Team Approach


The team of people at Thrive is part of what makes the organization special.  Our team enjoys being together and reaching out to benefit others.  Because of our interactions & experiences, we know how critical it can be to communicate in multiple languages and be able to welcome others.  Many of our staff members fill dual roles at Thrive like being a student in one class and contributing as a teacher or volunteer in a different language class or program.

Volunteer Opportunities


In large part, Thrive is able to share our services with the community due to the efforts of dedicated volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at 570-337-2898 or and complete a volunteer application.

We have the following volunteer opportunities:

  • Spanish and French interpreters/translators–flexible schedule; can be done remotely; ideally 2-4 hours per month
  • ESL online class assistants/tutors*–flexible schedule depending on student availability and class times
  • Comfort Food Around the World takeout meal assistants–3rd Wednesday of each month
  • Immigration legal program office assistant*–semi-flexible schedule; ideally 2-4 hours per week
  • Graphic design–flexible schedule; ideally 2-4 hours per month
  • Accounting assistant–flexible schedule; ideally 2-4 hours per month


Volunteers who may have contact with youth are required to have or obtain the following per PA state law.  We also ask the same of those who may have contact with our immigration legal program. (These are required for positions with an * above.)


  • PA State Police Background Check (can be done online; free for volunteers)
  • Child Abuse Clearances (can be done by paper form or online.  If you use the online option, start with “Create Individual Account.” Free for volunteers)
  • Mandatory Reporter Training (the link is for one free training option; other recognized programs are also acceptable)
  • FBI background checks (only required if you have not lived in PA for the last 10 years and/or you will be paid; Be sure to use code 1KG6ZJ for volunteers and code 1KG756 for employees.  Enter your location.  Select “Schedule Appointment”, and then select “Digital Fingerprinting.)



Jody Lantz–Executive Director & Intermediate ESL Instructor; DOJ Accredited Representative

Jody has been with Thrive and its predecessor since February 2011.  She has taught ESL since 1994 in different contexts including in community and college programs in the U.S. and Thailand.  She earned her B.S.W. from Eastern University and her M.A. TESOL from Biola University.  Her professional passions are empowering those from other countries who are living in the U.S. to integrate with and positively impact their communities and helping new professionals develop teaching skills.  After long witnessing the need for low-cost accessible immigration legal services in the area, she also became a DOJ partially accredited representative and is working towards full accreditation.  Her favorite hobbies are reading, biking, and hiking.

Jolene Harbach – Assistant Director

Jolene had previously taught English at Thrive after graduating Indiana Wesleyan University with a B.S. in Intercultural Studies and Illustration. Later, she moved to Spain to teach English at a bilingual elementary school. Her years in Europe allowed her to gain fluency in Spanish, to teach herself Italian, and to receive her CELTA TESOL certificate from International House Madrid, a language academy affiliated with Cambridge University. She has since taught English in both formal and informal settings to age groups ranging from toddlers to adults. Jolene is passionate about celebrating cultural heritage and making the learning process fun and inclusive for everyone. Her favorite hobbies are traveling, painting, playing the ukulele, learning new languages, and cooking international recipes.

Rebecca Oaks – DOJ Accredited Representative

After serving with us as a volunteer for over a year, Rebecca joined Thrive’s staff as an immigration caseworker in spring 2021, and was approved as a DOJ Accredited Representative in 2022.



Rei Saar – Case manger

Rei joined Thrive as an intern for the summer of 2022 and has assisted with all different parts of Thrive’s programming. She is a sophomore at Lycoming College majoring in Spanish and French. She hopes to teach English to non-native speakers to be able to give them opportunities that they may not have had before due to language barriers. She loves learning new languages and all of the different cultures and stories that come with them. Some of her hobbies include baking, spending time with her sister, going to coffee shops in town, and hiking.

Mohammed Basaar – Immigration advocate 

Mohammed has recently joined Thrive as an Immigration Advocate. He completed an LL.M degree from Penn State Law in 2022 specializing in immigration law and intellectual property. While studying at Penn State Law, he was a Center For Immigrants Rights Clinic clinician member. Mohammed was born and raised in Yemen and moved to Jordan in 2016 to obtain a bachelor’s degree in law at the University of Jordan. He worked in Jordan with NGOs and private law firms. He likes playing soccer, tennis, and chess in his free time. He also frequently go for swimming on weekends. Mohammed is a native Arabic speaker and is also fluent in English.

Teacher Resources & Training


Board Members


Jerry Frear

Jody Lantz

Lauren Hammack

Mark Rice

Melissa Mahler

Anne Landon

Kinsey Maneval

Rob Beiter

Drew Boyles