Meet our Board of Directors!


Melissa Daneshyar, LMSW - President

Melissa Daneshyar was a social worker for seven years before she became a stay-at-home mom of two boys in 2005. During her social work career, Melissa worked as an Adoption Specialist and Post-Adoption Coordinator for Hands Across The Water and an Adoption Case Manager and Supervisor for HelpSource. Prior to becoming a social worker, Melissa worked as a Telephone Banking Representative for Michigan National Bank.

Melissa earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the Michigan State University in 1994. She earned a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan in 1997.

Melissa joined the Board of Directors of Hands Across The Water in 2006. Like HATW's founders, she believes that "every child deserves a family. Children come first. Families need to be found for children, not children for families." Melissa was born in Korea and adopted when she was 13 months old. Melissa's life was touched by adoption again when her parents fostered a little girl born in Michigan, and then adopted her two years later.



Rick Modglin-Green, MA, BS - Vice President, Secretary

Rev. Rick Modglin-Green is currently serving as the Associate Pastor at Central Woodward Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He serves as the Director of Growth for the church and preaches at Central Woodward on occasion. Rick was ordained in November 2000, planting and pastoring Praise Fellowship until fall 2011.  In December 2012 the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) accepted and affirmed his ordination.

Rick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, majoring in Accounting from Western Kentucky University.  He also holds a certificate in Religious Studies from Samaritan Institute and completed a Master’s degree in Theology from Trinity Theological Seminary.

Rick has over ten years’ experience in accounting in the Credit Union industry.  He resigned as the Accounting Supervisor of LOC Federal Credit Union in 2003 to dedicate himself to work in the church.

Rick joined the Board of Directors of Hands Across the Water in 2011, as a representative from the LGBT community. He says “My family has been blessed by adoption and I sought a way to give back to the community. It has been a privilege to serve on the board of Hands Across the Water.”

Rick and his partner since 1995 were married in a private ceremony in New York in August 2013 by a Disciples of Christ colleague.  Their young son served as ring bearer for Daddy & Papa’s wedding.


Craig Fry, BS - Treasurer

Craig is a graduate of the University of Michigan. He has worked in the manufacturing field for almost 40 years as an IT developer and financial analyst and has recently started Counter Reaction, a manufacturing business in Wixom. He has worked with many non-profit organizations over the past 30 yrs, serving as the financial officer on their boards and developing & assisting with computer management at fundraising events. 


 Belinda Needham 2017

Belinda Needham, Ph.D.

Belinda is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan.  Her research focuses on health disparities, biosocial interactions, and aging and the life course.  She teaches courses in social epidemiology and research methods.

Belinda earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Texas A&M University in 1999, a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001, and a doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006.  She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in population health at the University of California, Berkeley/San Francisco in 2008. Prior to attending graduate school, Belinda worked as a social worker in Austin, Texas.

Belinda became a parent in 2005 when she and her husband adopted their son from Korea.  She joined the Board of Directors of Hands Across the Water in 2017, after her son attended a teen adoptee group.  Belinda values the commitment of HATW to providing lifelong education and support for children and families and is grateful to have the opportunity to serve on the Board.




Emily Rusnak, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Emily and her husband are parents to a preteen girl adopted from the foster care system in 2010. Through the adoption of her daughter, Emily became interested in understanding the complexities of trauma and prenatal alcohol exposure, which has led to involvement in advocacy efforts for children in the foster care and international adoption worlds. Emily is heavily involved with the FASD community in Michigan, as Vice President of the Michigan coalition for Fetal Alcohol Resources, Education and Support (MCFARES) Board of Directors, member of the Michigan FASD Task Force, and the administrator of the Facebook group MI FASD. Before taking leave to raise her daughter, Emily worked on faculty at BGSU in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is currently adjunct assistant professor at Bowling Green State University & part-time lecturer at Eastern Michigan University. She also owns a pediatric speech-language therapy practice.

Emily earned her bachelor's degree (B.M.) in Music Performance, second major in Russian Language & Studies from Vanderbilt University in 1995. She earned her master's degree (M.A.) in Speech-Language Pathology from Eastern  Michigan University in 2001. Emily earned her doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in Communication Sciences and Disorders (cognate in Psychology, with emphasis on cognition, psycholinguistics and neuroscience) from BGSU in 2001. Emily holds SLP licensure in the state of Michigan and national certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Emily joined the HATW Board of Directors in 2017. She has a firm commitment to helping children find families who will provide the love and support needed to lead more stable, joyful and successful lives!







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