Ethiopian Community in Seattle
As an international adult adoptee, Liya has used her struggles, accomplishments and first hand experience to promote and advocate for adoptees. At a young age she used community service as a way to connect with people and heal as a person. She devotes her time to creating a safe space for people to be a part of positive change through telling their story and giving back to the community. She has her associates degree in Human Services and is working towards a bachelors in Applied Behavioral Science. Liya is excited to continue working with her community at the Ethiopian Community in Seattle. When she is not working, Liya loves to dance, plan events, cook and spend time with family and friends.
Southeast Seattle Education Coalition
Mindy was born and raised in Seattle, but is a recent graduate from Colorado College with a BA in Sociology. After spending four years in Colorado and traveling abroad, she has experience working in politics, public health and conservation. She is extremely excited to be back in Seattle as an RVC fellow and is ready to give back and create positive change in her community.
Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle
Dagnew Kismu graduated from Teacher’s College of Education in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, majoring in Agricultural Science and minoring in Life Science Education. He has a great passion in helping people to be informed and educated. Recently, he has been working in the City of Seattle informing and educating communities of color to take care of themselves before, during and after disaster strikes such as earthquake, fire hazards, etc, also to keep them happy, healthy by exercising. He enjoys gardening and entertaining family and friends.
East African Community Services
Kristine is an islander with Filipino roots, born and raised in the islands of Guam and Singapore. A Third Culture Kid at heart, she eventually moved to the Pacific Northwest to attend the University of Washington where she studied American Ethnic Studies and Diversity. Serving the community has always played a role in her life. Kristine was very active in many student organizations at UW especially at the Filipino American Student Association (FASA). She believes in fostering leadership especially within young Filipino and Filipino Americans. Kristine hopes to grow to serve the larger Filipino community in the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time, she goes on food adventures with her friends and collects Starbucks mugs and Funko Pop Vinyl Figures.
Marion graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Environmental Studies, where she was an active member of Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A) de UW, or the Chicano student movement. As a member of MEChA de UW, Marion organized the 19th annual high school outreach conference, connecting marginalized students to essential tools for higher education. Marion enjoys hiking to experience Mother Nature in her truest form: “the waters that flow to the wind that blows and the beauty of life in every form.”
Rainier Valley Corps
Jaleesa Smiley is a recent graduate of Western Washington University with a BA in American Cultural Studies with a focus in Education and Social Justice. Jaleesa comes from a legacy of brilliant, self-determined, and ingenious black women and she carries their spirit with her wherever she move in the world. Jaleesa is involved in this work because of her passion for racial equity, social justice, and community involvement. She is excited be involved in work that has an impact on communities, specifically communities of color.
Families of Color Seattle
Selena is a proud Chamorrita, mother of color, feminist, community organizer, youth advocate and activist who is very passionate about intersectional feminism, gender, racial and climate justice. Selena graduated from the University of Washington and served as an AmeriCorps member at Powerful Voices where she facilitated all-girls middle school groups. Selena contributes to The Rise Zine Project, a community zine for survivors of sexual violence, and also volunteers with many of API Chaya’s community-based projects, particularly those related to healing from systemic violence and facilitating spaces to speak about sex and sexuality. Selena spends her time with her loving child, partner, and pitbull, and loves to laugh, dance, attend protests and write poetry, recently realizing a longtime dream of publishing her own poetry in a personal zine.
Horn of Africa Services
Elfnesh Wolde has served as a social worker for Horn of Africa Services for the past three years. She provides social services for immigrant and refugees, both individual and families from East Africa. She graduated from Addis Ababa University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Educational Planning and Management. She was an administrative assistant with Ethiopian Airlines for ten years. In her spare time, Elfnesh enjoys reading, listening songs, enjoying friends and relatives.
Families of Color Seattle
Suyoung graduated with a BS in Psychology and Political Science from University of Southern California. Their prior work history (including a stint as a special education teacher), as well as their interest in political systems, communal living, and human behavior, led to their current role as a nonprofit capacity builder. Wanting lasting, positive change for everyone in the community, Suyoung’s community organizing experience extends all the way from student council to Black Lives Matter and Fight for 15. They are a free-spirit who loves meeting people, traveling, and appreciating art, especially singing, songwriting and dance, and is known for their ability to karaoke seven days a week. Suyoung works with a passion for yoga, music, queer liberation and healing rooted in anti-oppression work.