Andre is a proud Seattle native. He grew up in the southside of Seattle and graduated from Garfield High School. Andre moved on to attend Washington State University (GO COUGS). Naturally, he loves ALL Seattle sports, well except for the Huskies of course. He also loves animals. Sloths, giraffes, mantis shrimp, and German Shepherds to be exact. Andre has worked at Friends-Seattle for 3 ½ years and he loves seeing the youth grow every day. He also loves that as a mentor every single day is different, exciting, and challenging. He currently lives in Covington with his wife and dog.
After high school, Jeremy went to Western Washington University then transferred to Central Washington University for their film program. Now Jeremy is completing his master's in elementary education through Western Governors University online.
Jeremy has a sweet dog named Milo. Jeremy’s favorite hobbies are reading or listening to audiobooks and play board games with friends and family. His favorite two sports teams are the Seahawks and the Sounders.
Jeremy wanted to work somewhere where he felt he could make a difference in the world. He loved that the Friends model works to correct problems before they occur and provide our youth the tools and support to thrive and be successful. Jeremy loves seeing how his youth develop their sense of self over the years and how they adapt the lessons they have learned throughout their time at Friends. He also loves that they learn from each other. And THE STORIES. He loves all the fun, ridiculous, and crazy stories that come from working with our youth at Friends, it all makes for great memories.
Jalen was born in Germany and considers himself an army brat since he and his family traveled around with the military before they settled in Washington. As an avid traveler, he thinks New Orleans is his favorite city to visit. The food is amazing, the people and culture are so rich, and the music is to die for.
He graduated from the University of Washington and enjoyed his time as a husky. Jalen has a passion for abolition and even in his career at UW he worked to dismantle systems of oppression.
Jalen started working at Friends of the Children because he wanted to serve the community. His favorite thing about being a mentor is seeing his youth become the people they want to be.
Tamara Corn was born in Nyack, New York, and grew up in Kirkland, Washington. She identifies as Afro-Latina and has a large multicultural family. Her favorite place to travel is to the Dominican Republic, where her mother was born. Tamara has a long list of places she cannot wait to explore, such as Jamaica and Mexico. Tamara loves DIY home decor projects, shopping, and trying new restaurants in her spare time, and she loves the Seattle Seahawks and the Brooklyn Nets. Tamara has one son and an orange tabby named Ace.
Tamara thinks Friends of the Children-Seattle is a special place to work because of the long-term mentoring model. She thinks it is essential to provide youth with a mentor who can help guide them with emotional support and give them resources to elevate their journey through life.
Sheena, also known
as Sheens, was born and bred right here in Seattle, Washington. Sheena started
her college career at Seattle Central and transferred over to Seattle Pacific
Sheena loves being a
mentor because she is able to celebrate large and small milestones her youth
has accomplished within and outside the program. Knowing that they still
consider Sheena their mentor even after graduating out of the program and still
connecting with them pretty frequently. Sheena loved watching her girls in real-time go through the different stages in their lives and being able to guide,
learn and support them through it all. Not only does Sheena love connecting
with her girls, but she also loves building up relationships with her girls'
families. Hearing the families say, "Ms. Sheena is family now and will
always be" is truly an honor to be accepted into their lives.
Sheena loves food
exploration, DIY arts and crafts, and volleyball. She loves volunteering at
Bradner Gardens, Northwest Harvest (before COVID), and the Emergency Feeding
Program. She loves football and she is the Seattle Seahawks' #1 fan.
My name is Michael Fowlkes, and I’m proud to be a mentor at Friends of the Children. I’m originally from Raleigh, North Carolina and I moved to Seattle in 2018 after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’m a big fan of basketball (Go Warriors!), trying out restaurants, and playing with my 2 cats. In my spare time, I record music, study audio engineering, and practice Spanish on Duolingo. My favorite thing about being a mentor is seeing youth make progress on challenging goals that we set together. I’m always excited to see them realize what they accomplished by themselves, and it encourages me to keep pushing them to try challenging things.
Rex (aka Mr. Adidas) is originally from Seattle and his happy place is anywhere there is water. He enjoys fishing and spending time with his Mini American Shepherd, Dottie.
Rex has worked with youth for over 16 years and didn’t think there was an organization out there that did what Friends does: provide an adult mentor to youth for 12.5 years, no matter what. That commitment is powerful and life-changing for all that are involved, and he knew he had to be a part of it. He values the relationships and bonds he has built with his youth and all the learning and growing they’ve done together.
Taylor is from
Kansas City, Missouri and he loves all of the Kansas City sports teams. He is
dedicated to his city. Taylor will adopt the Kraken since the team came here
while he lived in Seattle. Taylor went to the University of Missouri Columbia
Taylor wanted to
work at Friends-Seattle so that he could help and support youth. His favorite
things about being a mentor are seeing when the youth accomplish a goal and
looking back at when they started or didn’t know.
Outside of work,
Taylor is passionate about equity and social justice causes. Taylor also speaks
the Kpelle Western tribe language of the Kpelle tribe. He has a dog that he brought
back from Africa. He is engaged and excited to spend his life with his partner!
Hailing from the great state of Virginia, Rosa moved to Seattle after college for a service year with the Episcopal Service Corps, and has now been at Friends of the Children–Seattle for three years. While completing her B.S. in Foreign Service at Georgetown University, she realized that her true motivation came from building and strengthening community at the local level. She is passionate about good coffee, summer camp, and providing equitable access for every child to achieve their biggest dreams.
In her free time, Rosa enjoys connecting with family and friends, learning new recipes, buying knitting supplies before knowing how to use them, and volunteering with a regional youth group.
Sam grew up in Ohio in a family of educators. He spent a lot of time listening to and playing music, as his parents were both music teachers. Now he spends his free time meditating, camping, playing games, making art, and spending time with friends and family. He became a mentor in 2019 and loves learning from and spending time with youth. Fun Facts: Sam spent a season training Iditarod dog sled racing dogs, he spent three months in a secluded monastery meditating, and he has his very own worm farm!
Hi, my name's Helena Haase! I’m a South Korean adoptee and grew up in the Bay Area, California. I graduated from Clark University in 2020 and studied psychology and sociology. After I graduated, I moved to Seattle for an AmeriCorp program working in an elementary school. I’m still new to the area, but I’ve loved going on hikes, wandering the farmer's markets, and trying new food places!
In my free time, I enjoy photography, painting, cooking, and watching TV. I’m also passionate about highlighting adoptee voices and social justice!
My top 3 favorite foods are japchae (Korean noodles), Thai yellow curry, and pizza! My favorite colors are blue and yellow. A few things that are still on my Washington bucket list include visiting art museums, the Seattle Aquarium, and hiking around Mt. Rainier National Park!
Hannah likes to keep her life filled with outdoor adventures, giggles with her niece and nephew, cooking (and tasting) new recipes, and as much laughter as possible!
Originally from Idaho, Hannah moved to Seattle for a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Leadership after two and a half years in Morocco doing Youth Development work as a Peace Corps Volunteer. In the Peace Corps, Hannah realized she didn’t want to come back to Idaho and pursue a career in Speech Pathology which was her original plan. Instead, she wanted to continue working with youth and be surrounded by a like-minded, community-centered culture of people.
Hannah spent her two years of graduate school nannying, then worked as a case manager for unhoused young adults and as a third-grade instructional assistant before joining Friends of the Children-Seattle at the end of 2020. She has always loved working with kids and was drawn to the sustainable, intentional model Friends follows with their youth. Her favorite part about working at Friends is the unique relationships she gets to make with each of her youth and their families.
Outside of work, Hannah loves to host backyard BBQs with family and friends, go camping with her wife in the beautiful PNW, and enjoys a night in, binge-watching a new TV show in the company of her two cats, Oliver and Zoe, and her dog, Loki. An advocate for social justice, equity, and love for all, Hannah loves her position as a Professional Mentor at Friends and hopes to make an uplifting impact on all those around her.
Stefan has a passion
to work with youth, especially those who grew up in similar circumstances as he
did. After his first year of teaching, he wanted to find a profession in which
he could make a bigger impact, and connect with youth and families on a deeper
level. Stefan found Friends in the summer of 2009 and has been a Friend ever since.
Eight out of his nine youth graduated from high school in 2021! The 9th is
entering his senior year in the fall of 2021! Stefan has learned so much from
his youth, their families, and his coworkers over the years at Friends.
Stefan received his
master's in education from Western Governor's University. He is a fan of every
Seattle sports team and holds out hope that there will be a men's basketball
team again. Stefan is passionate about the Black Lives Matter Movement, education
reform, civil rights, human rights, gender equality, and child safety. He is a
better mentor, husband, father, teacher, and community member thanks to the
wisdom he has gained over the years.
He loves spending
time and traveling with his wife and children. His favorite destination is the
Caribbean and Hawaii.
Spencer was born in
Renton and went to Seattle Central College. He loves sports. His favorite teams
are the Eagles (NFL), Pistons (NBA, and Michigan (college). He used to be
fluent in French but is a little out of practice.
Spencer chose to
work at Friends-Seattle because he enjoys working with kids, but he prefers
more of a one on one setting and the freedom to do more activities with his
Courtney was born
and raised in Portland, Oregon. She recently relocated to Seattle with her
husband. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her family and two kids,
one is four months and the other is two years old.
Courtney went to
Oregon State and received her undergraduate degree in Human Development &
Portland State. She then went on to get a Masters in Education at San Diego
State. She is a member of the Puget Sound Grant writers.
Back when Courtney
lived in Portland volunteered at Friends-Portland in the teen program and did
some work for Friends-National. During that time she fell in love with the
kids, staff, and mission of the organization. Working at Friends-Seattle was a
perfect fit for her when she moved to Seattle. She wanted to support and
organization she was passionate about through grant writing.
Michelle is Pacific Northwest born and raised, growing up in Lakewood and graduating college in Oregon. She double majored in community health and school health with a minor in communities. Originally, Michelle wanted to be a health teacher and quickly realized the classroom and strict curriculum weren't for her. Looking for an opportunity to make a deeper and more holistic impact with youth, Michelle began her career with Friends in 2009 as a professional mentor. Through the years, she took on many leadership roles in the capacity of K5 Team Lead, K5 Program Manager, and Program Project Manager and Director overseeing youth enrollment and hiring for the last several years. She continued to mentor through the years and in 2021 the girls she started working with graduated from the program.
Michelle's favorite thing about being a mentor is the relationship you build with your youth and families and watching their journey. "I got to see them become the adults they talked about becoming when they were younger people. Seeing them put in the work to learn, grow, and own their true selves. It's been fun and more exciting to know it's not over. Their journey, evolution, and continued success. And we get to continue to celebrate them."
Aside from her girls, Michelle has enjoyed creating and coordinating long-running program events such as the annual Women of Influence Celebration that provides a day of pampering for and celebrates the incredible women who support and work with our youth, and the annual Back to School Bash. She especially enjoys creating 'fun chaos', gift baskets, and designing extra special details for celebrations.
In her downtime, Michelle enjoys spending time with her husband going on outdoor adventures in the Northwest, traveling to new cities, catching Mariners games (with a pretzel and squishy, of course!), and anything that keeps her moving and making new memories.
Richmond has been working with young people since he was one himself. He is passionate about showing people more choices and life paths than they'd ever seen, helping people believe in something they never knew, and disproving stereotypes.
Richmond started working at Friends through his childhood best friend's mom telling him to stop working in places where he wasn't from (Bellevue, Kent, North Seattle, Covington) and come back to the neighborhoods he grew up in to make an impact. He's been here ever since.
Richmond loves anything that involves competition. He considers anything fun a "vacation". Richmond also loves spending time with his family and his network.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Ziza attended Virginia State University and loves crafting – all things craft. She is passionate about uplifting her community, education, providing support to her youth, and being an excellent mother and wife.
Ziza chose to work at Friends because of the quality of service she is able to offer to her youth. By choosing quality over quantity, Friends honors the commitment to be there for our youth no matter what. As a professional mentor, Ziza loves forming bonds with her kids, supporting them to push outside the limitations they have accepted for themselves, and watching them blossom. She enjoys seeing how pleasantly surprised and satisfied they are with themselves when they realize they are able to do something new and challenging.
Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, Toni is a true cheesehead with a slight accent to prove it. She originally moved to Seattle for an AmeriCorps position, where she was fortunate to work in a 4th-grade classroom alongside an incredible group of students and coworkers. Prior to her time here in Seattle, Toni graduated with a degree in Human Development & Family Studies and Environmental Studies. She continues to be passionate about protecting the planet and the many inhabitants who call it home. She hopes to continue being a part of social justice, climate justice, and animal rights movements in a helpful and nonharmful way and is always grateful for new knowledge and perspectives as she continues to learn and grow. To maintain her mental health, Toni enjoys filling her time with nature, music, movement, and phone calls home. She is also known to pet every dog she sees. Toni loves working at Friends-Seattle because of the incredible community it has introduced her to. She is grateful for the opportunity to work closely with her group of kids and their families, as well as collaborate with her coworkers to make awesome events come to life!
Doneka was born in Tacoma, Washington. She graduated from the University of Southern California.
Initially, when she decided to work at Friends-Seattle it was because she was able to create long-term relationships with youth. She previously worked in a group home and their population turned over quite a bit. Doneka was able to work with some great kids, get them prepared for traditional foster homes or reunification, but never had any info or contact with them after that. At Friends, she was able to work with her cohort for an extended period of time and maintain many of those relationships beyond graduation.
Doneka's favorite thing about being a supervisor is getting to know her team, troubleshooting issues with them, and the sense of pride/accomplishment they have when they reach even the tiniest milestone with their youth. Doneka's passions are in early intervention, educational equality, and refugee safety.
Doneka loves to travel. Two places she particularly enjoys are Kauai, Hi, and Florence, Italy. She has a sweet pup named Watson Gizmo and she loves photography.
Elena believes that it’s up to all of us to invest in youth, and when we do, our whole community benefits and we create a stronger future to pass on to the next generation. Growing up in Berwyn, IL (a suburb just outside Chicago), Elena learned to value multicultural communities, public education, and the gift of having numerous top-notch family-owned pizza places within a 5-mile radius of her family’s home on Maple Ave. Within her role as Grants & Program Officer at Friends-Seattle, she oversees a portfolio of foundation and government grants and works alongside K5 and adolescent program leadership to design funding strategies that align with programming needs and outcomes.
Outside of work, Elena enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with her partner, AJ, and two pups, Frankie and Ruby. Her favorite place in Seattle is Alki Beach, which is the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish People past and present.
Edgar Masmela was born and raised in the heart of the Rainier Valley, in the Columbia City neighborhood, in Seattle Washington.
Edgar has served with many community organizations that support youth development. Along with his wife Debbie, they are busy with their four children Galen, Gabi, Gisele, and Gwen, and their two dogs Luna and Murphy. When Edgar is able to enjoy some free time he is often with his family, playing volleyball, camping, working on cars, and or eating.
As the current longest termed employee with Friends of the Children Seattle (since 2003) Edgar will share his secret to his longevity, by saying, “It never feels like work, it's more like a purpose. I value and appreciate the opportunity to work with our community every day."
Sophia was born and raised in Washington and has been a professional mentor at Friends of the Children Seattle for almost five years. She discovered her passion for youth development, advocacy, and community engagement through life experience and a term and a half as an Americorps VISTA volunteer. Sophia graduated from Seattle Central College with a degree in Applied Behavioral Science. Sophia is excited to build community at Friends and continue serving youth and families in the greater Seattle area.
Hailey was born in
Seattle Washington. She loves reading in the sunshine at her favorite travel
destination, Zion National Park.
She attended the University of Oregon. Hailey chose to work at Friends-Seattle because of our
emphasis on relationship building and community support. Her favorite thing
about being a mentor is going on adventures with the kids and learning
something new together. The long-term nature of being a mentor means she gets to
watch them grow creatively, it is very fun and exciting.
Spanish and is a cool aunt to several pups and a few cats.
Tasha is short for Natasha, but no one calls her that. She was born and raised in Seattle and considers herself a Birkenstock Seattle baby. Her favorite hobby is reading and crafting. Tasha even started a book club at Friends-Seattle. One day she hopes to visit her favorite travel destination. Yes, she hasn't had the opportunity to visit Ireland, but she has seen its beauty in reading and the internet.
Tasha came to Friends of the Children because she loves the longevity of the program. She loves seeing the kids grow, change and become themselves. It is the best! Her favorite thing about being a mentor is the learning that happens. She loves teaching the kids, but more importantly, she loves learning from the youth.
Erika Sweet also knows Deutsch and graduated from the University of Washington. She most enjoys moving as much as possible outside. Erika loves gravel/road/mountain biking, swimming, hiking, climbing, walking her dog, or snow sports, anything that allows her to connect with herself and the endless beauty and gifts of the outdoors. Erika is on the Breakfast Racing Team-WTFNB bike racing team in Seattle-ish.
Erika is passionate about dismantling intersectional systems, institutions, and structures of oppression, both internally and externally. Also, she knows that climate change is real!
Erika has been in and around systems, positions, and organizations with a mission to serve youth. She has also noticed (and had to unlearn) that a lot of perspectives on “serving youth” involve speaking to, over, and for the youth, expecting them to conform in their “best interest” without valuing their voice and choice. Erika chose to work at Friends-Seattle to attempt to carve out more spaces and opportunities to step back and encourage youth to speak, grow, and learn in ways that they know are best for themselves while also knowing they have another person in their corner no matter what.
Erika’s favorite part about working at Friends-Seattle and being a mentor is getting to witness youth grow into and own their identities, strengths, and greatness in their own unique and honest ways.
Alicia is very
passionate about social and environmental justice. That is why it is no mistake
that she has been working at Friends of the Children for 16 years. She has
always loved the long-term consistency that Friends provide. It takes time to
build relationships and this program allowed that to happen.
As a mentor, she was
able to walk beside her youth through all of the milestones and continued to do
so even when they became alumni. Experiencing new things together and learning
from each other was the best thing about being a mentor.
Alicia is from Boise
and graduated from Boise State University. She enjoys reading, hiking,
traveling, cooking, and eating. She enjoys traveling by the lake or the ocean
with her partner and kiddo.
Shaye (she/her) is a proud AAPI woman who was born in Honolulu, HI. She has a Border Collie, cattle dog puppy named Lilo and she is the center of Shaye’s universe. Shaye attended the University of Washington (2014-2018) where she got a degree in Sociology and played on the UW Women’s soccer team. Outside of work, you can find Shaye with Lilo at the dog park, baking something she found on Instagram, watching/binging shows on Netflix, and/or using her Christmas gift of woodworking tools in her garage.
Shaye’s passion is supporting students because she believes every student deserves the right to be seen. She wants to guide and walk along with students as they encounter challenges that inspire growth. Here at Friends, Shaye gets to continue fostering her passion with her caseload of eight teenage superstars.
Sierra is a lover of all wild foods, cooking, and travel. Especially in the PNW where wild mushrooms, amazing restaurants and beautiful hikes abound.
Although Sierra grew up in Oregon, she had the opportunity to visit different countries through school and family. Luckily, she and her little sister are both fluent Spanish speakers and were able to translate for their parents when living abroad.
During university in Colorado, Sierra double majored in Anthropology and International Relations. Skiing most weekends in the winter and nannying during the summers. After university, Sierra ventured to Madrid, Spain to study at Le Cordon Bleu, completing a Master Diploma in Spanish cuisine.
With a passion for social justice and advocacy, Sierra volunteered with VOZ Workers’ Rights Education Project for several months. Later, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at School’s Out Washington, working to increase access to afterschool and summer meals for youth. While serving her community, Sierra also volunteered on the Ambassador Board at Friends of the Children – Seattle. She's currently very proud to be working for Friends of the Children - Seattle.
Sierra loves Friends of the Children because you see the immediate and long-term positive impact professional mentoring can have on youth and through them, the community. She loves seeing the comradery and deep caring between youth, their families, and mentors. It’s incredible to get to work with the community to make it a place where everyone can thrive. Plus, the staff, families, and youth are AWESOME ❤️
Lacie is a Seattle native with strong ties to this community. As a woman of color, Lacie’s understanding of how systems of oppression persist in our communities has guided her career. Before joining Friends-Seattle, Lacie served in leadership roles at the Service Board, College Possible (formerly College Access Now), and UNCF (United Negro College Fund). Lacie is passionate about the Friends-Seattle mission and has a strong belief in the power of mentorship. She has had and continues to have mentors in her own life who have been instrumental in her personal and professional growth. Lacie received her B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Washington Foster School of Business and a minor in Communications. She is also a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Kelsey Woods is a California native who transplanted to sunny Seattle to pursue her undergraduate degree at the University of Washington. She began her nonprofit career in 2005 as a volunteer fundraiser with the Susan G. Komen 3Day, and professionally with the Arthritis Foundation in 2007, completing her Executive Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership in 2013 at Seattle University. From 2014-2018 she served as Executive Director, first with Construction for Change – a budding international nonprofit providing construction expertise to community-led organizations, and later back at the Arthritis Foundation Washington/Alaska. As Chief Development & Communications Officer at Friends of the Children-Seattle, she oversees all communications, marketing, and fundraising for the organization and serves on the staff leadership team. When she’s not working, Kelsey is fine-tuning the art of arguing with a four-year-old, chasing a 22 month-old up and downstairs, or on a rare occasion, practicing yoga or running.