Evan Robbins (Founder and CEO)
Evan Robbins is a social studies teacher at Metuchen High School in New Jersey where he has been teaching since 1997. In 2006, in conjunction with his students, he created the Breaking the Chain club. The project has worked to rescue trafficked children in the fishing industry in Ghana, West Africa. To date the project has helped to free seventy-one enslaved children, returning them to parents or foster parents. In addition, he has built a school for 240 children and teacher housing. Currently the charity is working to raise money to care for the seventy-one children we have already rescued and to rescue an additional twenty children. He and his students have won the Charity Champion contest sponsored by Cablevision three of the last four years and has been recognized by former Governor Florio as well as other well-known politicians for his work in this endeavor. He has been honored with humanitarian awards by the New Jersey Education Association, the NAACP and others. This year he is the recipient of the Reg Weaver award by the National Education Association for fighting poverty. This prestigious award was granted to President Jimmy Carter in 2013.
Lisa Robbins (Secretary of the Board)
Lisa Robbins earned her Ed.D. in Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and has been teaching children for over 20 years. She is currently employed as a reading specialist in Montclair, NJ where she works with children in grades K-2 who struggle with early literacy acquisition. In addition, she does professional development for teachers. On a trip to Ghana in 2012, she did a workshop for teachers in the new school in Awate Tornu and looks forward to doing more teacher training in Ghana. Currently, she helps organize BTCTE’s fundraising events, promotes the charity in local newspapers, serves as Secretary of the Board, and assists with composing BTCTE’s literature.
Michael Baer (VP Legal Affairs)
Michael D. Baer was born and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey. He graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Mass with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He then returned to the NYC area and graduated from Pace University School of Law in White Plains with a Doctorate of Law. He currently maintains a law office in New York and New Jersey. His practice focuses on Civil Litigation for individuals, small companies and multi-million dollar corporations. In addition to his law practice, Michael keeps himself busy actively participating as an officer of the Fair Lawn Jewish Center and being on the board of Breaking the Chain Through Education and Areyvut. Michael lives in Fair Lawn, New Jersey with his wife, Robin and their two daughters, Julia and Jessica.
Gary Bornstein (Chief Financial Officer)
Gary Bornstein is a partner at the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, where his practice focuses on commercial litigation. Gary also sits on the board of the Adams Street Foundation, which supports the Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice, a law-themed public high school in Brooklyn that Gary’s firm helped found. Gary devotes his pro bono legal efforts largely to education-related causes in New York City and asylum applications for victims of violence and persecution from around the world.
Karen Lieberman (VP of Fundraising)
Karen Lieberman graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Computer Science and Economics. She worked as a systems analyst for Prudential Insurance for 18 years. For the past 10 summers, she has worked as the director of the ropes course at Camp Deeny Riback in Flanders, NJ with children aged 3 through 15. She currently is responsible for creating and maintaining the database of donations for BTCTE and generates thank you letters for all the contributors.
Anastasia Amoakoh (VP or Cultural Affairs)
Anastasia Amoakoh was born and raised in the central region part of Ghana, West Africa. She moved to the United States in her early teenage years. She has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree from the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ. She has a Masters of Arts degree in Professional Studies, with a concentration in Special Education from Fairleigh Dickenson University in Teaneck, NJ. She is currently a chemistry teacher in Fair Lawn High School in Bergen County, NJ, where she serves as the advisor of the school’s chapter of Breaking the Chain Through Education. Ever since she was introduced to the organization through one of her former students, and especially after meeting some of our rescued trafficked children in Ghana, it has been her goal to raise awareness of child trafficking in Ghana to her students, colleagues and the Ghanaian community in Bergen County and the Newark area of NJ.
Brian Valiquette (VP of Technology)
For 13 years Brian Valiquette has worked in the IT field. He has held a number of positions including Systems Analyst/Network Engineer at Engelhard Corp., where he was also the volunteer captain of the first aid squad, and most recently as an Information Security Risk Manager for one of the largest hospitality companies, Wyndham Worldwide. In his division at Wyndham, he is the volunteer fire marshal, and his proclivity for volunteerism has helped the children in his community for more than a decade. He has coached track & field and basketball for the Metuchen/Edison YMCA, coached softball for North Edison and Metuchen Little Leagues, and continues to coach soccer for Metuchen Recreation Commission. In his spare time, Brian uses his computer expertise to act as a veritable “geek squad” for technologically impaired family and friends, and will also use that experience to resolve the technology challenges of Breaking the Chain Through Education. He lives in Metuchen with his wife and two children.