VFP founders Peter and Penny Coldwell
Peter holds a B.A. from The American University and additional credits from Assumption College and Castleton State College. He speaks conversational German, Russian and some Spanish. Peter has traveled, lived and/or worked in some sixty countries. Peter did his first workcamps in Czechoslovakia and Hungary in 1968. He has practiced Yoga for over 45 years and has taught Yoga classes in Vermont. He’s a “jack of all trades” skilled in carpentry, electrical, plumbing and mechanical work. He and his soul mate, Penny, built their own home in Mt. Holly, Vermont where they share land with their two daughters and four granddaughters.
Tom Sherman, President
Tom is the former Executive Director of the New Hampshire affiliate of the American Diabetes Association. Tom has professional skills in fundraising and grant writing, and is also experienced in public relations and advocacy work, having served as the Project Director for Southwestern Community Services in Keene, NH and Assistant Director of Catholic Relief Services in Beirut, Lebanon and Hodeidah,Yemen. Tom has helped to organized about 15 workcamps in the Newport and Concord, New Hampshire area and is a founding member of Volunteers for Peace. He is a grandfather of five children and lives in Goshen,NH. Tom has taught Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Kung in southern New Hampshire for the past 22 years and is director of the Bija Ananda Yoga Teacher Training Program.
Lila Hobbs, Secretary
Lila received her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and earned a Post Graduate Certificate in Global Health from Johns Hopkins University. Since her first trip abroad at the age of16, Lila has traveled to over 30 countries–and has no plans of stopping anytime soon! Lila is passionate about understanding the unique issues facing communities around the world while promoting cross-cultural communication. In her job as a consultant, Lila develops sustainable solutions that transcend disparities for underserved and vulnerable populations. Outside of the office,Lila is a yoga instructor and an avid outdoor adventurer. She first became involved with VFP in 2014 when she traveled to Desab, Haiti. Lila calls Alaska home, but will always consider herself a citizen of the world.
Paula graduated from Clark University with a BA in psychology and from UMass, Boston with a Masters in Education. She currently lives in Boston where she teaches fourth grade in the Boston Public Schools. She first participated in workcamps in Europe in 1988. Since then she has volunteered in Turkey and Ghana and has led and organized workcamps in Honduras, Philadelphia and many in Boston. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras from 1993-95. She has traveled extensively in the US, Europe, Egypt, Israel, Central and South America and West Africa. Paula has been a VFP Board member since 1991. She currently lives in Boston with her son. She works as a fifth grade, Bllingual Special Needs teacher in Framingham Public Schools.
Judy Cohen has a BA from Adelphi University and is a Certified Guidance Counselor. She has been on the board of VFP since 1982. She is always connected with the helping and healing professions, first as a NYC Social Worker, then an Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor, and most recently as a Special Education Counselor. She was the advisor to the Human Rights Club at the high school where she worked. Judy feels it is important for everyone to learn about diversity, tolerance, and justice. She therefore facilitates 2 workcamps for VFP every year in her community and has, in the past, helped with workcamps in Cambodia. She lives in South Berwick, ME with her husband, Scot Weinstein, a musician and educator, who also puts energy into VFP. Judy has traveled extensively within the United States and to Russia, Germany, France, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico, and many Caribbean islands. She is now retired.
Michael with a new friend in Haiti.
Michael has a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Marketing from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Michael moved to the U.S.15 years ago and is a proud Chicago resident. Michael is the Executive Vice President of Marketing for TriMega Purchasing Association, a member owned buying group serving office products dealers. Michael has participated in volunteer projects in Africa, India, and Haiti — where he first joined VFP four years ago. In addition to his work with VFP, Michael is also a National Business Products Industry Council Member for City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment facility in Los Angeles.
Cara holds a BA in Geography and Political Science from Hunter College and a MA in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School for Social Policy & Management at Brandeis University. She lived in Nairobi, Kenya for a year to conduct her MA field research on the uses of drama therapy with various disadvantaged youth populations. Ten years ago she moved back to New York City as a NYC Teaching Fellow, and earned her MS in Education. She has worked at CMSP 327 in the South Bronx the whole time, and truly enjoys being part of an exemplary learning community. Recently, she graduated from the Bank Street College of Education as a Wallace Fellow with an Ed.M. in Educational Leadership. Now Cara enjoys a leadership position at her school as well as conducting drama therapy sessions with at-risk students. Cara has done VFP work camps in Kenya and Botswana, and has traveled to Indonesia, Australia, and numerous European, African, Latin American and Caribbean countries. Cara has been deeply involved with the Haiti Clean Water project since 2011, which has included co-writing a comprehensive training manual, conducting dozens of trainings, and leading several VFP Clean Water work camps. Currently she manages the project and lives in Manhattan with her husband Daniel.
Charles Rudd Mackenzie
Charles graduated from Bowdoin College and Vermont Law School before becoming a teaching fellow in New York City public schools. He has been a VFP board member since 1991 and has served the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, Hudson River Sloop Clear water, Dobbs Ferry’s Conservation Advisory Commission, the Indian Point Project, and New York Public Interest Research Group. He also serves on the Boards of Gitt-Moul Historic Properties, Navigators Alternative Scouting, and the Saint Nicholas Society. Charles has traveled throughout Europe, taken part in two IVS projects in Poland in 1991, and led a volunteer project at the URI’s Environmental Resource Center in 1993. He was raised in Germany and Ardsley Park, New York, and speaks fluent German.