While on vacation in Rwanda in 2007, April met an orphaned girl who in an instant changed the entire course of April’s life. This little girl only wanted to be held. Her need for love and attention was so deep that April spent the rest of the week thinking about what she could do to provide for this little girl and for others like her, and by the time she returned to America, the seed had been planted for April to start a mentoring program for the kids.. To build Hope Shines, April started with her friends and family by asking for advice about the life lessons they had learned from their families. Then she talked to other nonprofits asking how they got started. She built a curriculum and then started recruiting, fundraising and collecting item donations. Within one year, she returned to Rwanda and with 6 other volunteers launched the first camp in 2008!
April learned how to manage and build a nonprofit from nearly a decade of corporate experience in retail buying. She holds a BS from Virginia Tech and an MA in the History of Decorative Arts and Design from Parsons, The New School and Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum in New York City. April works with Hope Shines on a volunteer basis and without salary.