Meet Our team
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Bridget Alexander has been Executive Director since inception. She holds a teaching credential and 20 years experience supporting youth as they overcome homelessness and trauma. Prior to founding Waking the Village, Bridget worked as a teacher for 7 years, including 4 years teaching gang affiliated youth in a high school where her service learning courses won district awards. As Executive Director, Bridget authored and oversaw a range of grants that secured program funding. She co-designed all Tubman’s programs and trains staff. She leads outreach and creates alliances with providers in Sacramento. Bridget participated in CompassPoint’s Leadership Development Program for Executives Serving Transition-Age Youth and has been a planner for the Transition Age Youth Conference for the last 5 years. Bridget has also designed and led intensive trainings for Early Childhood Educators on the impact of trauma and the implications of brain biology on learning.
Co-Founder & Program Director
Blithe Raines is the co-founder and Program Director. She holds a BS in Community Development with an Education emphasis. She has 18 years experience teaching children and youth overcoming homelessness, including 4 years as a teacher at Mustard Seed School for Homeless Children. Blithe oversees and trains staff, provides aftercare, advises births as a labor coach, and teams with Bridget for continual program planning. Blithe ensures continuity in Tubman’s youth development approach through mentoring of staff. She also manages the Art Beast program, training Art Beast supervisors to effectively scaffold employment skills in Tubman clients as well as providing aftercare to Tubman clients that work at or visit Art Beast. In 2015, Blithe transitioned into the directorship of Artenia Beast’s Academy of Play and Whimsy, a child development center. She will always be a strong voice in setting Tubman’s course.
Lead House Director & Operations Manager
Mazelle Lolmaugh is the House Director Team Lead at Waking the Village. House Directors are responsible for partnering with youth to build a warm home culture that nurtures all those living there through traditions, rhythms, and the development of communicative, responsive relationships. They are a key presence in the evenings, ensuring family rhythms and community wellness are maintained. Mazelle has 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector with an emphasis in Youth Development. She has been a House Director for Tubman House since 2005, living on-site, in community with residents and their children. Mazelle also manages the waitlist and other administrative tasks for Waking the Village as needed.
House Director, Infant & Toddler Teacher for Art Beast Child Development Center
Latisha Simms joined Waking the Village in 2009 and brings almost ten years of experience as a House Director. In addition to helping families maintain healthy evening rhythms within the house, Latisha gives residents the opportunity to experience a supportive and nurturing home environment. As an infant and toddler teacher, Latisha draws upon her parenting expertise to care for the hearts and minds of Sacramento’s youngsters.
Youth Development Director
Maggie Gomez is a Youth Development Director at Waking the Village where she stands by young parents as they overcome homelessness and claim meaningful futures. In this work, Maggie is on college campuses, in hospital birth rooms, in courtrooms, and on rafting trips supporting residents in new experiences. She helms morning meetings, parenting classes, and leadership sessions to guide residents as they govern their communities and deepen understandings of the issues underneath homelessness. A graduate of Tubman House, Maggie helped launch and staff Tubman’s on-site child development center while a Tubman resident. Maggie is also mother to two children and brings the wisdom earned in her own experiences of parenting and overcoming homelessness.
The Creation District Director
Grace Loescher currently serves as the founding Director of the Creation District. Within this role, Grace brings unbridled energy and passion for the healing power of art and social justice. Her work includes leading a group of youth on their first trip out of the country to participate in a service project building homes for the homeless in Mexico, giving homeless youth a platform to self-advocate by coordinating the Sacramento Youth Council, and connecting Waking the Village’s graduates and residents to improvisation, spoken word, and dramatic performance to tell both their individual stories and the larger stories of the social injustices they have overcome in their journey. Grace is a graduate of Rollins College in Florida with a major in Studio Art and a minor in Theatre Arts. As an artist, she has exhibited works of experiential art, sculpture, and installation. She also works as a practicing artist in the Sacramento community, producing shows, performing at local venues, and creating space for other artists to collaborate and share their work. Grace profoundly believes that creativity is the most important element in discovering who you are, and that all young people should be given opportunities to grow and foster a healthy creative spirit.
Youth Development Director
Cesca Wolos-Fonteno is serving Waking the Village as a volunteer through Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Cesca supports 7 youths across Tubman House, Audre's Emporium of New Tomorrows, and The Doorway. As a coach, she connects youth to resources and accompanies them through the relentlessly challenging days. In addition to individual coaching, Cesca leads community meetings that promote life skills, holistic wellness, and individual reflection on justice and identity. Cesca is a deep believer in discovering art and social justice as a means of community empowerment and personal liberation. Cesca graduated from Fordham University with a degree in Lighting Design.
Prevention and Intervention Specialist
Shelly Hubertus began serving Waking the Village in August of 2016 as a volunteer through the Jesuit Volunteers Corps (JVC). After completing her year of service as a JVC volunteer, Shelly continued working at Waking the Village as a Youth Development Coach, supporting youth in the Doorway Program and Audre’s Emporium of New Tomorrows. Currently Shelly works as the Prevention and Intervention Specialist, connecting youth to resources, fostering their familial and community support network, developing strategies and actively working to reduce Youth Homelessness in all of Sacramento. She loves helping her coachees feel empowered to work towards their goals during a difficult and transitory time in their lives, and connect/reconnect to supports that will help them be successful long-term. She firmly believes in the healing power of community and relationships, and feels privileged to elevate youth voices and work towards eradicating youth homelessness in Sacramento. Shelly graduated from Texas A&M University with a major in Communication and minors in Psychology and Spanish.
Youth Development Director
Jess Nunes is one of the Youth Development Directors at Waking The Village and feels fortunate to be actively supporting queer youth in Audre’s Emporium of New Tomorrows. Jess is strongly committed to giving all individuals the opportunity to improve their lives and passionately believes in the strength of fostering relationships. Jess’s undergraduate and graduate degrees in Women’s Studies & Gender Equity Studies gives her a critical lens through which to support our LGBTQ youth. She brings an intensity of passion and practicality that shapes the WTV community. As an active member in the local queer community, Jess is creating an inclusive community project called Awake Cafe & Community Space. She makes a mean vegan cauliflower ceviche and loves to hang out with her friends.