FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Risa Berrin created HIP in order to address the health crisis confronting America’s youth.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Risa is a proud graduate of Miami Palmetto High School. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and received a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Miami School of Law.
Risa was a fellow at the University of Miami School of Law Center for Ethics and Public Service and led the law school's Street Law program in Miami's public schools.
Risa has been a court-appointed special advocate, guardian ad litem, for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, for children who are abused, abandoned and neglected and in the custody of the Department of Children and Families for the past twelve years.
In addition to her work with foster children, Risa taught health education to female juveniles who were incarcerated at the Miami-Dade County Department of Juvenile Justice corrections facility.
Risa is the co-founder and past co-chair of the Young Philanthropists of Baptist Health, which was created to encourage young people to support the Baptist Health hospitals in the South Florida community. Risa is a past board member of the South Miami Hospital Center for Women and Infants.
She is the immediate past chair of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools School Health Medical Advisory Committee, which advises the superintendent and sets health/medical policy for the entire school district.
Risa is a member of the inaugural class of Leadership Florida’s Connect Florida Leadership Training Institute.
Between 1999 and 2009, Risa was a part-time writer for The Miami Herald.
Risa was invited to give a TED Talk about the insights and impact of HIP at TEDx Miami’s annual conference at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in October 2013.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Valerie Berrin graduated from Barnard College-Columbia University with a B.A. in Religion. Valerie grew up in Miami and graduated from Gulliver Preparatory School. Beginning in elementary school, Valerie volunteered for the Children's Home Society of South Florida.
As a young child, Valerie experienced health issues that helped her realize the importance of health education and led her to become active in health education and awareness. In college, she was extremely involved in a national non-profit organization that taught health education in the New York City public high schools that lacked a health curriculum.
Valerie currently serves as the chair of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools School Health Medical Advisory Committee (SHMAC), which sets health/medical policy for the entire school district. Valerie is also a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow and is the immediate past Curriculum Chair of the NLC Miami Executive Committee.
In her spare time, Valerie coaches a girls middle school basketball team in a local community league.
DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS
Julie Paikowsky is incredibly dedicated to the Miami community that she has grown up and resided in for almost her entire life. Married with three children, her priorities have always been family, friends and community as she has contributed hundreds of hours to the schools her children has attended. Julie is a proud graduate of Miami Palmetto Senior High School and holds a degree in Photo Communication from The University of Miami.
Every December for the past fifteen years, Julie has rallied South Florida families to join her and her family for a special day as they caravan to the Chapman Partnership, a homeless shelter in Homestead.
During the twelve years her children attended Palmetto Elementary, Julie volunteered on a daily basis in the school’s media center, working on endless photo and video projects --from producing the school’s yearbook to assisting in commemorating the school’s 50th anniversary. She is a former PTSA member, where her service earned her the school’s Volunteer of the Year Award.
HIP is the perfect place for Julie. She has spent countless years working with teachers and administrators alike. She is thrilled to be on board and welcomes the opportunity to be a part of a program that reaches thousands of students in Miami.