About Us
Founder and Executive Director
Leah Okimoto started Aaron’s Presents in January 2014 as a way to honor the memory of her son by creating a unique opportunity for other children to start thinking of themselves as community members with unique qualities to be developed and put to good purpose. At other phases of her life, she has composed music for musical theatre, run a legal recruiting firm, tutored and mentored kids, and volunteered at homeless shelters, hospitals, schools and meal kitchens. She currently lives on the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters.
Lawrence Mentor
Kate Adams became connected with Aaron’s Presents as a volunteer in the fall of 2016 while pursuing her master’s degree at Merrimack College in Community Engagement. She has worked in the community of Lowell for ten years with youth. Before coming to Aaron’s Presents she served as the Program Coordinator at Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell and worked at North Shore Community College in their Service Learning office. Kate had the privilege of volunteering in the city of Lawrence in college and she was THRILLED to work with Aaron’s Presents youth in Lawrence as a Mentor last year at four fantastic after-school programs. Along with her current role at Aaron’s Presents, Kate works at Salem State University as Assistant Director of their Center for Civic Engagement planning service opportunities for students and leading advocacy programs at the college. In her spare time, you can find Kate traveling, hiking, and going to the theatre. What Kate loves most about Aaron’s Presents is the organization’s ability to invest in young people’s ideas and empower them to be agents of change in their community.
Lawrence/Lowell Mentor
Ever since she was younger, Franchesca Arias has been passionate about giving back to her community and guiding children in the right direction. Arias is now 21 years old and a junior at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is a sociology major driven to pursue a career in Education. For six years she has worked/volunteered for youth development organizations such as Si, Se Puede and YDO in Lawrence as a mentor. Recently she has spent the last few months working as a swim instructor/lifeguard for the YMCA in both Lawrence and North Andover. Franchesca’s hopes are to continue giving back and being a helping hand where it is needed. She states, “I am excited to be a part of the Aaron’s Present team and help students reach their goals, bringing their creative ideas to life.” She believes that support is everything; not only is it a gateway to a positive life but also to endless opportunities for success!
Lowell Mentor
Bio coming soon!
Lawrence Mentor
Bio coming soon!
Lowell Mentor
Bio coming soon!
Lynn Mentor
My name is Ebony White and I am Lynn native who is all about my community and also a mother of two wonderful kids named Jason age 11 and Jordin age 9. I am a graduate with a Bachelors degree in Communication and pursuing a Masters at Suffolk University. I’ve been employed at a great organization called Centerboard for the last 10 years where I am the Assistant Director of Youth Services. I work endless hours and dedicate my heart and soul to all the at-risk youth who are victims to their own trauma that has impacted how they move through the world. No matter what I have accomplished thus far, I never forget where I came from and what I have had to do to get where I am today. Providing free programs for youth and families to be successful was always a goal and now being apart of Aaron’s presents as a Project Mentor, I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity for Lynn Community. Being able to give back to the city of Lynn is rewarding and I wish there were programs like Aaron’s Presents when I was growing up.
Lynn Mentor
Bio coming soon!


Katelyn Adams
Board President
See above for Kate’s bio!
TJ Keough
Timothy Keough is an attorney with White and Williams LLP. He splits his time between the firm’s Boston and Providence offices. Tim’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation where he represents product manufacturers, distributors, retailers, banks, construction companies, premises owners, and insurers of all sizes in the defense of lawsuits brought in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In addition to serving on the Board for Aaron’s Presents, Tim also represents individuals seeking asylum in the United States. In his spare time, he is an avid disc golfer.

Dinesh Makhija
Dinesh is Software Development Manager at Amazon-Lab126 in Cambridge. Prior to joining Amazon, he held various leadership roles with Coero, Alcatel, Lucent, Motorola developing products in security, networking and mobile technologies. Dinesh’s passion for volunteer grassroots work stems from his student days in India while working with national organizations on social causes with villages. He believes that kindness needs to be passed forward and it starts with kids and young adults as they begin to explore higher causes and develop a sense of compassion in community.  He has a keen interest in bringing research/technology to help the causes.

Samantha Meserve
Samantha Meserve is a Renewable Thermal Program Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. She first began her career at the Department administering the Solar Carve-Out II portion of the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard before transitioning to working on the regulatory proceeding and implementation of including renewable thermal technologies in the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard. She was hired at the Department after graduating with her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Resources Engineering from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry and is currently in school to receive her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Boston. She came to Aaron’s Presents as a NetImpact Board Fellow in 2018-19.

Jessica and Zachary O’Neil

Aldonsa Pereyra
Bio coming soon!

Teg Rood
Director and CFO
As principal of Rood Consulting, Teg works with clients to deliver a superior customer experience. His pro bono work includes projects with Community Action Partners and Entrepreneurship for All. Teg has also served in senior management positions over a 30 year career with several electronics manufacturers.

Carina Schusterman
Bio Coming Soon!

Anny Mercedes Vargas
Anny Mercedes Vargas is pursuing her (B.A) in Political Science and Spanish Language from Emmanuel College. While in college, she has helped numerous individuals and has enhanced their studies. She primarily focused on Spanish and tutoring those who needed to strengthen their language abilities. Her position as an Academic Peer Tutor allowed her to give back to her college’s community and strengthen ties with professors. She also expanded her role by accepting a position as an Enrichment Tutor at the Edward F. Parthum School in Lawrence, MA. Here, she fostered strong relationships with children from K-4th and worked alongside a group of professionals. At the Parthum school, her work consisted of developing multiple projects in relation to different fields of study in education. These projects strengthened each child’s learning style and challenged them as well. Anny, strived to be strategic as she guided both IEP and ESL students to be feel confident in their ability to learn. Lastly, she had the opportunity to intern at the Law Office of Gomez and Palumbo LLC., which inspired her to pursue a career in legal practice. This law office became the cornerstone for her interest in Immigration Law. At this law office, Anny learned the rewarding feeling of making a difference in someone’s life. At the Law Office of Gomez and Palumbo LLC., she understood how to deepen confidence in the community, and be an advocate that exhibits leadership and transparency in their work. In the future, Anny is looking forward to a career in Immigration Law to help educate the community on legal matters.


Carlene Alpert
Marianne Cashman (Founding Board member)
Dr. Connie Chung (Founding Board member)
Sheila Corbitt
Sara Eaton Gaunt (Former Board member)
Rosemary Infante Costello (Former Board member)
Elizabeth Dill
Jooé Kim (Founding Board Member)
Fabio Malagisi
Lorie Mendoza
Dr. Paul Nguyen (Founding Board Member)
Natalie Nicholson
Barb Petricone
Victor Sheen (Founding Board Member)
Marjory Sherman-Bindman
Rishub Solan (Former Board member)
Dr. Jocelyn Thein
Kirsten Walters (Former NetImpact Board Fellow)