EACH OF OUR DIRECTORS BRINGS DEEP EXPERIENCE IN HIS OR HER FIELD OF EXPERTISE AND STRONG PASSION FOR OUR MISSION.
Alissa Byrne is our Director of Program Services. She provided case management at our Transitional Living Program for multiple years and also has experience in grant reporting. She helped implement a HUD grant which transitioned into the STAR program and Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). Alissa graduated from UNM with a degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies.
Kari Walker has been working with Youth Shelters and Family Services since October 2019. She brings with her a lifetime of lived experience and a passion for helping youth see the hidden potential in themselves. She was Service Coordinator in the STAR Program’s Santa Fe office until August of 2020, when she became the Intake Coordinator for the agency. She was promoted as Program Manager of our Transitional Living Program on December 11, 2021, and since then has been working to revive the program in wake of the COVID pandemic.
I’m happy to say that I have been in the USA for over 50 years! Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, South America. I’m very proud of my heritage and culture. My family immigrated to the U.S. as most immigrants do for a better life in America and to accomplish dreams. My family certainly did, and I’m proud to have been here since I was 3 years old! I have lived in many states, I first arrived in New Jersey, and moved extensively around the states. I’m happy to say I also lived in Colombia nearly 5 years. I have 2 wonderful cultures, one Colombian and American, which I believe makes me well rounded in respecting all other cultures. I attended Miami-Dade College and moved to Colorado, where I graduated with a degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. In New Mexico, I attended Highlands University and acquired a Master’s degree for Mental Health Counseling. I believe that I was always meant to work in Public service, I realized this as young as 6 years old! I may have wanted this as my father was a practicing physician, so caring and helping others was in my DNA, I presume. I have dedicated my life in that respect. My philosophy in life is, If I can help one person, I have done my job. I have a beautiful son, Avi who lives in Los Angeles with his fiancé Jenny, they are expecting their first child, I’ll be a very proud grandma! I’m thrilled to have had all of these experiences in my life and become a part of making a difference working with youth at YES.
Badi Brigolin is the Director of the Supportive Transitions to Adulthood (STAR) Program and Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project with offices in Gallup, Rio Rancho, and Santa Fe. Badi was born in Italy and grew up in Croatia. He earned a Master’s degree in environmental science before turning his focus to ‘at risk’ youth. In 2015, he moved to Santa Fe with his wife and began working for the YSFS ACCESS program. When that program ended Badi managed a restaurant, became a licensed real estate agent, and ran a childcare program. In 2018, Badi returned to YSFS as a Service Coordinator and upon launch of the Northern New Mexico YHDP in 2019 became Program Director.
Paige Kitson joined Youth Shelters and Family Services in December 2015 as our Street Outreach Program Director, overseeing the drop-in resource center and streets-based outreach team. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Education and Leadership from Sterling College in Vermont and is a 2019 graduate of Leadership Santa Fe. She brings nearly 15 years of social services experience to her role, including positions at St. Elizabeth’s Shelter and Supportive Housing, Interfaith Community Shelter at Pete’s Place, and La Familia’s Health Care for the Homeless.