Leading change through collaboration and continuous learning


We are a young, flexible, and enthusiastic grassroots organization. At our core we believe that everyone has a role to play in reducing poverty. Our team is comprised of people who share a common passion for helping others and continuous learning. Our inclusive nature, and desire to build and live in strong communities drives us every day.


Christina Perelli


Born in Buffalo, NY Christina grew up with a passion for understanding cultures, and a commitment to community. She holds a BA in International Studies from SUNY Cortland and an MA in Diplomacy and International Relations from Seton Hall University where she was honored with Seton Hall's Young Alumni Impact award. Starting off in the corporate sector, Christina changed course 10 years ago and began working with non profit organizations such as United Way of New York City, HANDS Inc., and Bridge Inc. focusing on program and organizational efficiency, social impact investing and community empowerment as they relate to poverty reduction. Seeing first hand the need for community inclusion at the onset of development initiatives, and with a constant eye for expanding what is possible, Christina co-founded Aya Worldwide in 2010.


David McCoy


Before co-founding Aya Worldwide in 2010, David worked on issues relating to poverty reduction in the United States and abroad for organizations such as BRIDGE, Inc., The American Red Cross, Public Allies (who awarded him the 2012 Alumni Leadership and Impact Award), and Food Bank of New York City. He is certified in LEAN performance improvement methodology, and has implemented LEAN-based process improvement and cultural change for the Mount Sinai Heath System in New York City and NuHealth, Long Island. He holds a BS in Political Science from University Wisconsin Oshkosh and an MA in Diplomacy and International Relations from Seton Hall University.


Foster Ametepe

Country Director - Ghana

Foster Komla Ametepe is currently Ghana Country Director for Global Alliance for Community Development. In his current position he is responsible for all program and operational activities in Ghana. Before joining Aya Worldwide Foster worked for BRIDGE, Inc. providing operational and logistical support. Foster has served as a community representative to the Ghanaian government where he ensured that the political, legal and developmental needs of his village were addressed. Foster is a graduate of the Institute for Professional Studies in Accra.


Kaila Packett

Board Member

Hailing from the volunteer state itself, Tennessee, Kaila Packett Sassano has been living and working in New York City for the past 7 years but will always be a southerner at heart. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University, with a B.A. Degree in Marketing and minors in Public Relations and Business Management. During her undergraduate study, she was heavily involved in raising awareness and support for domestic violence prevention. She was an advocate for the Enough Project and recently spent time in Malawi working with the Zoe Orphan Empowerment program. Currently, Kaila is a Senior Account Executive at United Way of New York City where she handles top corporate partners and fundraising strategies. Before making the switch to the non-profit sector, she spent several years in the corporate world, most recently working at the largest employee owned advertising agency in the U.S., Barkley Inc, where she helped build out the company's corporate social responsibility program. Prior to joining Barkley, she worked at NBC Universal in marketing and helped spearhead Syfy's philanthropic project, Visions for Tomorrow.


Maame Pokuaa Owusu-Afriyie

Board Member

Maame grew up in Tema a small industrial city on the coast of Ghana. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Social and Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Social Work and a minor in International Relations. During her undergraduate study, she participated in organizations like ONE Campaign and Invisible Children. She also started a charter of Lions Clubs International on campus. Currently, Maame works as Research Study Assistant at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), New York. Prior to MSKCC she worked and volunteered for American Cancer Society. She helped organize and fundraise for both the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Relay for Life and also volunteered as Patient Navigator.


Luke Sassano

Board Member

Luke grew up in the Bay Area of Northern California where he attended University of California Berkeley. After college, Luke enjoyed a six year playing career in Major League Soccer where he played for the New York Red Bull and Sporting KC before retiring in 2012. During his time as a professional player, Luke was an athlete ambassador for Athletes for Hope where he partook in many fundraising campaigns and efforts geared towards youth empowerment through sport. In 2010, Luke participated as a guest panelist at the UN Youth Summit in NYC where spoke on the importance of how sport can help overcome social, political, and economic challenges worldwide. Later that year Luke received the Starlight Achievement award given annually to New York professional athletes whom represent exceptional commitment towards community outreach. Luke is currently the Assistant Sporting Director for the New York Cosmos, a storied professional soccer club based in New York City where he manages the scouting network, contract negotiations, players salaries, and sporting structure of the franchise.