Foster Kinship is a nonprofit organization founded in December 2011 by Alison Caliendo. Ms. Caliendo has long been passionate about at-risk populations and family systems issues and opportunities.
In 2009 Alison moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and began working in mental health care for children in foster care. While working with the foster families, she discovered the high rate of kinship caregivers and the need for increased support and information made available to caregivers. Upon further research, she realized that an astonishing number of children in Clark County were being raised by relatives, both formally and informally. She founded Foster Kinship to provide much needed resources and peer-to-peer support for the dedicated individuals working tirelessly to raise their relative’s children, keeping these children both connected to family and safe from harm.
Alison holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Systems Renewal (OSR) from Seattle University, specializing in family systems and systemic trauma and healing, organizational consulting and group facilitation. She holds an HR Masters Certificate from Villinova University. She graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Chicago in 2004.
Board of Directors
The Foster Kinship Board of Directors for 2014-2015:
Julie Wilson, M.A., L.M.H.C.A. Vice President: Licensed mental health counselor in private practice. Masters of arts in psychotherapy from Seattle University. S.U.’s existential-phenomenological therapeutic psychology program combines academic rigor with practical experience. Undergraduate work (B.A.) at Washington State University in communications. Extensive work with at risk populations.
Alicia Hart, Treasurer: Married with two children, Alicia Hart is a 24 year resident of the Las Vegas valley, and has a combined 13 years of local banking and real estate experience. Currently working on her accounting degree, Ms. Hart enjoys working with numbers and the story that they tell. Ms. Hart has first-hand experience with kinship caregiving, and stands behind the mission of Foster Kinship, in hopes that adequate resources and information will reach those in need, who have so lovingly and graciously given of themselves to raise their relative’s children to the best of their ability.
Terry Caliendo, Secretary: Terry Caliendo graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He has been an internet entrepreneur for over 10 years, specializing in internet presence management as the owner and president of Dedicated Managers. He moved to Las Vegas for a multitude of reasons, with the foremost being the beautiful weather while spending time outdoors rock climbing at Red Rock Canyon. Caring deeply about Southern Nevada’s issues, especially when it comes to the lack of support and resources for children and their guardians who are providing kinship care, Terry wanted to help give back to the community and subsequently helped his wife form the charity, Foster Kinship which addresses those needs.
Martha O’Donnell, M.A., Director at Large: Marcie O’Donnell holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Wheaton College Conservatory with a piano performance concentration and voice minor, and a Master’s degree from Illinois Northern University in choral conducting. She worked twenty years in worship and music arts, and most recently at Experience Music Project in Seattle as Artistic Director of the EMP Youth Choir, developing a charter song-writing and performance program for middle- and high-school youth. She is a writer, and in addition to her fiction and non-fiction writing she completed a grant writing course at Antioch University, Seattle in 2011. She spent the first five months of her life in foster care, was raised in a loving adoptive home, and has strong passion and commitment to Foster Kinship’s mission of helping individuals raise their relative’s children, to help keep home in the family.
Tina Max: Founder of A Touch of Love and community outreach coordinator at The Las Vegas Center for Spiritual Living.
Stacy Peterson, M.S.W.: Social Worker with Angels Foster Care- Foster Care Specialist. Stacy specializes many areas of Child Welfare including: Clinical Social Work, Adoption, Foster Care, Diversity Training, Family Systems, Youth and Special Education. She also has experience working with and for non-profit organizations. Stacy graduated with her MSW from Loyola University. She received her BA from North Park University in 2004.
Stephanie Holquin: Stephanie is a graduate student in UNLV’s Master of Public Administration Program with an emphasis in Non-Profit Management. She has served as the Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling since 2009, responsible for coordinating the agency’s Community Outreach and Workforce Development programs. She has a Bachelor of Science in Human Services Counseling with Minors in Addiction Treatment and Gambling Counseling from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Jan Wagner: Jan is a kinship caregiver and national kinship advocate. She works extensively with organizations and agencies and is a recognized voice of kinship caregivers.
Tammie Blackwell: Tammie is a former Kinship Liaison at Clark County DFS and currently works as a caregiver champion. She is also a kinship caregiver.
Michele Howser, PhD: Michele has extensive experience in the non-profit sector in Las Vegas and teaches at University of Phoenix and CSN. Her doctorate thesis focused on the supports available to grandmother’s raising grandchildren.
Kristen Fox: Kristen is a devoted wife and mother of two who has extensive knowledge of the Las Vegas area. She and her husband are dedicated foster parents and to date have fostered eleven children. Passionate about supporting children and their families, Kristen is the driving force behind the Raising Hope program.
Interns and Volunteers
Napoleon Buenrostro: Vice President at Nevada Interpreters and Translators Association. Napoleon provides translation services for Foster Kinship.
Thanks to Sequoia Hart, our summer 2013-2014 community service volunteer!
We are looking for additional individuals to join us as interns, volunteers or to serve on our board and advisory board. If you have a passion for Las Vegas and our mission, please contact us today.