Meet Our Board Members

Nadine Ayinuana, Founder


Nadine Ayinuana is Congolese born. She grew up without a father in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Kinshasa. Her family didn't have money, and she could rarely go to school. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 15 and was overjoyed to attend high school and college as well. She became a naturalized citizen at the age of 23.

Nadine is the mother of four children. When she became a mom, she realized how valuable her education really was. In the United States, every child has access to a free education. But Nadine remembers how hard it was for her to attend school as a young child. Because of her background, she is very aware of the great need for change in DRC. The disparity between access to education in DRC and access in the United States is what inspired her to found YDRCA, INC.

Remembering her early life, Nadine wants to help everyone still struggling in DRC. She aims to do this by helping the children, their communities, and ultimately, their country. Nadine relates to the kids in DRC and understands they aren't being given a chance to succeed.

Nadine has more than ten years of experience managing retail stores. After working as a store manager at Yankee Candle for the last five years, where she was part of the President Club, she created YDRCA, INC. Nadine has taken huge steps in her life and has many accomplishments. She wants to provide that opportunity for kids in DRC. It's a meaningful way to pass on the blessings she's received in her life.

Gloria Okafor, Director of Information

Gloria Okafor was born in Fairfax, Virginia, and raised in Hyattsville, Maryland. She currently holds a bachelor's degree in animation from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The reason she wants to be a part of YDRCA, INC is that she feels all children deserve the right to enjoy a proper education just as she did. She was equipped with the tools to succeed in whatever she wished to accomplish. She wants underprivileged kids to have the same opportunity 

Kristina Starnes, Vice President

Kristina Starnes was born and raised in the Carolinas and currently makes her home there with husband, daughter and some chickens. When her daughter was a baby, she felt the overwhelming desire to make a better world for generations to come.

She worked with a non-profit that throws birthday parties for homeless children in shelters and became an ambassador for the largest fair trade accessories company in the world. These experiences have given her valuable information about what works and what doesn't when seeking to alleviate worldwide poverty. She hopes to continue developing and learning new ways to access basic needs and education for people all over the world.

Kristina decided to be part of YDRCA, INC. Because she believes the true path to poverty alleviation is equal education opportunities for all children and employment development for their parents.

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