Meet Our Staff
Kaylin Bettinger joined the team at Upper Valley MEND in 2014, originally in roles in communications, development and administration before being hired as executive director in 2016. She loves that her job enables her to foster community and to make it feasible for others to live and thrive in the Upper Wenatchee Valley community.
Prior to transitioning to the nonprofit sector, Kaylin worked as a reporter at the Wenatchee World newspaper, as well as a high school teacher in Taiwan and Mexico. Kaylin holds her undergraduate degree in Visual Journalism from Western Washington University, as well as two minors in Spanish and Teaching English as a Second Lanuage.
When Kaylin isn’t at work, you can find her on skis or her bike in the Cascades, traveling around the globe, and enjoying the company of friends.
Community Cupboard Program Manager
Originally from Vermont, Bob has been working with Upper Valley MEND since the spring of 2009. Bob’s background in human service work includes two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with the American Red Cross, and two years as a Community Development Advisor in Zambia, with Voluntary Services Overseas, or VSO. In his current role as Program Manager for the Community Cupboard, a job he's held since 2010, Bob overseas a food bank, an emergency assistance program, a gleaning program (known as Community Harvest), and a sorting center for MEND’s thrift store, Das Thrift Haus.
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 from 1985 - 1992 and remains an active member to this day. 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 to help form a Community Land Trust similar to the SHARE CLT in Leavenworth.
He returned in September of 2013 when he was asked to take the Resident Manager position at Cornerstone Community, which was in the planning stages when Carl left MEND. Carl and his wife of over forty years, Debbie, a nurse at Swedish Hospital in Issaquah, have three sons—Nathan, Micah, and Aaron—who all graduated from the Cascade School District. 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 enrolled in Eastern Washington University's 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.
Retail Program Manager
Mary, originally from Minnesota, had been visiting friends and family in Leavenworth for a number of years and enjoying all that the area has to offer. Over time she found herself increasingly asking the question “Why do I not just live here?” So in 2013 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 crosscountry ski, hike, garden, play tennis, and be in the water, the sun and the mountains, making Leavenworth 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, owned a gift shop 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 and Das Thrift Haus because it will allow her to do all three, plus support artisans from 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!”
Sara returned to the Leavenworth area after a 13-year stint on the Westside, where she and her husband, Adam, finished school and gained valuable work experience. Originally from Snohomish county, she and Adam were Stevens Pass employees for many years and ultimately decided that Leavenworth was the place they wanted to live in. Sara has been an active particpant in a preschool Co-op board and elementary school PTO, as well as a volunteer for an animal rescue organization and many community events. Sara has her BS in Accounting, has managed finances for multiple small businesses, and feels fortunate that she is able to use her skills to further the mission of MEND. She and her family are excited to be here in the Upper Valley and to experience the vibrant community and outdoor opportunities with their two young sons, Ethan and Cody.
When she's not working or volunteering for schools, Sara enjoys reading, cooking, gardening, outdoors and just generally being creative.
Pamela moved to Leavenworth in 2002 with her husband and their two kids, Connor and Clare. After a few years as a stay-at-home mum Pamela got a part-time position as technical editor and writer for a local environmental consulting firm. After a decade in the for-profit world, she decided it was time to try something new and is delighted to be working with Upper Valley MEND as the development manager. She hopes to be able to use the skills she developed in the for-profit world to help build a sustainable, secure, and healthy community in the Upper Valley. Pamela's passion is horses and she spends many hours trying to become a better rider, reading, and watching British TV shows on Netflix.
Upper Valley Free Clinic Program Manager
Terri retired as a Family Nurse Practitioner in 2010. She was passionate about her work as a Primary Care Provider, working initially in College Health and then in private practice in Seattle. Terri enjoyed multiple volunteering stints in medical outreach in Guatemala and Honduras and she volunteered for many years at the 45th Street Homeless Youth Clinic in Seattle. These experiences have prepared her for the challenges that come with managing and developing the Upper Valley Free Clinic. After retiring she devoted 5 years to being a Granny Nanny, helping to raise her two grandsons. She and her husband have a cabin on Fish Lake and became full-time residents in 2016. They enjoy skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, or just plain relaxing. Terri is loving being part of a small community, and, most importantly, she has found a productive outlet to continue her passion of helping others get the healthcare they need!
Das Thrift Haus Assistant Manager and Administrative Assistant
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 Das Thrift Haus and in the MEND office as the administrative assistant. She enjoys helping people and feels that Upper Valley MEND and the Das Thrift Haus do a lot of good work to help our community. Catalina and her husband, Carlos, 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 Co-Op Preschool. Currently, most of her teaching centers around English Language Learners, and she is the Migrant Home Visitor for the Cascade School District. Laurie has a long history with the Community Cupboard, starting in the late 1980s. In 2000 she left for Guatemala for six months to do some volunteer work in Xela and upon her return she began volunteering at the Cupboard again. Laurie is once again a MEND staff member, splitting her time between the Cupboard and Jubilee Global Gifts. Her hobbies 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.
Alexandra was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. She moved to Wenatchee in 1987 as a teenager and has been living in the Leavenworth area since getting married to Antonio in 1992. Antonio encouraged her to buy a home from MEND Community Land Trust in 2001, and her love of the beauty of the Bavarian-styled village of Leavenworth convinced her, and they bought one of the homes from the first project in Alpine Heights. The community’s robust hospitality and friendly attitude got her involved with volunteering as much as she could while raising four kids, David, Daniel, Antonio and Amanda. She has been a part-time employee and volunteer for Upper Valley MEND off and on since 2006, and currently works at the Community Cupboard.
Das Thrift Haus Sales Assistant
Debi joined Upper Valley MEND in 2018 as a sales assistant at Das Thirft Haus. After retiring from a 30-year career as a real estate agent she moved to Leavenworth four years ago to be close to family. Debi finds her work at Das Thrift Haus fulfilling and is excited to be working with great people. In her spare time she loves to camp and travel.
Das Thrift Haus and Jubilee Globla Gifts staff
Lizi spent her childhood living and traveling in Iran, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Australia and New Guinea with her parents. She studied and wrote her thesis in graphical user interface design at Pomona College in Claremont, California. In the 90s she moved to Palo Alto, California and worked for Netscape in Business Development - Asia Pacific Division, traveling to and working in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. Later she worked for EBay corporate in San Jose, California, improving workflow on inside facing software.
Lizi moved to Leavenworth in the mid 2000s, looking for a smaller lifestyle in the mountains. A lover of thrift and vintage, she heard about the Community Cupboard and was an avid shopper there. When the opportunity to work at Das Thrift Haus and Jubilee came about, it seemed a perfect fit.
Lizi holds a pilot’s license and her interests include: fashion - vintage and contemporary, travel, aviation, chemistry, historical cooking, regional geology, oriental carpets, motorcycles, and English bulldogs.
Community Harvest Gleaning Coordinator
Gwen was born and raised in Leavenworth then left the Upper Valley to attend Western Washington University to study Business and Sustainability. At Western, Gwen served as the Zero Waste Coordinator for the university for all four years while she earned her degree.
After completing her degree this winter Gwen moved home and applied for the Gleaning Coordinator position so that she could reconnect with the community and serve her hometown. She’s excited to spend the summer exploring the mountains and supporting other ways the Upper Valley can reduce waste.