Our Board of Directors are tremendous leaders who volunteer significant personal time and resources to enable the National Network to accomplish its goals. The board meets at least four times per year and at every meeting reviews the quarterly financial report. We are extremely grateful for the dedication of our Board of Directors.

In 2021, three youth with lived experience of homelessness and former NYAC members joined our Board of Directors. We believe in elevating the expertise of youth, starting within our own organization.


Brennon Graham, Board Chair
Executive Director
Growing Home Southeast, Columbia, SC

Brennon Graham currently serves as Executive Director of Growing Home Southeast.  He has enjoyed a human services career that spans more than 20 years serving at-risk youth in the areas of homelessness, mental health/behavioral health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities.  Previous to his current job, Brennon served at The Relatives for over 11 years.  Read more.

Pat Holterman-Hommes, Vice Chair
Chief Executive Officer
Youth In Need, St. Charles, MO

In 2013, Ms. Holterman-Hommes became the fourth President and CEO of Youth In Need’s history. She has been a key staff member at Youth In Need since 1990, serving most recently as Chief Program Officer. She has extensive expertise in the areas of adolescent development and family therapy, child abuse, and neglect issues, positive youth development, and organizational development. Ms. Holterman-Hommes currently serves on the boards of the Missouri Coalition of Children’s Agencies, National Safe Place Network, and the Community Council of St. Charles County. She also represents the needs of vulnerable children and youth on various statewide committees, including the Children’s Services Coalition.

Laurie Jackson Padilla, Secretary
President and CEO
National Safe Place, Louisville, KY

Laurie Jackson is the Executive Director for National Safe Place. She joined the organization in June 2010 and has been active with Safe Place for more than 15 years. She recently served as Associate Executive Director for Synergy Services, Inc. in Kansas City, Mo. Jackson was with Synergy Services, Inc. for 16 years and prior to that worked for several years with Cedars Youth Services in Lincoln, NE. She has been active with local, regional, state, and national efforts in the areas of runaway and homeless youth, child welfare and domestic violence.

Jeffrey Fetzko, Treasurer
Independent Consultant
Bridgewater, NJ

Jeffrey Fetzko is a real estate sales agent and non-profit consultant located in central New Jersey. He had served as an executive manager of non-profit child welfare agencies for more than thirty years. Mr. Fetzko was an adjunct professor at the Rutgers University School of Social Work from 1989 to 1993. Mr. Fetzko has a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from Rutgers University, is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), and is a licensed social worker (LSW) in New Jersey. Read more.


Leon T. Andrews Jr.
President and CEO
Equal Measure, Philadelphia, PA

Leon T. Andrews Jr. is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Equal Measure, which works to advance social change by partnering with foundations and nonprofits to apply new ways of thinking. Previously, Mr. Andrews served as the inaugural director for Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) at the National League of Cities and currently serves as chair of the board for the National Recreation and Parks Association. Read more.

William Bentley
Former Associate Commissioner
Family and Youth Services Bureau, HHS, Silver Spring, MD

Bentley served during the Obama administration as the Associate Commissioner of the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), where he oversees programs that work to prevent teen pregnancy, youth homelessness and family violence. Bentley has more than four decades’ experience advocating for youth and families and promoting volunteerism and public service.

Aja K. Ellington
Founder and CEO
Free Your Wings Youth Mentoring, Inc., South Bend, IN

Indiana University MSW graduate Aja K. Ellington is an award-winning progressive thinker that serves the South Bend, IN community as an exemplary Mental Health Professional who represents several organizations that are committed to the innovation, change, and solutions that decrease poverty and disrupt the mental health stigma. Aja is the founder and CEO of Free Your Wings Youth Mentoring, Inc. a community-based non-profit organization striving to break the barriers restricting the success and growth of youth living in poverty. Read more.

Hillary Evans
Vice President of Policy & Advocacy, Philanthropy Southwest
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

Hillary Evans is the vice president of professional learning and public policy at Philanthropy Southwest. She has dedicated her career to seeking just outcomes for underserved communities. After spending nearly two decades in Washington, DC working on public policy at the national and local levels, Hillary returned to her Texas roots to focus on educational equity and poverty reduction in Dallas. Read more.

Arash Ghafoori
Executive Director
Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, Las Vegas, NV

Arash Ghafoori is the Executive Director of the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY), Southern Nevada’s most comprehensive service provider for homeless youth. Leveraging his diverse background in policy, academia, and the start-up and corporate worlds, Ghafoori has transformed NPHY into a community leader on issues affecting Southern Nevada’s homeless youth. Read more.

Melinda Giovengo 
Harvard Fellow
Boston, MA

Dr. Melinda Giovengo holds a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology. Dr. Giovengo’s work has focused on the needs of young people who do not graduate from high school and youth experiencing homelessness. Melinda works tirelessly to develop programs and advance policies that prevent and end youth homelessness and human trafficking.

Sparky Harlan
Retired President & CEO
Bill Wilson Center, Santa Clara, CA

Sparky Harlan was the CEO of Bill Wilson Center since 1983 and retired in March 2023 after 40 years as CEO. She is a nationally recognized leader in youth services and was honored by The White House as a Champion for Change in 2012. Sparky’s expertise includes working with runaway and homeless youth, foster youth, and youth involved with the justice system.

Melanie Heitkamp
Executive Director
Youthworks, Bismarck and Fargo, ND

Melanie Heitkamp has served as the Executive Director of Mountain Plains Youth Services/Youthworks, with offices in Fargo and Bismarck, since 1997. She has a Master’s of Social Work degree from the University of North Dakota and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in the State of North Dakota. Read more.

Richard Hooks Wayman
President and CEO
Volunteers of America Northern New England

Richard Hooks Wayman serves as the President and CEO for Volunteers of America Northern New England (www.voanne.org), a nonprofit organization offering affordable housing, residential treatment and community-based social services in Maine and New Hampshire. Read more.

Alison Kear
Executive Director
Covenant House Alaska, Anchorage, AK

Alison moved to Alaska in 1994 and soon after discovered her purpose when she began supporting our at-risk youth at Covenant House Alaska (CHA). Her tenacity, ability to make connections and never take no for an answer propelled her to the position of Executive Director in 2012. Read more.

Jaclyn Pampel 
Baker McKenzie
San Diego, CA

Jaclyn Pampel is a pro bono partner in Baker McKenzie Pro Bono Practice. Ms. Pampel’s work includes engaging in direct representation, impact litigation, policy, and advocacy work, building new legal resources, and addressing complex legal questions for the world, and leading non-profits, public policy institutions, and international NGOs. Prior to this, Ms. Pampel was a partner in the Firm Tax Practice Group and a member of the nationally recognized Tax Controversy sub practice. She has significant trial and leadership experience handling complex, multijurisdictional matters. She’s an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego, School of Law, as well as an instructor with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA).

Benjamin Saldana 
Intensive Case Manager for HIV Services
GBAPP Inc., Bridgeport, CT

Benjamin Saldana is the Intensive Case Manager for the HIV Department of GBAPP Inc. (Greater Bridgeport Area Prevention Program) this program is designed to provide a continuum of care for marginalized women, men, and adolescents living with HIV/AIDS. He works diligently to seek out vulnerable populations of people in the community. Read more.

Deborah Shore 
Executive Director
Sasha Bruce Network, Washington, DC

Deborah Shore is the Executive Director and founder of Sasha Bruce Youthwork (SBY), which began in Washington, DC in 1974. She has been a leader in developing appropriate government and CBO initiatives to empower disenfranchised youth and families and she played a key role in the legislation creating the federal Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. Read more.