Jean Semler
Co Founder and President

Jean graduated from the Seton Hall University School of Nursing and has a master’s degree in Organizational Development Education from Montclair State University. Following her graduation from Seton Hall, Jean worked as a nurse in ICU, Public Health and Staff Development. She then pursued a second career with Merck & Co. Inc. Although now retired, her position as a Hospital and HIV Executive Business Manager provided her broad experience with the health challenges of HIV/AIDS.


David Thelen
Co Founder and Vice President

David received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, his master’s degree in Counseling and Supervision from Kean University and an EDS degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from Seton Hall University. David had a successful career as a guidance counselor at Old Bridge High School, Old Bridge Township School District.

David is also a Board Member of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, past President of the Central Jersey Step Family Association of America, facilitator for Survivors of Suicide support group, and continues to volunteer at The Center in Asbury Park.


Patrina Marino

Patrina Marino Patrina graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. She also attended a design program at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, Switzerland. After her graduation, she went on to become a practicing graphic designer.

Today, she is Principal of Davidoff Associates Inc., a communications and design consultancy in New York City. She brings her visual communications expertise to her work with a wide range of Fortune500 corporations, hospitals and retail businesses, as well as non-profit organizations such as ChangeALife Uganda. Patrina specializes in strategic brand identity design and management.


Evelyn Wells

Evelyn Wells Dr. Evelyn Wells MD is board certified in Emergency Medicine. She has an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Princeton University, received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine and was Chief Resident at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Evelyn is now an attending physician in the ER at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

As a medical student, she spent some time in the ER and knew that being the last resort for people is the role she wanted to play. She is eager to share her skills with people who have limited access to care either because they cannot make an appointment or because they have no insurance. Evelyn sees it all and that’s what she enjoys about her job: the young, elderly, pregnant, prisoners, undocumented residents, the critically ill and those with minor complaints. She just wants to help people. She does this not only in the US but advises the CALU Board about health related issues and personally travels to Uganda to help the people in Migyera and Nabbingo.


Kathleen Brown

Kathleen Brown graduated from Muhlenberg College and Columbia Law School. She spent several years in private practice with law firms in New York and New Jersey specializing in the area of Trusts & Estates law. Kathleen then moved to an in-house legal position with Merrill Lynch. After several years, she transitioned to the business side eventually becoming a Managing Director in charge of marketing and product development for Merrill Lynch Trust Company. Kathleen left Merrill Lynch after more than a decade to pursue consulting projects for fiduciary services firms as well as nonprofits. In addition to ChangeALife Uganda, Kathleen has served on the boards of the Longbranch Concordance, the Bridge of Books Foundation and the education foundations for her children’s schools.


Valerie Brett
Education – Sponsorship

Valerie received a BA in Art History & Economics from Pomona College and MBA in Finance & Nonprofit Management from Columbia University. She worked in the New York financial services industry in leadership and technology positions at Bankers Trust, Deutsche Bank and Lazard.

In 2007, her two-career family moved to Asia, and Valerie pursued her nonprofit interests, working for the Hong Kong International Literary Festival (Hong Kong) and World Vision International (Singapore). Upon returning to the USA, Valerie now volunteers with Change A Life Uganda. She also volunteers with the Bridge of Books Foundation.



Jane Denny

Jane Denny received her B.A. in Education from Monmouth University. She is currently the Director of Education at The Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education at Brookdale Community College, Director of Community Service and a History and Spanish teacher at Rumson Country Day School. In addition she is Vice President of Board of Directors of Holiday Express, which delivers music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to those with the greatest need during the holiday.


Clare Polatschek

Clare Polatschek received her B.S. from East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and her M.A. from Adelphi University, Garden City, New York. She spent the early years of professional career teaching and coaching at the middle school, high school and college level. After receiving her RN, she had extensive and varied career in nursing presently working for Springpoint Senior Living. She is currently the Coordinator of the Change A Life ministry at Saint Aloysius Parish in Jackson, New Jersey.


Paul Scalzo

A Mobile Intensive Care Paramedic by profession, Paul Scalzo has served the people of Monmouth and Ocean Counties for the past 19 years. Paul currently holds the position of Manager of Clinical Service for MONOC Mobile Health Services, headquartered in Wall Township, NJ.

Paul also has an extensive background in medical education, including Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Pre-hospital Trauma Life Support, as well as a faculty position with the MONOC-Ocean County College Paramedic Education Program.



Arthur A. Le Pori

After serving in the US Army, Art attended the University of Illinois, Georgetown University and Rutgers University.

Art held various sales and Marketing positions including VP of Sales for a major manufacturing company before founding is own company in 1999, providing wireless solutions, primarily for law enforcement and Public safety agencies as well as training engineers and technicians in the cellular industry. He is a member of RCA (Radio Club of America) and CMA (Communications Marketing Association)