The Hon. Bobbe J. Bridge
CCYJ’s President and CEO founded the Center for Children & Youth Justice in 2006. She served on the Washington State Supreme Court from 1999 to 2007 before retiring to lead the Center full-time in January 2008. She was a King County Superior Court judge from 1989 to 1999, served as Presiding Judge of the 51-member Superior Court for two years, and was the Chief Judge of King County Juvenile Court from 1994 to 1997. Before joining the bench, Justice Bridge was the first female partner at the Seattle law firm of Garvey Schubert Barer.
Recognized statewide and nationally as a leading advocate for foster care reform, domestic violence victims, truancy prevention, juvenile justice reform and a host of other issues, Justice Bridge also serves the community as a dedicated volunteer and philanthropist. She has been a member of the Boards of many nonprofit organizations, including YouthCare and the YWCA. In 1999, she helped establish and fund the Pacific Northwest’s first court-based child care center at the Regional Justice Center in Kent, offering a safe place for parents and guardians with business before the court to leave young children.
Among her many awards as an advocate for children and youth are the 2010 Advocacy Spirit Award from the National Network for Youth, the 2009 Strategies for Youth Award from the Washington State Lieutenant Governor, the Passing the Torch Award from Washington Women Lawyers, the Seattle Civil Rights Champion Award from Lambda Legal, the Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Washington School of Law and the Judge of the Year Award from the King County Bar Association. Justice Bridge also has been inducted into the Washington Generals for special service to the citizens of the State and into the Warren E. Burger Society of the National Center for State Courts.
“Our kids deserve a fighting chance to become strong, self-sufficient and thriving members of the community,” Justice Bridge says. “More unified, better informed child welfare and juvenile justice systems will give them that chance.”
Bill Wells joined CCYJ as Deputy Director in April 2015, bringing extensive experience in leading efforts that work to make life better for youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Bill co-founded the Digital Bridge Technology Academy, an innovative training and education program that re-engaged youth in the Seattle area and South King County who were struggling with homelessness, gang involvement, poverty, and other significant barriers to success. At Digital Bridge, Bill launched collaborative partnerships for learning and internship opportunities with organizations including the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs and Neighborhood House. He serves on the Board of Directors of Seattle Education Access, which provides higher education advocacy and opportunities to young people striving to overcome poverty and adversity. Immediately prior to joining CCYJ, Bill worked for King County’s Training and Development Institute managing training and employee development programs. Bill was drawn to CCYJ because of its commitment to building strong and effective partnerships that tackle systemic problems and bring about lasting and meaningful reforms in our child welfare and juvenile justice systems. “The more we invest in taking a proactive approach to these complex problems, the more powerful and effective we will be,” Bill says, “just like a hospital that invests in research and development so it’s not always attending to crises in the emergency room.” Bill holds undergraduate degrees from Ball State University and Washington State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.
Rosemary joined the Center as Director of Development & Communication in August 2013 with a comprehensive background in fundraising for nonprofits as well as marketing and communications experience in the private sector. Before CCYJ, Rosemary led fund development, communications and volunteer outreach at the Plymouth Housing Group, where she oversaw several successful fundraising events and initiatives that exceeded revenue expectations. At Full Life Care (formerly ElderHealth Northwest), Rosemary devised and launched a new strategy to stabilize the organization’s finances by expanding its base of community supporters, driving a substantial increase in private donations. She also rebuilt and re-energized the agency’s board of directors. As Marketing and Communications Director for The Schuster Group, Rosemary managed marketing, sales, branding and communications for the launch of a $35 million investment fund and a $150 million real estate investment portfolio. Rosemary has served on the boards of several nonprofits, including the Pacific Northwest Anti-Defamation League, where she co-chaired an awards dinner and the Children’s Home Society of Washington where she coordinated a charity golf tournament. A native of “the other Washington”, Rosemary has lived in Seattle for more than 20 years and considers it home. She is an avid traveler and loves to swap stories with fellow globe-trotters. Rosemary holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Mary Washington University in Virginia. Her skills and passion for CCYJ’s mission will serve the organization well. “What we do is so critical, so important,” she says. “Our work changes lives and every time that happens, our community becomes that much stronger.”
Maria’s duties as Executive Office Manager include overseeing CCYJ’s office operations and providing executive support to Justice Bobbe J. Bridge and administrative support to the CCYJ Board of Directors and project staff. Hired in May 2010, Maria came to CCYJ with more than 12 years experience in legal administrative services, including more than a decade as a legal secretary for corporate law firms. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, Law and Justice Degree, with a specialization in law enforcement, from Central Washington University and is fluent in Spanish. Maria’s interest in law started in childhood, when she came to know and look up to the Chief of Police in her hometown of Toppenish. She’s thrilled to be working for CCYJ: “My passion has always been in criminal law and youth justice, and this is a perfect fit,” she says. “Youth who have been in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems need the skills and resources to succeed in the community. These young people are our future.”
Gina serves as Project Manager of CCYJ’s child welfare and school engagement initiatives, including a collaborative approach to empowering families to overcome the legal barriers that put the children in their care at risk of entering or lingering in foster care. Gina first joined CCYJ in 2008 to manage the truancy intervention and child welfare systems reform efforts. In 2012, she went into private practice to represent adults and children with Social Security disability claims. She later clerked for the United States District Court, Western District of Washington. She returned to CCYJ in 2015. “I am excited to be back at CCYJ and working once again to promote systems-level reform so that all of our state’s kids have what they need to achieve their full potential,” Gina says. Gina is also a part-time lecturer at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work, where she teaches graduate-level courses on poverty and inequality and social welfare policy and services for children, families and elders. Before CCYJ, Gina served as Assistant Regional Counsel for the Social Security Administration. She also represented children and youth as a staff attorney at the Snohomish County Public Defender Association. Gina earned her undergraduate degree from Fairhaven College of Western Washington University. She earned both her law and master of social work degrees at the University of Michigan.
When Nicholas first joined CCYJ in 2011, he worked closely with the late Terri Kimball, former manager of the Center’s Project Respect. Together, they developed one of the nation’s first statewide protocols to ensure a coordinated response to prostituted children that focuses on identifying, engaging and helping these victimized youth recover from the exploitation they have endured. Nicholas went on to gain invaluable on-the-ground experience representing children and parents in criminal, dependency, family law and education cases at the Seattle law firm of Carey & Lillevik, PLLC. He returned to CCYJ in September 2014 as our first Terri Kimball Fellow for the Protection of Children and Youth, established to honor our friend and colleague after she passed away.”These kids are victims of a crime – an especially horrible crime – and deserve to be treated as such,” says Nicholas, who now serves as Project Manager for Project Respect. “Terri taught me that the system all too often re-victimizes these kids by treating them as criminals. CCYJ is working to change that.”Nicholas joined CCYJ in 2011, right after graduating from the University of Washington School of Law. He earned his undergraduate degree in politics and community studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.Between college and law school, Nicholas spent two years teaching and advising middle and high school students. He then served as a teacher with the Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia.
Hickory M. Gateless
Hickory leads Lawyers Fostering Independence (LFI), a CCYJ program that provides pro bono civil legal services to young adults who have been in foster care. As Managing Attorney, Hickory works with community partners to connect young adults with LFI’s services, which aim to help young adults overcome legal barriers to gaining their independence. “Young people come to LFI because they lack the needed resources or the support to resolve civil legal issues that are derailing their ability to obtain what most folks take for granted,” says Hickory, “things like stable housing, living-wage employment, or a high school or higher education.” LFI exists to remove barriers that prevent the young people it serves from obtaining these and/or other baseline needs. Before joining CCYJ’s staff, Hickory practiced civil litigation at the Pacifica Law Group, where he served as pro bono counsel to former foster youth in LFI’s program. He served as a judicial clerk to Washington State Supreme Court Justice Charles W. Johnson and United States District Court Judge Benjamin H. Settle. Hickory graduated magna cum laude in 2008 with an MBA and law degree from Seattle University’s School of Law and Albers School of Business & Economics. He also studied marketing at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Hickory serves as Board President of The Mockingbird Society, a valued CCYJ partner and a leading voice for improving foster care and ending youth homelessness in Washington. He also volunteers with Running Peaceful–a nonprofit focused on youth development in Seattle’s Yesler Terrace community.
As a Project Manager, Anica supports CCYJ’s work on the Suburban King County Coordinating Council on Gangs. She analyzes data for the council, researches best practices, and leads workgroups that are drafting a plan to implement a comprehensive gang-intervention and prevention strategy. Anica also supports the Center’s efforts to advance truancy policy changes that help more young people succeed in school. “I am honored to be working with dedicated professionals to improve public policies so they better serve our youth,” she says. Anica is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Washington, where she earned dual bachelor’s degrees: one in law, societies and justice and a second in sociology, with a minor in political science. During college, Anica assisted with two research studies focusing on King County’s offender re-entry programs. She gained valuable experience and knowledge of mental health law procedures and community services as an intern for King County Crisis and Commitment Services, part of the county’s Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division. Anica has volunteered as a teaching assistant in math and computer classes for students in King County’s Juvenile Detention Center and tutors adults in King County Jail who are working to earn their GEDs.
Bethany Peddie, Development Assistant
Bethany joined CCYJ in June 2015 with a deep belief in the need to create better outcomes for all youth and a drive to foster sustainable support for change. Her primary role is management of the donor database as well as assisting in donor communications, providing critical support to all events and promoting a philanthropic culture of excellence in stewardship. Bethany comes to CCYJ with a background in leadership and community development in higher education. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Eastern Michigan University, holding a Bachelor of Science in Women’s and Gender Studies and a Master of Arts in Higher Education Student Affairs. Her sister is a social worker whose transformative healing work with children inspires Bethany’s passion for the mission of CCYJ. “CCYJ’s dedication to strategic, collaborative system reform makes a real impact for youth and their advocates and I’m honored to participate in the CCYJ community.”
Photo to come
Katherine McKeon, Project Assistant
As a Project Assistant, Katherine provides strategic support to several CCYJ initiatives. Before CCYJ, she served in AmeriCorps at South King County’s Road Map Project/Community Center for Education Results, facilitating college readiness and financial literacy programs for first-generation students. Katherine holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies and Communications/Journalism from the University of Washington (UW), where she was awarded the David Bonderman Travel Fellowship. As a fellow, Katherine collected oral histories from people who grew up in places rife with political conflict in nearly a dozen countries. Her journalism pieces have been published in Reuters, The Globalist, and other publications. In her free time, Katherine enjoys volunteering as a creative writing tutor and homework-helper extraordinaire – a continuation of her college mentoring work with the UW Dream Project.
Photo to come