Leadership

Traci Rossi

Traci Rossi

Executive Director

Traci Rossi

Executive Director

Traci, who was born and raised in Oregon, has over 20 years of nonprofit leadership experience with an emphasis in education, community outreach, and service to girls, women, children, and families. Traci was recently named a 2020 Woman of Influence by the Portland Business Journal. She volunteers on local boards in alignment with her personal and professional commitment to youth success and equitable access to services and systems to foster a more equitable Oregon. Traci currently sits on the Oregon State Bar’s Board of Governors, The Gray Family Foundation Board, is a founding member of the Women’s Foundation of Oregon Board and an American Leadership Forum Fellow.

Amy Knauer

Amy Knauer

Chief Finance & Operations Officer

Amy Knauer

Chief Finance & Operations Officer

aknauer@friendspdx.org

Amy is a native of Indianapolis, IN and graduate of Ball State University with bachelor degree in organizational communications. She brings extensive experience in operational and financial leadership, building and coaching strong teams, and creating sustainable strategic plans. Amy is thrilled to join Friends of the Children-Portland. She appreciates how everyone at Friends is so committed and onboard to our purpose. She's inspired by the core assets and how FriendsPDX works with the youth we walk alongside. When out of the office, Amy likes to hike, cycle, and cheer on the Portland Timbers from the Timbers Army.

Rachel Pearl

Rachel Pearl

Chief Program Officer

Rachel Pearl

Chief Program Officer

Rachel grew up in Santa Cruz, CA and went to college at San Francisco State University. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. She moved to Oregon almost 16 years ago. It took her awhile to love it, but does now! Rachel has been working in the Juvenile Justice system for the past 20 years developing programs for youth in the system. She is excited to work for Friends of the Children and use her skills and experience to prevent youth from ever ending up in the system. Prevention has always been her focus and working at FriendsPDX allows her to work alongside a talented, diverse group of people using a program model that really works and has incredible outcomes. Rachel looks forward to putting her efforts towards the goals of increasing graduates' ability to be self-sufficient in life. Her favorite things about Friends of the Children is that the relationship with youth is “no matter what.” The unconditional support is so unique and so greatly needed in a world which often alienates kids who make mistakes. Outside of work she loves to be with her 3 kids, playing in nature at the beach or in the forest.

Development Staff

Andrea Alejandrino

Andrea Alejandrino

Donor Relations Officer

Andrea Alejandrino

Donor Relations Officer

Andrea was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, originally from Seattle. She earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Washington in sociology and American ethnic studies with a focus on Asian American studies. Her experience includes women's advocacy, crisis counseling, and volunteer management with a Seattle-area domestic violence nonprofit organization and program management in addition to human resources in the tech industry here in Portland. After taking a career pause to be a stay-at-home parent to raise her two children, she found her way back to nonprofit mission-driven work with Friends of the Children—Portland. Andrea enjoys cooking, gardening, running, and travel, but mostly loves spending time with her family in NE Portland.

Lisa Bergeson

Lisa Bergeson

Associate Director of Corporate and Donor Relations

Lisa Bergeson

Associate Director of Corporate and Donor Relations

Lisa was born in southern California and moved to Portland with her family when she was in middle school, eventually earning her degree from Oregon State University. Having worked at the Classic Wines Auction for a couple years, Lisa loved seeing the firsthand impact FriendsPDX makes on the youth in our community. She is impressed with the warmth, kindness and sense of community that resonates throughout every aspect of our donor environment and program development. She loves that in all things, Friends of the Children—Portland puts the needs of the children first. Lisa enjoys quality time with her family, planning fun trips with her girlfriends and spending time in Manzanita.

Erika Brathovde

Erika Brathovde

Gift Processing Manager

Erika Brathovde

Gift Processing Manager

Erika is originally from Spokane, WA, but moved across the state to attend Seattle University where she studied International Studies and Cultural Anthropology. She has been working in nonprofit gift services since 2014 and previously worked with amazing organizations in Seattle! She moved to Portland in Summer 2020 and is looking forward to getting to know the city once everything is open again.

Erika loves Friends of the Children—Portland’s deep commitment to helping children of all backgrounds feel excited and empowered to grow into their best selves. She is also impressed with the wonderful and devoted individuals who work and volunteer at FriendsPDX.

Outside of the office, Erika enjoys dancing, playing games with her husband, and snuggling with her two cats, Chester Copperpot and Leonardo DiCatrio.

Katie Breeden

Katie Breeden

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Katie Breeden

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Katie is an Oregon native and has lived in Portland since 2017. She's been in digital marketing for four years working for various niche industries like sewer inspection equipment and commercial trucking and fuels. Friends of the Children—Portland provides the community-centric and youth-oriented programming she enjoys supporting. Outside of work, Katie loves to read, sew/quilt/collect fabric until she's forced to make a quilt, and spend time with her bunnies Oliver and Olivia, friends, and family.

Kim Christiansen

Kim Christiansen

Grants Manager

Kim Christiansen

Grants Manager

Kim is a native Portlander who graduated from the UO with a journalism degree. Her background includes PR and newspaper reporting. Before joining FriendsPDX, she was a grant writer at Human Solutions for about 6 years. She appreciates the enthusiasm and energy of her colleagues and the 12.5 year commitment to each youth. Kim is a huge animal lover, avid cyclist and enjoys being outside as much as possible - especially in the summer! She also loves to read, watch movies, cook new vegetarian recipes and spend time with friends and family.

Meiling Kimmel

Meiling Kimmel

Associate Director of Development Strategy

Meiling Kimmel

Associate Director of Development Strategy

Meiling started working in nonprofit development and fundraising in 2004 and she’s been hooked ever since. She loves the way that charitable giving empowers families and businesses to connect with each other; learn from their communities; and come together to identify solutions and make a lasting impact. She is passionate that young people feel strengthened and supported by their communities, so FriendsPDX has been a natural fit for her since she joined the staff in 2012. Meiling loves small everyday adventures, all kinds of food and drink, and naps. If you can’t find Meiling in front of her computer, she’s probably at a park or festival, berry-picking with her family, or star-gazing from her deck.

Rose Lombino

Rose Lombino

Operations and Events Manager

Rose Lombino

Operations and Events Manager

Rose grew up in a small town in northern Nevada. She went to the University of Oregon where she studied philosophy and nonprofit management. She has been working in development in Portland ever since. She appreciates the commitment everyone at FriendsPDX has to the mission, the youth, and the community. The energy is inspiring! When she's not working, Rose enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest and going to concerts.

Amy Prince

Amy Prince

Development & Operations Coordinator

Amy Prince

Development & Operations Coordinator

Amy is an avid Duck fan and loves college football. She dabbles in a greeting card business using a 1941 Royal Typewriter. She likes to camp with family and friends to get away from it all.

Professional Mentors

Louie Arce

Louie Arce

Friend

Louie Arce

Friend

Louie enjoys hiking and exploring Portland parks with the youth he serves. He also likes taking pictures of clouds and landscapes. His favorite type of foods are anything with the word berry in it. His dog Jucy Fruit is a beautiful min pin. Among his life experiences he's happy to have worked for Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World, built schools for youth in Honduras, and now firmly believes he has the best job he never knew he wanted here at Friends of the Children—Portland.

Paul Boddie

Paul Boddie

Friend

Paul Boddie

Friend

Paul is a proud NE Portland resident. He attended Benson Polytechnic High School and attended Lane Community College, University of Oregon, and Portland State University. He was a Black studies and social science major. Paul appreciates that Friends of the Children—Portland provides an environment to be equitable and inclusive for the youth and families it serves. He also appreciates that FriendsPDX provides space for youth to be fully themselves. Paul enjoys listening to music, watching Oregon Ducks sports, and going to the park with his dog, Canela.

Jacqueline Cortez

Jacqueline Cortez

Friend

Jacqueline Cortez

Friend

Jackie hails from Southern California. She spent the first half of her childhood in Los Angeles, and the other half in Huntington Beach. She received a BA in political science at California State University—Long Beach.

She appreciates the work that Friends of the Children—Portland does to help empower youth. It brings dignity to the work that Friends and youth are doing for themselves and in their communities. Jackie loves that the organization focuses on the emotional and social wellbeing of youth. Outside of work, she enjoys camping and hiking with friends and her dog, Finn. She also loves gathering around a big table of food with all the people that she loves!

Aidan Dahler

Aidan Dahler

Friend

Aidan Dahler

Friend

Aidan grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. After high school, he moved to Missoula, Montana and attended the University of Montana. Aidan is really excited to work at a place that is explicitly youth focused and full of passionate people. He says," it’s clear just from the hiring and orientation process that everyone in the organization is hard working and passionate about this work." Aidan loves all sorts of outdoor activities; hiking, rock climbing and backpacking. He also enjoys video games, reading, painting and baking on a rainy day.

Rivu Dasgupta

Rivu Dasgupta

Friend

Rivu Dasgupta

Friend

Rivu was born in Lubbock, Texas and moved to Dallas as a teenager. He's a proud alum of the University of Missouri (M-I-Z!) where he studied philosophy, psychology, and gender studies. In Portland he's found a place to call home, and he looks forward to being here for a good, long while.

Rivu loves the complete and total commitment to youth and how they’re truly at the center of everything Friends of the Children—Portland does.

He really enjoys all vehicles of storytelling. Graphic novels, television, film, video games, books small and large; there’s just so much good stuff out there! He also enjoys hiking with his wonderful partner and his miniature dachshund, Clementine, which is generally how he spends his weekends and summers.

Mary Dunbar

Mary Dunbar

Friend

Mary Dunbar

Friend

Mary was born and raised in Portland. She attended Lincoln High School and went on to Western Oregon University. She appreciates the long term one on one relationships and getting to know the youth she serves on a deeper level. She likes advocating with youth and families to navigate the systems and working with 'cool' people. Outside of FriendsPDX, she likes to spend time with her family, play soccer, kickball, volleyball and travel.

Natasha Durant

Natasha Durant

Team Lead

Natasha Durant

Team Lead

Natasha is from Portland, Oregon. She attended The Evergreen State College and had an emphasis in cultural and ethnic studies: African American Studies. She enjoys being a mom, blogging and baking delicious treats. She is writing a book that the youth she serves have encouraged her to write. Natasha enjoys providing access to post-secondary education opportunities to program youth. She loves the relationships she fosters with the youth in the program and looks at the relationships like sisters.

Warren Edmondson Jr.

Warren Edmondson Jr.

Friend

Warren Edmondson Jr.

Friend

Warren was born and raised in Portland. He appreciates the work that FriendsPDX does to help youth and support those who work here. He likes to play basketball and hang out with friends and family. He loves to watch movies, explore different food spots, and go bowling.

Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson

Friend

Sarah Ferguson

Friend

Sarah grew up in the Portland area and went to the University of Oregon, where I graduated with a degree in history. She has been working with young children and youth for the past eight years and have enjoyed every moment. In her free time, she love to dance (jazz and hip hop), play kickball, read and watch her nieces and nephews play basketball and soccer. Sarah can be found watching all of the Duck football games with her family in the fall and getting together for gatherings throughout the rest of the year. Sarah loves being part of the Friends of the Children—Portland team and working with the program youth.

Alejandra Garcilazo

Alejandra Garcilazo

Program Manager Youth Services and Training

Alejandra Garcilazo

Program Manager Youth Services and Training

Alejandra was born and raised in Umatilla, Oregon and moved to the Willamette Valley to attend Western Oregon University. She studied community health education with a minor in psychology. Honna has always been drawn to working with youth after witnessing firsthand the lack of help youth received in her home town. She loves being a supportive, positive role model in the lives of the youth she serves here at Friends of the Children—Portland. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her son and family, hiking, reading and playing sports.

Maricela Vidal Gonzalez

Maricela Vidal Gonzalez

Friend

Maricela Vidal Gonzalez

Friend

Marciela was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her family moved to Oregon when she was seven years old. Oregon is where she went to school from 2nd grade all the way through college. She gaduated from Pacific University in 2019 with a Bachelors in elementary education.

What she appreciates most about Friends of the Children—Portland is that instead of putting its primary focus on what obstacles children are facing, they look for resources available to help them overcome them. Additionally, she appreciates how FriendsPDX is there for the children as a support system to let them know that they are not alone and that they have people who care for them and will look after them.

Marciela loves hiking and exploring nature. This is her way of releasing stress and appreciating the beauty of nature itself. She also enjoys traveling, learning about new cultures, foods, and different traditions. She love spending time with her family, friends, and lovely dog Kiko.

Tyler Green

Tyler Green

Team Lead

Tyler Green

Team Lead

Tyler was born and raised in Portland and thrilled to be back home. Tyler studied sociology and education at Colorado College, served as a corps member at City Year in Boston and attended University of Oregon for a Masters in community and regional planning. Tyler loves the youth centered and empowering approach offered at Friends of the Children—Portland, providing the opportunity for youth to be the best versions of themselves. Outside of FriendsPDX, he enjoys playing sports, exploring the Pacific Northwest, attending Blazers and Timbers games and spending time with his friends and family.

Ayni Hailicka

Ayni Hailicka

Friend

Ayni Hailicka

Friend

Ayni (“Annie”) hails from the bustling metropolis of Butte Falls, Oregon. Since graduating from the University of Oregon, she’s lived in Istanbul; Denver, CO; Yosemite, CA; and now Portland, OR. During that time, she paid the bills by working in marketing, but spent her free time volunteering with youth development organizations. She’s excited to turn her out-of-office experience into a full-time pursuit with Friends of the Children—Portland where she’ll work directly with youth. Outside of work, Ayni can be found backpacking, practicing yoga, reading, playing the harp.

Mark Heystek

Mark Heystek

Friend

Mark Heystek

Friend

Mark is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He earned a degree from Aquinas College in international studies and Spanish. He moved to work with the AmeriCorps Service in economic development before transitioning into an AmeriCorps membership role with Partnerships for Student Achievement where he served as a math tutor for at-risk high school students. Mark appreciates the unwavering commitment that Friends and staff have to the youth and is thankful for being able to work in an environment that values social equity. In his free time, Mark might be reading his endless list of non-fiction books, watching an NBA game or feeling over-competitive in a game of chess. One of Mark's favorite things is enjoying the outdoors with loved ones.

Carliss Holland

Carliss Holland

Educational Equity Team Lead

Carliss Holland

Educational Equity Team Lead

Carliss was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She graduated from MWSC with a BA in recreation administration with youth sports. She has worked with youth for 15+ years and has a 12 year old son. She graduated in 2017 with a certificate in group fitness. She was a Friend previously for 7.5 years and appreciates the friendships she has made with staff, mentors, families, youth and schools over the years. She loves hanging out with her son, family and friends. She loves to play and watch sports and participate in fitness and working out activities. She likes to listen to music, watch movies, travel and see new places.

Brian Joy

Brian Joy

Friend

Brian Joy

Friend

Brian is from Milwaukie, Oregon. He went to school at Oregon State University. What he appreciates about Friends of the Children—Portland is the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of the youth it walks alongside. Brian is a huge sports fan and enjoys attending college football games and Blazers games. He also spends time with his girlfriend, family, and friends.

Alan Keys

Alan Keys

Friend

Alan Keys

Friend

Alan was born in Michigan, but has been an Oregon transplant since the the '80s. He went to Portland State University. What he appreciates about Friends of the Children—Portland is that he has the opportunity to work with such wonderful young people and to have the chance to be a positive impact in their lives as they grow and learn all of their own great qualities. Outside of work, the things that bring him joy are spending quality time with his family, doing wild and fun things together; nothing beats that for him.

Lauren Kresta

Lauren Kresta

Lead Friend

Lauren Kresta

Lead Friend

Lauren was born and raised in Portland, OR and went to college in Los Angeles where she studied Spanish and education. She loves playing volleyball, singing, going to the zoo and traveling to new places. Every day she comes into work and can't believe she gets to work for such a phenomenal organization with such fun people.

Jeff Kuang

Jeff Kuang

Friend

Jeff Kuang

Friend

Jeff is from Clackamas, Oregon and graduated from the University of Portland as an English and Psychology major with Spanish minor. Before Friends of the Children—Portland, he worked at a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Center for children and adolescents experiencing mental health crises as a Psychiatric Technician (QMHA). He was also an Education Assistant for Clackamas ESD’s Life Enrichment Education Program for children with various disabilities. He enjoys basketball (go Blazers!), literature, and classical guitar.

Gregg Lavender

Gregg Lavender

Lead Friend

Gregg Lavender

Lead Friend

Gregg is from Detroit. He studied elementary education with an early childhood emphasis at Western Michigan University. He has continued furthering his education at other colleges. He appreciates working with the youth at Friends of the Children—Portland. He loves going to work every day and values his relationship with his co-workers. When Gregg is not at FriendsPDX, you can find him riding bikes with his family and friends, hiking, listening to music, making art or sharing time with neighbors.

Brittany Leines

Brittany Leines

Team Lead

Brittany Leines

Team Lead

Brittany grew up in Portland, a few blocks away from the new Rockwood office. She went to Parkrose High School and was in the class of 2009. Afterwards, she attended the UO and majored in psychology and graduated in 2013. She appreciates the relationships most at Friends of the Children—Portland. She loves the relationship that she has with the youth, their families, and the other program staff. Many times her job doesn't feel like a job because she's simply making plans with her friends. Outside of work she enjoys spending time annoying her husband, hanging out with the dogs, reading, and getting caught up on her favorite TV shows.

Melissa Lewis

Melissa Lewis

Friend

Jay McQueen

Jay McQueen

Lead Friend

Jay McQueen

Lead Friend

Jay is originally from Brooklyn, NY. He attended St. John's University with a degree in sociology. He appreciates his co-workers and being able to have autonomy with the youth he works with to provide the best mentor experience. When he is not working, he loves to watch sports, specifically the Eagles and the Knicks, and read.

Arjon Nance

Arjon Nance

Friend

Arjon Nance

Friend

Arjon grew up in Falls City, a very rural area west of Salem, Oregon. It is a beautiful place and he is so thankful to still have access to it, but Arjon reflects that he had to unlearn a lot of negative, rural cultural influences. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a major in environmental studies and a minor in collecting cans for deposit. Out of school, he began working at Outdoor School and found that he loves working with youth enough that 17 years later, he's still going strong. Arjon loves the supportive community here at Friends of the Children—Portland. Also how adaptable FriendsPDX can be in helping youth to meet their own needs over the long term. His favorite hobbies are bike streamer tag and getting people to play games he's invented, like Ultiball.

Joe Parnell

Joe Parnell

Friend

Joe Parnell

Friend

Joe is originally from Norman, Oklahoma and graduated from Colorado State University. He's passionate about social equity, political involvement and working in the community with young leaders. Most of his free time is spent with his husband, Philip and friends, and you can frequently find him with my head buried in a Wonder Woman comic.

Paul "Rock" Rathgeb

Paul "Rock" Rathgeb

Friend

Paul "Rock" Rathgeb

Friend

Rock was born in Philly a proud city at the foundation of democracy and die hard sports fans. Rock volunteered for two years in Colorado through Americorps where he met his lovely wife. He camped out for a grad semester, wrote a thesis on Power of Play In Education, and has a Masters in Education from Goddard College in Vermont. Rock loves being a part of Friends of Children because of the value of being a long term mentor in the lives of youth towards helping them fully thrive. Outside of Friends of the Children—Portland Rock appreciates living in the woods near Mount Hood between two rivers where he can hike, bike, kayak, cross country ski, snowboard, garden, and just being with family.

Janeyry Reyes

Janeyry Reyes

Friend

Janeyry Reyes

Friend

Janeyry was born and raised in Salem by her two wonderful parents. She graduated from McKay High School and pursued her degree at Portland State University. Something she appreciates about Friends of the Children—Portland is its commitment to the youth and their families as well as how welcoming they are. What she enjoys doing outside of Friends of the Children is hanging out with her 7 year old sister and her dog. Janeyry also enjoys discovering new eating places and hidden hiking trails. All of these thing bring so much joy and energy into her life.

Melissa Salazar

Melissa Salazar

Lead Friend

Melissa Salazar

Lead Friend

Melissa is originally from Southeast Texas and moved to the Pacific Northwest to attend college. She graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pacific Northwest College of Art. Melissa started as a volunteer working with Friends of the Children—Portland program youth through the Next Steps Project. She then served a 10 month AmeriCorps service as Post Secondary coordinator for the Next Steps Project. After her service was complete she transitioned into the role of professional Friend. She appreciates the commitment to the youth FriendsPDX serves. She enjoys making art of different mediums, reading, visiting museums and traveling.

Greg Shuster

Greg Shuster

Friend

Greg Shuster

Friend

Greg is a first generation college graduate who comes from a Russian-Jewish refugee family. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and originally from Maryland. He moved to Portland after his service where he attended Portland State University and got his degree in psychology. Greg appreciates Friends of the Children—Portland's research-based approach. FriendsPDX is also unique in that from the top down, it feels like a big extended family. He values how the change created from the program and the effect on the community is long lasting, deep, and powerful. Outside of being a mentor, Greg loves to boulder, spend time with his wife and children and play Rocket League.

Annie Speed

Annie Speed

Friend

Annie Speed

Friend

Annie was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and went to school for environmental science in Flagstaff, Arizona. She is currently pursuing her BA in special education through an online university, and has worked in special education for 5 years. Annie was drawn to Friends of the Children—Portland after seeing the love and energy the staff members put into their everyday interactions. The relationships she builds are one of the most exciting parts of her journey here at FriendsPDX. In her free time, she loves gardening, learning about permaculture (utilizing renewable energy sources), playing card and board games with friends, and cooking.

Taylor Strain

Taylor Strain

Friend

Taylor Strain

Friend

Taylor was born and raised in Gettysburg, Ohio and earned a Bachelors in Education from Ohio State University. In 2016, he moved to the West Coast, engaging in youth focused programs for Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District and as a Vice Principal at Youth Progress Association. Taylor appreciates the long term commitment to youth and the focus on building relationships that is central to Friends of the Children—Portland's approach to mentoring. He likes to play basketball, Ultimate Frisbee, and video games, spend time with his family and travel.

Riley Tate

Riley Tate

Friend

Riley Tate

Friend

Riley is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska with a degree in sociology and moved to Tulsa, OK to be a high school teacher. From there, she followed her partner and their dreams out to the West Coast for what she keeps calling her grand adventure. She's passionate about working with people and building strong relationships.

What Riley appreciates most about Friends of the Children—Portland is the fully thought out and well-rounded approach to mentorship and working within the community. There is a truly comprehensive and inclusive message behind what FriendsPDX does. She is excited to fully embrace the nine Core Assets and plant roots here in the Portland community.

When she is not working, Riley continues to find joy by spending time with others, including her two dogs, partner, and roommate. She love game nights, painting, breathing fresh air, and discovering new things.

Tonia Teter

Tonia Teter

Friend

Tonia Teter

Friend

Tonia was born in Kansas City, Missouri which no longer resembles her childhood memories. Growing up, she considered herself bicoastal growing up in various parts of California as well as her hometown. She earned my degree at the University of Missouri Kansas City, where she was very active in her sorority. She went on to attend the University of Missouri Columbia School of Law on the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship. Tonia appreciates Friends of the Children—Portland's long term commitment to supporting children and families. Outside of work, she enjoys long drives that allow her mind to drift into space.

Sania Thomas

Sania Thomas

Friend

Sania Thomas

Friend

Sania proudly hails from the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fly Eagles Fly!!! Her alma mater, Massachusetts College promptly prepared her for a career intersecting the arts and social justice. What Sania appreciates most about Friends of the Children is the long-term commitment to supporting children and families.

Sania and her family are passionate season ticket holders for the Winterhawks and the Portland Thorns. Her hobbies include tinkering and modifying her Jeep wrangler via YouTube tutorials; having intense fetch and tug of war sessions with her tripod yorkie, Jersey; practicing Phase 10 discard dances; and TikTok dog challenges with her forever embarrassed 14 year old, Emilia.

Amy Van Denburgh

Amy Van Denburgh

Friend

Amy Van Denburgh

Friend

Amy attended Northern Arizona University for both her undergrad and Masters degrees. After nine years teaching in South Korea, Palestine, the Czech Republic, Honduras, and Arizona, she spent time at the Oregon Food Bank in nutrition education. Amy appreciates the emphasis on meeting youth where they are here at Friends of the Children—Portland. Now that she has fled the desert sun, she enjoys exploring Oregon with her dog and horse.

Graylen Walker

Graylen Walker

Friend

Graylen Walker

Friend

Graylen moved out to Portland in her Corolla a couple years ago from North Carolina. She attended UNC Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) for undergrad and UNC Charlotte for her MSW. She loves traveling and had the urge to move across the country after her 2015 graduation. She served as an AmeriCorps member with the MFS non-profit and helped run the SUN program at an elementary school. In her free time, she likes being outside, taking pictures of her cat, and recently joined a dragon boat team!

Program Staff

Alicia Barajas

Alicia Barajas

Program Resource Coordinator

Alicia Barajas

Program Resource Coordinator

Alicia was born and raised in Fresno, California where she studied at the Fresno Institute of Technology. She has a strong appreciation for Friends of the Children—Portland's mission driven work to break generational cycles and empower youth to be successful. In her off time, Alicia enjoys outdoor adventures with her children, reading a good book, and sharing laughter with good friends.

Meghan Buckner

Meghan Buckner

Director of Program Operations

Meghan Buckner

Director of Program Operations

Meghan has been working in the youth development field for 15 years and at Friends of the Children—Portland for almost 10 years. Meghan holds a Bachelors degree in art therapy & child/adolescent development from Miami University of Ohio. Meghan was drawn to this field from a desire to work with youth through an interdisciplinary approach and advocate holistically in all areas of the youths’ lives. In her free time she enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest, creating art, and spending time with friends and family.

Anne Byrer

Anne Byrer

Staff Assistant to Program

Anne Byrer

Staff Assistant to Program

Anne was born in Michigan and grew up in Connecticut. In 2001, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from SUNY New Paltz in New York. Her intuitive dreams came true when she moved to Portland in 2004 to live in the beauty of the PNW.

She appreciates Friends of the Children—Portland for its encouragement to bring one’s own unique talents to the organization and its values & dedication to equitable change & positive growth. Anne’s major sparks are creating visual arts (ceramics is her true love!), practicing Reiki, nurturing houseplants, petting all the dogs, and being with nature ~ trees are her favorite!

LaShea Chatman

LaShea Chatman

Alumni Engagement Coordinator

LaShea Chatman

Alumni Engagement Coordinator

LaShea Chatman was born and raised in NE Portland. Her professional background is mostly nonprofit and social service work. She worked for Self Enhancement Inc. for over 20 years and recently decided to leave the nest while continuing to work in and with her community which she is extremely passionate about.

LaShea's proudest personal achievements are being married to her high school sweetheart and their three beautiful children.

Briana Dumas

Briana Dumas

Youth Engagement Program Manager

Briana Dumas

Youth Engagement Program Manager

Briana left the San Francisco bay area for the great Pacific Northwest in search of cooler weather, more trees and higher mountains. She attended the University of Puget Sound, the University of Oregon and Portland State University. She wakes up every morning feeling blessed that she gets to do the work she loves and is inspired daily by the youth and families she serves. Briana enjoys gardening, adventuring with her family and dog, Olive Juice, kickboxing and anything that involves being in, on or near large bodies of water.

Sierra Gonzalez

Sierra Gonzalez

Youth Engagement Program Coordinator

Sierra Gonzalez

Youth Engagement Program Coordinator

Sierra was born and raised in Carlsbad, California. She moved to Portland in 2015 to attend Warner Pacific University, earning a Bachelors in social work. She is thrilled to be a part of the Friends of the Children—Portland family and is excited to bring culturally specific programming from a restorative perspective. In her free time, Sierra enjoys sleeping, spending time with her cats, and the occasional river adventure.

Kaylie Haas

Kaylie Haas

Youth Engagement Specialist

Kaylie Haas

Youth Engagement Specialist

Hello! My name is Kaylie and I am so thrilled to be a Youth Engagement Specialist at Friends of the Children! I moved to Portland from the Bay Area about five years ago, and I’m so happy to call the Pacific Northwest my home. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Social Work at the University of Portland, where I was able to explore my passion for serving youth and families in the community. When I’m not at work, I enjoy doing yoga, hiking, dancing, and singing in a community choir. You can also find me trying all the delicious food Portland has to offer. I can’t wait to build relationships with youth, families, and staff and elevate youth voice in the program space.

Phillip Johnson II

Phillip Johnson II

Direct Service Program Manager

Phillip Johnson II

Direct Service Program Manager

Phillip is from Portland and attended Warner Pacific with a sociology major. He appreciates the relationships with the youth and their families. Phillips loves being a youth pastor and doing things with his youth group. He enjoys working with his wife on her entrepreneurial endeavors. He loves playing with his two girls, writing and creating.

Brian Kay

Brian Kay

Community Engagement Program Manager

Marina Laurette

Marina Laurette

Process and Communications Coordinator

Marina Laurette

Process and Communications Coordinator

Marina retired from the semiconductor industry after a 40 year career. She joined Friends of the Children—Portland at the beginning of 2020 and is thrilled to now be able to use her communications and operations skills to support the FriendsPDX mission. She sings in the Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland and is a board member there too. She enjoys hiking and travelling with her husband, and she loves gardening, cooking, and all kinds of crafting.

Estefania Perez

Estefania Perez

Bilingual Education Program Coordinator

Estefania Perez

Bilingual Education Program Coordinator

Estefania was born in Los Angeles before moving to the Oregon Coast where she spent her childhood. In 2013, she moved to Portland to earn her degree from Portland State University. She appreciates the values, dedication and commitment to the children. She is happy to be a part of an organization that genuinely has a desire and resources to make an impact in their life in a positive way. Estefania likes to get together with people that have similar health and fitness goals, to motivate and hold each other accountable.

Brian Pham

Brian Pham

Associate Director of Quality and Performance

Brian Pham

Associate Director of Quality and Performance

Brian am a proud Portland native. He graduated from Portland State University with a B.S. in Community Health. Working at Friends of the Children—Portland has been the most rewarding job he's ever had. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and work experience, yet everyone's are all here because of the mission. Outside of work, he enjoys being with family and friends, traveling, and eating all kinds of food.

Wanda Poton

Wanda Poton

Associate Director of Youth Engagement and Future Pathways

Wanda Poton

Associate Director of Youth Engagement and Future Pathways

Wanda has been working with youth for 10+ years and is now leading and supporting Friends at Friends of the Children—Portland. Wanda has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in psychology from Portland State University. Drawn to the field of helping children stems from her experience as being the eldest in her family, caring for her younger siblings and being the first to graduate from college. She enjoys visiting, chatting and cooking for friends and family, exploring various forms of crafts/arts and reading to learn and develop. Wanda’s favorite past time is watching movies with her husband and three little doggies.

Geraldine Sandberg

Geraldine Sandberg

Program Operations Coordinator

Rose Solowski

Rose Solowski

Associate Director of Family and Alumni Engagement

Rose Solowski

Associate Director of Family and Alumni Engagement

Rose loves being outdoors, she's super creative and loves to paint, craft and sew. She loves to read. She has an awesome family- she and her husband have two kids, a dog, a cat and 3 chickens. Rose is also on the board for a local youth baseball organization. She started as a Friend in 2003 and loves this organization with all her heart!!

Ki'ilani Viernes

Ki'ilani Viernes

Associate Director of Program Employee Development

Ki'ilani Viernes

Associate Director of Program Employee Development

Ki'ilani was born and raised in O'ahu, Hawaii. She graduated from Eastern Washington University with a BS in applied developmental psychology and minors in psychology and special education. She has a Masters in Education in school counseling from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Ki has been at Friends of the Children—Portland for 11 1/2 years and appreciates the longevity of the commitment made to the youth served. She also appreciates the inclusive work environment - the open, welcoming community FriendsPDX has that encourages folks to be who they are and appreciates each unique person. Additionally, she appreciates the relationships made with the youth, their families, and co-workers. Outside of FriendsPDX, she plays with her dog, Keona, takes pictures out in the community, creates artwork, is in nature, does community service activities and spends time with her niece and nephew.

Administrative Staff

Joy Fauth

Joy Fauth

Program Facility Coordinator

Joy Fauth

Program Facility Coordinator

Born in Toppenish WA, Joy's family moved to occupied Palestine 17 miles from Gaza when she was eight, in 1964. She moved back to Oregon at 19 and has been here ever since. She went to Oregon College of Education, now called Western Oregon University. Joy LOVES all food, relaxing and camping by loud babbling rivers, and walking on the ocean shores. She appreciates that Friends of the Children—Portland provides early intervention and offers a solution for the long term. It's not a band aid solution.

Elly Fetter

Elly Fetter

Executive Assistant

Elly Fetter

Executive Assistant

Elly is a Bay Area native, first generation Filipino American, and graduate of San Francisco State University.

What interests her most about Friends of the Children—Portland is its deep-rooted community involvement and commitment to serving others.

She moved to Portland in 2021 with her 2 cats, Wonton and Ziggy. In her free time she enjoys gardening, biking, and exploring the PNW.

Audrey Forrest

Audrey Forrest

Director of Operations

Audrey Forrest

Director of Operations

Audrey has been part of fundraising and development in Portland since 2004 and with Friends of the Children since 2012. She focuses on events, campaigns, operations and logistics for the team. Watching Friends work with the youth they walk alongside is truly inspiring and motivates Audrey every day. When she’s not working, Audrey enjoys getting outside with her husband, two girls and dog, Olive.

Terry Robertson

Terry Robertson

Receptionist

Terry Robertson

Receptionist

A lover of people, Terry has been with Friends of the Children—Portland since October 2016. She loves that she is able to serve the community that she grew up in and believes that being a local is crucial in making a profound connection with the kids. Whether she is in or out of the office, her goal is to make at least one person smile a day.

Tana Schield

Tana Schield

Accountant

Tana Schield

Accountant

Outside of Friends, Tana likes to feed the goats on Rodney Ave, workout at the Dishman Community Center, and discover chickens in the neighborhood.

Jack Vollert

Jack Vollert

Facilities & Partnerships Manager

Jack Vollert

Facilities & Partnerships Manager

Jack grew up in California. After graduating from Santa Clara University, he moved to Portland. His first job in Portland was a crisis intervention counselor at a homeless shelter in Old Town. He has been with Friends of the Children—Portland since 2000 and started as a Friend. He appreciates the hard work and dedication to the mission at FriendsPDX. He likes cooking and eating meals with his family and is a drummer in a rock trio called Three Finger Jack.

Adam Zahn

Adam Zahn

Accounting & Finance Manager

Adam Zahn

Accounting & Finance Manager

Adam is a native of Grant Rapids, MI and moved to Portland in 2015. He has a master’s degree in accounting from University of Michigan and a bachelor degree in sustainable business from Aquinas College. Before coming to Friends of the Children—Portland, he spent eight years building nonprofit experience as a CPA working at a Big Four accounting firm. Adam is inspired by solutions that are bold and big enough to address systemic problems at the core. The FriendsPDX commitment of 12.5 years, no matter what, is just such a promise that demonstrably works to change lives. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, biking, dance, podcasts, tabletop role playing games, and other activism work.