George Cartagena, Chair, was born and raised in Jersey City where he witnessed the devastating effects of poverty on young women in the inner city. At the age of 10, his family moved to a quiet steel town south of Pittsburgh. Aspiring to provide a better life for his parents, who were both raised in poverty as children, he attended the George Washington University School of Engineering. These aspirations were met with great disappointment when both of his parents were taken into the presence of God within a year’s time. With great spiritual, emotional and financial needs, he decided to leave school. Over the next six years, he developed a promising culinary career until God saved him at age 25 while visiting his older brother in Jersey City. He once again made Jersey City his home where he met his wife, Maribel, and started a family. Through the lens of God’s truth and his own humbling life experiences, George now understood the greatest need of those around him: salvation through Jesus Christ. With this in mind, he and his wife chose to homeschool their only child, Priscilla. With great devotion, they actively provided for all her educational, emotional and spiritual needs. As a freelance web developer with a flexible schedule, George became actively involved in the homeschooling community where he taught Algebra and served as the President of the North Jersey Homeschoolers Association from 2012 until his daughter graduated in 2015. He now lives in Totowa, NJ, where he builds an expanding coffee business, serves as the President of the Cathedral Choir, and donates his time to teach Algebra to homeschoolers. George greatly desires to translate his life experiences into prayerful support and active involvement that will positively impact the lives of unsupported mothers, their children and future generations through Expect Hope.
Pearl Corbin is one of the founding members of The Life Team, NY, a collaborative pro-life work of Christians from both Evangelical and Catholic traditions. She is actively involved in sharing the message of life, particularly among fellow evangelical pastors and believers. Ms. Corbin believes that one of the greatest reasons death and destruction run rampant throughout our land is a direct result of our nation’s practice of shedding innocent blood in the womb. Ms. Corbin, a native New Yorker, spent 16 years in Asia, conducting leadership and discipleship training among house churches in the Peoples Republic of China, and eventually throughout Southeast Asia, laboring in nations such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Macao. Sis. Pearl also founded AICHINA Inc. in Hong Kong and the USA, which extended God’s love to special needs babies and children, abandoned in the north central region of mainland China, from 1996 through 2014. As someone with ‘hands on’ experience and a long term commitment to missions, Sister Pearl is sought after as a keynote speaker in conferences & training seminars across the US and internationally. She is honored to have the opportunity to serve on the board of Expect Hope.
Meena Lildharrie, Assistant Treasurer, received her Bachelors degree in Psychology from the College of New Rochelle, her Masters degree from Queens College in Public Administration, and a degree from St. Rose University in School Administration. She has been employed as the Business Manager for the NYC Department of Education for the past 23 years. For the past 20 years, she has been a member of Van Nest Assembly of God in the Bronx. Meena is happily married to her wonderful husband of 19 years and has four beautiful children. She understands the importance of this ministry and as a child of God desires to be used for His honor and His glory. She is a firm believer in the word of God and understands the importance of being a servant. Meena is honored and blessed to be a part of Expect Hope and deeply desires to make a difference in the lives of mothers and children in New York City.
Priscilla Perumalla is the Co-Founder and Co-Pastor of The Grace Place NYC church in Hamilton Heights, Harlem. She attended Bible School in South Texas and has a deep desire to see people of all ages, races, and backgrounds reconciled to Jesus Christ. Priscilla is a certified birth instructor who has a passion to see young mothers embrace their pregnancy with joy and confidence. Her desire to help young mothers comes from her own personal experience, as she was born to teen parents after surviving an abortion. Priscilla believes in the power of prayer as she has seen many miracles throughout her life. Priscilla enjoys reading and photography and resides in Hamilton Heights with her husband Stephen and her two children, Boston and Aviah.
“Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
Dr. Edward Prins, Treasurer, is a Senior Attending physician at Hackensack University Medical Center. He is the President and Director of Summit Avenue Medical, Hackensack where he has practiced internal medicine for over thirty years. Part of his career involved donating his services treating economically disadvantaged patients in the HUMC medical clinic. In 2012, he led a medical missions team in El Salvador, ministering to families in local villages. He has served on various church boards and is currently on the board of trustees at Calvary Chapel North Jersey. He and his wife Beth reside in Hawthorne, New Jersey. They have five children and five grandchildren. Proverbs 21:11 says, “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.” Dr. Prins believes God calls each one of us to respond to the cries of the needy, especially innocent children. Serving on the board of Expect Hope is one way that he can follow the heart of God.
Jeannette Sepulveda, Secretary, is the mother of a ten year old son named Sebastian Emmanuel. She serves as a Sunday School Teacher at her church in the Bronx, Crossroads Tabernacle. Jeannette has a love to serve children and their families. She has been working in the Early Childhood Education field since 2013. After completing her Associates Degree of Applied Science in Aircraft Operations, Jeannette has answered her calling to become a Certified Teacher. She is pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree at the School of Education at The City College of New York. Jeannette was born and raised in the Bronx, and has an intimate knowledge of the need her community has for Expect Hope. She was once an expectant mother who felt alone and worried, facing an unplanned pregnancy. Jeannette’s father called her home, unlike many of the women who are facing unplanned pregnancy. However, Jeannette says, “I had my father say ‘Come Home’ and these women at Expect Hope have that too. They just do not know it. Their Heavenly Father says, ‘Come Home’ and their home is Expect Hope.”
Kirk van der Swaagh, Vice-Chair, has served as pastor of Neighborhood Church of Greenwich Village since 1987. In addition, he serves on the board of the National Pro-life Religious Council (NPRC), a Christian coalition of pro-life ministries and denominations called to affirm and bear witness to the Biblical standard of the value, dignity, and sanctity of human life. He is currently the vice-president of the NPRC. Kirk has led workshops with fellow NPRC board members at the annual National Right to Life convention and contributed devotional selections to the 40 Days for Life prayer guide. In the late 1980s, Kirk was an active participant in Operation Rescue, working with others to impede access to abortion clinics, while challenging the clinic workers to examine their consciences in the light of the practice they were supporting. Kirk graduated with highest honors from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, obtaining a Master of Divinity. He and his wife Barbara have six children. He looks forward to the transformation that will take place in the lives of the women Expect Hope is serving.