Staff Highlight: Bicultural/Bilingual Program Assistant Yazbeth Acosta
Originally from Mexico, Yazbeth has been living in the PNW for 19 years and calls this home. Her philosophy on life shines through in all she does: to help others with one hand and help yourself with your other one. Yaz’s help to others in the Portland area has included delivering meals to seniors through Meals on Wheels, assisting in classrooms with Portland Public Schools, delivering meals to homeless camps with Rahab’s Sisters, and then volunteering as a UNP mentor to Angaleena since summer 2021. UNP is thrilled to have been able to hire Yaz on part-time to assist all of our many immigrant families from Mexico and Central America!
In her free time, Yazbeth of course enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, mountaineering, camping, snowshoeing, and nature photography. She loves sharing the outdoors and her knowledge of healthy living with others, and believes it is vital that all people have the resources and education to safely enjoy the outdoors and to take control of their own health and well-being.
Staff Highlight: Development Coordinator Aisha Ali
Aisha is currently a graduate student at Portland State University studying Technical and Professional Writing. As a first generation Somali-American, she is especially passionate about working with immigrant and refugee youth and helping to create an atmosphere where they feel safe and supported. In the past, Aisha has done volunteer work for local organizations including Meals on Wheels, Daughters of Eve, and the Portland Refugee Support Group. She has been with UNP-PDX as a Development Coordinator since April 2021, focusing primarily on grant writing. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and cross-stitching.
Founder/Director: Kristin Bowling
Kristin served as a ranger and peer leader in interpretation and education in the National Park Service for 15 years, and finished a Master’s degree in education at Portland State in 2012. After many years of living in rural areas around the Pacific Northwest, she fell in love with Portland’s wildland-urban interface. Her work coordinating after school programming at a SUN School and leading a Teen Naturalist Team for Portland Parks and Rec got her thinking about how to better connect youth from historically marginalized communities with our amazing urban greenspaces, and she began efforts to found UNP-PDX in fall 2013.
Kristin’s experiences serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, mentoring and instructing students at Portland State and Saturday Academy, and serving on the Board of the Association of National Park Rangers have all informed her passion for connecting social justice and environmental issues. She spends her spare time kayaking, hiking, and playing in the snow in and around Portland; engaging in additional advocacy work around prison and policing justice; cooking up a feast from her garden plot; and running wild with her revolutionary pup Ché.