AMY PERUSSE, Board of Directors; Community Outreach Committee
Amy has over 15 years of professional experience in Education, Public Housing, and Juvenile Detention. She has a passion for reaching out to traditionally hard to reach youth, and encouraging them to find their true identity and purpose. Amy’s life challenges as a teen mother, and the adults who reached out to encourage her along the way, has molded her into a strong, resourceful, and caring woman. She has been involved with bringing “The IF Project” to Snohomish County and has developed a resource website devoted to Snohomish County At-Risk Youth, and those who care for them. Amy currently holds the position of On-Time Graduation Success Coordinator at Everett High School and is a school district representative serving on the Snohomish County Reclaiming Futures “Change Team”- an initiative to provide comprehensive wraparound services to youth within and outside of the criminal justice system.
CINDY DOYLE, Board of Directors; Treasurer
KAREN MADDEN, Board of Directors; Community Outreach Committee
In 2011, Karen left her 22-year career as a family law paralegal to become a full-time student at Antioch University Seattle with an individual concentration in integrated psychology: a holistic approach to mind, body, and spiritual well-being. In 2015, she plans to enter the AUS Psy.D. program. Much of Karen’s time at AUS has been spent developing a workshop that addresses Adverse Childhood Experiences (using Drs. Anda and Feletti’s ACE study as the basis) and its effect on the developing brain. Included in this workshop is a mindfulness treatment segment that offers tools for anxiety and depression, two of the many adverse results of childhood abuse and neglect.
Karen’s goals include turning this workshop into curriculum for mental health providers, social workers, parents, and foster care parents. In addition to her academic pursuits, Karen has been a Volunteer Guardian ad Litem for Snohomish county dependency cases. She brings to Thrive City’s table a passion to educate families and professionals about the lifelong effects of childhood abuse and neglect.
PATRICE DE LA OSSA, Board of Directors
Patrice has been an educator in high schools teaching various subjects such as in social studies, psychology, sociology, PE, and drama. She currently teaches honors social studies classes at Chief Sealth High School in Seattle while also serving as an adjunct professor at Antioch University Seattle over the past ten years.
Patrice produced a documentary about at-risk youth and public education called Hear My Voice. In addition to several other publications and curricula, Patrice published a dissertation as a follow-up to her documentary, Alternative high school graduates’ assessments of the quality of their high school experience: Seven years later. Patrice also serves as Vice President on the board for Transitional Resources (TR), helping adults living with the most serious and persistent forms of mental illness by providing respectful and optimistic recovery-oriented services, affordable housing, and advocacy. TR works to break the cycle of incarceration, hospitalization, and homelessness.
MICHELLE DIETZ, Board of Directors
Since accepting her first development position with Youthnet in 1998, Michelle has worked alongside program leadership to strengthen programs and achieve long-term sustainability. She has provided encouragement and support to countless interns and volunteers, and served as program manager for foster care, juvenile justice, parent education, residential, and fine arts programs. In her current position with Village Community Services, Michelle has excelled at writing both capital and program grants and has worked with the board and leadership staff to recruit community support for people who have significant disabilities.
SUZY KNUTSON, Board of Directors; Education & Curriculum Committee
As a Washington State certified teacher and former struggling student, Suzy understands the importance of community connection and support for transformative education. Suzy’s professional background includes experience in the educational and non-profit sector developing social justice programs for diverse communities. She brings a depth of relevant experience to progressive organizations and educational settings including: teaching, fundraising, event management, education and outreach, intercultural communications, volunteer recruitment and management, donor relations, marketing and social media, as well as secular and faith-based community organizing.
April was born and raised in the Edmonds area. Knowing the community so well, she coordinated several local sponsors of FFTT. Each sponsor made generous donations with April sharing the vision and purpose of partnering with FFTT- to reframe the perceptions of participants who feel marginalized in the community. The donations send a strong message of acceptance and belongingness when received by each participant. April has also visited various local businesses with materials about FFTT and Thrive City, spreading awareness about the community-based curriculum and promoting involvement.
Keira’s teen years of living in a shelter, struggling with a drug addiction, and being incarcerated have given her insight for helping those in need. She realizes that the path she once took is currently a reality for other teens. She enjoys providing youth with tools to become who they want to be while also providing stepping-stones to get to their desired destinations. Keira graduated from Scriber Lake High School, an alternative HS, in 2009. Working jobs with a strict focus of customer service and interaction with the public has provided Keira with a wide range of tools for assisting others, while also viewing people with compassion.
Linda Munson has taught French and Spanish languages in California, has developed an alphabet for Mayan language in Guatemala and has taught and designed linguistics and cross-cultural education courses in Alaska. She currently teaches M.A. teaching certificate candidates at Antioch University Seattle. Linda holds a B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles, M.A. from the University of California at San Diego, and a M.Ac., Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Wendy has over 15 years of volunteer experience in mentoring and teaching young adults (parenting, life skills, and relationships). Over the past two years Wendy has been working with at-risk teen/young moms to provide a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment. She has a passion for young people that couples a desire to walk alongside young girls, showing their significance and the importance of their “job” as mom. Wendy has observed paradigm shifts take place with the teen/young moms she works with, reaping immeasurable benefits for all.
MACALL GORDON, Research & Program Evaluation Committee
Macall received her M.A. from Antioch University Seattle in Integrative Studies with a research-based degree in Infant Mental Health. Her area of research focus includes parents’ experiences with infant sleep management, parent psychology and its impacts on parenting behavior, colic, and the development of emotional regulation.
She currently teaches research methods courses for Applied Psychology students that highlight how to be a competent, critical consumer of research as well as the skills necessary to understand and navigate the discourse around evidence-based practice.
Kendra has worked in education for the past ten years, ranging from teaching pre-school to now working with alternative high school students. As a chaperone and driver for FFTT, Kendra has seen firsthand how the curriculum is a necessary educational addition for teens. As an employee of Scriber Lake High School, Kendra has had the rare opportunity to see the before and after affects of FFTT on her students. What she has noted is that participants who typically have difficulty engaging in school for various reasons come out of the FFTT experience renewed with a different perspective, gaining tools to handle challenges in more positive ways. While observing the successful impact made through the 5-day FFTT model, Kendra eagerly anticipates expanding FFTT to the seven-week model and feels that building Thrive City around the community-based curriculum is a must-do.
EMILY SMITH, Community Partner: YMCA Teen Center Service
Emily has lived and worked for the YMCA in a several locations throughout New England. Working now with KTUB YMCA in Kirkland, Emily works to move their mission to meet and exceed the social and cultural needs of young people while offering resources that empower them to become active, caring and responsible community members. As a recreation, resource and arts center, this unique facility gives teens a positive, supportive environment to develop skill, connect with their peers and make a difference locally.
KACEE BREE JENSEN, Community Partner: Hope in the Hard Times
For the past 15 years, Kacee has been an active public speaker at various local youth venues in the Seattle area. Out of her passion for youth, and with the purpose of offering comfort for the hurting, KaceeBree.com was born. Aligning with the mission of FFTT, Kacee works to show how ups and downs are part of life – but how we face them shapes who we are and who we become. Kacee has hosted a youth magazine style TV show, GCTV, for 6 seasons and has had other TV appearances including a feature on the show The Doctors in 2013 and various commercials. Kacee has a B.A. in Ministry from Northwest University and also studied Communications at Azusa Pacific University.
RYAN “HENRY” WARD, Community Partner: Muralist
Ryan ‘Henry’ Ward is a Seattle based artist. Specializing in large scale murals, he also has a large body of gallery canvas work. He has painted over 180 murals in the city of Seattle and around the United States and other countries. He has his studio in an old warehouse in the industrial district of Ballard, where the Puget Sound intersects with the fresh water lakes that interlace the city. He paints freely out of his imagination and also takes commissioned requests.
“I think it’s important to give back to the community. As a teenager I had lots of struggles, and one way I feel like I can give back is sharing who I was, who I am and how I got here. I guess I hope my story touches at least one person and they can realize that they can rise above their problems and become great.” Read more about his work in the Puget Sound Business Journal.