Coalition for Courage grew out of a personal passion and commitment of a small group of dedicated people whose lives were touched by some of the poorest children in one of the poorest countries in the world. In 1999, Arden O'Donnell, co-founder of Coalition for Courage, lost her father to HIV. Soon after, she began a graduate program in International Public Health and became inspired to help other children who had lost parents to HIV.
In 2001, Arden and two other graduate students, Amy Carroll and Alison Phillips spent a semester in Norton, Zimbabwe. They lived and worked at a well respected, community-based agency called Tsungirirai. This small organization was a shining star in a very dark sky. In addition to providing outreach, education and HIV testing and counseling in the community, a dedicated Home Based Care Team supported sick community members, and the agency itself housed a preschool, fed and paid school fees for close to 200 orphans, and offered...
Mission and Vision
At Coalition for Courage, our mission is to help needy children, especially those affected by HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, by providing health, education and welfare services.
Achieving this mission is made possible by our vision, which includes the implementation of our various programs. To learn about our vision, please follow the link below
Arden became involved with Tsungirirai in 2001 as a volunteer when she spent 6 months working to strengthen the Home Based Care Team and advocating for HIV testing in Zimbabwe. She returned to Tsungirirai in 2002-2003 and served as Capacity Building Consultant providing administrative, fundraising, and program development support. Arden has worked for over a decade in Southern Africa focusing on HIV and orphan care. She co- founded Coalition for Courage in 2003 and continues to work for the betterment of the agency and these children. Arden received her undergrad degree from Mount Holyoke, her Masters in Public Health from BU and a Masters in Social Work from Smith College. She currently works in the field of Palliative Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston..
Elizabeth Berges lived in Norton, Zimbabwe from 2002-2003 while working as an Educational Consultant to Tsungirirai Orphan Care Centre. She fundraised enough money to build and stock a library for the centre, where she focused most of her energy during her time in Zimbabwe. She also wrote and managed a grant from UNICEF to strengthen youth groups, and created a monitoring and evaluation tool called “Station Day” that has been highlighted by Catholic Relief Services as a best practice. Upon returning to the United States, she and Arden O’Donnell founded Coalition for Courage in an effort to continue the work that was begun in Zimbabwe. She attended Mount Holyoke College for her undergraduate years and then Harvard Graduate School of Education for a Master’s degree, where she focused on adolescent risk and resilience.
Taryn Vian is Assistant Professor of International Health at Boston University School of Public Health, where she teaches courses in health care management and good governance. Taryn has worked in 25 countries conducting cost studies, evaluating health projects, and designing management improvement initiatives. Her current work takes her to southern Africa frequently, working on a Kellogg Foundation grant to Transform District Hospitals in Lesotho. From 1993-1995, Taryn lived in Manila, Philippines where she directed a decentralized child health and family planning project. She served as Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors for Kwiheed, a U.S. non-profit which supports a large microcredit program benefiting poor women in Cameroon. Taryn is a returned Peace Corps volunteer and has a BA in Philosophy from Colgate University, and an MS in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard School of Public Health. She had her husband have two teenage daughters.
Amy Scobie-Carroll traveled to Zimbabwe in 2001 as one of the first U.S. volunteers to work at Tsungirirai. While in Zimbabwe, she established a sustainable health tracking system for the children, contributed to the development of the preschool curriculum, and provided basic AIDS prevention education to children. Amy brings years of experience working for non-profit organizations and for social and political causes. She has been involved in AIDS prevention, minority rights, and LGBT activism. Amy earned her MSW at Portland State University in 2004 and was awarded an AmeriCorps scholarship for her work in local schools. Since graduating in 2004, Amy has worked as an individual, group, and family therapist. She is interested in applying energy healing modalities to her work with clients. She is currently working at Brandeis University.
Mary Karlin has a background as a legal assistant in the commercial real estate and corporate fields, working extensively on land acquisitions, business start-ups, and mergers and acquisitions at the Devine and Millimet Law Firm in Manchester NH from 1983 to 1988. Mary entered the doctoral program in political science at Brandeis University in Waltham MA, and received her doctoral degree in May of 2002. Mary’s major fields of study were International Relations and Comparative Political Systems, with an emphasis on national security. Her doctoral dissertation addresses the role of the Russian oil industry in the post -Soviet Russian transition. Mary has a BA in Russian Studies from Colgate University. She lives in Deerfield, NH with her husband Jeffrey and their two daughters.
Bethany Sager is a fifth-grade teacher at Dale Street School in Medfield, MA. Dale Street School is an upper elementary school for around 500 fourth and fifth graders. Bethany has been organizing these activities/ experiences to benefit children in Zimbabwe since Liz and Arden’s first trip. Each November the Dale Street community raises money through their Hunger Awareness activities. The first year Dale Street raised approximately $700 for food aid and each year they’ve raised more, with over $5,000 raised in the last several years. Bethany accompanied Liz on the 2007 trip to Tsungirirai. Bethany is a 1996 graduate of Mount Holyoke College and received her Master’s of Education from Framingham State College.