Fanny Smedile, Board President. Fanny is from Columbe, Ecuador; helping people has been her passion since her teen years. She studied Business Administration, and while working for a public hospital, she volunteered as a health promoter, making home visits to people who struggled to meet their basic needs. In 1988, she came to the United States and settled in New Jersey. As a parishioner of St. Mary Church in Pompton Lakes, she learned of the struggles of recently arrived families and wanted to respond with compassion to the trauma and difficulty they experienced.
Fanny collected and distributed food and furniture, and initiated ESL classes, health clinics, and celebrations of Hispanic culture. In 2000, Fanny and her family moved to Virginia; since then she has been active in justice efforts and outreach through the Catholic church. Fanny is a founding member of Creciendo Juntos and Sin Barreras, and serves as the senior member of the Sin Barreras staff. Her objective is to bring needed services to members of the Hispanic community and to reach out to those who are most vulnerable.
Clay Wilcher, Director of Finance. Clay is from Charlottesville, Virginia and is a graduate of Albemarle High School. After High school, he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and studied grant writing at the University of Nevada. Clay has nearly three decades of experience in business management; he has worked in sales, the banking industry, and with a variety of business ventures. Clay has been involved in legislative advocacy and worked on the successful 2010 state-wide campaign to pass HB921, which extended the preservation of evidence in cases of child abuse. Clay is a founding member of Sin Barreras and a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative who assists clients with immigration cases.
Sheila Herlihy, Director of Public Affairs. Sheila has worked as the Coordinator of Justice and Charity at the Church of the Incarnation in Charlottesville since 2013. She was born and raised in Ohio, studied abroad in the Dominican Republic, and has traveled throughout the United States and the world. Sheila is a graduate of Wittenberg University with a B.A. in Spanish and Sociology of Religion. A fluent Spanish-speaker, Sheila has worked with immigrants in Philadelphia, Delaware, and now in Charlottesville. Sheila’s work is informed by the practice of solidarity, and her aim to build a more inclusive and just community.
Edgar Lara, Director of Community Engagement. Edgar grew up in California’s central valley. In his youth, he spent several summers as a migrant worker in various parts of the state. He was raised by an undocumented, single mother in a largely undocumented community that helped instill the strong work ethic, family values, and sense of community and justice he carries in his work. Edgar is a veteran of the Marine Corps, has a B.S. in Economics from UCLA, and has worked in consulting and business finance for more than a decade. He got involved with Sin Barreras in 2015 and has played a major role in its development. He now serves on the board and leads multiple projects/programs.
Janie Eckman, Secretary. Janie has a B.S. in Psychology and a M.S. in Human Services Administration. She brings experience in family services, community organizing, and justice and charity work to Sin Barreras. Since 1991, she has taught English as a Second Language (ESOL) to immigrants, and since 2004 she has volunteered as a family mentor for refugees through the International Rescue Committee. Janie has been active in IMPACT (Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together) since 2006; she works alongside members of local faith communities to address the systemic causes of injustice, inequality and poverty in the Charlottesville area.
Frank Sullivan, Volunteer. Frank has a Masters’ degree in International Agriculture and worked most of his career in less-developed-countries, living for many years in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Honduras. He consulted for fifteen years in organizational development, project evaluation, and proposal writing for the World Bank, the World Food Programme, the United States Agency for International Development, and numerous international NGOs. Retiring to Charlottesville, he looked for a way to “pay back” the hospitality and friendships his family enjoyed in their many years in Latin America and discovered Sin Barreras six years ago and has volunteered with SB ever since. Fluent in Spanish, he is one of SB’s two accredited representative approved by the Department of Justice to offer legal immigration services to needy people.