Our Team

Who we are

We’re a group of individuals passionate about social justice and youth empowerment who have come together to bridge the gap between a child experiencing homelessness and the resources needed to help them reach their full potential.

Alisha Zhao
Executive Director

Alisha Zhao is currently a sophomore at Stanford University. Passionate about human rights and the many intersections among them, she believes in the power of a community to drive social change. She hopes to continue increasing access to resources for youth experiencing homelessness through policy and law.

Malcolm Asher
Operations Director

Malcolm Asher is a junior at Cleveland High School. He is passionate about the health care of kids, and aspires to be a pediatrician. He enjoys volunteering at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, and working with youth experiencing homelessness through Kids First Project. He believes all kids should have equal opportunities in life.

Maria del Pilar Agudelo
Director of Communication
President of Lincoln High School Chapter

Maria del Pilar Agudelo is a senior at Lincoln High school. She spends her time volunteering and teaching sexual education. She hopes to one day have a career in public health or clinical psychology. She loves kids and works hard to give them the same opportunities she has had.

Emily Ma
Director of Finance and Administration

Emily Ma is currently a freshman at University of Oregon. She loves to work with animals and children. She is currently volunteering at Turning Point with young children to provide fun stimulating activities.

Sharon Zhang
Program Director

Sharon Zhang is a sophomore at Columbia University and has been volunteering with PHFS for almost 5 years now. She's also recently completed a service project at Goose Hollow for her Girl Scout Gold Award that focuses on raising the self-esteem levels of homeless youth through self-expression.

Claire Keepers
Peer Mentoring Program Director

Claire Keepers is currently a senior at Portland State University. Dedicated to volunteering, she is passionate about child development and ensuring they have adequate resources and support.

Abby Carton
Director of Photography

Abby Carton is currently a freshman at Chapman University, who likes being creative. She enjoys drawing, painting, photography, and film. She believes that every child should be able to develop passions, and have the resources to further them.

David Charitan
Graphic Designer

David Charitan is a freshman at Brown University. He is excited to be able to connect his passion for graphic design with his interest in community involvement.

Alli Eroh
Volunteer Coordinator

Alli Eroh is currently a senior at Lincoln High School. She believes in the power of education and public awareness though communication and public events.

Brad Subramaniam
Director of Finance and Administration

Brad is a sophomore economics major at the University of Chicago, and has been working with kids on several projects, including volunteering at PHFS, working at a summer camp with kids in Europe, and tutoring Math, English, and Spanish. He also volunteered with refugees in the Balkans. He is now a senior reporter at the Chicago Maroon and is an assistant coach for debate at Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon.

Ashley Lin
Scholarship Director

Ashley Lin is a freshman at Union High School. She is very passionate about bridging the opportunity gap for students from different socioeconomic sectors, and believes all youth should have access to the support and resources to reach their full potential. Having caught the entrepreneurship bug early on, Ashley hopes to bring that and her love for politics and law together to drive positive social change within her community.

Daae An

Daae An is a freshman at University of Southern California. She has volunteered with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital throughout her involvement with the Miss America organization.

Michaela Fishback

Michaela Fishback is a sophomore at University of Oregon who is interested in pursuing environmental sciences and art in college. She just moved from Iowa last summer and looks forward bringing her skills in leadership and communication to supporting homeless families in Portland.

Ella Jeffreys

Ella Jeffreys is currently a junior at Lincoln High School. She spends her time staying active, being in the outdoors, and doing schoolwork. She enjoys spending time with children and wants to ensure they get opportunities to learn and do what they love.

Mia Johnson

Mia Johnson is a current junior at Cleveland High School. She is passionate about leadership, traveling and working with kids! She is super excited for this project and to see the impact it will have on kids' lives in our community. Every child deserves the same opportunities!

Gwen Kaliszewski

Gwen Kaliszewski is a junior at Cleveland High School. She is passionate about human rights and believes that youth have the power to make immense change. She loves dancing, reading, writing poetry, and spending time with her friends. Through her work with Kids First Project she wants to give kids a chance to have a happy and fulfilling childhood.

Kate Lambert

Kate is currently a senior at Lincoln High school. Other than Kids First Project, Kate is a member of Mission Citizen, a program focused on educating individuals going through the US citizenship process, and her schools track team. She's excited to apply her passion for writing towards such an important cause.

Mirabella Miller

Mirabella Miller is currently a junior at Cleveland High School. She is a member of the Speech and Debate team as well as a member of C.A.R.E. (Cleveland Alliance for Racial Equity). Her free time is spent reading, hiking, and writing. She is excited for this opportunity to empower disadvantaged youth.

Simone Peters

Simone Peters is currently a freshman at University of Oregon. She is dedicated to making a difference concerning social issues, as well as working with Portland's youth.

Deyalo Bennette
Public Relations

Deyalo Bennette is a local Portlander studying Philosophy and Communication at Portland State University (PSU). He’s been involved with social justice since the age of 13 after living in the drug war, being homeless, going through foster care and all that comes along.

Peyton Chapman
Principal at Lincoln High School

Kimberly Harrison
Founder of Creative Partners Curriculum

Kim is an early childhood educator, family engagement specialist and founder of Creative Partners Curriculum. She believes that fun, engaging play is an essential ingredient of life and is excited to share that enthusiasm with the Kids First Project team.

Ashley Home
Public Involvement Best Practices Program Coordinator at City of Portland

Susan Morris
Retired PPS Teacher

Susan has worked with students grade 3 through grade 9 as a teacher and professional development instructor. With a passion for math and English, Susan has led several workshops around the world., been a nominee for Teacher of the Year, and received the PPS Volunteer Award.

Emily Mrusko
Events & Development Coordinator at Girls Inc.

Emily is passionate about providing opportunity for the homeless population, especially by empowering youth affected by poverty. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with her cat, Madame George.

Shannon O'Malley
Project Manager at Brew Advisors

Shannon brings a passion for social justice, education and youth empowerment to the team. Her work with the Make A Wish Foundation, SOLD Project, and Nike Foundation will contribute to the development of the Kids First Project.

Bethany Rocci
Volunteer Manager at Portland Homeless Family Solutions

Julie Winder
Retired PPS Teacher

Julie is a retired elementary school teacher who has worked with students aged preschool through grade 9. Her involvement in Kids First Project is based on the hope of ending homelessness for families by providing positive guidance, support, homework help, and life skills for youth. She is interested in world cultures and travel.