Livia Christensen joined Y.E.S. as the Executive Director in January 2022. For over a decade, Livia has been an advocate for youth, families, and programs that promote positive development opportunities for youth; especially those with limited support networks or barriers to access.
When she first moved to the Gorge in 2009, Livia started working with The Next Door, first as a volunteer and eventually becoming part of the leadership team, overseeing the Youth Programs Department. Programs included mentoring, culturally specific outreach, transitional housing, life skills, and youth employment. She was thrilled to promote recreational components to programming for at-risk and underserved youth, including snowboarding, outdoor camps, hiking groups, and beach trips. Many youth had never had the opportunity to explore the places around them and through this work she developed a passion for creating programs that improve connections to peers, positive role models, the environment, and their community in a trauma informed way. Livia also found great enjoyment in managing staff and teams, creating inclusive and responsive services, grant writing, working with community partners, and understanding more of the administrative structures that support healthy and thriving non-profits.
Livia has a B.A. in Psychology from Portland State University as well as certifications as a family counselor, Triple P Parenting Facilitator, Safe Care Facilitator, and Adoption and Foster Family Therapy. She has been a family counselor, program manager, treatment specialist, events supervisor, mentor, foster parent, soccer coach, snowboarding instructor, and board member. When not working, she loves going on adventures with her family, gardening, riding her bike, hiking with her dogs, crafting and cooking.
It is through her past work with teens in foster care, that she first became interested in helping develop solutions for houseless youth. She saw the challenges that these youth faced in finding their way to independence as well as the positive impact that the right supports could have in reaching better outcomes. She was one of the founding board members of The Youth Empowerment Shelter in 2014 and is honored to return to the organization in this new role.