top of page


Marie Denis-Luque

Executive Director

Marie Denis-Luque holds two Master’s degrees in Public Health from the University of South Florida (USF): Epidemiology (MSPH) and Community Health (MPH). During her graduate studies at USF, she founded Caring for Haitian Orphans with AIDS (CHOAIDS), a nonprofit organization with a mission to enhance the quality of life for all HIV-positive children, and the only institution dedicated to this vulnerable population in Haiti. CHOAIDS received its nonprofit status in 2007, but has been in operation since 2003. CHOAIDS is the only home for HIV+ children in Port-au-Prince and was featured in AIDS: Living in the Shadows, a documentary by Voice of America, and premiered at the 20th AIDS International Conference in Melbourne, Australia on July 22, 2014.

Board of Directors

josh mckenna

Board Chair

In 2011, Josh began visiting several organizations in Haiti a couple times each year. On his first trip, Josh met an 8 year old haitian boy named Joseph.  At the time, Joseph lived in an orphanage and no one knew he was HIV-positive. When he was 13, his positive status was discovered and he was removed from that orphanage.  For years Joseph lived on the street - his body and spirit wasting away - but Josh struggled to find a caring home for him.  Years later, in 2020, Josh found CHOAIDS.  After several conversations with Founder Marie Denis-Luque, CHOAIDS agreed to give Joseph proper medical care, a loving home, and proper education. 

Josh’s heart for compassion and faith-action can be credited to his father, Joe McKenna (pictured right).  Josh and his wife, Rachel, have five biological children (ages 7-18) and one college-aged "foster child" (25).  Josh loves partnering with Rachel to lead their home team, and especially enjoys working with each of his children to elevate their talents and passions.  One day he hopes to do the same with many children in Haiti.  Both Josh and Rachel grew up in Kansas and attended the University of Kansas.  They now reside in Overland Park, Kansas.

Josh is currently the Vice President of Operations for Caliber Wealth Management.  In his career, he is most fulfilled while planning, forming, and implementing essential systems for organizations to achieve extraordinary vision.  He is passionate about CHOAIDS’ vision and working to help the organization move toward its dream…for the kiddos.

john hill


John first visited Haiti in 1998, on a “Mission Encounter” fact-finding trip.  As this was his epiphany, John became involved in the Intl. Child Care USA board, as the people and children of Haiti are in his heart.  He is most pleased to bring his “gifts & graces” to CHOAIDS – to assist in improving the quality of life for these wonderful children, and to make their future more bright.  John believes that, through Him, all this is possible!

roger skelley-watts

Spiritual Advisor

Rev. Dr. J. Roger Skelley-Watts retired after 46 years of United Methodist ministry,  where he alternated between local churches and faith-based social service agencies. It was there that he helped begin a rural youth center and park, homeless support programs, food pantries, Hispanic churches, and Habitat for Humanity. He directed The Urban Mission of Steubenville, Ohio, and coordinated all UMC mission activities for Cuyahoga County around Cleveland. He also participated in partnership ventures to Puerto Rico, South Africa, Cuba, and El Salvador, through interfaith and Rotary International auspices.

Tom Buchman.jpg
tom buchman


Tom was introduced to CHOAIDS by fellow board member Josh McKenna. As he began to learn about CHOAIDS and its mission, Tom traveled to Haiti in early 2020 to visit organizations such as CHOAIDS, Clean Water for Haiti, and the Canaan Christian Community. Witnessing firsthand the need for and impact of these organizations, Tom has committed to Caring for Haitian Orphans with AIDs. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Tom is a Product Support Manager for Garmin International in Olathe, KS, with responsibilities centered on training and facilities.

ben stites


Ben Stites first visited the CHOAIDS home with his good friends from KC in February 2020 and was moved by the hearts of those he met who are providing safety, learning and medical care for children that otherwise would been exposed and exploited on the streets.  CHOAIDS is a true example of the heart of Christ and serving the “least of these” in Matthew 25:40.  Since that visit to Haiti, Ben has been involved with several different organizations in Haiti, helping where he can.  Ben has been married to his lovely wife, Elizabeth, since 2003 and they have four wonderful children; Hampton, Lucy, Reid and Tillman.  When he isn’t working, Ben loves coaching his kids sports and playing golf with friends or family.  Ben is a believer and follower of Christ and his family attends Life.Church in Overland Park, KS. He is currently working with the Netspend Corporation (based in Austin, TX) as a Vice President of Partnership Development.

kathy simpson


Daughter of a dairy farmer in rural Southwest Michigan, Kathy attended school at Gull Lake Community, spent 2 years at our local community college with an Associates degree. She also attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI taking several accounting classes, but really attained her Not-for-Profit skill from hands on experience with nearly 20 years as the Business Manager of a brand-new YMCA Camp & Conference Center, the Sherman Lake YMCA Outdoor Center. Kathy retired in 2013.

Currently, Kathy also serves on the Board of Directors as Treasurer of her Condo Association. Although she am very proud of helping build SLYOC from the ground up, her family of three grown sons and their families is her most important accomplishment.

In March 2019 with COVID-19 looming, Kathy joined the CHOAID’s Board working to provide more transparency in the financial reporting and give some guidance in fund raising. It’s been a positive experience and she enjoy working together with the dedicated volunteers.

rita headshot.jpg
dr. rita marie smith


Dr. Rita Smith was introduced to CHOAIDS in 2019 while attending class at Florida State University (FSU) with founder and Executive Director Marie Denis-Luque.  As a family nurse practitioner, Dr. Rita has spent her entire career of 30+ years caring for children as well as adults in various clinical settings. She has a passion for underserved children, especially adolescents, and is very excited to bring her public health and organizational experience to CHOAIDS. Dr. Rita takes seriously the blessings and talents God has bestowed and embraces the responsibility of sharing them and God’s love with others. Dr. Rita received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Master of Public Health(MPH) from FSU and her Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) from University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).  She currently works full time in an administrative role in Florida government as Chief Medical Officer to troubled youth and an Adjunct Professor at FSU teaching leadership to MPH students.

bottom of page