Staff

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BERISHA BLACK

Berisha Black is an alumnus of the foster care system where she spent 15 years in care and then aged out. She is a prime example of resiliency; by overcoming her obstacles she has been a public speaker, trainer and role model for others. She graduated from CAL State University, Los Angeles with her bachelor's degree in Social Work. Berisha was the Executive Director of AZ Foster Care Initiatives for 3 years and with her leadership they trained over 300 new faith-based Foster/Adoptive Parents. She worked for Casey Family Programs for 5 years in the training and technical assistance unit. She also was a foster parent for several years. Berisha received the 2017 Congressional Angels in Adoption award.


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CAROLYN
BLANEY-ARNDT

Director of Community Development and Outreach

Carolyn Blaney-Arndt is working close to her heart, sharing with community and faith groups about the struggles youth face aging out of foster care. In 2013 she scrambled to organize a Thanksgiving dinner for foster youth after hearing about the sad realities for children in group homes in Arizona. Continuing as an annual event, the volunteers serve over 300 foster youth a big party with turkey dinner every Thanksgiving. Carolyn draws from her personal experience in business ownership, and professional background in group practice management, understanding that many of these young people seem challenging for employers. She works directly with foster children as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Maricopa County, and is a member of the Children & Poverty Task Force for Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church.


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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Jane Pearson, President/CEO
Retired, Vitalyst Health Foundation

Patricia Nightingale
Retired, City of Phoenix Human Services

Reverend David Rennick
North Scottsdale United Methodist Church

Mary Catellier
Human Resources, Desert Botanical Garden

John Helbert, PhD
Retired, Motorola SPS
Retired, Professor of Chemistry at Maricopa County Community College District

Virginia Nelson
Executive, Midfirst Bank

Vanessa Nelson Hill, PhD, RN
Clinical Associate Professor, ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation

Reverend Nancy Cushman
Missional Strategist and District Superintendent, Desert Southwest Conference, United Methodist Church