OUR TEAM

Adriana Ortiz-Burnham

Juvenile Diversion and Family Outreach

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Adriana spent most of her childhood in Maine and the rest in Mexico. She graduated from Middlebury College in 2017, where she studied sociology with minors in history and Portuguese. Adriana first joined Tree as a college access coordinator, and subsequently moved on to manage the MAPLE, then REDWOOD programs. She has three cats – Widget, Antonio, & Chum – and will have a dog as soon as she has a big enough apartment. Adriana loves cooking, stationery, and ghost stories.

Anna VanValkenburgh

Youth Program Assistant & Mentor

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Born and raised right here in Maine, Anna is recent high school graduate with big plans. She was born and raised in Monmouth, and is currently attending Bay State College where she studies Entertainment Management in the music industry. Some of her aspirations include travel and pursuing her goal of becoming a music therapist. Anna is looking forward to this year. Anna is excited for growth and opportunity and is hopeful of the learning and experience she will gain from her time here with Tree.

Jordan Strout

Youth Program Assistant & Mentor

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Born and raised in Maine, Jordan grew up in Portland for most of his childhood. He moved to Cumberland, North Yarmouth, and is currently living in Lewiston. Jordan attends Central Maine Community College majoring in Human Services with a second major in Early Childhood Education. he officially joined the Tree Street family a week ago however, he’s volunteered one semester for college last year. He has a passion for music, video games and believes in equality for everyone! jordan hopes to build a strong relationship with all of the youth at the center and make them feel heard and supported.

Keenan Shields

BRANCHES Program Manager

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Keenan (he/him) grew up in Maine, moved to Rochester, NY for middle and high school, and found his way back to Maine to go to Bates College. After graduating in 2018, he started working at Tree Street in the Branches program. He lives in Lewiston with his cat, Kitty Jeep, AKA Beepers. When not at work, he’s immersed in his passions, cooking and reading. Food is his love language: it’s one of the ways he most shows his care. Keenan also loves dance, hosting, and being outside.

Oren Stevens

Next STEP High Associate Director

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Oren Stevens, Iowa born and raised, but has called Maine home for the last twenty-five years. For the past decade, Oren has been dedicated to social and emotional learning and advocacy for at-risk youth in educational settings. With an MFA and extensive training in Motivational Interviewing, expressive arts and deep listening are his tools of choice. An acting member of Portland Playback theater, Oren can be found improv singing, dancing, or telling a story just about anywhere.

Taheim Brimage

Community Anchor

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Ty is one of our astounding alum. Born and raised right here in Lewiston, Maine, Ty has had an important influence in shaping many programs at Tree Street from their beginning, including the Sequoia Program and the Next Step High program. Ty is passionate about traveling and hopes to move to New York City in the near future. He serves as a mentor to many of our youth; Ty is often the first smiling face they see after school and his uplifting spirit is a warm welcome after school.

Alli Nolan

Admin Anchor & Pre-K Program Lead

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Born in Southern California and raised in Western Maine, Alli has lived in many places including Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Spain, but Lewiston is her favorite! She has a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies with a minor in Education from Colby College, and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Education in Early Childhood Education. Alli joined Tree Street Youth in 2014 first coordinating the BRANCHES College Access Program. Since then she has taken on different roles at Tree including Development & Marketing, Elementary Program Director, Operations & HR, and is now leading a Pre-K program for the littlest learners at Tree. Alli loves cooking, hiking, music, and spending time with family & friends.

Ashley Kendrick

Youth Program Assistant & Mentor

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Ashley was born and raised in Lewiston, Maine and is a Tree alum! She currently attends Central Maine Community College, majoring in graphic communications. She wants to then to pursue a Bachelor’s in Psychology. She enjoys making art and painting and also dancing and traveling. She believes Lewiston has so many talented young students, and says, “I joined Tree Street because I wanted to be someone any child can feel comfortable going to, just to have a conversation to make them feel better. I want to get to know the people in my community better, so I could help more now and in the future.”

Julia Sleeper-Whiting

Executive Director

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Julia is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tree Street Youth Center. Born and raised in Bangor area, she initially moved to Lewiston as an undergraduate at Bates College. During her time as a student, she began connecting to the Downtown Lewiston community youth through service learning opportunities afforded to her as a Psychology and Education major. Over the past 10 years, Julia has continued to build on the relationships formed as an undergrad, seeking to provide valuable programming to at-risk youth in Lewiston-Auburn. After completing her Masters in Leadership and Organizational Studies at USM-LAC, she began the present-day Tree Street Youth Center.

Kevin Bolduc

Youth Program Assistant & Mentor

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Born in Maine, Kevin grew up in Bowdoin and now lives in Lewiston. After high school, he studied at Southern Maine Community College and Thomas College for political science. With experience working with youth, Kevin wanted to work for the new community he’s come into and become better connected to it. Having heard about Tree Street Youth from Lewiston youth, he knew it was the exact sort of mission he wanted to contribute to. He hopes to continue working with youth after finishing college as a teacher, and to bring a fun and positive energy into Tree.

Shafea Guhat

Youth Program Assistant & Mentor

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Born in Kenya, Shafea moved to the U.S. at the age of 3 in 2004. Shafea moved to Lewiston, Maine in the summer of 2010 and graduated from Lewiston High School. Shafea is a self-taught dancer. She been dancing since the age of 11. Her future goal is to own her very own dance studio and in-home daycare center. She has recently discovered she has a passion for children. She joined the Tree family during her freshman year in high school and has been with us ever since. She has performed at our annual “I Am Tree” event for three years now. Shafea is cheerful at the possibilities of what this year has in store for her.

Angela Eustache

REDWOOD Program Manager

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Angela is originally from Lynn, Massachusetts, a small town notably characterised for its unique urban style, culture, and music. After attending high school, Angela moved to Maine to pursue higher education at Bates College. During her time at Bates, Angela became an active member not only on campus, but also in the greater Lewiston community. Angela has worked with various community organizations, identifying public problems and creating constructive approaches to address them. Her activism eventually led her to Tree Street Youth, where Angela initially worked as an intern. It was through her work that Angela developed a passion for empowering individuals. Now, as the Redwood Program Manager, Angela seeks to engage the full participation of young girls and women in the decision-making processes that affect their lives.

Chucks Obunse

Middle & High School Program Anchor

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Chucks Obunse, born in Brooklyn, NY, is our new program anchor for our middle and high school program. Chucks is a graduate of Molloy College, where he graduated with a degree in Business Management. During his time there, he was a scholarship recipient and basketball star for the Lions. He has also worked with numerous programs around New York City, cultivating kids in sports and academics for the last 10 years. He looks forward to continuing to grow with the kids of Tree Street and becoming a better motivator for the youth.

Justin Morin

WILLOW Program Anchor

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Justin joins Tree after being in New York City for the past 10 years. During his time there, he worked with various children’s programs throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens as a teacher, director, and trainer through various organizations. He is originally from Massachusetts and went to college at the University of New Hampshire. He is the proud dog dad to a tiny chihuahua named Poppy and is looking forward to being a part of the Tree Street and Lewiston communities.

Mike Akanji

Next STEP Restorative and Community Support Lead

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Born in Atlanta, GA, and raised partially in Lincoln, RI; Mike Akanji is one of Tree Street Youth’s Program Directors. Mike is an alumnus of Thomas College, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (2015) as well as his Master of Business Administration (2017). Mike is passionate about music, movies, and sports. He was a college basketball star and helped bring victory to Thomas during all 4 years of his undergraduate career, he even played internationally for a team in Canada. Mike has worked with youth for almost his entire life, and strives to continually make a positive impact at Tree Street.

Taha Mahamat

Youth Program Assistant & Mentor

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Taha graduated from Lewiston High School and is a long-standing Tree Street alum. Taha is currently attending the University of Maine and Central Maine Community College, where he studies electrical engineering. Taha is also very active and plays basketball, soccer, and football.

Looking to join us?

We are periodically expanding our team from AmeriCorps members to professional staff to summer interns, we’re looking for you!