Julia Sleeper 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.
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.
Alli is originally from Los Angeles, California and moved to the other L/A after graduating from Colby College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Latin American Studies with a minor in Education. Alli started her journey at Tree Street Youth as the BRANCHES Program Manager from 2014 – 2017. She then spent a year working for a youth leadership and cultural exchange organization in Nicaragua and Panama. She later to Lewiston and joined the Development & Marketing team for Tree Street! Alli is now Tree’s Associate Director, and is so happy to be reunited with her Tree family. Alli loves cooking Cuban food, singing along to Ozuna, and doing crazy workouts.
Born in Atlanta, GA, and raised partially in Lincoln, RI; Mike Akanji joins Tree Street Youth as its newest Big Kids Director! 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 sport! 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 excited to start making an impact at Tree Street!
Originally from Peshawar, Pakistan, Natasha moved to the U.S. just 4 years ago! She attended College of the Atlantic (COA) in Bar harbor, Maine, where she studied Cultural Anthropology and Philosophy. Natasha is passionate about travel and diverse experiences; she dreams of road tripping to all the national parks, walking to the end of the Great Wall of China, and seeing the Great Pyramid of Giza. Natasha joins tree this year as our MAPLE Leadership Program Manager!
Meg Young comes to Tree Street from Cornwall, Vermont! She attended Tufts University, where she majored in Anthropology and Community Health. After college Meg made her way to new and fascinating places like the great state of Colorado and the beautifully diverse country of Brazil; Meg soon made her way to Maine, where she landed here in Lewiston! Meg has worked at Tree Street in the BRANCHES program since 2017 and is ecstatic to return as the BRANCHES Program Manager!
Born and Raised in New Jersey, Darian comes to Tree Street with a strong background in mentorship and youth work. After graduating high school, Darian moved to Oklahoma to pursue higher education at Oklahoma State University. During his time at the university, Darian pursued athletics via gymnastics and competitive cheerleading; he later became a coach, teaching tumbling and gymnastics. As a coach Darian found his passion for youth development; his areas of specialty lie in the discovery of one’s identity, passion, and even their perceived purpose in life! After graduating from Oklahoma State University in 2017, Darian moved back to New Jersey, he wrote the book Pursuit from Darkness to Light and founded the Be the Change Foundation. Darian has spent the last several years mentoring, speaking to and working with youth; he is also the Youth Administrator for a local church in Oakland, ME.
Part Mainer, part New Yorker, Keenan Shields comes to Lewiston from Rochester NY. A 2018 alumnus of Bates College, where he studied Anthropology, Black Literature, and Spanish. Keenan is a lover of all things artistic, and is passionate about reading, cooking, writing, dancing, hosting events, and even being in the great outdoors. He was drawn to Tree Street because of our passion and focus on developing youth in the community. Keenan admires the way that Tree helps to build personal and team leadership skills, fosters the artistic endeavors of youth, and hones in on academic success to push them to excel!
From Skowhegan, Maine, Henry Ametti comes excitedly to Tree Street Youth as one of our BRANCHES Program Coordinators. After graduating from high school, Henry attended the University of Maine Farmington. Here he developed a passion for education, social justice and youth development! Henry loves a good time, and enjoys live music, tacos, and spending time with his family and friends! Henry is excited to get to work and is grateful to be a part of Tree.
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 a recent high school graduate. Some of her aspirations include travel and pursuing her goal of becoming a music therapist! Anna is our MAPLE Leadership Program Coordinator, and. She 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!
From the our bold beginning to our precious present, Kusow has been here for it all! He has not only been apart of our program as a youth, but also as an intern and now as a member of our core staff! Some of Kusow’s hobbies include soccer, basketball, and obviously Tree Street! He loves working with kids and is driven by the positive change that he sees in the Lewiston-Auburn community everyday! Kusow currently attends The University of Southern Maine, studying education and early childhood development.
Ty is another one of our astounding alum! He is from right here in Lewiston , Maine and is a graduate of Lewiston High School. Ty’s passionate about traveling and hopes to move to New York City in the near future. He currently works on our Big Kids side and 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!
Leeroy is one of our Middle & High School Program Coordinators. He lives right here in Lewiston, Maine and is a recent graduate of Lewiston High School! Leeroy is also an alumni of Tree Street, but he is better known as the Lord of the Gym here; his passion for helping others and ability to relate and connect help him greatly as he seeks to mentor and bond with our young men. Leeroy is passionate about athletics and is a natural leader, whose main goal is to be the change he wants to see starting right here at Tree.
Bashir is a Tree Street Alumni, and a CEDAR Intern. He is a graduate of Lewiston High School, and currently calls the Lewiston- Auburn area home! His major goals are to grow professionally and increase his knowledge and awareness about the workforce. Some of his hobbies include soccer, basketball, and family time! Like all of our staff, Bashir is passionate about helping others and loves working with our little kids.
A CEDAR intern and Tree Street Alumni, Tiffany, returns to tree in a new role and capacity. Tiffany is great with kids and knows firsthand the work and mission of Tree Street! Tiffany is from Lewiston, Maine she is a recent graduate of Lewiston High School! Tiff is ecstatic to develop her professional skills in a place she is truly passionate to be in, and tells us she is most excited to be a new mom.