Board Members

The following board members are all volunteer, unpaid members.

Jok Kuol Wel
President, Founder

Jok served on the Board of Chicago Association for the Lost Boys of Sudan (CALBOS) as Treasurer for two years from 2002-2004. He contributed greatly in making CALBOS a viable organization that sustained the Lost Boys of Sudan in Chicago. He helped design brochures and raised funds to help Lost Boys of Sudan in Chicago pay their college tuitions. Jok is compassionate, driven, and a natural leader. In 2004, he gathered a few friends together to talk about his ideas to start a not-for -profit organization to benefit the people in his homeland.

Michael Ajang Bol
Education Coordinator, Co-Founder

Michael Ajang Bol was a class monitor in his high school in Kakuma, Kenya. He worked as a student counselor in the school helping to appease students when they had problems with each other. Michael was the first friend Jok came to with his idea to start a not-for-profit. Together they rallied the rest of this Board.

Dhieumaliet Aguer
Chapter Coordinator - St. Louis Chapter, Co-Founder

Dhieumaliet studied at St. Augustine College in Chicago. He has served on the boards of various organizations, including the Sudanese Community Association of Illinois (SCAI), the Chicago Association for the Lost Boys of Sudan (CALBOS) and HELPSudan. Recently relocated to St. Louis, he is working to start a HELPSudan Chapter there.

Lauren Swihart
Vice President / Chairman

Lauren received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. She does freelance post-production work for several Chicago-area photographers and artists as well as web production. Her artistic interests lie in photographic documentary; she produced and then we were left, a photo documentary book about Lost Boys in Chicago.

Eric Brenner
Assistant Education Coordinator

Eric Brenner is in the Information Technology Solutions group at CNA Insurance, the 7th largest U.S. commercial insurer. He serves as the Board Chairman on the elder board of First Evangelical Free Church of Chicago.

Nick Bailey
Technology Coordinator

Nick has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology. He works as a developer at the Salesforce Foundation, and is also a formally trained audio engineer.

Keith Jacobson
Board Member

Mario Santarsiere
Board Member

Mario has a B.Sc. in Urban and Regional Planning from Texas State University. He also received certification in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) while at university. He currently works as a Manager of Data Quality for Spencer Stuart, an international executive search firm. He joined the company in 2004.