Meet Our Home Visitors

AMINA HASSAN

AMINA HASSAN

When did you begin working at DLEC? March 2023, Home Visitor since September 2021

Home Visiting Background:

Prior to working with Denise Louie, I spent a year as a home visitor. I worked with prenatal parents and kids 5 years of age. I have also worked as a babysitter for ten years. I enjoy supporting kids and families in realizing their full potential as a team.

Passion, what do you love about your work? 

I am passionate about working alongside children and their families to achieve their children’s early learning education. One of the reasons I enjoy my role as a home visitor is because it encourages children to step outside of their comfort zones and start developing independence at a young age.

Monica Gustaveson

MONICA GUSTAVESON

Home Visiting Background:

I majored in Psychology in 2021. Throughout my time as a Psych student, I worked many people-oriented jobs and realized my interest stuck with early childhood development. I have worked customer service, resident advising, college admissions, and childcare. My experience with a wide range of ages taught me how to interact with many different types of people. Patience, compassion, and adaptability are the traits I hope to carry with me in this position.

Passion, what do you love about your work? 

Early childhood development has interested me since 2015, when I worked as a reading tutor to young ESL students. I thought it was amazing to watch them progress so rapidly in such a short amount of time. During my time working at a preschool, I was amazed at how starkly different every child’s personality was. They are 100% authentic to themselves, their feelings, and their needs all of the time. Every child is unique, and there is no “one size fits all” style of parenting or teaching. Just like adults, children deserve the benefit of the doubt. Everyone deserves respect. Children have a lot to teach us, if we pay attention.

VIrginia Wanjiru

VIRGINIA WANJIRU

When did you begin working at DLEC? June 2022

Home Visiting Background:

My experience with home visiting is limited but growing each day. I received my B.S in Biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a certificate in Women and Gender Studies. I worked predominantly in the healthcare field until I took a position with the Peace Corps in 2019. This position sparked a deeper interest in global/public health, and preventative education/rights-based awareness as a means of self-sufficiency. I remain curious and open to learning something new each day.

Passion, what do you love about your work? 

I enjoy working with an organization that aligns with my interest to strengthen interfamilial bonds and promote self-empowerment and self-advocacy. The family unit is the most integral microsystem in a child’s life; from conception, the first 1000 days of a child’s life set the foundation of how well the child will thrive through life, families need support systems. Denise Louie staff take the adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ personally and have supported families in our community for over 40 years to access resources and gain mobility. I am grateful to be part of this great organization.

LEONA ZHAO

When did you begin working at DLEC? September 2014

Home Visiting Background:

I majored in Psychology that helps me understand people’s thoughts and behaviors.  It is helpful for me to build up a good relationship with children, parents and families. I majored in Special Education which taught me more skills in supporting child learning.

Passion, what do you love about your work? 

I love my job because it is meaningful to me. I think children are important to families and societies. They are the hope and future to human beings. I am happy to help them grow into healthy and great people. In addition, I can learn more and more knowledge on child development and child education in my position.

Karen Leed

KAREN LEED

When did you begin working at DLEC? March 2016

Home Visiting Background:

I have served as a Home Visitor with the Early Head Start program for several years and previously worked as an au pair for three children. Throughout my time at Denise Louie I completed my AA and have begun working on my BA.

Passion, what do you love about your work? 

I have enjoyed my time at DLEC these past few years. It’s challenged me in ways I never expected, touched my heart in profound ways, and allowed me to build connections with so many people. I’ve acquired so much knowledge about the diverse community we serve and the resilience of those in vulnerable situations. Each day is about embracing the values of equity, dignity and respect to make a difference with and for other people.

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GABY GRAJALES

When did you begin working at DLEC? May  2019

Home Visiting Background:  

I started my Home Visitor journey  back in 2016 as an Early Learning Specialist for a ParentChild+ program. Two years later I became a Home Visitor for Early Head Start, and have served families across King County.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

The main thing that motivates me is getting to meet and learn from families. I love learning from families about their background, their culture, beliefs and traditions. I also love learning about the many different experiences parents had growing up and their approach to parenting. Last but not least, I really enjoy playing with kids!

EYERUSALEM GEBREMEDHIN

When did you begin working at DLEC? June 2022

Home Visiting Background:

I have previous professional experience working in the early childhood population. In my most recent role I worked in a Montessori school supporting social, emotional and developmental milestone needs of the children.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

It has been a passion of mine to support children and families in successes and challenges.  I’m very excited to work with Denise Louie families and start this new journey!

LESLY CRUZ

LESLY CRUZ

When did you begin working at DLEC? October 2021

Home Visiting Background:

My background includes mentoring, tutoring, and supervising groups of different ages. I earned my degree in social work, studying various branches of social work and how social services work. DLEC is an example of the types of nonprofit organizations that were included in my studies.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love that I am able to be a part of a great support system that empowers family and child relationships.

LUDMILA HLAVATY-LAPOSA

LUDMILA HLAVATY-LAPOSA

When did you begin working at DLEC? October, 2021

Home Visiting Background:

While I am new to home visiting, my background is in early childhood education and development. My experience originates from preschool and private care while working with children and families as a teacher and facilitator.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

Building and fostering lifelong connections with children and families which hold the foundations of communication, acceptance, and trust.

Kelley Jo Sims

KELLEY JO SIMS

When did you begin working at DLEC? October, 2021

Home Visiting Background:

I was a preschool teacher in Montana and Seattle for ten years after getting my elementary education degree. I joined DLEC because I wanted a new challenge where I could be out of a classroom, engaging more with the wider community, while still participating in early childhood education.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I have always been interested in getting to know people’s stories and being involved in families. As a daughter of two teachers, education has always been a large part of my life. I think that a quality early childhood education program will help children to realize their abilities and build their confidence to prepare them to become lifelong learners.

MEET OUR HOME VISITOR MENTOR COACHES

Tania Neal

TANIA NEAL, HOME VISITOR MENTOR COACH

When did you begin working at DLEC? May 2020

Home Visiting Background:

Before coming to Denise Louie I worked in the early childhood education field for 8 years. I was a preschool teacher for 6 years, I was a Spanish teacher at my last center. In college I did a lot of babysitting, then I realized I liked working with children and families of all different walks of life. That’s how I became interested in Early Childhood Education.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love working with families, to be someone they can count on and be on their team to feel and become successful. I love watching the families evolve with the resources and strategies we bring to their home. When the families set goals for themselves, and we work to accomplish their goal, the satisfying feeling of seeing how proud families are for accomplishing their goals, is such a proud moment.

MEET OUR HOME VISITING SUPPORT TEAM

GRACE BERNIER

GRACE BERNIER, HOME VISITOR SUPERVISOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? August 2019

Home Visiting Background:

I completed my BA in History and Early Childhood Education. My previous experiences include being a Mentor with UCLA, and work in community based organizations such as Santa Barbara Food Bank.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love being a part of the journey in a child’s learning.

JULIE (JULES) BOISEN

When did you begin working at DLEC? march 2023

Home Visiting Background:

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Gender Studies, and a Master in Teaching degree in Secondary Education. I was a middle school Language Arts teacher before becoming a Home Visitor Supervisor, and I have over 15 years of experience working with children in various roles.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I am afforded the privilege of making a meaningful impact on the lives of families in need. By providing support, guidance, and resources, I can help to create positive outcomes that extend far beyond the immediate individuals involved and can even impact future generations. This potential for lasting, positive change is a driving force behind my passion for this line of work.

LINDSEY KENNY

LINDSEY KENNY, CHILD DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? June 2019

Home Visiting Background:

My experience with home visiting started in June 2019 with DLEC. Prior to that, I taught preschool for 10 years in Colorado. During that time there, I worked with kids from 6 weeks to 5 years old. I also have a B.A. in Elementary Education. 

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I enjoy seeing the progress made by the family and kiddos in the program. Even better when the family sees the progress on their own and sees the change. I also like to see the process of a child learning or those parent-child learning moments. Even if it’s something small, those moments of connection and seeing parents take the lead as their child’s first and most important teacher keep me connected to the work.

JACQELINE GONZALEZ, FAMILY COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP COORDINATOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? July 2016

Home Visiting Background:

My experience begins as a long-term nanny where I had the opportunity to interact with children and their families, and began partnering up with parents to create learning opportunities. I also worked at YouthCare as a Case Aid while I completed my BA in Psychology. When I graduated, I accepted a Home Visitor position to continue serving families. After two years as a Home Visitor and the completion of my CDA in Child Development, I was excited to accept the opportunity to become a Home Visitor Supervisor.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

As a Supervisor I appreciate learning all the different ways home visiting can support families, and how we can adapt services to better meet their needs. My goal is to be the best advocate for the families and Home Visitors I serve. I really enjoy my team.

CATE STURTEVANT

CATE STURTEVANT, HEALTH SERVICES COORDINATOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? March 2020

Home Visiting Background:

Before joining the DLEC team, I worked as an elementary school teacher, a childbirth educator, and a birth doula. I have a Master of Public Health in Health Services (Maternal and Child Health) from the University of Washington.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love watching parents grow with their children as they build their confidence and parenting skills.

SARA STAMEY, SPECIAL NEEDS COORDINATOR

When did you begin working at DLEC? August 2017

Home Visiting Background:

I’ve been working with EHS since 2018.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

My favorite thing about my job has been getting to see the growth in our children and families. I love watching them learn new things, and start to grow into their own strengths!

TRISTIN PENDERGRAST, ECE COACH

When did you begin working at DLEC? June 2021

Home Visiting Background:

I previously worked in childcare and did home visiting with families as a Homebuilder’s Counselor, before returning to school and getting my Master of Social Work degree from the University of Washington.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I’m excited to be in a position where I get to collaborate with home visitors and work with them on their professional development. I love seeing their passion and dedication to best serve their families and am grateful that I get to be a part of helping them make meaningful connections and improve outcomes.

MAGDA CISNEROS FARIAS, PROGRAM ASSISTANT

When did you begin working at DLEC? June 2023

Home Visiting Background:

I started my career in the early childhood setting back in 2019. I have worked with children of all ages and needs. Since then, I’ve worked in group home settings and non-profit organizations.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I enjoy helping others and being their cheerleader. I knew that by joining DLEC, I would be part of an organization that would allow me to do that – help others.

MEET OUR TEAM CONSULTANTS

NICOLE DEFRANK, NURSE CONSULTANT

When did you begin working with DLEC? August 2016

Early Childhood Background:

I began working as a Child Care Health Consultant in 2005. I aim to support Teachers and Home Visitors in helping children develop healthy habits.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I am passionate about physical activity, breastfeeding, and handwashing. My favorite part of working with DLEC is visiting families after the birth of a baby.

KAREN SNOWDEN, MENTAL HEALTH CONSULTANT

When did you begin working at DLEC? September 2021

Home Visiting Background:

I began my role as a consultant for Denise Louie in 2021 as part of my ongoing work as an Infant and Early Childhood therapist at Navos. Prior to working clinically with children and families, I have spent time as a preschool teacher, an adoptions worker with DCYF, and a youth advocate at a domestic violence shelter. I have a Master’s degree in social work and a background in psychology and child development.

Passion, what do you love about your work?

I love being able to meet families where they are and to help strengthen the relationship between parents and children. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to witness the strengths and resiliency of so many families in the community, and I am passionate about providing early intervention and supportive services for families.