Brent Phillips // CEO
Brent and his wife, Leah Phillips, both grew up in California where they started their family of now five children. Brent has an undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies at The Master’s College. The Phillips pastored in California for 15 years and then, in 2003, moved to Austin, Texas where they pastored for another 8 years. While pastoring their church in Austin, Leah traveled to Uganda for the first time. On her way to the airport, Leah stopped by Cherish for a quick tour; Leah’s tour would be a start to a whole new chapter for the Phillips. Brent’s desire to follow Christ wherever He called and his love for children and passion to serve the needy prepared Brent for the moment Leah would tell him that she felt God has a place for their family at Cherish Uganda.
Brent had never been to Uganda before, but just several months after they realized their calling, the Phillips family moved to Uganda to work for Cherish in 2010. The Phillips love being in the lives of people. When asked what makes him excited about working at Cherish, Brent answered, “Shepherding and discipling are what makes our hearts beat and we get to do this in a big way here at Cherish with both kids and staff.”
After living on-site for 5 years, the Phillips moved back to Austin, Texas in August of 2016 to work in the stateside office. Both Brent and Leah now travel to Uganda several times a year and still lead the Ugandan Executive Leadership team: Larissa Rwakasiisi, Sam Drameta, and Celia Tumwine.
Larissa Rwakasiisi // Director of Education
Larissa Rwakasiisi, a native Ugandan, grew up in Uganda, Kenya, and the UK. For her primary education, Larissa attended school in Uganda and then moved to the UK for her secondary and tertiary education, as well as Bible schooling. With a great passion for youth, especially those coming from vulnerable backgrounds, Larissa was inspired to start something similar to Cherish on her own. This dream turned into a reality when she heard about the vision of Cherish Uganda and jumped on board in 2006 joining the original founding team. In addition to her love for children, Larissa is passionate about communities being empowered to stand on their own two feet and for them to come to the loving knowledge of Jesus.
When asked what makes her excited about her position at Cherish Uganda, Larissa replied, “I want to lead a team of envisioned educators who are passionate about giving a holistic response to education.” Opening a secondary school, offering adult education as well as informal and vocational educations, and trainings for great teaching are also among the dreams and goals that Larissa wants to achieve at Cherish Uganda.
Sam Dratema // Operations Manager
Sam Dratema was born in central Uganda and during his early education he studied in various schools in the central and eastern part of Uganda. Sam has a Diploma in Education from Kyambogo University. After graduation, Sam came to work at Cherish Uganda. He worked as a teacher from May 2008 to November 2014 at Cherish Primary School.
During his time working as a teacher at Cherish, Sam was intentionally pulled into many leadership opportunities and roles. In 2014, Sam's role changed to Operations Manager. Sam works under CEO, Brent Phillips, to help with general operations at Cherish Uganda.
"I am blessed that teaching at Cherish Uganda was my first job after school. I deeply enjoy being part of what God is doing at Cherish "It is Family". Leading, for me, is about serving people, discipling and being discipled and having Love be at the centre of it all."
Arliisa Celia Tumwine // Administrator
Arliisa Celia Tumwine, the 4th in a family of 6, was born and raised in Uganda. Celia has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, a postgraduate diploma in Human resource management, and she loves all things tech, reading and traveling.
Celia came to Cherish Uganda on a visit with a mission team from her church, All Saints' Cathedral Kampala in April, 2012. After spending the day interacting with various departments, she fell in love with the spirit of Cherish. Celia began working as a volunteer in Cherish's education department as school administrator and later moved into the Administrator role for the whole of Cherish in July 2014. Her role at Cherish is a mix of her wide skill-set, she is mainly in charge of HR, helps with basic IT Management, works as the Office Manager, and overall administrator for Cherish.
"Cherish for me represents three of my favorites; Jesus, children and an opportunity to learn new things. I believe that Cherish Uganda is helping to answer the very pressing need of "how to support the child living with HIV" in Uganda today especially because there are so many children of this kind in our community today and i honored o be part of the team that gets to make that happen. I believe God has called me to leadership and my passion is to see people thriving in their work and life under a just and loving leader. Micah 6:8 is my inspiration. To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
Cherish a Child USA Staff
Kasey Givens // Director of Strategic Partnerships
Kasey Givens grew up in McKinney, Texas and attended the University of Texas at Austin where she studied marketing at the McCombs School of Business.
In 2013, Kasey was connected to Cherish Uganda and led a trip of nine to Cherish to paint murals on the school buildings and teach various forms of art at Hope Academy. This trip connection her passion for art to the mission of Cherish Uganda and grew her love for vulnerable children. She returned to Cherish Uganda in 2014 to serve as an intern, which led to the creation of her stateside position in May of 2015.
Kasey now works from Austin, Texas as a stateside representative for the organization. As Director of Strategic Partnerships, she helps further the cause of Cherish Uganda by being the voice and communicator for the organization, maintaining donor relationships and seeking out new partnerships. With her role, she hopes to give Cherish supporters an opportunity to see what life change is occurring at Cherish Uganda and to invite people to be a part of the great work God is doing through the organization.
Cherish A Child UK Staff
Anne Waldock // UK Administrator
Anne, a friend of the original founders, The Murrills, was connected to Cherish Uganda in its beginning years. In 2009, she voluntarily took on a secretarial role for Cherish Uganda in the UK.
Anne would travel to Cherish Uganda regularly, serving and visiting her son, Sam, who also was living in Uganda at the time. Anne's love for Cherish grew as she traveled over the years and became like family with the Cherish's first CEO, Rachel Parsons.
As of 2014, Anne was officially employed with Cherish A Child UK and we thank God for the time and heart she puts into serving for Cherish Uganda.