Take a moment and meet the various Hugs teams. Teams are divided based on the country in which their global activities occur. Chapters are in charge of daily operations and oversee their respective sites volunteers. Tasks can range from collecting thousands of material supplies to planning local volunteer opportunities. Read on to learn about the change-makers who make the organization possible.

Executive Board: The Founders

Rachel Bervell  Chief Executive Officer/ Founder

Rachel Bervell
Chief Executive Officer/ Founder

Rachel Bervell is a graduate of Harvard University ('13) and a current 4th year medical student at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She is passionate about service and tackling healthcare disparities. While in high school, she conducted a teddy bear collection drive and distributed more than 1,000 stuffed animals to children in hospitals, orphanages, and villages in Ghana—her parent’s home country. After watching children’s’ faces light up as they received their own toy to hug, Rachel created Hugs for Ghana which has now become Hugs for. In addition to establishing Hugs for Ghana, Rachel served on the National Youth Council for the March of Dimes and is a scholar in the Urban Medicine Program where she helps patients confront social determinants of health. Rachel received the 2017 AMA Foundation Minority Scholars Award and was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

Joel Bervell  Chief Operating Officer/ Co-founder

Joel Bervell
Chief Operating Officer/ Co-founder

Joel Bervell is a graduate of Yale University ('17). From a young age Joel developed a love for volunteering. Through his passion for service, Joel continued and enriched the mission of Hugs for. He broadened the charitable scope by implementing a school supply drive at his high school to collect basic educational necessities for Ghanaian children, in the process collecting thousands of supplies including backpacks, pencils and reading books which were hand-delivered to children at Ghanaian schools, hospitals and orphanages. Joel also introduced Culture Nights to each of the branches - a culturally infused fundraising night that has now been held for 10+ years. At Yale, Joel devoted his time to Yale College Council and mentoring New Haven students as the director of the Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program. He currently sits on the leadership board of the Ron Brown Foundation.

Michael Bervell  Chief Financial Officer/ Co-founder

Michael Bervell
Chief Financial Officer/ Co-founder

Michael Bervell is a senior at Harvard University (‘19). In addition to his passion for service, he is immensely interested in business, leadership, computer science, and news publication. Michael created and implemented “Helping U Grow” or “HUG” a branch of Hugs for Ghana dedicated to developing local initiatives. He also expanded Hugs for Ghana by  establishing new branches around the Unites States and growing the mission of the organization to accompany four countries around the world. Michael is a board member of the Harvard Alumni Assocaition, director of the Harvard Club of Seattle, and the Harvard Advanced Leadership Institute.



Hugs for Ghana (H4G)

Hugs for Ghana (HFG) began at Kamiak High School in 2007 and has served as the primary site and model for other Hugs clubs over the past 10+ years. Below you will find the leadership boards for the schools participating in Hugs for Ghana. 

Kamiak High School (H4G)

Gloria Lee.jpg

Gloria Lee - President

Angelina Karki.JPG

Angelina Karki - Member

Jen Nguyen.jpg

Khue (Jen) Nguyen - Secretary

Aaron Banh.JPG

Aaron Banh - Member

Margaret Schroder.JPG

Margaret Schroeder - Treasurer

Makena Thatcher.jpeg

Makena Thatcher - Member

Inglemoor High School

Inglemoor Group Photo.JPG

From left to right:
Tom Mikolyuk, Divya Akkiraju, Anna Li, Kaycie Suzuki, Nicolas Akyel


Past Boards

Over our 10-year history, there have been a plethora of students who have helped craft Hugs for into the organization it is today and are now recognized as Hugs Alumni. Thank you to each and every one of these members for their support!

Hugs for Ghana

2008 - 2009: 
Rachel Bervell, Candace Wanner, Elise Wolff, Michelle Kim, Abbey Blackwell

2010 - 2011:
Joel Bervell, Hyoeun Kim, Diana Bui, Vivian Zhu, Esther Kim, Jilli Davis, Mackenzie Gaddy, Juliana Jorgensen, Paul Barton, Megan Nguyen, Geena Boyce, Phillip Janaceck, Felicia Harrison, Amy Tran

2011 - 2012:
Joel Bervell, Vivian Zhu, Megan Nguyen, Ronelle Revilla, Juliana Jorgensen, Ashkan Mortazavi, Diana Bui, Felicia Harrison, Paul Barton, Phillip Janaceck, Mackenzie Gaddy, Ronelle Revilla, Liam Sosinsky, Esther Kim, Geena Boyce

2012 - 2013
Joel Bervell, Vivian Zhu, Megan Nguyen, Ronelle Revilla, Juliana Jorgensen, Ashkan Mortazavi, Paul Barton, Mackenzie Gaddy, Ronelle Revilla, Liam Sosinsky,

2013 - 2014
Michael Bervell, Lynne Onishi, Judy Chin, Bill Cho, Alex Banh, Katherine Choi, Laura Glastra, Olivia Kim, Melanie Marshall, Cherie Ruan, Anton Paras, Helen Anderson

Hugs for Ghana (cont.)

2014 - 2015
Michael Bervell, Lynne Onishi, Alex Bahn, Allison Cantarano, Annabelle Falloria, Anton Paras, Bill Cho, Cherie Ruan, Garrett Peterson, Helen Anderson, Howard Yang, Judy Chin, Katherine Choi, Laura Glastra

2015 - 2016
Michael Yi, Tyler Bang, Komal Mand, Will Park, Jessica Bae, Chris Musoke

2016 - 2017
Jessica Bae, Annette Vo, Muhammad Akbar, Corey Kim, Julia Kim

2018 - 2019
Margaret Schroeder, Makena Thatcher, Gloria Lee, Angelina Karki, Jen Nguyen, Aaron Banh, Joanna Alonso

Hugs for Tanzania

2015 - 2016
Tyler Choi

Hugs for Kenya

2016 - 2017
Alvin Makori, Sara Daugherty, Julien Lubell, Matthew Lorentz, Macie Meade, Kole Emplit, Lindsay Kastner, Anna Naci

Hugs for Sierra Leone

2017 - 2018
Ivraj Seerha, Ibrahim Syed, Katherine Emley, Jessica Li