Our Team


Marissa Vogel

Founder & Executive Director

Marissa has been in her role as Executive Director since June 2009. Prior to founding Little Helping Hands, Marissa worked in various for-profit, small, medium-sized, and Fortune 500 companies covering a variety of industries, including telecommunications, K-12 educational publishing, and pharmaceutical services, spending most of her career in strategic marketing and sales support roles. She received her MBA from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and her BA from the University of California at Davis. Marissa has resided in Texas since 1998 and in Austin since 2007. She is married with two children.

Charli Krause

Program Director

Charli joined Little Helping Hands as the Program Director in December 2014. In this role, she focuses on developing and managing partnerships with area nonprofits and community organizations and overseeing program operations. Charli moved to Austin from Portland, Oregon, where she worked with Portland Parks & Recreation coordinating youth and family programs at community centers and low-income schools. Charli has also spent years volunteering and working with organizations supporting domestic violence survivors. She received her BA in Sociology from Reed College in Portland. She is recently married and really enjoying her new life in Austin.

Jennifer Himstedt

Director, Youth Leadership Programs

Jennifer joins the Little Helping Hands team after years of teen engagement program opportunities. She focuses on engaging youth 8 years old and up in meaningful volunteer and leadership opportunities. Her interest started as being teen staff at camps and led to an assortment of opportunities that provide teen opportunities and curriculum writing in the nonprofit world: from serving as Transition Age Youth (TAY) Coordinator, STEM Director at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, and Teen Programs Coordinator at the Thinkery. Jennifer attended Baylor University where she received her BA in Art History and Science. She also serves as a SciGirls trainer, enjoys crafting, and loves sharks.

Carol McHorse

Program Assistant

Carol began working as the Program Assistant for Little Helping Hands in August 2013. Prior to joining Little Helping Hands, she was a public school teacher with experience in Kindergarten, Second and Fourth grades and an active community volunteer including serving on the boards of non-profit agencies. Carol received her BS in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education from Texas A&M University. She is a native Austinite who moved back to Austin in 2011 after a few years away and is married with three children.


Allison Johnson

Marketing Director

Allison Johnson joined Little Helping Hands in January of 2012. Prior to Little Helping Hands, Allison worked for Dell developing pricing for products and services and contributing to marketing strategies. She has held positions in business consulting assisting companies with process and organizational design and technology solutions. Allison received her MBA from the University of Texas, McCombs School of Business and her BA in Marketing and BS in Psychology from Southern Methodist University. Allison has resided in Austin for 12 years. She is married with two children.

Allie Townshend Peña

Development Director

Allie joined Little Helping Hands as the Development Director in March of 2017, after serving on the Board of Directors since July of 2014 and chairing the Board in 2016. Most recently, Allie served as the Director of Annual Giving at the Austin Humane Society, where she managed a fundraising budget of $2.4 M. Allie received her Masters of Science in Social Work with a concentration in Community and Administrative Leadership from the University of Texas at Austin in 2013 after working for a foster care agency in the Bronx. Having worked in the nonprofit sector her entire professional life, Allie is passionate about getting youth involved in giving back. When she isn’t volunteering with her own family, you can find Allie leading LHH activities at the Austin Diaper Bank, trying a new restaurant in Austin, or playing with her three crazy dogs!

Arielle Scherr

Program / Marketing Coordinator

Arielle joined Little Helping Hands as the Program/ Marketing Coordinator in May of 2016. She moved to Austin from Florida, where she taught girls empowerment programming to elementary and middle school girls at Girls Incorporated. Prior to Little Helping Hands, Arielle worked for the BuildASign Giving Program supporting nonprofits in Austin and across the country. She has a background in nonprofit communications and youth programming, with a special interest in empowering women and girls. Arielle received her BA in Psychology and Gender Studies from New College of Florida.