our team

Our team is devoted to helping young people find a program that meets their needs.

Panome Thilaphanh

Outreach and Recruitment Manager

Panome Thilaphanh was born in Thailand and she and her family immigrated to the United States when she was 1-years-old and has lived in Washington for most of her life. She has always had a calling to the social work profession and has been in the social service field for approximately ten years. More specifically she is dedicated to working with children, youth, and families. She received her Bachelor of Social Welfare and Master of Social Work degrees from the University of Washington. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Maria Guizar

Opportunity Youth System Manager

Maria Guizar, MSW has 15 years of experience in the behavioral health field, working with youth, families, survivors of domestic violence, and veterans. She passionately promotes gender equality, and equity and social justice. She has worked with the King County Department of Community and Human Services for over nine years. Previously, she worked for the Behavioral Health and Recovery Division managing juvenile justice programs that provided behavioral health services to youth and families. Mrs. Guizar has a Master in Social Work from the University of Utah and Bachelor in Psychology and Spanish from Central Washington University. She is passionate about working with youth and empowering them to pursue their dreams in education, training and/or employment. In Maria’s spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, working out and traveling.

Maria Gonzalez

Peer Connector (West Seattle, Burien, Des Moines & White Center)

Maria grew up in White Center and has always been very involved in projects like community cleanups and tutoring.  Maria is also an outdoors enthusiast.  She played soccer in high school and ran cross country at Highline College. She also managed the Seattle University cross country and track & field teams. Most recently, Maria worked on the Latinx Youth Reengagement Project, where she learned many skills from working with young people and their families.  She also attended the Translation and interpretation program at Bellevue College. During her free time, she likes to be outside, hike and spend time with her two dogs, Biggie and Goldie.


Peer Connector (Kent, Federal Way & Auburn)

Vince was born in the Philippines and grew up in White Center and Auburn. Vince is a recent graduate of the University of Washington with a BA in Public Health, while in college he became deeply interested in addressing issues concerning public health. During his time in college Vince had the opportunity to work with diverse populations from people experiencing homelessness to teenagers on the autism spectrum. Vince hopes to be able to use his new role as a peer connector to help empower young people. In his free time you’ll catch Vince playing NBA2k or looking for his next travel destination.


Peer Connector (Central Seattle, North Seattle & Eastside)

“I am a highly motivated individual who has had diverse experiences working with youth, and I’m excited that it’s led me to be part of a team with such dedicated work. I am a born and raised Seattleite who attended O’dea High School, and Washington State University (Go Cougs!). In my free time I enjoy hiking, traveling, and I’m an avid Seattle sports fan. In Russ we trust!”


Peer Connector

I was born in Portland, OR, but raised in Seattle. As you can see, I am all about the PNW. I love the outdoors, as Washington has it all: water, mountains, and forests. I graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Sport Management and a Business Administration minor. I have worked with youth of all ages throghout the years, implementing various athletic and community-based programs. I am excited to be a part of such a motivated and focused team!


Jessica VelasquezCareer Navigator (New Start and Rapid Rehousing)

Jessica is a first-generation college student from Sunnyside, WA. Jessica earned her BA from the University of Washington Bothell where she double majored in Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior and American and Ethnic Studies with a double minor in Education and Society and Diversity Studies. After graduating, Jessica continued her education by receiving her Master’s Degree from the Student Development Administration program at Seattle University. Jessica’s passion for college and career readiness lead her to work with young people in King County. On her free time, Jessica enjoys hanging out with family, traveling, and watching YouTube videos!


Andrea LopezCareer Navigator (Federal Way Open Doors)

Andrea has worked in youth employment and education programs with King County since 2001. She was born and raised in the Seattle area and loves to explore the ever changing community. She is a graduate of the University of Washington Seattle and holds Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She found her passion for helping others at a young age as a middle child and mediator. She is a wife, mother of two teenagers and dog lover. In her free time she loves to travel and be outside. She is happiest when she is spending time with her family and supporting young people as they pursue their goals!


Ashley AldayCareer Navigator (Shoreline)

Ashley is originally from the small island of Guam and moved to Everett, WA at the age of 7. As a low-income, first-generation college student, Ashley received support from various mentors to attain her goals and breakdown personal barriers. Ashley believes in the power of relationship building, self-reflection, and storytelling as forms for personal growth and transformation and brings this in the work she does. She got her BA in Social Welfare with a minor in Education and Diversity and a Master’s degree in Social Work – Policy and Administration both at the University of Washington. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys traveling, being with her loved ones, singing karaoke, Netflix, and eating!