Amber Waldref was born and raised in Northeast Spokane and lives in the Logan neighborhood with her husband and two daughters. A graduate of Gonzaga Prep, she received her B.A. in English and B.S. in Sociology from Georgetown University and earned her M.A. in Environment and Community from Antioch University, Seattle. Amber has deep experience in community engagement, non-profit development and public service. After working in policy and communications for several organizations, including The Lands Council, she was twice elected to the Spokane City Council. In this role, she was a leader in many areas, including: expanding public transit, overseeing historic city investments to prevent pollution from entering the Spokane River, and developing local and state policies to address the impacts of the housing foreclosure crisis. As Director of The Zone Project, she leads the strategic direction of the initiative and is committed to building citizen leadership & aligning and changing systems to achieve measurable, positive health, education and economic outcomes for children, youth, and families. In her “free” time, Amber serves on the Spokane Housing Authority Board and on the Washington State Governor’s 2020 Census Committee. She also owns her own consulting business, providing communications, administrative and strategic planning support to non-profits, including Urbanova, the “Smart Cities” collaboration based in Spokane’s University District.
Whole Family Engagement Coordinator
Jene Ray has been teaching since fourth grade (with ballet classes and Sunday School as her debut). After obtaining her Master’s in Teaching Degree with both Elementary and Secondary credentials, she was a classroom teacher for twenty years, teaching pre-school through high school before moving to the district level to teach and coach teachers. Jene’s experience includes five years of state level education funding and policy work in Olympia, as well as Directing Operations for an education research center at the University of Washington Tacoma focused on trauma informed instruction, the effects of poverty on learning, and diversity training for staff of both school and out of school programs. Jene serves as the Zone Project Whole Family Engagement Coordinator, partnering with residents in NE Spokane to coordinate support for multi-generational outcomes in housing, safety, health, economics, and education. When Jene has a free moment she loves trying new recipes, reading books in French, taking walks in the sunshine, and spending time with family.
Child & Youth Achievement Coordinator
Growing up in Northeast Spokane with a family committed to serving community was normal enough to be taken for granted until moving away for a while and moving back. Today, Lindsey is a NE Spokane home owner, wife, and mother of two. Her neighborhood and family mean the world to her. For the past three years Lindsey has been involved with the Logan neighborhood council. She finds it rewarding to have seen the changes for the better in community because of communal efforts. As an Americorps Vista Volunteer, she is excited to learn more and be a bigger part of bettering Northeast Spokane for families.
Family Resource Coordinator
Nathan Hamilton was born and raised in NE Spokane in Hillyard. As someone who did not go through high school as a traditional student, he made his way into AmeriCorps and then director of Boys & Girls Clubs teen center in Vancouver Washington. In his five years at the teen center, he focused on gang prevention and intervention, mental health for youth, and trauma informed education. Nathan created partnerships with Catholic charities to get mental health workers into the clubs and train staff on trauma informed programming. After his work at the club he went back to school to finish his degree in Social Justice. Coming back to where it all started Nathan wanted to continue the work he did in Vancouver. Nathan serves as the Family Resource Coordinator for the Zone project, focusing on school and family engagement along with connecting families to resources in our community.
Expanded Learning Program Coordinator
Krysten Proszek was born and raised in Spokane and lives in the Minnehaha neighborhood with her husband. A graduate of North Central, she received her B.A. in Marketing from Eastern Washington University. Krysten has six years of experience working in the non-profit sector, specifically around community engagement, program development, and building relationships with children and youth. She has spent the last four years working in Northeast neighborhood schools and is looking forward to partnering with local organizations to enhance outcomes for students and families that utilize their programs. Krysten serves as the Zone Project Expanded Learning Program Coordinator, to support and align after-school and summer programming so children and youth can achieve key academic and social-emotional milestones that contribute to on-time graduation, college and/or career readiness, as well as other family health, education and economic goals. In her free time, Krysten enjoys running on the Centennial Trail, attending local farmers markets, and playing with her cats.
Jacqueline Baca is currently a Senior at Gonzaga University studying Sociology and Psychology. Jacqueline is originally from Newberg, Oregon, but has enjoyed being part of the Spokane community for the past three years. Currently she is a Wolff Fellow for the Zone project where she is focusing on youth advocacy and after/summer school programming. She is excited for this role and can’t wait to work for and with youth to create an inclusive space for them in North East Spokane. After graduation she hopes to serve at a non-profit organization for a couple years and enroll in a graduate program. Jacqueline enjoys going on walks on the Centennial trail, is teaching herself how to play the guitar, loves thrift shopping, and enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends.
Habitat for Humanity
Spokane Housing Authority
Center for Justice
Spokane Regional Health District
Children’s Home Society
Second Harvest Food Bank
Farmer’s Market Association
Unify Community Health
Financial Education Partners
Numerica Credit Union
Education and Skills Development
Year-round opportunities for both children and adults
Spokane Public Schools
Boys and Girls Club
Communities in Schools
Northeast Youth Center
Spokane Parks and Recreation
Schools Out Washington
Spokane Community Colleges
Worksource/Workforce Development Council
Greater Spokane Incorporation (Chamber of Commerce)
Educational Service District 101
College Success Foundation
Spokane Public Library
College Success Foundation
City of Spokane
Empire Health Foundation
Safety & Justice
Juvenile Court and Spokane Community Court
Every Child Counts Alliance
Safe Communities Taskforce (Gang Prevention)
Spokane Police Department
School and ELC Anchor Partners
Family Navigator Network