KFTC welcomes new organizers, expands staff!

As the year winds down and the new one begins, the KFTC staff team is growing and evolving in some important ways.

Two experienced KFTC organizers are shifting to new roles within the organization. Carissa Lenfert, who has worked with the Madison County KFTC chapter since 2008, is moving to Louisville where she will continue to serve KFTC as Deputy Organizing Director. Colette Henderson is leaving her position as the Jefferson County chapter organizer to become a KFTC Development Associate. In her new role she will focus on coordinating fun and informative events across the state to help us grow our membership and raise important funds.

In addition to these changes, Central Kentucky organizer Ondine Quinn recently announced her intention to leave KFTC at the end of March 2013. Ondine has been an important member of the staff team since 2008, and we wish her all the best.

To fill those key positions (and a few others) we are excited to announce a talented set of five new organizers who will join our staff team in January 2013. Please join us in welcoming Denney Breeding, Beth Bissmeyer, Beth Howard, Alicia Hurle and Jessie Skaggs!

Denney Breeding will serve as a community organizer working with the Southern Kentucky KFTC chapter based in Bowling Green. Denney is originally from Letcher County. For the past seven years she worked for an agency dedicated to improving the quality of child care in a multi-county region around Bowling Green. She is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and has also taught, coached and worked as a resident assistant and counselor with at-risk youth.

Beth Bissmeyer has been hired to work as an organizer with KFTC chapters in Madison and Boyle counties. Beth grew up in Louisville and is a graduate of Berea College. She has been an active member and leader within KFTC for at least the past six years, first in Berea and later back home in Louisville. She’s served the organization in many capacities, including as chapter chair, voter empowerment organizer, intern, and KFTC Steering Committee representative. She also worked as an organizer for the Student Environmental Action Coalition and as a field organizer in a 2010 congressional campaign.

Beth Howard will become the new organizer working with the Central Kentucky Chapter of KFTC. Beth grew up in West Liberty (Morgan County). She is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and the second member of our staff team to be an accomplished poet! Before joining KFTC’s staff, Beth served for five years as a lead organizer with a grassroots organization in Daytona Beach, Florida called Fighting Against Injustice Toward Harmony (FAITH). She returned to Kentucky in 2011 and has been working as a case manager facilitating classes in parenting, job coaching, and interpersonal skills for a multi-county program based in West Liberty.

Alicia Hurle will be KFTC’s organizer working with the Jefferson County KFTC chapter. Alicia has worked for the past seven years with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana, where she served as program coordinator. She is originally from Louisville and holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Louisville. Alicia has also worked as a social worker and as a tutor and mentor for at-risk children. Alicia has extensive volunteer experience in Louisville, including with the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, Wednesday’s Child, Inc., and the Race, Community and Child Welfare Initiative.

Jessie Skaggs will join KFTC’s staff in eastern Kentucky, where she will work to support the Perry County chapter and bring needed capacity to our work in the region, especially around water testing and public health. Jessie lives in Paintsville (Johnson County). She graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in graphic design and worked in that field for four years. She holds a Master's Degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University, with an emphasis on sustainable development. While in Indiana, Jessie worked as the assistant director of a local growers guild with more than 200 members.

As with all transitions, these individuals will all face a significant learning curve. It will take time to get to know KFTC, our members, allies and issues, and the broader communities where we work. Thank you for doing whatever you can to make them feel welcome and supported. It’s going to be a big year and we can’t wait to get started!

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