Meet Our Staff
Kaylin Bettinger has worked for MEND since 2014, primarily in communications, development and administrative roles before becomming executive director in mid 2016. She loves that her job enables her to foster community and to make it feasible for others to thrive in this amazing area.
Kaylin grew up outside of Seattle and graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham with degrees in journalism, Spanish and teaching English as a second language. After graduating, she completed her student teaching in Mexico and later taught high school in Taiwan for a year and a half. Upon returning to Washington, she moved to Leavenworth primarily for the outdoors, but fell in love with the area and the community and knew Leavenworth was home. She worked as a reporter at the Wenatchee World before starting with MEND in 2014.
When Kaylin isn’t at work, you can find her on skis, playing outside, traveling and enjoying the company of friends.
Community Cupboard Program Manager
Bob has been working for Upper Valley MEND since the Spring of 2009. He originally joined the organization as an Administrative Assistant and has been the Program Manager for the Community Cupboard since 2010. Originally from Bellows Falls, Vermont, Bob moved to Bellingham, Washington in 2000 as an Americorps*VISTA volunteer with the American Red Cross, and has lived in the Northwest off and on ever since. Prior to joining Upper Valley MEND he was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of completing a long-term international volunteer placement; he spent two years as a Community Development Advisor in Zambia (Africa) with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). He has a Bachelors of Science degree in Community Development and Applied Economics from the University of Vermont.
Bob enjoys spending quality time with his wife and son, as well as all sorts of outdoor recreation, music, good food, and the company of friends.
Cornerstone Community Program Manager
Carl Florea is an ordained Lutheran minister, social activist, and housing advocate. He originally came to Leavenworth to serve as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church. He served at Faith Lutheran from 1985 – 1992 and is still an active member there. He helped form Upper Valley MEND and served as its director until early 2007 when he left to run the Housing Resources Board on Bainbridge Island in order to help it form a Community Land Trust, similar to the SHARE CLT here.
He returned in September of 2013 when he was asked to take the Resident Manager position at Cornerstone Community, whic was in the planning stages when Carl left MEND. Carl and his wife of over forty years, Debbie, who is a nurse at Swedish Hospital in Issaquah, have three sons—Nathan, Micah, and Aaron—who all went through the Cascade School District for all 12 years. Nathan and his wife, Trish Kimbell, live in Seattle, WA. Micah, and his wife, Beth, who have Carl and Debbie’s only grandchild, Logan, had been serving with an engineering mission for several years in Costa Rica until moving back in January, 2014 to settle in Wenatchee. Aaron is living in Spokane, WA, where he is attending Easter WA University in their Physical Therapy graduate program.
Besides Carl’s passion for social justice and assisting those who have little political and economic voice in our society, his hobbies include reading, hiking, Nordic skiing, biking, and playing cards with his family.
Jubilee Program Manager
Mary is a recent transport from Minnesota. She has been visiting both friends and family in Leavenworth for a number of years, enjoying all that he area has two offer, but increasingly asking herself the question “why do I not just live here?” So this spring she sold most of her belongings and drove west to start a new chapter of her life in the northern cascades.
An outdoor enthusiast, she loves to cross country ski, hike, garden, play tennis, and be in the water, the sun and the mountains, so Leavenworth is a perfect fit. Back in her hometown of Northfield, Minnesota Mary was an active leader in various non-profit organizations and government and even served a term as Mayor of the town of 20,000. She is an artist and entrepreneur, owning a gift shop on main street for 15 years and more recently helped to start a hand-made and vintage retail co-op.
She is passionate about supporting local small business as well as promoting hand made and up-cycled merchandise. She is excited about working at Jubilee because it will allow her to do all three, plus support artisans from around the developing world and families in the Leavenworth area! “We have a great mission and a great team at Jubilee, and it is my honor to help both succeed!”
SHARE Community Land Trust Program Manager
Oliver Crain joined Upper Valley MEND as the SHARE Community Land Trust Program Manager in the fall of 2015. Originally from the Methow Valley, Oliver graduated from Wenatchee High School. At Western Washington University, he studied Environmental Economics and Spanish. After graduation he felt drawn to public service and he was accepted into the 2011 Teach for America Corps. He taught in high-needs schools in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a 5th and 7th grade English, Math, Science, and Spanish teacher. During his time as an educator Oliver saw first-hand the struggles of families who sought to secure affordable housing and excellent schools for their children, and how, often, one was sacrificed for the other. He joined SHARE CLT and Upper Valley MEND knowing that affordable housing, above all else, provided life-changing opportunities to families.
Administrative Assistant and Community Cupboard staff
Originally from a small town in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, Catalina has been in Washington since1995. Many of her siblings had moved here prior to that time, and Catalina's parents decided they wanted the entire family to live in the same place. Although the transition was difficult for her (she especially missed tending to all of the animals on her family's ranch in Mexico), Catalina eventually adapted to her new life here in the Upper Valley.
Catalina is excited to be working at Community Cupboard, Jubilee and in the MEND office as the administrative assistant. She enjoys helping people and feels that Upper Valley MEND and the Community Cupboard do a lot of good work to help our community. Catalina and her husband, Carlos, have been married for 12 years and have three children: Samantha, Nicole and Alexander.
Community Cupboard and Jubilee Assistant Manager
Laurie moved to Leavenworth in 1974 to teach French, English and P.E. at Peshastin-Dryden High School. Luckily for her, after one year of teaching, the school needed a Spanish instructor and asked Laurie if she would be willing to take on that responsibility. Laurie learned as much as she could over the course of a summer, and in the process, developed a new focus for her work and life. Now, much of her energy is dedicated to the issues of Latino people here in our valley, and in Guatemala. She has taught in several area schools, working her way "up" to the youngest learners, and spent 11 years teaaching at Upper Valley Coop Preschool. Currently, most of her teaching centers around English Language Learners. She is also the Migrant Home Visitor for the Cascade School District. Laurie also has a deep history with the Community Cupboard. Carl Florea hired Laurie to help at the Cupboard in the late 1980's, and she remained as a staff member until the turn of the century. At that point, she left for Guatemala for six months to do some volunteer work in Xela. She returned to the Cupboard as a volunteer for 10 years, and is now back on as a staff member, splitting her time between the Cupboard and Jubilee Global Gifts. Her hobbies over the past 7 years revolve mostly around her grandchildren, as well as gardening, walking and reading.
Community Cupboard staff
Mary moved to Leavenworth in 1994 and has been involved with the Community Cupboard ever since, as a volunteer, a Board member, and currently as an employee. Prior to this she had a 23-year career in accounting, mainly with Alaska Airlines. Over the years, she has coached girls soccer, led a Ponderosa 4-H horse club, and taught & administered Sunday School. She and her husband, Tim, have two adult children and two grandsons. Her greatest joy is her family, but she also enjoys the outdoors, camping, golf, horses, snowmobiles and a good read.