State University receiving a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing. During his time in university, he served in several leadership positions including being elected Hall Council President as a freshman. He also became very involved with Yesplus, the college­ age program for YES!, organizing many courses and events, eventually going on to become a Yesplus Teacher. He found his passion for serving youth in schools during a work­study position working with an after­school kids program, and decided to switch career tracks and join City Year for two years where he mentored, tutored and empowered 9th and 10th graders. Juan is happy to be working full time at Dodd Middle School in Freeport Long Island, supporting school climate change through the curriculum, SEL practices, and working together with the committed staff towards a stress­-free, violence­-free school.

Lauren Grieco. YES! Teacher. Research Assistant.  Lauren holds a B.S. in Psychology from Saint Joseph’s University, where she graduated magna cum laude. Prior to working with YES!, Lauren was an Early Intervention Support Therapist, working in the field with special needs children for 5 years.  In her work as a YES! teacher, she teaches a curriculum that increases emotion regulation and stress management in high-risk students. Lauren also facilitates one-on-one coaching sessions with students, assessing their need for tools and techniques to increase focus at school and to decreases stress, anxiety and anger. Lauren is also the co-founder of a Leadership Training Program for young women called, GROW, Girls Ready to Own the World. She has been an avid practitioner of yoga and meditation for the past ten years and is passionate about bringing the benefits of these practices to those struggling with life’s daily stressors and psychological trauma.

San Francisco Bay Area

Priya Mayureshwar.  YES! for Schools City Director, SFBA. YES! Teacher.  Priya comes with 13 years of experience in the IT industry. She has worked as a Software Engineer and as a Business Analyst for different IT companies in India, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and the US. Inspired by the work done by IAHV, she made the switch to teaching YES! in 2009. She has taught the program to high school students in at risk populations as well as in academically high achieving schools. Priya’s YES! motto is “Awareness is all about living fully in the present moment”.

Anjali Vishwanath. YES! Teacher. Anjali has worked for many years in the hi-tech industry. Parenting her twins has been the single most fulfilling adventure of her life. She loves Yoga and is a certified Yoga instructor. She also teaches Stress Management workshops through the Art of Living Foundation. Anjali loves to run marathons through The Luekemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training and is a mentor volunteer for them. Her favorite segment of the population is teens and youth, our future is in their hands. Her focus is currently nurturing them through the YES! program. Her other passions include hiking, cooking & reading.
Rekha Alur. YES! Teacher. Involved as a volunteer with the YES Program since its inception in 2009, became a YES teacher in 2015. I have struggled with my emotions during my teenage and adult years. Often, in due course of time, the emotions would subside but the impression of the trigger for the emotions lingered on. Neither at home nor at school was I taught how to get rid of the source of the emotional rollercoaster. It was when I experienced the power of “Sudarshan Kriya”, that I realized the cleansing effect of rhythmic breathing in getting rid of emotional trauma and impressions. Not only that, I was given amazing tools to navigate through life keeping a peaceful and stress free attitude within, while being totally engaged with enthusiasm with the world outside.

MartinMartín Blank. 
YES! Teacher. Martín studied Education and Social Change at UC Berkeley and Jazz Studies at the California Jazz Conservatory before playing and teaching music around the world for 7 years, studying languages and cultures during his travels. Since 2013, Martín has touched the lives of over 5,000 students and hundreds of teachers around the U.S. and Mexico with techniques of meditation, stress-management, and well-being as a teacher for the Youth Empowerment Seminar. He lives in Berkeley, California and plays in the SF Bay Area’s fastest growing Cumbia band: the drummer and lead singer each grow two inches per week (their waistbands).
Allie Xiong. YES! Teacher. Allie works as a Computer Science instructor at CSU Monterey Bay and Foothill College. Prior to teaching computer science, she had 14 years of experience working as a software engineer and program manager in the IT industry. She holds a Bachelors and Masters in Computer Science. She is passionate about education and teaching, and she has over 10 years of experience volunteering for educational non-profit organizations.
Neena Bhatnagar. YES! Teacher. Neena has a Masters in Computer Engineering and worked in the corporate industry for 16 years. She was introduced to IAHV and experienced tremendous transformation in herself. As a mother of 2 girls, shared the YES program with her daughters. Observing the benefits that her kids received by doing this course, she became very much interested in sharing this with other kids in her community. She started volunteering at Lynbrook in year 2011. In 2015 she completed the YES teacher training course.
Andrea Jordan. YES! Teacher. Andrea Jordan graduated from the USC Rossier School of Education with a Masters in Teaching. In 2011, received BS in Music from Canada’s McGill University and performing internationally as an opera singer, Working with YES! for Schools combines her passion for education with a broader vision of providing students with powerful, practical tools for managing their stress, as well as unlocking their natural enthusiasm and creativity.
 clayClay Courchaine.  YES! Teacher.  Clay graduated from San Francisco State University in 2016 with a B.A. in English Education with a concentration in literature. He is currently attending the Secondary Education Credential program at San Jose State University and will receive his single subject teaching credential in English and Social Science in 2017. He began teaching YES! in 2009, teaching in various cities throughout the United States, as well as Costa Rica. Since then Clay has enjoyed working with young people and learning a lot from them.
Chicago/Milwaukee

Emily Lifton. YES! Teacher. Emily graduated from Sierra Nevada College in California with a degree in psychology and body therapy in 1984. For ten years, she worked as a massage therapist, a yoga teacher and ski instructor in Lake Tahoe, while raising her daughter, Tika Simone. Additionally, Emily has taught YES! and YLTP programs both nationally and internationally, and has been actively involved with IAHVs youth lead community service initiatives in New Orleans, Belize and Haiti. Since moving to Chicago in 2003, Emily has taught YES! in elementary, middle and high schools in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Minnesota.

Pam Brockman. YES! Teacher. Pam has a BA in Modern Languages from Knox College in Illinois, a MA in Romance Languages from Northwestern University in Illinois and speaks fluent Spanish and French. Her professional experience includes teaching French and Spanish at suburban, inner city and parochial high schools, and ten years as vice president of a small Hispanic advertising and public relations company in Chicago. Pam teaches the YES! program, as well as stress management and life-skills programs for adult. She also teaches meditation and facilitates meditation retreats in the US, Canada, Central and South America. Pam is passionate about helping youth and adults learn practical skills to manage their minds and emotions.

Los Angeles/Pomona

Justin McGurrin. YES! for Schools City Director, Los Angeles. YES! Teacher. Justin has a degree in English and business from Florida State University. A 2006-2007 LeaderShape Graduate, Justin has been involved in leadership roles with projects ranging from Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief to Cherokee Nation Education Reform. He has been teaching YES! in cities across the country since 2009, and is currently serving as the Los Angeles Program Director for YES! for Schools. Additionally, he is pursuing a masters degree in the field of education. Justin is passionate about and finds much joy in working with youth. In his spare time he can be found exploring Los Angeles, playing basketball and acting.

Deirdre Jackson. Lead YES! Teacher / Coordinator, LA. Deirdre studied psychology and sociology at Clemson University in South Carolina.  While there, she helped start The Tracy Jackson Foundation, which provides support to battered women and self-empowerment programs for under privileged girls. Currently she lives in Los Angeles and works part-time for the U.S. Department of Education testing 4th and 8th graders in math and science.  She also works for the RAND Corporation on Project Choice, a study created to design after school drug and alcohol prevention programs. Now Deirdre is taking her desire to uplift youth to the next level by working with IAHVs youth programs as a YES! teacher.

profileBritney Poitier. YES! Teacher. Brittney received her BS in Psychology and BA in Communication from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. While there, she worked as an advocate, empowering teen girls in the juvenile delinquency system through  the Girl’s Advocacy Project.  After graduating, Brittney became an Americorps member in a program revolved around non-profit organizations called Public Allies Chicago. This new endeavor gave her the opportunity to work at Chicago Public Schools district office, coordinating free tutoring services for students in over 400 schools. In 2012, Brittney discovered YES! for Schools, fell in love and decided to become a YES! teacher after her term with Americorps. Brittney’s passion lies in the realm of uplifting humanity in any way possible so that each person can experience a happy, healthy and rewarding life.