Staff:

Polly Trout, Founder and Executive Director: Polly has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Boston University and an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School. She has been providing supportive services to homeless neighbors for the past 16 years in King County. She has extensive experience in nonprofit administration and fundraising, and in building cross-class, anti-racist, multicultural community. Polly is a layperson and mother with a nonsectarian Dharma practice. Her root teacher is Venerable Pannavati, and she is ordained as a lay minister in the Embracing Simplicity Hermitage lineage, a nonsectarian lineage led by  Venerable Pannavati Bhikkuni and Venerable Pannadipa Bhikkhu. She serves on the board of the Northwest Dharma Association. In 2002 Polly founded Seattle Education Access, a local nonprofit that provides college access and retention services to low income and at risk young adults. When she’s not taking care of people she likes to read library books, travel, write, and sit in the woods.
Polly can be reached at 206-465-6342 or polly@patacara.org.

Eric Davis, Camp Second Chance Program Manager
Eric can be reached at 425-523-4807 or eric@patacara.org.

Simon Stephens, Housing Case Manager: Simon began volunteering as an advocate for unhoused neighbors in January of 2016, then began working in a day center for unhoused people in central Seattle, then joined Patacara’s staff after volunteering with us for more than a year. He has spent a great deal of time listening to and networking with residents of unsanctioned encampments. His careful listening to campers has led to empowering them to work together with advocates on projects that benefit the community such as: networking with non-profits, communicating with city officials, Thanksgiving dinner, digging trenches, and moving entire encampments on foot. Simon has also worked as a graphic designer, computer technician, and CNC machinist. In this role as Housing Case Manager, Simon will be working with Camp Second Chance residents to help them secure permanent, indoor housing that is both sustainable and in alignment with the goals they have set for themselves. He also helps residents with accessing employment opportunities and addressing barriers to housing. Simon’s service approach is based on good communication and authentic relationships.
Simon can be reached at 206-698-1594 or simon@patacara.org.

David Baum, North King County Program Manager
David can be reached at 206-913-1021 or david@patacara.org.

Dorothy Simecek, Finance and Development Associate: Dorothy is our bookkeeper, administrative associate, and development assistant. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management and a focus on Accounting, and has worked as a bookkeeper for the past two years. Dorothy is great with people, has solid financial skills, and is thoroughly organized. She assisted in the start-up of the College Success Program at Seattle Central Community College, an organization that assists foster and minority youth with college enrollment and retention. In her youth she worked at San Antonio Methodist Shelters helping homeless clients. She assisted with the meal program, checked people into the shelter, and provided hygiene products. This experience helped shape her lifelong commitment to helping others. For the past 16 years she has volunteered as a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence in the Abbey of St Joan. In this role she has planned special events, raised money for the Abbey’s nonprofit grant fund, reviewed grant proposals, for local nonprofits, educated thousands of people on harm reduction, and advocated for people in need in the community. Over the years The Abbey of St Joan has built many bridges between different nonprofits and social justice groups in Seattle. She is working with Patacara to bring positive change to the community it serves.
Dorothy can be reached at dorothy@patacara.org.

 

Board of Directors:

Genjo Marinello, Board President: Genjo is the abbot of Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Ji, a Rinzai Zen Temple in Seattle. He came to Seattle in 1976 as a VISTA volunteer to be trained as a community organizer after graduating with a BA in psychobiology from UCLA. As a community organizer, he was instrumental in the formation of the Seattle Cherry Hill Coalition. Genjo trained in the Japanese Zen temple Ryutaku-Ji in 1981 and 1982, became fully authorized temple priest in 1990 and a Dharma Heir in his lineage of Rinzai Zen in 2008. He is also a certificated spiritual director and Washington State Licensed Mental Health Counselor. He has a M.A. in psychology from Antioch University and has served as adjunct faculty at the Seattle Antioch campus. Genjo has served as the Buddhist pastor at the Monroe Correctional Complex, and taught meditation in the King County Jail, Walla Walla Reformatory, and Clallam Bay Corrections Center. Currently Genjo is a member of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and the Zen Peacemakers organization where he has received Witness Council training and participated in international Bearing Witness retreats in Aushwitz/Birkenau, Rwanda and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Genjo also currently serves on the Faith Leadership Council of the Faith Action Network, a statewide interfaith organization pursuing a more just, peaceful and sustainable world.

Tsukina Blessing, Secretary: Tsukina is the Shelter Program Manager at Lake City Partners Ending Homelessness and a Sufi minister ordained by the Inayati Order. She was a founding member of the Occupy Chaplains, a group of interfaith clergy serving the spiritual needs of Occupy Seattle and bridging relationships between the movement and congregations. She received her Master’s in Transformational Leadership from Seattle University in 2015 and a certificate in jin shin do acupressure from the Canadian Acupressure Institute in 1999.

Petra Wilson, Treasurer: Petra is a skilled professional who has worked from and with all levels of the corporate finance structure to assist non-profit and service based businesses to develop solutions in IT and Finance. In 2014, she graduated from the UW’s Foster School of Business with a dual focus in Information Systems and Accounting and a minor in Diversity Studies. She has volunteered for several non-profit boards in the past including the Ingersoll Gender Center, the Gender Justice League, Seattle Out & Proud, Unexpected Productions, and now Patacara. Her current goals on the board are to foster an excellent culture of accountability and transparency within the organization and to help expand the capacity of the organization’s programs to serve the growing needs of communities in the Puget Sound region.

Jill Boone has been a Buddhist practitioner for a couple of decades now, and is so grateful for the peace of mind that this has brought her! She was the guiding founder of the Saranaloka Foundation and served as president of the board for many years. Saranaloka was founded to empower Buddhist nuns from the Thai Forest Theravada Tradition and to support the creation of a monastery for nuns in the U.S. It now supports that monastery, the Aloka Vihara in Placerville, CA. and the resident Bhikhunis and aspirants. She turned her environmental activist efforts into a professional career as a sustainability manager for County government in California, leading efforts to reduce environmental impacts and bring equity and economical lenses to environmental programs. Her favorite project was helping to develop a program in the Elmwood Jail, that offered education, experience and job training in sustainable landscaping to the offenders. The women designed and planted a healing garden with an irrigation system in their space. The men repaired irrigation and gopher holes and planted grass in their sports field. Jill retired in October 2014 and moved to Seattle to be near her grandchildren and is excited to join the board and bring her activist, nonprofit and government experience to Patacara and especially to support Camp Second Chance.

Regent Brown, wife, mother, daughter, friend and community member; who is the founder and coach of Fostering Real Opportunities, supporting individuals and organizations who are committed to being an active participant in their journey of growth and transformation. Coaching from FROS serves as a vessel of the transformation needed for equitable thriving communities. Utilizing tools, activities and dialogue, we co-create an environment to connect clients to their highest self. Regent’s belief is that true transformation comes through the collective impact of transforming one’s self. She seeks to do this through authentic dialogue, peacemaking circles, conflict resolution and skill development to build a culture of listening, accountability and collective leadership that can foster such opportunities of change and support us all reaching our fullest potential.

Hey Carollan is a digital marketing strategist, activist, and Buddhist intent on combining these aspects for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole. Hey founded Hey! Social Marketing Strategy in 2011 to support the growing demand of marketing for social development and action after helping design the first social media campaign for Occupy Wall St. Hey has developed marketing strategy for compassionate action groups such as Hurricane Sandy Relief, The Tar Sands Blockade, Standing Rock and Heartwood Refuge’s successful capital campaign. Hey’s main focus is environmental, food justice and homelessness issues. Hey has been part of some of the most successful non-corporate and non NGO crowd sourcing campaigns in the country; over one million dollars have been raised for each of the above mentioned organizations.

Mónica Mendoza-Castrejón was born and raised in South King County (Renton and Kent) to Mexican, immigrant, farm working parents, later by her single mother under poverty. They went through the Section 8 process, and later the HEN (Housing and Essential Needs) program, up until Mónica graduated from the University of Washington. She earned her BA in Law, Societies and Justice and Comparative History of Ideas. She started organizing through her involvement with various social movements. Later, she became an Executive Assistant with the Commission on Hispanic Affairs, organizer for several Progressive candidates in the Seattle area, a Summer Intern for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in DC, and a Regional Field Director for the Washington State Democrats in Eastern Washington. She is currently a Community Organizer and Tenant Counselor at the Tenants Union of Washington, where she fights against slumlords on a daily basis, and works with disadvantaged communities to help them realize their own strength and reclaim power. Mónica is a current Hillman City resident, which is a vibrant and dynamic neighborhood located in South Seattle, and has an art studio in the SEEDArts Collective. She is honored, and inspired on a daily basis, to be a part of this community. She enjoys painting, drawing, writing, and performing poems and spoken word pieces. Her creative work centers on decolonization, indigeneity, intersectional feminism, activism, spirituality, humanity, environmental and social justice, healing, the power of love, and science fiction. Raised in a Catholic family, Eastern philosophy has always appealed to her, as well as the indigenous practices of Native American tribes. Her current spiritual beliefs combine Buddhism, Taoism, spiritual practices from Mexico, and mystical practices from various parts of the world. She is honored to join the board of Patacara Community Services to work on building compassionate, radical communities.

Marlena Torres is a CPA and is Chief Operating Officer for a non-profit organization that serves children and families across the state of Washington. She has a professional background in public accounting and has specifically served non-profit organizations during her career. She is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico and has a BBA and MBA from the University of New Mexico. She has volunteered for non-profit boards with a specific focus on under-represented populations. She feels greatly privileged to serve on this board and hopes her contribution of both professional expertise and willingness to work for a cause about which she is passionate will benefit this organization and the people it seeks to empower.

Our board can be reached by emailing board@patacara.org.

 

Advisory Board:

Vu Le: Vu is the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a local nonprofit that cultivates leaders within communities of color to strengthen the capacity of communities-of-color-led nonprofits. RVC creates space for collaboration between diverse communities of color to effect systemic change. Previously, he was the Executive Director of the Vietnamese Friendship Association. Vu is the author behind the nonprofit humor blog, nonprofitwithballs.com, the humor columnist at blueavocado.org, and a nationally recognized expert on nonprofit leadership and development.

Venerable Dr. Pannavati  is the co-founder and co-Abbot of Embracing-Simplicity Hermitage in Hendersonville, NC. A black, female Buddhist monk ordained in the Theravada and Mahayana traditions with Vajrayana empowerments and transmission from Roshi Bernie Glassman of Zen Peacemakers, she is both contemplative and empowered for compassionate service. Venerable is a founding circle director of Sisters of Compassionate Wisdom, a 21st century trans-lineage Buddhist Order and Sisterhood formed by Ani Drubgyuma in 2006.   http://pannavati.org/

Tuere Sala: Tuere has been a Vipassana meditation practitioner for over 20 years.  She has been a practicing member of Seattle Insight Meditation Society since 2001 and is currently a Guiding Teacher at SIMS.  She teaches beginning and post-beginning meditation classes, as well as day-longs on various Dharma topics.  She also facilitates daylong workshops using nonviolent communication (NVC) to support a mindfulness practice.  She has completed extensive training including: the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader Program, Focusing for Complex Trauma Course, Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Course (MMFT) as well as extensive meditation retreats. She has a long history of establishing and maintaining a daily practice. For more information, visit https://caphillmeditationgroup.wordpress.com/tuere-sala/.

Tetsuzen Jason M. Wirth is professor of philosophy at Seattle University and an ordained Sōtō Zen priest. As a philosopher, he teaches and writes in the areas of Continental philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy, the philosophy of art and aesthetics, and the prospects for world philosophy. He is the author of several books and currently the associate editor of the journal, Comparative and Continental Philosophy. As a Sōtō Zen priest, he is the founder and co-director of the Seattle University EcoSangha, a resident priest at Eishōji Sōtō Zen training facility in Seattle, and is heavily involved in interreligious dialogue at Seattle University. He is also a founding member of CoZen (禪緣), a group of academics with active Buddha Dharma practices who are engaged in exploring, articulating, and performing the non-duality of practice and study.