Board of Directors

Ascary Arias is the president and founder of Vidas de Esperanza. He is originally from Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo, Mexico, where he lived until the age of 17. Ascary came to the United States in 1991 and at the age of 25, enrolled in Guilford Technical Community College in Greensboro, N.C. After getting his GED, Ascary enrolled in community college, then transferred after a semester to Greensboro College, where he received double majors in sociology and Spanish, as well as double minors in art and international studies. In his junior year of college, Ascary decided to help the people in his hometown and thus decided to create Vidas de Esperanza in 2004. He graduated from Greensboro college in 2005.  Ascary is the heart and soul of Vidas.  His inspirational leadership is one of non-profit’s greatest assets.  He leads by example and his heart is bigger than life.

DrKizerDr. John S. Kizer is Vice President and Medical Director for Vidas.  He is a professor of medicine, pharmacology and geriatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Dr. Kizer graduated from Princeton University and Duke University School of Medicine. Subsequently he completed his internship and residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital followed by three years of research at the National Institutes of Health. In 1975, he joined the Medical faculty of the University of North Carolina where he continues to serve as a researcher, teacher and medical practitioner. His interests in caring for the underserved have culminated in multiple clinical efforts directed toward helping these individuals, among which is the establishment of a Geriatric Clinic for elders that speak only Spanish. He joined Vidas de Esperanza at its inception and has led multiple medical missions to the indigenous tribes of the State of Hidalgo, Mexico.

Dr. Cheryl Lynn Brown is the Director of Education for Vidas.  She also is a professor of sociology at Greensboro College, focusing on applied sociology, the use of theories and techniques to better help the world.  Dr. Brown graduated from Agness Scott College with a Bachelor’s of Art in sociology and anthropology and went on to complete her graduate studies at Georgia State University.  Her experience in service began at age 16, when she traveled to Ecuador with Amigos de las Americas and hiked through the Andes Mountains, providing a vaccine for tuberculosis to local youth.  Today, her work focuses on the Latino community in Greensboro and Vidas’s mission in Mexico. She is an integral part of the organization and is in charge of the educational arm of Vidas.  Her enthusiastic and altruistic personality is second to none and we’re fortunate to have her aboard.

Lynn Van Horn has been instrumental in setting the agenda and authorizing budgets for Vidas-sponsored projects in Mexico. She is the director of print and mil services at Guilford College, an institution with a history of public service.  Her literary skills are expertly refined and she naturally helps Vidas with marketing.  While work often keeps her in Greensboro, her support of the numerous service-learning trips with students and all the various fund-raising projects is legendary.  Her creative and genuine disposition make her a natural leader in Vidas De Esperanza.  Whenever anything needs to be done for the benefit of the organization, Lynne is the first to volunteer even when that means undertaking unfamiliar tasks.  She is a go-to, Jack of all trades, that puts the good of Vidas de Esperanza first.

Anna Grace Kizer is licensed attorney and part owner of Vino!! Wine Shop in Pittsboro, North Carolina.  She graduated cum laude from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where she majored in Business Administration with a minor in Spanish and she earned her J.D., cum laude, from Campbell University in 2007.  She has always been extremely interested in the latin culture and actually lived in Ixmiquilpan, Mexico for three months  after she graduated college, teaching English to elementary school children as well as an English conversation class in a local technical community college.  Anna is an event planner extraodinaire and has been instrumental planning fundraisers for Vidas.  In addition, she helps Vidas with legal issues, budgeting, and marketing.  Her light-hearted nature and sense of humor is a pleaure to be around and a refreshing element of Vidas de Esperanza.

Drew Hathaway is an attorney in Raleigh, North Carolina with the law firm of Batten Lee, LLP.  His primary practice is medical malpractice defense litigation.  He graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in political science and was a varsity swimmer.  He earned his J.D. from Campbell University in 2007.  Drew has been involved with Vidas de Esperanza since 2007 and his level of energy and enthusiasm is contagious.  Drew has a passion for helping those less fortunate and considers himself blessed and honored to be a part of Vidas de Esperanza. Drew helps Vidas with legal issues, fundraising, budgeting, marketing, and website development and maintenance.  Drew’s wife, Catherine Hathaway, is a geriatric-nephrology fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill and she is one of the physicians who regularly provides free medical care to patients of Vidas.

Flittner2Jason Flittner is a business intelligence engineer with Amazon.  He assists Vidas with all avenues of technology.  Jason graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Computer Information Technology.  He became involved with Vidas while living in North Carolina and working for Cisco in 2010.  Using his creative genius, Jason has augmented Vidas’ ability to help others and to do so efficiently. At no cost to Vidas, Jason created a fully functioning electronic medical record system to assist with patient care.  In addition to developing and maintaining the Vidas EMR, Jason created the website, and develops creative solutions to allow our physicians to access technology in rural areas with no power, cable or running water.

Jasmina CroppedJasmina Nogo  is a graduate from the University of North Carolina and a current law student at NCCU School of Law.  She is pursuing her law degree to create a practice oriented towards social justice, community improvement, and meeting the basic needs of youth and their families living in poverty.  Jasmina helped create and maintain a fundamental connection between Vidas and the Chatham County community and she has been instrumental in our Siler City Clinic’s success.  Jasmina previously worked as a social worker and community organizer at El Vinculo Hispano in Siler City and hopes to return to that community once she is armed with an additional tool for service.