Recognizing Manasi Khedlekar: A Pillars of Change Honoree

For her devoted, trauma-informed interpreting for a client seeking asylum with Sanctuary’s Immigration Intervention Project.

Manasi was first introduced to Sanctuary for Families’ incredible Immigration Intervention Project (IIP) by our Immigration Specialist, Anne-Cecile Raphael. Manasi was quickly onboarded to work with Anne-Cecile as a Hindi interpreter and translator, supporting one client for over a year. The Immigration Intervention Project provides immigrant clients with legal services that allow them to obtain legal immigration status, permanent resident status, or citizenship. The project represents clients in immigration law proceedings, including battered spouse waiver applications, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases, U-Visas, T-visas, and asylum applications. IIP takes steps to meet the linguistic and cultural needs of the diverse body of clients we represent, and Manasi helped the team do just that – and more!

Manasi recalls her time working as an interpreter, stating “It was daunting to be someone’s voice. The process of gaining a client’s trust, knowing their darkest and most vulnerable moments isn’t easy, and I feel very grateful that I got a chance to participate in an experience that has a positive outcome for the client. Working closely with the Immigration Intervention Project helped me see how much work is done behind the scenes and how government policies that are shaped at a higher level translate to real consequences for people.”

Manasi was an incredible asset to the team and was essential to the success of this difficult case. The client was traumatized, had undergone years of horrendous violence and simply did not trust anyone. Manasi met with the client weekly for months, bringing with her trauma-informed and tactful support. Manasi’s professional experience as a psychologist proved invaluable in her support to this client, and thanks to her involvement, the IIP team was able to build trust with the client and help prepare for the case. Anne-Cecile recalls that having Manasi as a team member made an immense difference not only for the client’s case which ultimately prevailed in November of last year but for the client personally.

“Every time we volunteer, every act of kindness we participate in, we make a statement about the world we want to live in. As a parent, as a human being, I think that’s the most important thing I can teach my kids. I want to thank Sanctuary again for the incredible work they are doing, and Anne-Cecile, and Pooja (Director, Immigration Intervention Project) for being the absolutely formidable team that they are, and for scoring a point for the good guys.” ~ Manasi

We thank Manasi for her amazing commitment to Sanctuary’s staff and clients! Her impact reaches well beyond what can be captured in words.


Recognizing Lynne Hyman: A Pillars of Change Honoree

For her inspiring work within Sanctuary’s Legal Center, providing stellar advocacy and direct support to clients.

Lynne Hyman has been an integral volunteer to the staff in Sanctuary’s Legal Center. Bill Silverman, a partner at the renowned law firm Proskauer Rose LLP who leads the firm’s global pro bono efforts, introduced Lynne to Dorchen Leidholdt, Director of Sanctuary’s Legal Center. In March 2018, Lynne joined Sanctuary as an in-house Legal Center volunteer working at a desk within Dorchen’s office.

Lynne started out coordinating Sanctuary’s campaign to End Child Sex Trafficking Act and played a crucial role in its success. She organized meetings with New York State legislators, drafted advocacy materials, strategized with team members and other anti-trafficking leaders in the community, planned campaign events, coordinated transportation that took scores of advocates to Albany, coordinated the media events, and participated in the meetings she organized with legislators. Lynne’s cool head, top-notch organizational skills, and deep commitment to our mission made all the difference. When Governor Cuomo signed the End Child Sex Trafficking Act into law in August 2018, all of the leaders in our coalition recognized that Lynne’s contributions to our campaign were the key to its success.

Additionally, Lynne has been an incredible resource for Sanctuary’s legal clients. With one particular trafficking survivor, Lynne provided this highly traumatized young woman with encouragement, support and invaluable guidance on a wide array of issues, from education and career advancement to how to potty-train her two-year-old. Lynne’s skillful advocacy resolving the same young women’s educational and medical debt raised her credit score, making it possible for her to move with her children from shelter into her own beautiful two-bedroom apartment. The support that Lynne provides to both staff, events, and clients is exceptional.

“Lynne is a brilliant women and consummate professional. She gives a hundred percent of herself to her service to Sanctuary’s mission and clients on multiple levels, easily moving back and forth between client assistance and systems change advocacy.” — Dorchen Leidholdt, Director of Legal Services at Sanctuary for Families.

Though Lynne’s professional career was as a financial analyst and not a lawyer, she easily became an indispensable part of the dynamic legal team. She enthusiastically took on a wide array of tasks but one of the most important roles she served was as a sounding board. Throughout her year and a half at Sanctuary, Dorchen says “I frequently turned to her for advice and input and she invariably provided me with wise counsel and thoughtful feedback that has contributed mightily to my decision making on a wide variety of issues at Sanctuary”.

We thank Lynne for her amazing commitment to Sanctuary’s staff and clients! Her impact reaches well beyond what can be captured in words.

Recognizing Ashley Tsai & Nelson Lin: Pillars of Change Honorees

For organizing the annual 500-mile “Sanctuary ride”, raising thousands for Sanctuary for Families, and for their in-office volunteerism and additional fundraising for over five years.

This year, we are honoring Ashley & Nelson for organizing the annual 500-mile Sanctuary Ride, raising thousands for Sanctuary for Families, and for their in-office volunteerism and additional fundraising for over five years.


A message from Lisa Mueller, Director of Development & Communications at Sanctuary for Families


Riding alongside Ashley & Nelson – A testimony by John Wyeth, Director of Institutional Giving at Sanctuary for Families.

Learn more about Sanctuary Ride:

See highlights from their latest trip: 

Recognizing Caitlin Hickerson: A Pillars of Change Honoree

For her exceptional leadership of student volunteers from Horace Mann School, and over 15 years of dedicated volunteerism.

Over the past fifteen years, Caitlin Hickerson has been an avid supporter of Sanctuary for Families. She started volunteering with Sanctuary’s Annual Benefit, helping with the planning and set- up for our biggest annual fundraiser. Since then, Caitlin has continued to be a fierce supporter of Sanctuary – donating her time and resources in support of our staff and clients.

“Caitlin is a donor, a volunteer, a fundraiser, and an incredible team member.”– Amy Abramson, Director of Individual Giving.

Caitlin is a teacher at Horace Mann School, a private preparatory school located in the Bronx, where Sanctuary has a longstanding and multi-faceted relationship. For almost 30 years, the school has hosted an annual winter holiday party for over 150 Sanctuary clients. Each year, the event includes transportation for clients, activities, music, a delicious meal, and gifts for all. Emily Lo Bue, Director of Volunteer Relations remembers a few years back when there was a chance that the holiday might not happen. “When Caitlin found out, she immediately jumped into action, took the party under her leadership and has continued to make it better each year”.

Caitlin also works hard, in her role as Service Learning Coordinator at Horace Mann, to strengthen and grow the students’ connection to Sanctuary for Families. She hosts assemblies for the students to hear about Sanctuary, how to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship, and connect with survivor leaders. Additionally, Caitlin was instrumental in the success of Sanctuary’s Annual Survivor Leadership conference this year and made it possible for the large event to be held at Horace Mann. Assembling a team of colleagues and staff at the school who handled everything needed for the conference and more.

“Caitlin is a very special person. She is someone I’ve been lucky to work alongside and call a friend for many years, she brings joy to our clients and staff alike, and I’m thrilled for Caitlin to receive an honor so deserved.” — Emily Lo Bue, Director of Corporate & Volunteer Relations

We thank Caitlin for her amazing commitment to Sanctuary for Families! Her impact is longstanding and dynamic, and cannot be fully captured in words!