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volunteer spotlight

"I love volunteering at SFIHS because it’s such a great group of kids."
- Lauren Nazario, RT Volunteer

Lauren is an after-school tutor at San Francisco International High School (SFIHS) and is always an enthusiastic and positive presence in the tutoring room. Thanks Lauren for being an exemplary volunteer!

To read more from our dedicated volunteers, click here.

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STAFF


Laura Vaudreuil
Executive Director
laura@reftrans.org  

Since joining Refugee Transitions in 2001, Laura has shown dynamic, visionary leadership through expanding the agency’s scope and power to transform lives. Laura holds an undergraduate degree in international relations with minor degrees in economics and Spanish from the University of Minnesota, as well as a masters degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages from San Francisco State University. She has over 16 years of overseas and domestic classroom teaching experience and has taught English literacy and citizenship courses at City College of San Francisco and academic writing at San Francisco State University. She designs the agency’s curriculum, oversees all programs, and trains volunteer tutors. Laura has ensured that Refugee Transitions continues to develop and strengthen its partnerships with organizations serving refugees and low-income immigrants throughout three counties: San Francisco, Alameda and, most recently, Santa Clara, where the agency expanded in 2008.    


Jane Pak
Director of Strategy and Development 
jane@reftrans.org

Jane joined Refugee Transitions in August 2012 as the agency’s Director of Strategy and Development. Jane previously served as the Director of Resource Development for WestEd’s Center for Child and Family Studies where she was responsible for spearheading new strategic development initiatives. At WestEd, Jane also worked in the Institutional Development department where she coordinated and managed agency-wide proposal efforts and investigated new growth opportunities. Prior to that, she was Business Development Officer at the Canadian Consulate Trade Office in San Francisco, where she provided market intelligence to Canadian eLearning companies and helped them with their market penetration and expansion strategies. Jane is a board member of Village Education Project Kilimanjaro (U.S.), and has consulted with international NGOs on fundraising, policy, and program efforts. Jane holds a BMATH from the University of Waterloo in Canada, a MBA from Clarkson University, and a MA in International Educational Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University.


Andrew Bogrand
Public Relations Coordinator
andrew@reftrans.org

Andrew Bogrand joined Refugee Transitions in July 2012 as the organization's Public Relations and Development Associate and its AmeriCorps VISTA member.  He focuses on volunteer and donor communication, community relations, and social media.  He is committed to supporting volunteers and expanding the organization's capacity.  Previous to his work with RT, Andrew worked as a political field organizer and as a Development Associate for a Bay Area trafficking shelter.  Andrew received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and his M.A. from Stanford University, completing graduate research on emerging immigrant economic clusters, labor and trafficking, and humanitarian policy.  He is dedicated to assisting our volunteers and serving local immigrant and refugee populations.      

 

Nakachi Clark 
Lead Academic Tutor
nakachi@reftrans.org

Nakachi found her passion for teaching in alternative and participatory learning environments while teaching adult ESL classes five nights a week in 2006.  She is passionate about creating educational strategies that address and counteract the challenges presented by structural violence against all youth, locally and globally.  She has been the Academic Leader for Refugee Transitions at Oakland International High School since 2008.

 

Nicole Germanov
Volunteer and Program Coordinator
nicole@reftrans.org 

Nicole joined Refugee Transitions in August of 2011 to fill the position of volunteer and program coordinator. She recruits and trains the agency's many volunteer tutors. Nicole was introduced to the international humanitarian sphere while volunteering at an orphanage in Bulgaria, where she taught ESL and coordinated enrichment activities. Prior to joining Refugee Transitions, Nicole worked with the International Rescue Committee in Oakland, where she developed a deep connection to the East Bay refugee community. Nicole received her B.A. in political science from UC Santa Cruz, with a concentration in international studies.

 

Grace Lau
San Francisco Program Coordinator
grace@reftrans.org

Grace Lau, an immigrant from Hong Kong, began working with Refugee Transitions as a program coordinator in September 2008. She works primarily with the Asian Pacific Islander community in San Francisco and to this end, contributes her intimate knowledge of China, its culture, and the challenges immigrants face resettling in the U.S. Grace supports families enrolled in Refugee Transitions’ home-based tutoring and mentoring programs and she is the key staff person involved in coordinating services with the Chinatown Neighborhood Workforce Center, helping clients access job opportunities and training programs in San Francisco. Grace received a B.A. degree in accounting from the University of Hawaii.

 

Zar Ni Maung
East Bay Family Resource Coordinator 
zarni@reftrans.org
       

Zar Ni Maung began at Refugee Transitions in March 2008 as the agency's Family Advocate. Zar Ni focuses primarily on supporting volunteers and newly arrived refugee families from Burma, linking them to services and providing tutoring for youth. Zar Ni grew up in Rangoon, the former capital of Burma. As a university student, he was active in the student democracy movement. When the military crackdown began, he and his family had to flee the country. They first fled to Accra, Ghana where they lived for three years before being resettled in Daly City as political refugees. Zar Ni is active in many Burmese community organizations and has helped organize numerous events to raise money and awareness for the Burmese community. Through his work at Refugee Transitions, he is able to fuel his passion for serving refugee populations. Zar Ni is the proud father of two young sons, and in their free time, they enjoy exploring the Bay Area together.


Elicia Smith
Bay Area Education Manager 
elicia@reftrans.org
        

Elicia joined Refugee Transitions in November 2013 as the agency's Bay Area Education Manager.  Elicia manages RT's adult and youth education programs throughout the Bay Area, supervises the agency's contracted positions, and is responsible for program monitoring and evaluation. Elicia comes to RT from the International Rescue Committee, where she served as a Refugee Resettlement Casework Supervisor in Salt Lake City, UT. Elicia has served in a variety of roles in education, youth development, and women's empowerment and has also worked with the Immigrant Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) in Portland, OR.  She is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer and knows Spanish and Swahili along with American and Kenyan Sign Language.  She received her BA in Communication Sciences and Disorders from San Francisco State University and her MA in International Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sydney.    
 
 

Anh Vu
South Bay Family Resource Coordinator
anh@reftrans.org

Anh joined Refugee Transitions in February 2011 as the agency's family resource coordinator. She provides family support services, trains refugee interns, and supports volunteer tutors. Anh came to the U.S. from Vietnam and has lived in the South Bay for several years. As an immigrant herself, Anh understands the challenges that refugee and immigrant families face daily. Prior to joining Refugee Transitions, she worked with the Kinship Program to provide support for the elderly in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has a B.A. in social work from the University of South Florida.