Board Members


Christen Buchert, Director of Hanoi Program

Christen Buchert is the mother of 5 children, 3 of whom were born in Vietnam. She attended Old Dominion University and enjoys ongoing continuing education in child development, early childhood education, and anatomy and physiology. In addition to volunteering with Families In Vietnam, Christen’s other passion is being an instructor for Infant Swimming Resource’s Self-Rescue™ Survival Swim Lessons as part of a campaign to prevent childhood drowning.

She also currently teaches Lifeguard courses, CPR/Automated External Defibrillator (AED), O2 and First Aid along with Water Safety Instructor training and swim programs for the American Red Cross. Christen resides in North Carolina with her husband and children.

Renner Barsella, Secretary

Renner Barsella found his passion for global engagement early in life. He spent his early childhood in Urbana, Illinois, peering under logs and scaling trees. At age 10, he lived in India with his family and traveled to neighboring countries. Renner’s curiosity swelled to a global scale. Upon graduation from high school, he followed his passion to Egypt, where he lived with a host family and worked with students in a local school. Renner then took a semester away from his studies at Columbia College Chicago to travel with the leadership program Up With People. Working with under-served communities in the United States, Mexico, and the Philippines inspired him to find more fulfilling ways to apply the problem-solving skills he developed while earning a BFA in graphic design. Renner is excited to apply his energy and talents to advance the mission of Families In Vietnam.

Anita Falcone, Board Member

Anita Falcone has a lifetime of experience working with children and a passion for helping those who are less fortunate to realize a better life. Professionally, Anita’s focus has been on holistic health, being a certified Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner (Japanese Acupressurist) and a distributor of Kangen water.

As a volunteer in Mexico, Anita has carried out humanitarian work with orphans, battered women, and alcoholics living at a garbage dump. She is an ordained minister.

Anita is blessed with two children and a grandson. She is a native New Yorker and currently resides in Montgomery, New York with her cat Merlin.

Callie Buchert, Board Member

Callie Buchert graduated from Meredith College in 2013 with a Bachelor’s in Family and Consumer Science. After graduation she felt compelled to move overseas to Hanoi, Vietnam where she lived for a year, teaching English at Language Link and spending her free time volunteering with FIV families.

She took her first trip to volunteer for FIV in 2008 and fell in love with the families and kids. This trip sealed her fate as a nonprofit worker. She continued traveling to volunteer in Hanoi around her university schedule. In 2012, continuing with her passion for helping people, she took a job at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to learn more about national nonprofits. She was thrilled to have the opportunity to live in Hanoi for a year and continue to work alongside FIV staff to meet the needs of our families.

Valerie Lehner, Founder

Valerie Lehner is an adoptive mother of two daughters from Vietnam and a software developer. She received a B.S. in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Wheaton College and an M.S. in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In addition to being a mother and serving the children of Vietnam, Valerie has a passion for animals. Prior to volunteering with FIV, she ran a foster care program for abandoned cats and dogs in New York. She currently resides in the Austin, Texas area.