Handfuls of Hope Governing Board


Donald P. Coords Jr., President

Janis and Don Coords started taking teenagers to the Dominican Republic in 1997. Exposing young Americans to what "our world" is  really like, they have inspired and helped to shape the world-view of many young people. Don and Janis never anticipated the extent to which their own lives would be touched.
Don is owner of ESS, a Systems Integration firm in NJ. He and Janis have 4 married children and 15 grand kids. 
“I believe Handfuls of Hope is all about here and there."  We seek to impact the lives lives of folks here in the US, and empower them to make a difference there, in arguably one of the poorer parts of this hemisphere. We seek to educate, not only through reading, writing and arithmetic, but teaching that the only way to really know JOY is through a relationship with Jesus Christ.


Juan C. Velasco, Vice President

Juan is an attorney, with a private practice in Edison NJ. His areas of practice include Bankruptcy, Real Estate and Business Transactions, and Commercial Litigations. Always willing to serve, Juan is the treasurer of his church and serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations. He is a founding director of Handfuls of Hope and, among his many duties, he is an organizer and planner of HOH mission trips. He has served on many mission trips in the Dominican Republic, building relationships and touching lives through his unselfish giving of time and resources.


Raymond J. Then, Jr. - Treasurer

Ray retired in 2014 after a 35 year career in accounting, management, and ownership of an ultra-pure water instrument manufacturing entity, which started in 1903. He and his wife Kathy have 2 grown children and a granddaughter, and have been blessed in amazing ways. They return those blessings serving through their church, where Ray is Chairman and Treasurer, as well as associate pastor. He began trips to the Dominican with HOH in 2016 and immediately felt a deep need to become more involved with helping to touch the tender lives being served by HOH.  “I know and feel with all my heart that God has our lives planned before we are born.  When we trust in Him, He will guide and direct us in all our paths. HOH is a path He has chosen for me”.

hoto Credit:  dimnikolov

Robert Smith, Secretary

Bob is retired and living in North Carolina with his wife, Josie.  Bob served as an educator and coach, for 40 years, at the Pingry School in NJ.  He and Josie have visited the Dominican Republic numerous times, participating in mission trips and assisting with projects. According to Bob, "we count it pure joy to serve alongside our brothers and sisters in the DR".  This love for people and, especially for the beautiful children of the DR, keep them looking forward to what God will do in the Dominican Republic as we serve together.



Ray Medina, Director

Ray is the owner and managing director of Finopss Inc., a NJ financial services consulting firm. He and his wife Magda have faithfully served with Handfuls of Hope from the very beginning, bringing their invaluable leadership skills to mission trip construction projects, VBS planning and execution, youth ministry, and in many other areas. Ray joined the Handfuls of Hope board in 2012 and, among his many gifts and talents, he is a leader and organizer of our fundraising campaigns.



Jeffrey L. Graves, Director

Jeff went on his first mission trip with HOH in 2016 with his youth group and has not looked back since then. He felt the presence of the Lord in all the work that was done as well as the HOH staff in the DR. He has worked with youth since 1980 and is currently the Associate Pastor at Grace Church in Ridgewood, NJ. His goal is to help teens understand that is it not all about them. They are called to serve others and HOH is a great place to pour oneself in service for a greater cause. Serving on mission is part of what Jesus said on John 10:10 about "living life to the full."


Robert Coords, Director

Rob is the service manager of ESS, a Systems Integration company in NJ. He and his wife Sonya have been married since 2002 and have 3 wonderful children. Rob has been serving with HOH for over 10 years now where he’s been helping plan and lead trips, along with being on several committees throughout the year. He instantly fell in love with the people of the DR and felt God’s calling to continue serving.