Matt is a business and transaction attorney with over 35 years experience and is a member of the law firm of Berens Blonstein PLC. He has been a volunteer and board member at WTAP since 2011 when he was made aware of the needs of refugee families through assisting in WTAP deliveries. He enjoys keeping up with his five grown children and two grandchildren, as well as coaching football and hiking with his spouse.
Yaseen is an IT Architect in a technology consulting firm and is a volunteer for all seasons supporting a variety of causes. Starting in the 90s he taught himself how to use computers. His knowledge and dedication to helping others learn led him to active involvement with PCs for Refugees. Yaseen believes in guiding refugee communities toward self-sufficiency, and setting them up for success in today’s technology-driven world.
Dana has worked in accounting and bookkeeping for over 25 years, mainly with small business and non profit organizations. She has also served as the treasurer on numerous boards in Utah, California and Texas to Louisiana and Arizona. Dana says moving so much has helped her understand some of the challenges that come with uprooting family and adjusting to a new area. She is passionate about the services WTAP provides in an attempt to ease the transition for refugees moving to a new area.
Liz is a nonprofit Organization Development Consultant with Avenir Consulting Partners. With a passion to help nonprofits maximize their time and resources, she has spent more than 20 years in nonprofit operations and project management. Liz has been active in the refugee community since 2016, when she joined a church team that helped a Syrian family resettle in the East Valley. A proud foster/adoptive parent, she and her husband have 4 teenage daughters. They enjoy hiking, playing games, and volunteering together.
Jim has been a committed WTAP volunteer in various capacities for many years, participating in Saturday welcomes, filling in as the truck driver, and picking up furniture donations from his business clients. Jim is passionate about the mission and essential services WTAP provides refugees settling in Phoenix. He likes that the organization not only provides for those in great need but also fosters hope, goodwill, empathy, and understanding in the entire community. WTAP has also become a family affair as both of Jim’s sons have been active volunteers for the organization. Professionally, Jim is an industry award winning and multi-million dollar producing Realtor with over 25 years of experience in residential real estate and mortgage banking. Prior to becoming a Realtor, he was a Vice President and senior manager of a national mortgage banking company. Jim, an Ahwatukee resident, is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Business Administration/Finance.
Shelly is an elementary and special education teacher, currently working as a private educational instructor. She is the founder of Phantom Cyclists, an organization that provides bicycles to refugees in Arizona. Shelly is also an avid mountain biker, hiker, and she is passionate about horses.
Kevin and his family have been active in the refugee community since 2016, sponsoring Syrian and Congolese refugee families. In addition, his philanthropic focus has been centered on Access to Justice, Refugees/Asylees, Sustainability, and Startups. He is an entrepreneur, investor, advisor, consultant, business executive, and an attorney.
Scott has worked in the business/real estate field in sales, account management and meeting facilitating. He has been volunteering with WTAP for a few years helping with Saturday welcomes. He became interested in WTAP after traveling internationally over the past dozen years and seeing the plight of people in other countries. Scott became hooked on WTAP after seeing the spirit of the refugees and the generosity of the volunteers and WTAP staff. When not volunteering, Scott enjoys traveling anywhere with his wife Claire.
Pamela is a Retired University Counselor, with her Masters in Business Management/Human Resource. She is a Certified Financial Planner and loves Interior Design. Pamela became a volunteer with WTAP in 2012 with her Sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Inc., Tempe Alumnae Chapter of which she is Chair of International Awareness and Involvement Committee. She is committed to welcoming refugees to Arizona, and to helping refugees build a good life for their families.
Mike is familiar to many refugees, volunteers, and WTAP personnel. He helped at his first WTAP welcome/delivery in 2008 and became a lead volunteer in early 2016. Mike was hired as the Director of Programs and Community Engagement in 2017, where he recruited, trained and scheduled volunteers/groups who help WTAP with our home visits, refugee welcomes/deliveries, donation in-take, packing, sorting and Clothing Closet. Mike became Agency Director in January 2019 with a vision for WTAP to leverage our strengths in first impressions, to make second, third and more impressions as a means of accelerating refugee self-sufficiency. Mike is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, with a B.A. in Economics. Prior to his WTAP work, Mike had a successful career in biotechnology, helping the medical community in their treatment of chronic illnesses.
Julie joined WTAP in February 2019 with a broad range of experience in human resources and volunteer management, and is especially skilled in organizational and project management. Spending most of her career in the healthcare field, Julie oversaw daily management of the HR departments and volunteer engagement at a local healthcare system. She has a passion for volunteerism, and enjoys volunteering at local organizations, which is how she came to WTAP. Julie has been on the Executive Board for the Cactus Wren Chapter of the National Charity League, having formerly served as the Chapter President. She’s also served as PTO President at her daughter’s schools as well as serving on the Principal’s School Council for both middle and elementary school. A graduate of the University of Arizona, and an Arizona native, Julie enjoys spending time with her husband, three daughters (all volunteers, themselves) and their lovable labradoodle.
Kelly started as a volunteer and was happy to begin her part-time position in June 2018. She leads the volunteers in keeping the warehouse organized and packing for upcoming welcomes. Kelly has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from California State University Fullerton. She has volunteered with many non-profit organizations over her 24 years in the Phoenix area. She appreciates the opportunity to serve the refugee community, enjoys learning about the families we welcome and loves working with our wonderful volunteers. In her spare time she enjoys hiking and spending time with her family.
Melissa Mahon is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, who joined WTAP as an AmeriCorps VISTA Member in July 2020. She works to help expand refugee employment possibilities by eliminating two barriers – limited access to transportation and technology. While studying at ASU, she first became involved volunteering with refugees through Let’s Read Neighbor, a refugee reading program that supports literacy. After graduating with bachelor’s degrees in history and communication, she joined the Peace Corps. Melissa served in Togo, West Africa for almost two years where she taught middle school English in a rural village. Working alongside her Togolese counterparts, she helped organize a reproductive health class, youth leadership seminars, sports clubs, and a gender equity conference. In her free time, she loves to run, hike, and play board games with family and friends.
Alenga, fluent in six languages, arrived to US from Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016. After fleeing civil war in DRC, Alenga and his family lived for many years in refugee camp in Tanzania. He recently graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in global studies. In addition to his school and work, Alenga is an important leader in the Congolese community and a frequent speaker about refugee issues.
Alex is the most recent new hire for our Refugee Job Development Program. He lived in refugee camp in Uganda for 15+ years, having fled life-threatening danger in Democratic Republic of Congo. Because of his age, Alex was considered a separate case from his parents and siblings. He arrived alone expecting his family within a year but COVID and refugees caps on admissions have prevented their entry. In addition to being a skilled lorry driver, Alex is trained in improv and theater. He has seen plenty of heartbreak and wants to find ways to help people laugh.
Sayed arrived to the US from Afghanistan in 2019. Sayed’s work in Afghanistan made life dangerous for him and his family. They had to flee and were resettled here without a stay in a refugee camp. He loves the safety and opportunity of the US but very much misses family still in Afghanistan.
Deng arrived from Sudan as a refugee and elementary school child, having to quickly learn English. He is now set to graduate from ASU next year, with an Exercise and Wellness major and aspirations to be a physical therapist and/or athletic trainer.
Anisa’s mother arrived as a refugee from Somalia. A first-generation American, Anisa is in the ASU Teachers College with an Early Childhood & Special Education major. Her goal is to teach special education