Who We Are
Ameya Shelby Cofounder and CEO
Ameya Shelby was born in Melbourne, Australia to two physicians. She moved to the United States soon afterwards and her family moved around frequently until finally settling down in Omaha, Nebraska. She has attended Brownell Talbot School since the age of 7 and met Libby when she was 11 years old. She loves writing and photography and exceeds in school, continuously striving to challenge herself academically. She has played tennis since the age of 3 and hopes to play in college as well. In her free time, she loves to play the guitar. In the future, her dream would be to travel the world and learn more about other cultures, including her own Indian heritage. The idea of the Children’s Assistance Initiative came to her one day in school and she decided not to wait any longer and created a medium through which those born without many opportunities could flourish.
Libby Garfoot Cofounder and Vice President of Operations
Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Libby Garfoot is 17 years old and co-founder of the Children’s Assistance Initiative. She is a gymnast at the highest competitive level and hopes to compete for a division 1 college. She attends Brownell Talbot School and is very motivated in her schoolwork. Libby met Ameya when she was 12 years old and they have been good friends ever since. She is an avid animal lover and has three dogs, two guineau pigs, and one hedgehog. She was raised to fight for those without a voice and loves to speak on controversial social movement such as feminism. Always interested in helping others, Libby has participated in many local foundations to help those in need and was interested in starting her own foundation.
Amanda Zhang Director of East Asian Initiative
Amanda Zhang was born in Birmingham, Alabama but moved to Nebraska at a young age. Born to two outspoken individuals, she grew up with a thirst for justice and helping people. Amanda attends Brownell Talbot School where she is involved with volleyball, speech, and other activities that teach her an abundance of lessons. She also loves to write, which spawned her interest in journalism. Amanda began collaborating with Ameya and Libby during the summer of 2017 to set up a project for schools in Chengdu, China. Her six-year-old sister Annabel is one of the reasons why she is so keen on helping children around the world.
Elsa Sosa-Glasford Treasurer
Originally from Panamá, Elsa Sosa-Glasford got a bachelors degree in ESL from the University of Panama. She worked for 12 years as an ESL teacher in Panamá City including 4 years in her hometown of Penonomé. She is married to an Air Force veteran and they have lived in the Omaha area since 2000. In the 20 years she has been in the USA, she has lived and worked in South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, and Nebraska. In the last decade, she obtained two Masters degrees: one in Language Teaching at the University of Southern Mississippi and one in Applied Linguistics from the University of Nebrija in Madrid. She enjoys learning and traveling but teaching languages is her passion.
Brianna Vander Vorst Advisory Board Member
Brianna Vander Vorst was born and raised in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and completed her B.A. in English Education at Bethel University in St. Paul. After teaching English and Creative Writing to high school students in Minnesota, she moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where she continued to teach while earning her M.S. in School Counseling at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She switched from teacher to counselor upon the completion of her degree, and has been enjoying the different facets of this role in the school setting. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two small children.
Lauren Hiebner Advisory Board Member
Lauren Hiebner grew up in Henderson, Nebraska earned his undergraduate degree from Bethel College, N. Newton, Kansas and his Masters Degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He began his teaching career at O’Neill Public Schools where he was the head of the History Department, Mock Trial Sponsor, and Boys Golf Coach. Mr. Hiebner was elected to the O’Neill City Council for three terms, a board member of the O’Neill Public Library, a member of the Holt County Historical Society, and a founding member of the O’Neill Genealogical Society. Mr. Hiebner was a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1973 to 1975, where he served in Quito, Ecuador. His wife a native of Ecuador is a former Spanish teacher in the Omaha area. They have two sons who are both engineers, Andrey in Kansas City, and Diego in Seattle, Washington. Mr. Hiebner is completing his tenth year at Brownell Talbot and his forty-second year of teaching and will retire at the end of the 2016/2017 school year. He has taught American Government, Economics, AP US History, and Methods of Historical Research at Brownell Talbot. Mr. Hiebner loves playing golf, is a fanatic Husker football fan, and enjoys traveling and watching baseball games.