Ellen is a veteran elementary teacher with 17 years of experience teaching in Toronto. With Project Give Back, Ellen continues to teach children the true power of giving as she launches her newest project which links her years of teaching expertise with the skills of fundraising, thus instilling a true love of giving back and community outreach which will help to change future lives.
Schwartz has also become a passionate advocate for research into neurodegenerative diseases such as Canavan’s. She is the co-director of Jacob’s Ladder (The Canadian Foundation for the Control of Neurodegenerative Disease), and the author of Lessons from Jacob: A Disabled Son Teaches His Mother About Courage, Hope and the Joy of Living Life to the Fullest – www.jacobsladder.ca. Together with her network of friends and family, Schwartz has raised more than two and a half million dollars to fund research grants and awards to find cures for fatal diseases.
To date, Jacob’s Ladder has enabled ongoing research in many areas related to neurodegenerative disorders. Through the annual Jacob’s Ladder International Research Prize, for example, this organization makes possible innovative research in the areas of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of these diseases. In addition to supporting investigative research, Jacob’s Ladder has helped to facilitate increased genetic screening in Canada for parents and parents-to-be.
As a public speaker Ellen continues to move and inspire audiences due to her unwavering belief in her son’s abilities, her steadfast commitment to education and research into neurodegenerative diseases, and her heartfelt desire to help others cope with life’s toughest challenges.
Melanie Levcovich brings a breadth and depth of experience from over 20 years working in Marketing and Operations across a number of rapidly growing companies. She was director of marketing for Informix, a billion dollar software company and Vice President of Marketing at Globally Boundless. She also has experience growing a company from scratch having conceived and led her own start up idealive. On the operations side Melanie has several years experience working with Macy’s in California, managing in a flagship store, streamlining promotion, buying and distribution. Melanie has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.
Samara has been a teacher for Project Give Back since 2011. She is a former teacher and spent six years teaching in York Region in the primary and junior divisions. Samara now spends her time at home with her three young children and takes an active role volunteering and fundraising for her children’s school. Samara enjoys using her teaching skills and passion for giving back to her community to inspire young children to make a difference. Samara holds a Bachelor of Education from York University and a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Western Ontario.
Cheryl Daniels has taught high school at Harbord CI and Forest Hill CI between 1990 and 2001. For the past eight years, she has focused her energy on her family, volunteering at her children’s school and creating a new charity which services shelters in the Toronto area. She is very excited to merge both her teaching and fundraising experiences as a member of the Project Give Back team.
Andrea Glassman is recently retired from a successful and fulfilling 30 year teaching career; most recently at The Leo Baeck Day School in Thornhill, Ontario where she was proud to participate in the Project Give Back program with her Grade Five classes. She found it to be inspirational, informative, and heartwarming for her students and for herself. She is a confident, energetic and creative teacher who has focused her energy on instilling confidence and passion in her students.
Lesli is excited to be part of the Project Give Back Team. The combination of her skills as a Social Worker, Teacher and mother of three young children will enable students to gain a deep understanding of PGB’s themes of passion, caring, self confidence and organization in a fun and memorable way. Lesli holds a BA (Hons) in Sociology from York University, an MSW from the University of Toronto, and a BEd. from OISE.
Amy Greenberg is a former teacher with the Toronto District School Board. After the birth of her first child, she left the board to raise her children.
Her passion for teaching and children made it hard for her to stay out of the classroom, so she created programs that she has taught in various centres throughout the GTA.
She is very proud of a program she created called A Trip Around the World, which taught young children about different cultures and customs through art, cooking and music. Amy just completed her eighth year running her own summer camp.
When Amy is not with her family, she is usually actively involved volunteering in many different causes. It has always been very important to her that her young children always witnessed her giving back to the community. Project Give Back is the perfect mix of both of her passions.
Melissa has been teaching for over 16 years in a variety of classroom settings and a range of grade levels. As a busy mother of three children, she has also been an active chair member of their school’s executive committees.
Michelle Wittlin is thrilled to be a part of the Project Give Back team. As a mother and teacher, she wants children to experience the sense of achievement and personal fulfillment that giving back to the community can bring. These feelings of self-confidence and self-worth will reflect on all aspects of children’s lives. Michelle is a former teacher with the York Region District School Board. She has eight years experience teaching children at the elementary school level. She holds an Honors degree in English Language and Literature, and a Bachelor of Education from York University.
Jillian Roth has worked with children in many capacities having obtained both her BEd from York University and her ECE from George Brown College. She worked as a private school teacher for several years and ran the Children’s Program for a cruise line prior to becoming a mother to her young son. As a parent, Jillian has become an active member of the parent board of her son’s school and has volunteered for several children’s charities, while running a special events company part time.
Lindsay Batori is a former elementary teacher with the TDSB, and is eager to return to the classroom and work with children again. As a mother of two with a background in education, Lindsay’s past and life experiences up to this point has her confident that her contributions to the program will make a difference both to her students and colleagues alike.
Jody has taught with both the York Region District School Board and within the private school sector. Jody’s focus in the classroom has always been respect for others and respect for oneself. Jody has taught in both the primary and junior divisions with a specialist in Literacy and Guidance. Jody is honoured to be a part of the Project Give Back team and looks forward to sharing her passion for philanthropy with her students. Jody’s family is very involved at the Hospital for Sick Children and she feels very strongly about teaching her children about the importance of giving back to the community. Jody holds a Bachelor of Education from York University and a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of Western Ontario.
Esther has over 12 years of experience teaching in the TDSB. She has taught Kindergarten to Grade 6 and holds special education qualifications. Esther believes that it’s important to give back to the community and impart those values on children. She volunteers her time with numerous charities and is an active member of Moms for Sinai and Naamat. In her free time, Esther is busy managing a full house of 5 kids. She is excited to be part of the Project Give Back team and share her knowledge and experiences with the children. Esther holds Bachelor of Education from the Urban Diversity Program at York University.
Roz Fine is presently the Executive Director for Project Give Back and has worked in this position for 5 years. She enjoys working behind the scenes and interacting with the teachers. She feels honoured and privileged to be part of this wonderful program.
Roz is a former public school teacher with the TDSB who stopped teaching to raise her family. At that time she became very involved with volunteering for the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada and as such held many different positions. She is the past President of the Toronto Section and of the National organization. She is currently Vice President of the International Council of Jewish Women, and as such represents Canada. Roz is also President of the Board of Directors for the National Council of Jewish Women, Toronto Section Foundation which represents an integrated housing project in Toronto. As a volunteer with this organization for over 30 years Roz values the importance of giving back to the community. Roz is a proud mother and grandmother.