Executive Board

Executive Board

Laura Reiss photo

Laura Reiss

Founder and President


Laura Reiss has always believed in a world where people support and celebrate each other. In 2008, she harnessed this belief and started the first Kindness program at Sunrise Park Elementary in Boca Raton, FL, where her children were going to school. This kindness movement that began as a single club became The Kindness Matters 365 Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that educates and inspires children about being kind to themselves, others and throughout the world.

Through extraordinary programs nourished with Gratitude, Compassion and Kindness, Kindness Matters 365 equips kids and teens with knowledge and skills for their social and emotional well-being. We empower their exploration and discovery in caring for themselves and each other, today and for the future.

“I am committed to leaving this world better for having been here. KM365 has created what I believe is the answer to empowering people by giving them the tools necessary to powerfully navigate through life and give back, all while being the best versions of themselves.

I believe in a Kinder world and work towards this every day.”

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Melissa Orlen Cohen, Esq photo

Melissa Orlen Cohen, Esq


Ms. Melissa Orlen Cohen is a co-founder of Fame Collective, a brand incubation company, and Higher Frequencies, a lifestyle brand seeking to elevate the social consciousness through a wide-span of regulated and unregulated product offerings promoting health, connectedness and social conscience across health and wellness, fashion, art, music and entertainment platforms.

Ms. Cohen is a senior executive with an entrepreneurial drive that has evolved throughout a multi-faceted career. For the past eighteen years, prior to co-founding and launching Fame Collective, Ms. Cohen served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of MovieTickets.com, Inc., a leader in advance movie ticketing. As Executive Vice President and General Counsel of MovieTickets.com, Ms. Cohen oversaw all legal aspects of operations and played a leading role in developing and executing on strategies and growth initiatives. In December 2017, Ms. Cohen played a lead role in the acquisition of MovieTickets.com by Fandango as the newest addition to Fandango’s suite of movie ticketing properties. Prior to joining MovieTickets.com, Ms. Cohen was Executive Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs for Hollywood Media Corp. Ms. Cohen began her legal career practicing corporate, securities and entertainment law with Greenberg Traurig, P.A. and Thelen, Reid & Priest, LLP, representing public and private clients in a broad range of capacities. Ms. Cohen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Pennsylvania, a Juris Doctorate from University of Pennsylvania Law School, and is a member of the Florida and New York Bar Associations. She is an avid writer and is actively involved in community outreach.

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Andrew Reiss, MD photo

Andrew Reiss, MD

Chairperson and Treasurer


Andrew Reiss earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia College of Arts and Sciences in 1991 and went on to earn his MD from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1998. He completed his residency training in Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado and is now a board certified pediatrician with Pediatric Associates in Boca Raton, FL.

In his work and personal life, he recognizes the importance of teaching and guiding children towards success. As part of the Samaritans365 Foundation – Kindness Matters, he has seen how contributing to our local community and participating in charitable events and organizations helps children achieve these goals. His commitment to the Samaritan365 Foundation is an extension of his professional passion and what he does every day.

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Sandy Taub Gerstein photo

Sandy Taub Gerstein



Sandy is a Native New Yorker who has lived in sunny South Florida with her husband, Rob, and two children, Emily, a student at the University of Miami and Matthew, a high school senior, since August, 2003.

Sandy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a minor in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis, as well as a Master’s in Elementary Education from Hunter College of the City of New York. After years of working at a Madison Avenue Ad Agency and then working in NYC Public Schools, Sandy was fortunate enough to take some time to focus on her family and embark on a career of volunteerism.

Growing up, Sandy was exposed to the merits of volunteering as her mom, Marion Taub, served as an Ort Chapter President and then the Long Island Regional President. Sandy began her dedication to charitable volunteering, in her sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi, holding numerous board positions and then while living in Rye Brook, NY as she took charge of her synagogue’s gift shop and volunteered at its pre-school. With a kindergarten daughter and toddler son she also found herself a brownie leader and cookie-sale coordinator!

Once a Florida resident, Sandy dipped her toes into volunteering at her children’s school first by helping out in the classrooms and then in the PTA (Sunrise Park Elementary School). Her initial PTA gig was serving two years as VP of Ways & Means (fundraising) and then three-years as PTA President. After her stint in Elementary School PTA was finished and her children grew older Sandy continued to volunteer as well as embark on another journey, beginning a career as a professional organizer.

With a flexible schedule, Sandy continued to give of her time for her children’s schools by serving as Secretary of the Visual & Digital Arts (VAPA) Parent’s Association at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, planning four consecutive fundraiser/silent auctions for VAPA, as well as serve as Dreyfoos’ inaugural PTSA Recording Secretary. Not to slight her son, she was an active parent at his school, chaperoning football games, competitions and serving as Secretary of the Atlantic HS War Eagle Marching Band. In addition to dedicating her time for her kids’ schools, Sandy has supported one of the Samaritans365 partner organizations, The Neshamah Institute, since its inception.

Sandy was first introduced to the Samaritans365 when her dear friend and the organization’s founder, Laura Reiss, joined the Sunrise Park PTA Board and started the first Samaritans Club. Sandy finds it an honor and a privilege to help spread the word and serve the South Florida Community and beyond by sharing Laura’s vision of making our world a kinder, gentler, pay-it-forward kinda’ place!

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Summer Faerman photo

Summer Faerman


Summer Faerman was born and raised in Miami Beach Florida, and graduated from the University of Florida with a triple major in Business, English and Religion, and a minor in Education. She has dedicated her life to helping those in need.

Summer is the Director of the Tzedakah, Learning and Chesed (TLC) Program at B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, FL where she is involved with every branch of the Synagogue: Hebrew school, Early Childhood Center, Women’s League, Men’s Club, and staff.

Helping them connect to each other and to other non-profit organizations in the community and beyond is only part of her day. When her “work day” is over oddly it is in many ways when her day begins. In addition to shuttling her beautiful girls (Deborah, 14 and Shoshanna, 12) back and forth from numerous activities and spending time with her husband of 15 years, Larry who is the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at Florida Atlantic University, she spends her time volunteering for a myriad of organizations and initiatives in the Jewish community as well as nonsectarian organizations particularly those involved with literacy, hunger, homelessness, and special needs.

Summer volunteers at Boca Helping Hands, American Association of Caregiving Youth, Hands on Tzedakah, HAC (Homeless Assistance Center), SOS Children’s Villages, Samaritan 365 Foundation, Palm Beach School for Autism, One Love One Community, The Milagro Center, Love Boca Outreach, The Caring Kitchen, The Wayne Barton Center, Alcoholics Anonymous, The Salvation Army, Family Promise, Habitat for Humanity, JARC, and several Title 1 elementary schools.

Not only does Summer utilize her professional skills to help those in need, she also applies her personal talents. One of her talents is cooking which began in college when she cooked for hundreds of students weekly at the University of Florida Hillel. Today, she continues to cook in mass for Love Outreach Boca, which supports the homeless of her community.

Helping comes naturally to Summer. Once Hurricane Irma hit and she knew her own family was safe, she ventured out to help those who didn’t have family close by. Summer knocked on every door at Century Village in Deerfield Beach and conducted wellness checks and gave out food and water. For the next two months, she coordinated as many as 1,500 volunteers, 35 trucks, 11 boats and even found a few planes and helicopters, sending almost $1,650,000 of necessary supplies to Houston, the Florida Keys, Puerto Rico, and other islands.

One of Summer’s favorite initiatives was creating a fun, healthy and safe cooking program for youth caregivers. She taught children how to shop smart and cook in a safe and stress-free manner by using slow cookers. This program has helped hundreds of families where, sadly, the children come home from school every day and immediately take on the role of caregiver.

Summer likes to say she has the perfect career because it melds her personal philosophy with her professional life. She believes that you cannot move forward as a person unless you give back.

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Mara Stern photo

Mara Stern


Seasoned marketing professional with 20+ years in marketing, branding and management with a concentration in the beauty industry. Recently launched Bem! Beauty, a vegan, cruelty-free body care brand to help you LOVE YOUR BODY.

I love the great outdoors, a good night’s sleep, my family (1 husband, 2 kids and a dog), solving problems and good sunscreen.

Dr. Laurie Riopelle photo

Dr. Laurie Riopelle


Dr. Laurie Riopelle recently became the Principal at Del Prado Elementary School in Boca Raton. She previously served as a principal in Palm Beach County for over ten years at both the elementary and secondary levels. Throughout her twenty-six-year educational career, she has been a teacher, learning team facilitator, assistant principal, principal and director. In 2003 she received the William T. Dwyer Award for Excellence in Education, winning this prestigious award from among all elementary educators in Palm Beach County.

She was also named one of three state finalists for the 2015-2016 Innovative Principal of the Year by the Florida Council of Instructional Technology Leaders, was awarded the Outstanding School Administrator of the Year by the Palm Beach Association of School Psychologists and was a member of the Florida Department of Education Commissioner’s (Brian Dassler) Leadership Academy.

Prior to her arrival at Del Prado, Dr. Riopelle served as the Director of Leadership Development for the School District of Palm Beach County, providing professional growth opportunities and building leadership capacity for both current and aspiring leaders across the 10th largest school district in the nation. She also facilitated leadership programs for aspiring principals and assistant principals and delivered professional development for school and District administrators. Additionally, she serves as an adjunct professor in an Educational Leadership Master’s program at Florida Atlantic University.

Dr. Riopelle received both her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Florida State University. She received her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Lynn University.

Dr. Riopelle currently lives in Boca Raton, Florida with her husband, Jerry, who is a principal for the School District of Palm Beach County. She has two grown sons, Matthew, who lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona and Scott who resides and works in Boca Raton. In her spare time, Laurie enjoys Pilates, reading and spending time with family and friends.

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Jill Siegel photo

Jill Siegel


Jill is originally from the suburbs outside of Philadelphia and has lived in South Florida for the last 18 years. She is the proud mother of two wonderful children. Her son, Drew, graduated from Dartmouth College in 2019 and lives and works in California. Her daughter, Carly, began her freshman year at college in 2019 at the University of Pennsylvania. While Jill earned a BA in Psychology with a minor in Business Management, and then went on to obtain her Masters in Social Work, she considers her children her proudest accomplishment.

After working with developmental optometrists focusing on treating patients presenting with vision difficulties impacting their lives, she went on to manage medical offices owned and operated by a hospital. Jill then chose to stay at home to focus her attention on raising her children, always taking great joy in parenting and enjoying her time being with them. She helped her children learn, grow, and develop while trying to listen with patience and encourage with love. She stressed to her children the importance of having gratitude and giving back at a young age. She taught them the importance of exhibiting kindness, compassion, empathy, and understanding towards others, while making sure they understood the concept of self care and how integrating self care strategies in their life would tremendously benefit not only them, but those they were surrounded by.

Through work with her own personal foundation, she has supported numerous causes of importance to her in the areas of healthcare, the arts, and education. She has also volunteered with multiple organizations including literacy tutoring at Title 1 elementary schools and feeding the homeless. Jill was instrumental in guiding and mentoring her children in the creation of their own charitable foundation, promoting literary exploration in the disadvantaged youth.

When learning about Kindness Matters 365 and its mission and work, Jill was eager to become involved. She has seen first hand the importance of the work they do in her community and is excited to be part of their continued impact both in South Florida and across the country.

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Allyson Harman photo

Allyson Harman


With over fifteen years of fundraising experience, and a fine arts background, Allyson brings a unique perspective each project. She is a South Florida native and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University. Allyson is dedicated, both to our local community, and to bettering the world as a whole. Allyson is passionate about her professional role as the Director of Regional Development for National Jewish Health, where she helps to raise critical funds for medical research and treatments for those with severe respiratory, cardiac, and immune-related conditions. Allyson lives with her family in Boca Raton, Florida.