News and Events

Announcing Our Panelists and Presenters for Thriving Youth Event (December 7th & 14th, 2021)

POSTED ON November 26, 2021

We are so excited for event attendees to hear directly from young people and adults working to share power with youth and incorporating their voices in the incredibly important work that they do. The first day of Generating a Generation of Change will consist of a keynote panel comprised of both youth and adults who will share practices and strategies that have helped youth thrive. We have asked youth to consider the specific practices that have made them feel a sense of belonging and that their voices mattered. We’ve asked them to think about ways adults have validated their voices and how that has affected their environment. They will also share experiences with adultism. We have asked the adults on the panel to share specific practices and skills that they apply in their work to center youth voices and share power with youth and how they challenge adultism in their work with youth.

After the keynote panel, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in Workshop A: Advancing Equity in Out-of-School Time Settings through Youth Focus Groups. In this interactive session, participants will engage in participatory, youth-focused research techniques that will help you to begin thinking expansively about involving youth in your program design and improvement. Participants will learn methods for engaging young people in conversations about equity and methods for implementing youth feedback into programs. On December 14th, youth and adults can also attend Workshop B: Practices for Well-being & Connection, where they can practice strategies for well-being and learn how to integrate them into their lives. Participants will also explore concepts and ways to stay connected to others and the world in an environment of constantly saddening news, including a guided metta practice. 

Register today and join us on December 7th and December 14th as we dive deeper into skills and practices that enable youth to feel valued and truly supported. Questions? Please contact Na’Quel at

We are thrilled to announce our keynote panelists and workshop presenters below, and we look forward to hearing their different perspectives and strategies.  

Opening Plenary:
Youth —Keynote Panelists


Myonna Rodriguez
Myonna loves the arts, music, and reading. She enjoys volunteering and cares deeply about others and their causes, even if they don’t directly relate to her. She is currently interested in photography and is an avid gamer. Navigating the foster care system impacted her educational experience and has taught her that not everyone has to go down the traditional route. Myonna believes our current school system is not tailored for everyone to succeed and really hopes that the younger generations continue to push for change and use the resources that her generation didn’t have access to. Myonna would especially like to see mental health be prioritized for all young people.

Sammie Lin
Sammie is currently a junior at Mount Rainier High School. She is passionate about advocating for change in her community. Her aspiration is to become a pediatrician in the future because she loves working with kids and is interested in the medical field. She hopes she can spread more awareness on topics like adultism through this event.

Catherine Jones
Catherine (they/she) is a current student at the University of Vermont, where they study Computer Science. Catherine worked with YDEKC to design this event after being introduced through OneWorldNow!, a language and leadership program that she both studied under and worked with. In high school, they co-founded and led a mental health group called ‘We Matter Here’, which focused on supporting students in understanding the daily build-up of stressors and how to cope healthily with them. During her junior and senior years, there was an emphasis on fortifying mental health during the pandemic. Catherine has also worked with various youth leadership organizations, such as Fuel Up to Play 60, OneWorldNow!, the President’s Council (Obama-era), and her local school board as a student, mentor, advisor, and counselor. They are very excited and honored to speak at “Generating a Generation of Change” and hope you enjoy the event.

Ardo Hersi
Center Supervisor
Youth Tutoring Program
Ardo Hersi is an educator, writer, and community organizer. She is passionate about Black liberation, Islamic studies, community organizing and reading. Ardo is focused on covering South King County, immigrant/refugee, and Muslim communities. She attended Seattle Central College and works with youth in education. She loves storytelling and writing poetry. She’s worked with KUOW since 2014 as an advanced producer and helps facilitate workshops and co-hosts the new “Snapshots” series for RadioActive. She recently started an online Somali-centric clothing and jewelry business. She is a community organizer for Black social justice and Muslim immigration rights and has conducted anti-racist trainings for all ages. She’s the daughter of refugees who fled Somalia via Kenya, has seven siblings, and is fluent in Somali.

Lysa Tran
School Based Advisor/Kent-Meridian High School
College Success Foundation
Lysa is a College & Career Readiness professional and her work is collaborating with minority and low-income students on their journey to being first-generation college students. Before that, she graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in Psychology and minor in Sociology. Having studied cultural psychology and race and ethnic relations, combined with her background as a first-gen student and her activities at the Ethnic Student Center – it all led her to the world of education. Compass 2 Campus was her first professional experience working in higher education. College Success Foundation (CSF) AmeriCorps was my next endeavor in college & career readiness work. Afterwards, she continued with CSF as a School Based Advisor at the high school level. Now going into her 6th year with CSF having served at Cascade Middle School and presently serving at Kent-Meridian High School. 

Angela Whitfield
Leadership Manager & Program Coordinator
OneWorld Now!
Angela holds a B.A. in Economics for International Development and Humanities, a double major she chose to better understand the role of immigrants and refugees in global societies. A passion for welcoming refugees started early as she grew up in a Vietnamese-American community and started teaching English to Arabic speakers in high school as a volunteer. She has since worked with refugees from Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, and Syria in California and Jordan. Her experience building bridges with Arab immigrant communities and participating in peace-building among Christians and Muslims led to her pursuit of understanding Arabic language & culture, which continues to this day. She has worked with youth in “third place” programs in Jordan, Tunisia, and now Washington state. She works to cultivate a sense of positive purpose in others. In her free time, she likes eating her husband’s culinary creations, exploring natural ecosystems, and reading fantasy & historical fiction.

Workshop A:
Advancing Equity in Out-of-School Time Settings through Youth Focus Groups


This interactive session invites direct service staff/volunteers, managers, and evaluators to engage in participatory, youth-focused research techniques and to begin thinking expansively about involving youth in program design and improvement. This session includes an interactive, skill-building exercise on how to conduct focus groups with youth that aim to identify contexts and barriers affecting accessibility, belonging, and inclusion within out-of-school time programs. Participants will learn methods for engaging young people in conversations about equity and methods for implementing youth feedback into programs. Participants will also understand how storyboard drawings can be used to interpret youth perspectives related to equity. There will be an opportunity for reflection and discussion at the end of the session.

Hannah Patterson
Evaluation Manager
Camp Fire
Hannah manages research and evaluation efforts related to fulfilling Camp Fire’s Promise. She specializes in data-driven program improvement and works to organize and interpret information for the purpose of communicating Camp Fire’s impact. Previously, Hannah worked at Camp Fire as the Evaluation and Communications Intern. Prior to Camp Fire, she worked at ArchCity Defenders, a holistic legal advocacy organization, as their Data Analyst Intern. There, she cleaned and analyzed large data sets to support the “Close the Workhouse Campaign”. Hannah is passionate about providing quality programs to all young people and ensuring that youth voice is central in program planning. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics, with a concentration in Statistics, from St. Louis University. She currently resides in Kansas City, where she enjoys taking care of her many plants. 

Ben Matthews
DEI Specialist
Camp Fire
Ben Matthews is an LGBTQ2S+ activist, speaker, and trainer. Ben has been involved with Camp Fire for seven years, first as a volunteer, then as a program manager at Camp Fire Green Country in Tulsa, OK, where he organized Oklahoma’s first ever LGBTQ2S+ summer camp session in 2018. Ben is now the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Specialist on the Camp Fire National team. Ben has provided LGBTQ2S+ and other cultural competency training for a variety of organizations, from medical schools and universities to international corporations and grassroots non-profits. They have experience in direct service ranging from support groups for LGBTQ2S+ youth to leading in and out of school time and community programs. Ben lives in Oklahoma with their two dogs, Daniel and Buffy.

Workshop B:
Practices for Well-being & Connection

December 14, 2021 6:00-7:30pm

This workshop will offer a space for participants to practice strategies for well-being and reflect on ways to integrate them into their lives. Drawing upon the program Be REAL (REsilient Attitudes & Living), we will introduce key concepts related to stress and resilience. Thereafter, we will discuss brief strategies for tuning into and grounding ourselves during moments of distress. We will also explore concepts and ways to stay connected to others and the world in an environment of constantly saddening news, including a guided metta practice. This workshop will offer participants at least three concrete practices for well-being along with guided audio recordings and videos.

Robyn Long
Program & Training Director, Be REAL; MSW Graduate Student
The UW Center for Child & Family Well-Being
Robyn leads (she/her) leads outreach, training, research, and program development for Be REAL (REsilient Attitudes & Living) at the University of Washington (UW) Center for Child & Family Well-Being (CCFW). Alongside the CCFW team, she co-developed the program’s curriculum and has facilitated youth and staff groups since its inception in 2017. Robyn has experience facilitating wellness and mindfulness-based programs in various community and clinical settings in the US, Canada, India, and the Middle East. She has completed advanced yoga and meditation teacher training programs under the guidance of Sir TKV Desikachar at the Krishnamacharya Healing Yoga Foundation in India, The New England School of Integrative Yoga Therapeutics, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Teens. Robyn is currently finishing a Master of Social Work at the UW.

Sasha Duttchoudhury
Graduate Student Assistant
UW Resilience Lab
Sasha Duttchoudhury (they/them) graduated from the University of Washington in 2013 with a B.A. in English. Since then, Sasha has been published in “T.I.P.S. to Study Abroad: Simple Letter for Complex Engagement” (2014) and “Moving Truth(s)” (2015), an anthology project they co-edited. Sasha has also been a South Asian Americans Leading Together (S.A.A.L.T.) Young Leaders Institute Fellow (2014) and a Voices of Our Nation’s Arts (V.O.N.A.) Fellow (2016). Sasha has presented at a number of conferences, including the “National South Asian Summit” (2015), the “National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance” National Conference (2015), and “Creating Change” (2016). Currently, Sasha is a graduate student at the University of Washington School of Social Work and is focused on Clinical Practice through an internship with MEND Seattle. Additionally, Sasha is the Graduate Student Assistant with the U.W. Resilience Lab and is on the board of Sankofa Impact.