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Staff and Board
Brian Stefan-Szittai came to the InterReligious Task Force staff in 1999. Before joining IRTF, Brian taught sociology at Bowling Green State University-Firelands College and Lorain County Community College. Brian also brought to IRTF several years of experience in community organizing and advocacy for immigrant rights in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, a four-county area on the Texas-Mexico border. Brian co-managed a shelter for Central American refugees and organized faith communities in support of Central American refugees through the Border Association for Refugees from Central America (BARCA). Also through BARCA, Brian did community organizing with Mexican immigrant families in rural colonias. During his years in South Texas, Brian served as chair of the Refugee Rights Coalition, director of the Peace and Justice Commission at a Catholic parish, and co-founder/co-director of the Coalition of Colonia Service Agencies. In Cleveland, Brian is active with music ministry at St. Patrick Church, the Community Land Trust, and the Cleveland Catholic Worker Community.
Brian is a native of Massillon, Ohio, and graduate of Canton Central Catholic High School. Brian holds a BA in Political Science (Bowling Green State University) and an MA in Sociology (Syracuse University), with concentrations in ethnic identity and conflict resolution.
Chrissy is a native of the rust-belt town of Youngstown, Ohio. Chrissy devotes her passion for social justice to her union-laborer father and concern for Latin America to her mother, who found refuge in the US from Medellin, Colombia during the height of the civil war in the 1980s. Chrissy received her BA in International and Financial Management from Hiram College and her MA and MEd in Higher Education Administration and Counseling from Kent State University. At Kent, she worked in Student Affairs, coordinated experiential education, civic engagement and service learning trips, taught Student Development and Leadership courses and served on Sustainability, Equity and Professional Development committees. While studying at Hiram she helped in the initial creation of the 501c3 Hiram Farm Living and Learning community for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and was co-founder of the Olive Branch fair trade store in Hiram, OH.
Chrissy joined IRTF as co-coordinator in 2013. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Disciples Peace Fellowship, the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and as the Chair of the NE Ohio Fair Trade Network. Her previous board experience includes serving as the Secretary for the Christian Church in Ohio (Disciples of Christ), and as a member of the Higher Educational Leadership Ministries (HELM) national team. She is proud to be a community organizer, organizing in the greater Cleveland area, with groups such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) & the Student Farmworker Alliance (SFA), Witness Against Torture (WAT), Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT and ECAP Colombia), Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD), Tree of Life Education Fund (Israel/Palestine), the Asociacion de Trabajadores del Campo Nicaragua (ATC), Refugee and Immigration Ministries (RIM) and others.
Program Associates - volunteer corps members
Rapid Response Network Coordinator
IRTF Board of Trusties
Lyz Bly is a professor at Cleveland State University, a destuction homestead co-op member and a yoga teacher. She is an alumni of Kent State University, The Ohio State University, and Case Western Reserve University. She is passionate about art, yoga, traveling, and helping to create a new world centered on healing the planet and its inhibitantas. She was lead to IRTF by a woman who suggested that Lyz connect with the organization while she was doing research and philanthropic work in Guatemala.
Heather Craigie works in the Center for Service and Social Action at John Carroll University. Heather has recieved degrees from Earlham College and the University of Arizona. She enjoys spending time with her family, grant writing, mindfulness and self-care, and is passionate about activism and social and envionmental justice. Her favorite social justice hero is Delores Huerta. A book that Heather reccomends is The Handmaid't Tale by Margaret Atwood. Heather loves that she has found people with similar passions and values at IRTF.
Rachel Rosen DeGolia
Rachel Rosen DeGolia is the Executive Director of the Universal Health Care Action Network. Rachel is an alumni of the University of Chicago and Cleveland State University. She is passionate about politics, social justice, reading, cooking, strength training, and bicycling. Her favorite IRTF event is the anual memorial service at the Commemoration Dinner. She has traveled to Guatemala, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Neatherlands, France, England and Bulgaria. Rachel finds hope in younger fellow justice fighters.
Lauren Fraser - secretary
Lauren Fraser is the Assistant Director of Signature Programs at John Carroll University. Lauren earned degrees from both JCU and the University of Dayton. She is passionate about Ignatian Spirituality, typography, photography, and finding beauty in all things. Lauren has explored social justice issues in Immokalee, FL; Pine Ridge, South Dakota; Camden, NJ; Baltimore, MD; West Virginia; Cleveland, OH; Mexico, Nicaragua, and Ecuador.
JP Graulty - co-chair
JP Graulty works in the Center for Service and Social Action at John Carroll University. JP has recieved degrees from Case Western Reserve University and the University of Dayton. He is passionate about peace, economic justice, his Catholic Faith, and board games. JP has traveled to the Philippines, Japan, China, Canada, the UK, and Australia. His communities of friends, neighbors, and loved ones gives him hope. A fun fact about JP is that he played the tuba in high school and college.
Annette Iwamoto - co-chair
Annette Iwamoto is the Strategic Initaitives Manager at Povidence House, Inc. Annette is an alumni of Trinity College and Case Western Reserve University. She is passionate about social and racial justice, increasing civility, and research in evidence based soluntions to community problems, as well as art and traveling. Annette has traveled all over the world in Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Pure, Argentine, Chile, Bolivia, Uriguay, Japan, India, British Isles, France, Belgium, the Neatherlands, and Germany. She reccomends that you read Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. A fun fact about Annette is that she once had gymnasitcs class with the Olsen twins.
Joann Rymarczyk-Piotrkowski is the Director of Campus Ministry at Ursuline College and the Dean of the Cleveland Ecumenical Institute. She hes recieved degrees from Xavier University, the Univerisity of Cincinnati, Ursaline College, and St. Mary Semeinary and Graduate School of Theology. Joann is passionate about faith, family, and food. Her most poignant IRTF memory was her first trip to the Protest of the School of the Americas. Her favorite social justice hero is Dorothy Day. Joann finds hope in the young people she works with everyday.
Andy Trares - treasurer
IRTF Summer 2018 Interns
Alexandra Baddour: Slippery Rock University
Alicia Key: Baldwin Wallace University
Analese Chandler-Nieves: Baldwin Wallace University
Emily Reed: The Ohio State University
Emma Halterman: Goucher College
Kirsten Costedio: Case Western Reserve University
Julia Lynn: Laurel School
Karli DeChant: New York University
Sophia Gumbs: New York University
Madlynn Hemeyer: Baldwin Wallace University