Instructors and Mentors:
Priti Bansal is Co-Founder and President of Empower And Help, a mom, humanitarian, community helper, and glue that keeps the whole team together. You can always count on her to get your spirits up, develop innovative ideas to make a project successful, and jump in to help wherever it is needed. She is not hesitant to take on new challenges and learn new things. Priti also joined the Board of Casa Freehold, whose mission is to lay a foundation for empowerment so that immigrants can learn how to address their needs and assist others as they integrate into the community. Priti launched the Empower And Helped Global Challenge and Ambassador Program to Empower And help youth in 2020. The program exceeded expectations in its first year with around 50 participants from all over the country.
Priti has co-authored a children’s book -, “Sal, Let’s Help,” which teaches children to give back by doing smalls tasks starting at home. Successfully funded this book on Kickstarter and distributed copies all across the world. Priti also led a computer campaign where donated 35+ computers to families in need locally and globally. Priti is also the founder of the social good project “Cards of Hope.” Priti has conducted and is still conducting multiple drives where trucks full of basic needs have been sent worldwide to help displaced families in need due to war or natural disasters.
Aditi Verma is a co-founder of Empower And Help, co-author of the children’s book “Sal, Let’s Help,” as well as the creator of several empowerment workshops and seminars that help youths, teens, and women develop powerful self-esteem, a positive can-do attitude, and navigate the ups and downs of life and more. She is part of a worldwide movement to empower youth and families.
Aditi is a certified wisdom coach for kids ages 7 to 12 and a certified teen wisdom coach for ages 13 to 23. She believes it is vital for children to be balanced emotionally and intellectually to achieve their goals and be successful in their lives. Through Empower And Help, she aims to bring that balance into youth’s lives by focusing on emotional intelligence, value-based learning, and experiential, hands-on volunteer opportunities. She also believes that personal growth in parents themselves will naturally lead to personal growth in children and creates and provides workshops for parents and children. Her vision is that of a connected, empowered, and happy family. She teaches powerful tools to her clients to achieve their goals which she herself practices as well. In the past, she has worked in the corporate world as a Business Analyst and Product Manager. She holds degrees in Bachelors of Science from Virginia Tech and a Masters in Biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania. Aditi Verma and her husband are the proud parents of 2 children. Aditi is passionate about Empower And Help’s mission to build future leaders with integrity that make this world a better place for themselves and others.
Aishwarya Panchal is our partner and educator who has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Psychology. She is passionate about the human brain, our thought processes, and mindset shifts. She fell in love with teaching while being a teaching assistant in graduate school. After working for several years in the corporate as an Analyst, Aish took a break from work to focus more time on her young son. Her search to be of service to others and her love for psychology and education got her in touch with our team at Empower and Help. She has conducted Social Media workshops for middle school and high school students and was one of the supervising members of the 2020 Global Ambassador program. She is now spearheading our mentorship program in India and is helping us expand our passion for empowering and educating underprivileged children internationally. She is also currently studying to become a certified coach from the Jay Shetty Coaching School.
Gail Vignola is on the English Department faculty of Seton Hall University in New Jersey, where she is also the Director of Second-Language Writing. With a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, her post-graduate work in Education and Applied Linguistics was completed at the University of Massachusetts/Boston and the University of California/Berkeley.
Besides teaching, Gail is a committed activist in the cause of higher education for displaced Syrian students and, with her students at the University of Evansville in Indiana, started a nonprofit—Scholars for Syria—in 2015 to increase awareness, promote advocacy, and raise funds for Syrian students and their families. Scholars for Syria introduced the first Syrian student in Indiana as a TEDx presenter in 2016, raised over $10K in donations for Syrian students, and hosted guests such as Sana Mustafa, Lina Sergie, Mariela Shaker, and SAMS. In 2019, Scholars for Syria and the University of Evansville were awarded the International Institute of Higher Education (IIE) Heiskell Award for Higher Education in Emergencies in recognition of their successful approaches and strategies for supporting displaced scholars.
In 2019, Gail joined the board of edSeed/VIP.fund, a Syrian nonprofit promoting higher education through crowd-funding, investing in youth programs and startups, and providing empowerment and employment for displaced Syrian youth.
In 2020, with the support of Empower and Help – who supplied peer student mentors and an Arabic-speaking interpreter – these two organizations collected donated hardware and created. Tailored lessons for 9 resettled Syrian refugee students in NJ during the summer help them adjust to remote learning and practice their English. This kind of collaboration is at the heart of both organizations’ missions and transcends culture. Scholars for Syria hopes to continue to pool resources and implement projects that will have concrete, positive effects on the lives of displaced people everywhere, hoping to change the disastrous results of global conflicts in whatever ways possible, and striving to weave a chain of connection that will result in bridges built with the raw materials of humanity, compassion, and justice.
Tasha established The Book Smart Project in 2014, which she founded in honor of her late father, who instilled in her the love of charitable work. The Book Smart Project collects and donates kids’ books to low-income school districts across the country, focusing on New Jersey schools. In collaboration with other organizations, such as Literacy Movement 4 More, African Library Project, and Empower And Help, to name a few, Natasha’s books have also made it to the Caribbean, India, Syria, South Africa, Brazil, and more. When she is not collecting books for low-funded schools, she mentors Syrian refugees in Za’atari Camp in Jordan remotely, providing support, academic help, and translation through VIP.fund’s program called edSeed. She is also a volunteer communication strategist with VIP.fund where she works on content creation for their programs, social media, and newsletters. She is fluent in Arabic and used her skills to bridge the language gap during the 2020 Empower And Help Remote Mentorship Program. She spearheaded this pilot program by assisting with curriculum, translating during the teaching sessions, and supporting the mentors, students, and parents throughout the pandemic summer of 2020. Natasha’s passion for literacy has been a driving force in all of her charitable efforts, and she continues on her quest to leave a positive lasting impact on the world.
Elke Lopez is the author of the children’s book “I Love You More Than That!” and believes it is never too late to dream big and work with what you have to achieve it. Her love for writing dates back to her high school years, as she found joy and comfort even with something as simple as her journal entries. Being Latina, raised by a single mom, and growing up in a tough neighborhood, she had to fight through significant obstacles that may have veered her away from her ultimate goal of becoming an author! In 2020, she wrote, edited, collaborated with an illustrator during the pandemic, and self-published her book. She hopes her debut book will inspire others to seek creativity and knowledge while having fun in the process. Elke is also the creator and author of a new blog, “The Lopez Lot.” A lifestyle website meant to provide the reader with a few minutes of enjoyment before getting back to the many lots of their own lives, covering various topics on the self, family, the home, and the arts.
In 2019, Elke had the honor to have a book grace the shelves of the Brooklyn Art Library, where she participated in The Sketchbook Project. An arts organization and crowd-sourced library that features artists’ books contributed by a worldwide community of more than 70,000 artists from over 135 countries.
She also organizes Vision Board/Journal events to help others visualize and focus on their short and long-term goals, help embrace positivity and spark their motivation to succeed. Elke finds joy in reading, doodling/painting, pottery, and meditation when she isn’t writing. She believes creativity is a vehicle of self-expression, and she hopes to inspire others to experiment with various styles to celebrate their uniqueness and diversity.
Nandhini Viswanathan (Nandy) had the pleasure of being a “Youth Career Coach”/ Teacher teaching ‘Game of Real Life’- Financial Literacy program for the High school kids in Texas. Her class won the top 2 places in the ‘Game of Real Life’ competition across multiple school districts. She still cherishes the memories of teaching the kids and till date it has been one of the most satisfying roles for her life.Nany comes from a STEM background. She has Bachelors in Electrical and Computer Engineering. She did her Masters in Information Systems (MIS) at University of Arizona, and MBA at North Carolina State University. Nany had roles as Software Engineer/Program Manager in different industries – banking, IT. Personally, she loves hiking with family, and doing gardening with her kids (age 9, 6). Her passions include empowerment of children, helping underprivileged kids, mentoring them to change lives.
Nupur, after earning MBA with a specialization in Human Resources, went on to work in the corporate sector for 4.5 years as an HR Generalist. After shifting to the United States, she entered the non-profit world to explore her passion for making a difference and giving back to society. Nupur’s work with Empower and Help instantly encouraged her to join an environment-based non-profit – Friends of Bass Lake, St. Louis Park, MN.
Working in the communication and grant writing team for Empower and Help has made her take a deep dive into the basics of the non-profit environment. Nupur looks forward to being a part of the good for the society and environment as her ultimate goal and achievement.