Sidney Kushner - Founder & Executive Director
Sidney, a native Pittsburgher, graduated from Brown University in 2013 with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics - Biology. He founded CCChampions during his sophomore year after meeting a young cancer patient named Jenny who changed his life forever. Jenny taught Sidney the magical power of long-term inspirational role models for kids with cancer throughout the cancer journey.
Fun Fact: "One day in high school, my psychology teacher gave us a challenge: whoever memorized the most digits of Pi in one day would win an actual pie from the teacher! I really wanted that pie, so I went home and memorized as many numbers as I possibly could. In class the following day I remembered 101 digits!
...my teacher forgot the pie."
Jen lutz- Friendship Champion
Jen, a proud Pittsburgher and Duquesne University graduate, spent nine years working in Fairfax County, VA as an elementary school teacher. Jen brings her knowledge of child development, understanding of academic and social milestones, as well as her love of building relationships with kids and families to the CCChampions family. She is excited to help CCChampions continue creating inspirational friendships and many, many smiles!
Fun Fact: “My parents have ALWAYS been some of my favorite people and best friends. My dad and I took our friendship up a notch during the first semester of my graduate program at Duquesne University’s School of Education. My dad was finishing his final semester there, as well, and our evening class schedule overlapped. We would often meet for coffee in the Student Union prior to class. We discussed the events of our days and he would even give me tips on how to best get along with some of my professors that he had had in previous semesters. It was awesome to get to know my dad in a new way!”
Coy Thompson - Friendship Champion
Coy was born and raised in Harrisburg, PA and he is a 2002 graduate of Allegheny College. Shortly after graduating from Allegheny he moved to North Carolina and acquired his Montessori Teacher Certification in 3-6 year education. Coy taught in a Montessori school in Greensboro, NC until 2008. Then he and his wife joined the United States Peace Corps. They spent their time serving in Belize and Costa Rica. After returning to the U.S. in 2011 Coy found a home at a Montessori school in Pittsburgh, PA. He taught there for three years prior to joining the CCChampions team. He is excited to bring all that he has learned to the families that CCChampions serves.
Fun Fact: "I love trying new food, and I make a point to try any new food that I am offered, as long as the person serving it eats it too. I have gotten to try many surprising good dishes this way, such as gibnut, pigeon soup and tacos de lengua."
Arias Fischer - Assistant of Everything
Arias is a farm girl from Southern Ohio that grew up riding horses and playing in the mud. She fell in love with music and decided to pursue it further with a Bachelor's degree from Morehead State University in Music Education and a Master's degree in Music Performance from Appalachian State University. Arias discovered that what she loved most about teaching music and performing was the positive impact that it has on the lives of others, and found another avenue for this passion for helping others through working with CCChampions. Arias is excited to join the CCChampions team and to make a difference in the lives of children and families.
Fun Fact: "When not working for CCChampions or playing her trumpet, you can probably find me somewhere in the woods, either hiking or mountain biking. I love adventures and exploration, and have always felt a strong connection to nature. Outside is my favorite place to be!"