When Karen moved to Alaska from Atlanta she made the mistake of wearing a business suit, heels and up-do to her interview (something the teens at Spirit of Youth relentlessly tease her about). She has since adapted to Alaska’s fashion trends and has become very involved in her community.
Karen has been the Executive Director at Spirit of Youth since 2008 and thoroughly enjoys working with our fabulous teens, staff, board and community partners. She previously worked for Boys & Girls Clubs of America where she oversaw their outcome measurement and program planning initiatives. She also managed programs related to youth financial literacy and job readiness and assisted local Boys & Girls Clubs to improve their services. Karen has worked with teens for more than 20 years and says she is constantly amazed by their dedication, creativity and caring.
Karen grew up in Wisconsin and attended Portland State University where she fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and Youth Development.
Rosey Robards has been the Director at ATMI since November 2007. She says this is “the best job ever!” and we think she means it! She graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a degree in Journalism and Public Communications in May of 2005.
You might recognize Rosey’s name from publications such as the Anchorage Daily News, AK This Month and The Northern Light, where she was editor-in-chief for the 2003-2004 academic year. Her passion is writing feature stories, especially those that include music and art. She has experience in radio, photography, multimedia journalism and web design.
Cody joined Spirit of Youth in November of 2017 as the Youth and Community Engagement Manager. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in Journalism in 2011.
Cody also runs a theme-based culture publication called Crude Magazine. In addition to Crude, he works as a freelance journalist. His freelance resume includes work with publications such as Snowboarder Magazine, TransWorld SNOWboarding, VICE, Noisey and Southern Poverty Law Center. In his free time, he enjoys watching horror movies, documentaries, reading books and listening to podcasts.
Cari Zawodny is an adult facilitator and coordinator for Anchorage Youth Vote, Story Works Alaska youth advisory team (SAYiT), Spirit of Youth Teen Advisory Council and Alaska Teen Media Institute. Her work in these programs helps ensure that Alaska’s youth are included, heard and empowered. Talk with her about getting involved in the community, youth voice and why you are so important. She also enjoys conversations about big dogs and artsy stuff. Her motto? “Weird is just a side effect of being awesome.”
As of February 2020, Calesia is a new edition to the Spirit of Youth team. Her relationship with Spirit of Youth and Alaska Teen Media Institute has been an enduring one as she worked with Spirit of Youth and Alaska Teen Media Institute as a teen. In 2019, Calesia graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Sociology & Africana Studies.
A born and raised Alaskan, you might recognize Calesia from her involvement with other youth oriented non-profit organizations and youth groups around the Anchorage area. Calesia’s passion encompasses advocating for youth, providing agency to underrepresented & minority populations, and working to build the esteem of Alaska’s youth.