Meet the Team

Yleana Benitez, Program Manager

Yleana (ee-le-ana) is first-generation Salvadoran- American and was born and raised in South Los Angeles. Given her experience in her neighborhood, she knows how accessibility to education and community resources can make a vital difference in a youth’s trajectory. Her passion is to serve communities that face the same inequalities. For the past 6 years, Yleana has worked with an LA mentoring organization and is eager to get to know all CfY mentoring matches! She is new to Seattle and welcomes any recommendations to get to know the city! 

Ellen Throneberry, Development & Communications Manager

Ellen is a former AmeriCorps member from Dallas, TX. She is passionate about connecting with community members through inspiring and impactful storytelling, and is so excited to join CfY as the Development and Communications Manager! In her free time, she loves to cook, read, listen to music, and hike trails with her partner and dogs.

Patrick Halm, Program Specialist

Patrick grew up in Great Falls, Virginia and has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2021. Before joining CfY, Patrick served as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Portland, working alongside at-risk youth and supporting them in pursuing their education goals. Patrick believes wholeheartedly in the promise and possibility of community empowerment and is so excited to work alongside all of the amazing individuals involved in this community. When he’s not on the clock, Patrick loves spending time outside, discovering new music, working on his photography, and getting lost in bookstores!

Sandy Vo, Program Coordinator

Sandy has spent the past few years working alongside youth and communities of color within a social-justice-oriented framework, and is excited to take this next professional step with CfY! Drawing from her own personal experiences, Sandy is passionate about ensuring that youth have their own voice as well as strong support systems. In her free time, Sandy can be seen exploring new places, around concert venues, or at the library!

Alex Matlock, MSW Student

Alex is a proud member of the LGBT community and he’s called the PNW home for 20 years now! Currently, Alex is a second-year MSW student at the University of Washington. His program focus is clinical practice, and he is passionate about helping CfY students realize their inner strengths and potential. In his free time not working or studying, he loves going to the movies, watching Anime, playing board games/video games, and hiking around the PNW.

Dana Alvarado, MSW Student

Dana relocated to the Seattle area from Utah to pursue an MSW degree at the University of Washington. She is passionate about working with youth in helping them develop their own identities, create healthy relationships, and connect with their communities. Her hobbies include pickleball, karaoke nights, and spending time with her husband and their cat, Pepper.

Belle Park, MSW Student

Belle has been running a company for the past few years focused on educating youth and young adults on how to empathize with one another. Her current passion lies in addressing the alarming rise of emotional burnout and loneliness issues among them through community-based solutions. At CfY, she is deeply passionate about fostering relationships among youth, as well as between mentors, to create a healthy support system. This is also for the future well-being of her 22-month-old daughter. She is currently engrossed in the joy of learning tennis.