The impact of our program is made possible by the inexorable dedication of our 70+ volunteer mentors who partner with our youth, their parents, committed donors, Board members, and community partners.
Our small but mighty staff provide the backbone support for our program to be successful.


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Desiree Gutierrez, Program Manager, she/her/hers  cell: 503-351-5805

Desiree moved to Portland from California when she was 14 years old and shortly after she met a women who became a blessing in her life. She supported and mentored Desiree in a time of life when Desiree felt she had no adults to trust, depend on or to love her. It is because of this woman that Desiree has such great passion for helping people gain the skills and tools to be their better selves. After 7 years’ working with Metropolitan Family Service SUN program at Oliver Elementary School, she is excited to join the team at Family of Friends.  When she’s not out supporting her community, you can find her with friends and family: husband Gilberto and four children, Angelina (20), Yasmeen (18), Gilbert (12), and Gabriella (3). They enjoy hiking, bike rides, river trips and BBQs in the back yard.

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Michelle Kosta, Executive Director,  she/her/hers  Phone: 503-618-2397

Michelle’s first job, caring for a woman with Parkinson’s Disease, showed her the power of relationships to change lives.  After graduating from the University of San Francisco she moved to Oregon, joined a band, and became a mentor to a young woman named Kamaria, where her career in youth development began.  She’s had the pleasure of working with Girls Inc., Jewish Family and Child Service, Adelante Mujeres, Voz Workers Rights Education Project and spent time as an international volunteer in Argentina and Peru.  She joined Family of Friends Mentoring as a match coordinator in 2013 and spearheaded the program’s spin-off and move to Gresham in 2016.  When she’s not working, you might find her throwing parties, enjoying music, working on social justice issues, or adventuring in the Oregon wilderness with friends and family.

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Monica Segura, Bilingual Program Coordinator, she/her/hers

Monica joined Family of Friends in fall of 2017 and is the primary support person for the program’s Spanish-speaking matches in Gresham. She has a passion for working with youth, volunteers and families and is excited to work for Family of Friends. She has lived in Oregon for 17 years and is studying Psychology at Oregon State university where her focus is social psychology and women’s studies. Monica’s hobbies include reading, attending concerts, and running (she ran her first half marathon this year and plans on many more!).

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Paige Crawford, Recruitment and Outreach Manager, she/her/hers

Paige first joined Family of Friends as a mentor in fall 2015.  With first hand experience of the joys of mentoring, she happily joined the Family of Friends team as the Recruitment and Outreach Manager in December 2019.  Her hope is to share the benefits of youth mentoring within the community and to create long-lasting, life-changing friendships for mentors and kids.  Paige, a native to the Portland metro area, attended the University of Oregon, where she studied Spanish & Anthropology.  After graduation, she moved back to Portland and worked for MHCC Head Start, helping families enroll their children in preschool.  In her free time, Paige is likely running along the waterfront or in Forest Park with friends.  She enjoys staying active, playing soccer, or spending a Saturday roller skating at Oaks Park with her mentee.

Board of Directors

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Alejandra Galindo, Latino Network

Alejandra manages Latino Network’s Community Healing Initiative, which engages at-risk and gang-involved youth to reduce violence and juvenile justice system involvement. When she’s not advocating for youth or spending time with her family, she’s working part-time as a real estate agent in the Portland Metro Area. She is extremely excited to join the Family of Friends Mentoring board to continue to serve her community and young people.

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Alicia Morris, Finance professional

Alicia is a San Francisco Bay Area native who married a Portland native and uprooted her life in California to come to Gresham.  In addition to her cat and a few belongings, Alicia brought her passion for community service with her to Oregon.  Alicia has spent over thirty years working in Credit Unions and believes strongly in the benefits of community.  She believes in the notion of “it takes a village to raise a child”, and that kids thrive when they have healthy adults as role models and advocates.  That’s why serving on the Family of Friends board is such a good fit.  She is also a rabid fan of all sports, but especially ice hockey and her beloved San Jose Sharks and Portland Winterhawks.  Alicia has lived in the Gresham area since 1996 with her husband of many years and her three cats.

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Joe Walsh, City of Gresham, Board Chair

A native Oregonian, Joe graduated from the University of Oregon before starting a 10-year career with the Boys & Girls Clubs. There he learned firsthand about the impact of gangs on youth, and has used that experience to coordinate gang prevention efforts including mentoring programs in Hillsboro, Beaverton, Vancouver, and now, Gresham. Joe lives in Camas with his wife Alia and their three children: Lily (12), Jack (10) and Molly (6). He enjoys rooting for the Ducks and Blazers, and binge-watching Netflix. When not sitting on the couch, Joe also likes playing basketball, camping, and hiking, and plans to one day hike the Oregon section of the Pacific Crest Trail.

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Juan Muros, Banner Bank, Vice Chair

Juan is a Home loan officer for Banner Bank. After growing up in Hacienda CDC’s affordable housing, Juan joined their staff from 2012-2016 — serving first as Resident Services Coordinator, then as Homeownership Counselor. Juan is passionate about fair and equal housing and believes that everyone deserves a safe and healthy place to call home. Because of his passion for asset building and community development Juan was accepted in to the 2016 NALCAB Colegio Community Economic Development Fellowship Program. Juan volunteers his time as a community development and Asset Building practitioner for some of the local nonprofits offering his experience as an educator for financial capabilities and first-time homeownership. Above all Juan is a family man and loves to spend time with his wife and two kids, oh and a small Chihuahua. If you see Juan in the streets of Portland don’t be shy and say HOLA! He loves making new friend’s.

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La Shawn Chaney, Multnomah County

La Shawn is a long time resident of Portland Oregon. He is currently employed by the nonprofit agency New Avenues for Youth, which provides wraparound services for homeless youth. La Shawn has a huge place in his heart for the Youth of Today. This is evident in the passion and drive he brings to his work. He is the founder of Intercity Sports Ministries (ISM); a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the legacy of Evelyn Collins (Miss Collins) the Mother Theresa of NE Portland. La Shawn is a passionate and avid advocate for youth and loves anything sports related, enjoys relaxing, listening to rap and R&B music, and appreciates traveling and day trips.

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Lisa Elwood, Clackamas County Bank

Lisa Elwood is a Sam Barlow High School graduate, who has resided in Gresham for 24 years with her husband of 28 years and their two grown kids.  As a native Oregonian, Lisa and her family enjoys the Pacific NW outdoors by hiking, biking and camping.  Lisa has over 30 years of experience in banking and is currently a Loan Servicing Officer for Clackamas County Bank where she works to connect non-profit organizations in the surrounding communities with bank services and provide resources to those organizations with volunteers and other support.  Understanding the importance of mentors in one’s life, Lisa finds passion in giving back as a volunteer to help impact kids and other community members like the mentors that she has had in her personal and professional life.  She strongly believes that every child and young adult needs a healthy role model in their lives to help build character, integrity and life skills to be a successful adult.

Michael Gonzales, City of Gresham

Originally hailing from Southern California, Michael grew up in a big, multi-generational, Hispanic household where family always came first. His parents’ passion for serving youth trickled down the family chain, leading Michael to follow in their footsteps of being a positive difference maker in the lives of others. He’s spent a big chunk of his adult life working with kids in a variety of ways, whether it be as a middle school teacher for at-risk youth, mentoring school aged children on financial literacy, being a “Big Brother”, as a coach for his kid’s sports teams, or simply as a positive role model for his own children. When Michael and his wife decided where to raise their family, they chose Gresham to remain close to their “village” where they knew first-hand the importance of having that stable family influence and support system in their kid’s lives. Outside of work, Michael enjoys cooking (especially BBQ), playing any sports he can still participate in (over the hill leagues), travelling and experiencing different cultures, checking out new places to explore in Oregon, and above all else, spending time with his family and friends.


Nali Thanasouk, Trillium Family Services, Treasurer

Nali Thanasouk leads the financial departments of Trillium Family Services and the Trillium Foundation. Nali has spent several years working in the manufacturing industry and started her career as an intern at the Boeing Co. She has held several financial/business positions throughout her career. In 2013, she came on-board with Trillium as the Controller, and has rapidly grown to love the non-profit arena and its mission.  Ms. Thanasouk received a Bachelor of Arts in Finance/Accounting at Portland State University, and obtained a Master’s Degree from the University of Oregon in Applied Information Management.

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Renee McKechnie, OHSU, Secretary

Renee is the Director of Digital Strategy for Oregon Health & Science University where she puts her Masters in Biomedical Informatics to good use by guiding strategy, infrastructure and user experience for OHSU’s websites. Through her career and volunteer work, she’s been involved with social service programs for more than 15 years. Renee is passionate about mentoring, and maintains a 6+ year relationship with her teenage mentee, Emily. As a native Oregonian, Renee enjoys gardening, skiing, and obsessing over the weather with her husband, Evan, and their dogs, Lucky and Rune.