The Team


  • Marchelle L. Sellers, MBA

    Marchelle L. Sellers, MBA
    Executive Director

    As a mother of a child who endured 14 surgeries in 13 years, I never realized the luxury of having top surgeons down the street that had all of the knowledge to do the best job for my son. I also never realized until I traveled to other countries, that mothers have no health insurance or options when they discover their child's life-saving surgery is something they will never be able to afford. What makes us so lucky to live in a country with everything we need to get help for our children, while others are so unfortunate. I work every day with a committed staff and Board to ensure that EVERY child and EVERY parent gets the surgery they need to live a long, healthy childhood. Medical care should not be optional or impossible.

  • Cristina Farrut

    Cristina Farrut
    Director of Social Services

    I love working for Mending Kids because we provide transformational surgeries to children from around the world, which otherwise will go untreated. Through God, we give our children an opportunity to live a normal and healthier life. It is a blessing for me to be a part of this amazing organization, in which, we not only changed the lives of children, but their entire family and their community. I believe that all children regardless of their background and financial situation should have access to medical and surgical care. There is nothing more beautiful for a mother, than to see their children healthy.

  • Isabelle Fox

    Isabelle Fox
    Mission Coordinator

    Until I came into the the Mending Kids family I had never connected with a philanthropic organization and a group of dedicated people as inspiring to me as the staff, doctors and volunteers that belong to this one. Traveling with amazing pediatric surgical teams across the world, relaying their stories and those of the children whose lives we save has made me understand the power of the written word, the power of a hug when language fails and given me lessons in courage I never imagined I would ever have to face.

    Where do we go next?

  • Helen Larimore

    Helen Larimore
    Office Manager

    I recently moved to the Los Angeles area from my hometown of Chicago to join the Mending Kids team. Working with this amazing organization is a daily reminder of how thankful I am for everything in my life and to always be considerate to others. I am so blessed to play a part in helping so many children's lives around the world. Everyone from the staff, volunteers, doctors, and kids have welcomed me into this beautiful family and I am forever grateful.

  • Chaoyi Liu

    Chaoyi Liu
    Social & Financial Services Manager

    It was my Capstone class from USC's MPA program that led me to this amazing organization that does such great work around the world. I am an international student coming from a developing country, so I know how limited health resources are but more importantly, I understand how precious and rare and brave it is for organizations like Mending Kids to travel so far to so many countries and offer free surgeries to kids in need. As a Bachelor of Finance and with a heart full of passion in nonprofit, I volunteered to help out in the office in the accounting department and I feel so blessed to be a part of the team.

  • Kristen Regier

    Kristen Regier
    Special Events & Sponsor Relations

    I am so honored and grateful to have the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful organization. It is an amazing feeling to know that the work you do results in the lives of children throughout the world being mended. I wake up every day with a renewed sense of purpose and a smile knowing that Mending Kids is transforming the lives of children. Sustained by compassion and support Mending Kids stands as the center of hope for those who need mending most.

  • Editt Nikoyan, M.S.

    Editt Nikoyan, M.S.
    Program Coordinator

    I believe that every child is entitled to a happy and healthy life, no matter where in the world they are born. In the time I've spent with Mending Kids, however, I have witnessed the ripple effect of their work go beyond just providing life-saving surgeries for children worldwide. It allows hope and happiness for families in otherwise impossible settings. It actively fosters long-term sustainability and progress among local surgeons and hospital staff. I am inspired every single day that I work with Mending Kids to further this cause. Our staff and volunteers are unrelenting humanitarians. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Mending Kids family, and to serve countless other families around the globe.

  • Heidi Zabriskie

    Heidi Zabriskie
    Marketing Coordinator

    Working with this incredible organization, Mending Kids, has allowed me to use my fortunate health and privileged education to aid my fellow humans that are in need and are not as lucky as I am. The more I learn about Mending Kids, the more I am inspired and undoubtedly impressed. The organization takes entire medical teams including brilliant doctors and passionate volunteers, and they not only tend to children, but they create sustainable and lasting resources to improve the lives for years to come. I am ever so thankful for the opportunity to give back to this world and to learn with such an amazing group of people.

  • Daniel Beshe

    Daniel Beshe
    Volunteer Trip Coordinator

    For nearly 15 years, I've lived and worked in rural communities of the developing world making some of my closest friendships where poverty and poor healthcare is an everyday way of life. Since returning to the U.S., I am happy to be part of an organization passionately dedicated to helping giveback and enhance the lives of so many children and families from around the world. Even the simplest of Mending Kids surgeries can transform the livelihood of a suffering child, providing a healthy, happier life and the opportunity to live as a function member of their community.

  • Echo Harmony

    Echo Harmony
    Surgical Supply Consultant

    Echo Harmony's biographical information is forthcoming.

  • Caren Niewisch

    Caren Niewisch
    Outreach & Mission Consultant

    I am humbled and privileged to be a part of an incredible journey that challenges me to serve in new ways to make a difference in the world for children and their families in need. Witnessing the small miracles that happen every day when ordinary people work together to do extraordinary things for other people, nurtures my spirit, inspires my soul and restores my faith in mankind. Seeing the light of hope in a mother's eyes where before there was none... is transformational for me and for them...there is no substitute for love and caring. Witnessing the ripple effect, the lasting impact of our work and partnerships on children, families, communities, countries, the world and ourselves. There are no coincidences...only Diosidencias...(God Incidents). I have been blessed to be a part of so many miracles and it is my absolute privilege, honor and duty to serve God the creator by sharing these experiences with others by giving them the opportunity to serve others less fortunate with love.

  • Keever Rhodes

    Keever Rhodes
    Social Services Consultant

    Working with Mending Kids is the most fulfilling social work that I have ever practiced. We not only mend broken bodies, but ultimately impact the child's family, community, and contribute to the building of a global community.

  • Liz Vail

    Liz Vail
    Development Consultant

    I have always loved babies and I can't stand it when a child is hurting. What better way to help the hurt go away then to be involved with Mending Kids. We are all working towards one goal, mend the children, mend the family.

  • Jacqui Werbelow

    Jacqui Werbelow
    Development/Event Consultant

    I consider myself truly blessed that I have been given the opportunity to work for such a wonderful organization like Mending Kids. Knowing that I am a part of a team that helps to improve the lives of children from all over the world, including the United States, just melts my heart and gives me a renewed sense of hope and humanity. Providing life-changing surgical care to a child brings a new sense of happiness and love to them (and us). We see new smiles, we see laughter and we see hope. I personally have seen the many ways people have committed to helping us with our mission. Truly life-changing. Working with Mending Kids seeks to change the lives of many and in return by working with them and seeing what they do, they have also indirectly changed mine.

  • Rebecca El-Khoury, M.S.

    Rebecca El-Khoury, M.S.
    Master of Science In Global Medicine

    After having graduated from the University of Southern California with a M.S. in Global Medicine, I have come to learn of and witness the suffering and pain that children around the world face because of the lack of access to simple and affordable medical care. At Mending Kids, I have this amazing opportunity to not only make a difference but to give back. By working with the Mending Kids Family, I am able to help provide life-changing surgeries and medical care, a basic fundamental right of every human being. Mending Kids is the place where I can fully and wholeheartedly donate my time and skills to benefit an extraordinary cause.

  • Amar Dass

    Amar Dass
    USC Graduate Student, Master of Science in Global Medicine

    I've worked with many organizations in the past that serve the underserved populations in local communities. My invaluable experiences pursued me to enroll at USC's Global Medicine program in the hopes of one day making a positive impact in this world. Mending Kids is a phenomenal organization that consists of many hardworking people, from high school volunteers to physicians who want to put smiles on children's faces. I've never been part of a team so passionate about saving and improving the lives of children. I am thrilled to dedicate my time with Mending Kids as I look forward in cherishing this new experience and creating everlasting friendships.

  • Natalie Friedricks

    Natalie Friedricks
    USC Graduate Student, Master of Science in Global Medicine

    In a perfect world, every child would have equal access to a high standard of healthcare. Unfortunately, many children due to their background or location are falling through the cracks. At Mending Kids we aim to care for those who need a helping hand. I'm honored to work with such an amazing group that transforms the lives of so many people, both at home and abroad.

  • Michael Forgerson

    Michael Forgerson
    Internal Auditor

    Mike worked as our bookkeeper for many years before continuing on as our internal auditor. He is a professor at a local college and has recently passed his bar exam to become an attorney. Mike is very supportive of Mending Kids and provides us with great assistance.

  • Stacie Roberts

    Stacie Roberts
    Graphic Designer

    Working for Mending Kids, I get to help make differences in the lives of children who may not have had a chance otherwise. As a mom, I am passionate about keeping kids healthy, and can't imagine my child not being able to enjoy his childhood because he was sick. Knowing what I do is helping kids get back to being healthy, active and smiling again, is something that makes my job incredibly rewarding.

  • David Sellers

    David Sellers
    IT / Website Development

    I feel blessed being afforded the opportunity to work for such an amazing children's charitable organization like Mending Kids. In 2011, I traveled with Mending Kids to Guatemala and saw first hand the incredible work Mending Kids does in concert with doctors from the U.S. and local pediatric surgical teams. I was so inspired through my experience, when I returned from Guatemala, I resigned from my web development job at a local travel agency, so I could seek out more rewarding work that benefits children and have the opportunity to also work directly with Mending Kids. I couldn't be happier to be working alongside such passionate, giving and talented individuals.

  • Laurie Dugan

    Laurie Dugan Community Volunteer
    President

    It has been an incredible journey for my family to be part of Mending Kids. We have opened our hearts and our home to host children who will forever be part of us. We have traveled the world and played a small role in helping to change the lives of children and their families. To be witness to the number of people who put their hearts and soles into something for the greater good of mankind is like being given front row seats to watching a miracle take place. Families enter the hospital with anxiety and fear holding their sick child only to reemerge days later with a child that has a bright future. The journey is priceless.

  • Will Gibson

    Will Gibson Associate Producer TheLip.tv
    Vice President

    Mending Kids is about touching people's lives in a very special and vital way. Creating healthcare opportunities for children who would otherwise have never received any has a profound effect not just on those directly helped, but on their families, communities and the world at large. Here at home too, the ripples are felt by those who contribute their time and resources. I know, because mine was years ago when I was given the opportunity to attend and volunteer on a surgical mission to Guatemala. I got to see what making a real difference looks like and that's why I'm here.

  • Leslie Frost

    Leslie Frost Co-Chair Mending Kids Malibu Guild
    Secretary

    From the first moment I first had the privilege to meet a child helped by Mending Kids, my life changed. The humbling experience of watching a child's life be positively transformed and seeing the impact on not only the child but their parents, family and community compelled me to get actively involved in Mending Kids. I am honored to be part of an organization that strives to improve children's lives around the globe and look forward to participating in this amazing journey of healing and hope.

  • Jordan Wiggins

    Jordan Wiggins Senior Manager Deloitte Inc.
    Treasurer

    My desire to help children in need brought me to Mending Kids. I have a cousin who adopted a boy out of Guatemala that had health complications and it made a tremendous impact on me to donate as much time to the cause of helping children. Having heard about Mending Kids before I joined the board and the focus they had on helping children in need is a cause I find important as an individual.

  • Julia Hans

    Julia Hans Founding Mending Kids Board Member

    My late husband, Vince Hans and I have had the pleasure to be a major part of this organization for the past 17 years. We started by hosting Anya, a Russian burn victim, for a whole year. We have been blessed to be able to host many children over the years. Also, the opportunity to be a board member has been rewarding. In 2009, I was invited to go on a surgical mission to Ecuador and another to Guatemala in 2012. I can only say these experiences have truly changed my life. I am so grateful to be part of Mending Kids.

  • Robyn Moore

    Robyn Moore Past President

    Robyn Moore's biographical information is forthcoming.

  • Rosey Bell

    Rosey Bell Realtor, Coldwell Banker Pasadena

    Rosey loves to take care of children and has spent time on Boards and with organizations that care for children and their families when they need the most help. This year, Rosey will once again chair our fall gala to be held on Saturday, November 9th, 2013.

  • Greg Booth

    Greg Booth Business Development, Google

    Mending Kids inspires on so many levels. Healing children changes entire lives and communities, and I believe it's the best work an organization can do. Nearly all of every dollar goes directly into charitable work, so each gift goes far a long way. Mending Kids is able to do while serving people all around the world. It's an honor to serve with a group committed to doing so much good.

  • David A. Ferry, MD

    David A. Ferry, MD Cardiologist, Pediatric Cardiology Medical Associates

    The pediatric cardiology trips to different countries that I have been on have been the most exhilarating and exciting experiences in my career. However, they do not happen by themselves. It takes coordination, planning, vision, and fundraising. These trips are only possible with groups like Mending Kids. Being on the board of Mending Kids is an opportunity to give back what they have given me, and pass on the joy of these trips to other medical professionals.

  • Cynthia L. Hernandez

    Cynthia L. Hernandez Attorney at Law, Office of Independent Review

    My involvement with Mending Kids has been a family affair. My sister, a registered nurse, has been a member of many Mending Kids surgical mission teams peforming life saving surgeries on children. My parents were a host family and cared for a young girl from Guatemala who had corrective heart surgery. I have also traveled abroad with Mending Kids surgical mission teams as a translator. These experiences were humbling and life-changing for us all. Mending Kids is a special organization that is making miracles happen every day. As a board member, my goal is to help Mending Kids continue to save the lives of children all over the world.

  • Dorothy Lucey

    Dorothy Lucey Former Newscaster, Good Day LA, Fox 11 Los Angeles

    At this moment I'm taking a boy from Ethiopia to see the US Doctor who removed 10 pounds of tumors from his hands. Yes, 10 pounds of tumors. Since the surgery I have seen this young man play basketball with those same once mangled hands. Before Mending Kids he lived in shame, hidden from others in his family's small tent. Today he goes to school. He can write and type and learn. His hands are near perfect and his smile is even more than perfect. This is Mending Kids and this is why I am here.

  • Lilian Myers

    Lilian Myers City Manager, City of Maywood

    Volunteering to help on a cardiac surgical mission to Ecuador in 2010, marked the beginning of an amazing personal journey for me with Mending Kids. There is no greater feeling than having the opportunity to provide a glimmer of hope and compassion to a family when all other doors have closed for a child in a developing country. The look on a parent's face when their child has recovered from surgery is simply priceless. The work performed by the doctors who volunteer their time alongside the Mending Kids team is life changing and the focus is building sustainable surgical programs in other countries. It is truly an honor and privilege, yet humbling, to serve Mending Kids. It is food for the soul.

  • Karissa Nguyen

    Karissa Nguyen Graduate Services Advisor, Keck School of Medicine of USC

    I was drawn to Mending Kids by their mission statement and began volunteering on medical missions in 2010. On mission trips to Ecuador, Ethiopia, China, and Guatemala, I witnessed the tangible effects of MKI's work on the lives of countless families. Those families, their stories, and the experiences inspire me to serve. Borrowing from the philosophy of Albert Schweitzer, I want to make my life my argument, and my involvement with Mending Kids will allow me to do so.

  • Lila Rodriguez, RN

    Lila Rodriguez, RN Community Volunteer

    It is a moving journey to participate in the life changing experience that Mending Kids provides to children and families around the world, I was deeply touched by the miracle of Joselyn, a little girl from El Salvador whose life was saved by the generosity of Mending Kids and now lives a healthy happy life. It is a privilege to be invited to participate on the board, and to work with such a wonderful group of individuals that so selfless give their time and love to make a difference.

  • Michael Scott, CFA

    Michael Scott, CFA Senior Vice President, Investment Strategist Wells Fargo Private Bank

    I was introduced to Mending Kids through the Ironfly event and knew immediately that I wanted to part of their cause. I was very impressed by their compassion and dedication to helping children in need. What affected me most, was how their medical procedures transform orphaned children whose medical conditions inhibit them from being adopted, into children ready for a new home. As an adopted child myself, I understand what a gift that truly is.

  • Cathy E. Shin, MD, FACS, FAAP

    Cathy E. Shin, MD, FACS, FAAP Assistant Professor of Surgery, Usc Keck School of Medicine
    Attending Pediatric Surgeon, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

    I am here to make a difference. And, making a difference means so many things to so many people. The Mending Kids group is amazing and the mission trip to Haiti confirmed this. There are many organizations, but few make a difference. As a pediatric surgeon, I am here to make a difference and with Mending Kids, I know that I will!

  • Mike Takac

    Mike Takac Senior Vice-President Domestic Sales, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

    I first became interested in Mending Kids when I met the wonderful people who dedicate their time to helping save children's lives. I am truly inspired by the importance of the cause, and how directly and efficiently resources are deployed to help children. At the same time, I feel blessed by my two healthy daughters, and the good fortune to have accessibility to quality health care. I am humbled by the opportunity to provide my time to help make a difference.

  • Robin Tarufelli

    Robin Tarufelli Strategic Relationships, Deloitte Inc.

    After my first golf outing I was hooked. I absolutely love the people in the Mending Kids organization and their drive to heal the children that need it the most. It's so inspiring for me to know that every dollar truly makes a difference in a child's life. Hearing the stories and seeing the smiles of the children that have benefitted from Mending Kids warms my heart and empowers me to do more.

  • Emily Zalenski

    Emily Zalenski Vice President Publicity, Warner Bros Home Entertainment

    When I was introduced to Mending Kids, I knew immediately I wanted to be a part of their passion to mend children. They are such passionate people saving the lives of children all over the world while growing and expanding healthcare programs in third world countries. I grew up in a large family with two special needs siblings and there is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for my two healthy and happy children. Mending Kids helps to makes children healthy and happy.

  • Zari Hedayat, Ph.D, MFT

    Zari Hedayat, Ph.D, MFT

    Mrs. Hedayat holds a doctorate degree in clinical psychology and is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice since 1986. She is a member of the adjunct faculty of Antioch University in Los Angeles and is a MFT trainee supervisor at Valley Community Clinic, with a specialty in perinatal psychology, infant mental health, and trauma. She has published articles and book chapters on the subject of religious diversity and psychology.

  • Aurora Arlene R. Kamen, MD

    Aurora Arlene R. Kamen, MD Valley Neonatal Associates, Inc.
    Neonatal Perinatal Medicine

    Aurora Arlene R. Kamen, MD's biographical information is forthcoming.

  • Nancy Kim, MD

    Nancy Kim, MD Pediatric Cardiology Medical Associates
    Pediatric Cardiologist

    Nancy Kim, MD's biographical information is forthcoming.

  • Daniela Schweitzer, MD

    Daniela Schweitzer, MD Children's Hospital Los Angeles
    Geneticist

    Daniela Schweitzer, MD's biographical information is forthcoming.

  • Dean M. Anselmo, MD, FACS, FAAP

    Dean M. Anselmo, MD, FACS, FAAP Pediatric Surgeon, Children's Hospital Los Angeles
    Pediatric Surgeon, Miller Children's Hospital
    Co-director, Vascular Anomalies Center
    Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

    I enjoy being a surgeon. I am rewarded by the technical aspects of operating and performing the manual tasks of a surgical procedure. However, sometimes it can be easy to forget the relevance of the work you do when you are in the middle of it. I was reminded of that when I spoke to talk to the mother of a child born with a congenital anomaly which I repaired during a Mending Kids mission in Guatemala. I told her that the operation went very well and without any complications and I was very pleased with the outcome. She looked at me and began to cry. She told me that she never thought it would be possible that someone would be able to fix her baby and give him a chance at a normal life and she thanked me profusely. It was that moment that made me truly appreciate the importance of the work that Mending Kids does in pediatric surgery missions. The concerted effort of a group of like-minded and compassionate individuals can make a staggering difference in a child's life that would otherwise not be possible. When compared to all the children in the world who need help, it seems at times that these missions represent just a small drop in the bucket. But to the individual children who are cared for by Mending Kids, it can be a massive drop in a little bucket.

  • Marc A. Levitt, M.D., FACS, FAAP

    Marc A. Levitt, M.D., FACS, FAAP Surgical Director, Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

    I am passionate about surgery for children and am committed to making available to all children anywhere in the world an excellent quality of life, without the hardship imposed on them by a variety of congenital colorectal disorders. I have found that with key techniques and good nursing infrastructure, patients with colorectal problems can live a normal life. Sadly, these are lacking in many parts of the world – but the surgeons, medical doctors, and nurses there are passionate to accomplish these same goals. Therefore, by bringing this expertise to them, helping them learn and develop their skills, we can impart specialized care to the children who need it. I have travelled throughout the world with this goal in mind, in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. A recent initiative in Cape Town, South Africa is particularly exciting and promising in that collaborating with the team at Red Cross Hospital there has led to their developing unique colorectal expertise. With this collaboration, we have had surgeons from all over the continent of Africa come to Cape Town for a yearly training experience. And then they return to their home countries with new knowledge, and in addition, more surgeons are available to visit them and to continue to foster the development of new skills. In this way the impact on more and more children grows. Mending Kids has this same philosophy, i.e. developing skills with partner centers and maintaining and sustaining the effect for years to come. It is therefore a natural to coordinate my colorectal effort with them.

  • Henry E. Rice, M.D.

    Henry E. Rice, M.D. Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics and Global Health (Affiliate)
    Chief, Division of Pediatric Surgery
    Duke University Medical Center
    Durham, NC

    I enjoy working with Mending Kids because it allows our group to participate in helping to provide an essential human need, that of surgical care in an area where there simply is not access to surgery for children. We are blessed and honored by this opportunity, as it allows us to partner with Guatemalans to not only work together side by side in the operating room, but also collaborate on novel ways to address the critical surgical needs of their country.

  • Ayal Willner, MD, FAAP, FACS

    Ayal Willner, MD, FAAP, FACS

    Joining Mending Kids and going on missions is an opportunity to live the reason why I went into medicine. It's an opportunity to help children who otherwise wouldn't get the care they so need. It is said that one who saves one life saves all of humanity and I can't think of anything more rewarding than to be part of a team that helps positively change the lives of these kids.