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Sam Skillern is the executive director of the Salem Leadership Foundation, a faith-based community-impact organization that was founded in 1996. SLF is known for its work building bridges between the faith community and the community at large, especially schools, government, business, the human services and law enforcement. SLF is also active working across the denominations and between different religions, helping people-of-faith practice the Sacred Art of Servanthood in service to others.
SLF is a strong partner in the Churches as Neighborhood (CaN) Centers Collaborative, Community Partnership Teams (CPTs), Fostering Hope/Safe Families, Salem Warming Network, Church@the Park, Isaac’s Room/IKE Box, Family Promise/Interfaith Hospitality Network, and the GRASSP Soccer Network, among many other initiatives.
Sam is a Salem son who graduated from South High (1977) and Oregon State (1982) before heading to Seattle for a 14-year career in consulting and community-building ministry. Sam and his family live in a historic 1916 Craftsman home and worship (Salem Alliance Church) in the Grant neighborhood of north-central Salem, which is also the location of SLF’s offices.
Sam serves on the Marion County Children & Families Commission and co-chairs both the Grant Neighborhood Association and the North Neighborhoods-N2 Community Progress Team (CPT). In March 2005, Sam was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the Salem Chamber of Commerce and City officials.
One of the best decisions in my life was marrying my wonderful wife Nicole. We have 5 amazing kids; Isabel, Araya Hope, Simeon, Samuel, and Marcelino. Nicole and I moved to Salem in 1997 to live close to her family, but we moved to West Salem in 2003. I started working with Salem Leadership Foundation in August of 2018 as a West Salem Lightning Rod, with a focus on the Straub Middle school area.
Some projects and partnerships I am a part of are: Edgewater Partnership, West Salem CaN Centers, Grass Roots After School Soccer Program (GRASSP), Street Psalm.
Education: B.Min, Crown College (Reach Training Institute)
Proud father of two adventurous kids (Riley and Logan), three amazing step-kids (Tyler, Zachary, and Kylie) and husband to a great wife (Melissa). Having spent most of my life in the Willamette Valley, I moved back to Salem in 2004 as part of a church-planting team in South Salem, and then moved to the Edgewater District of West Salem in 2008 to pastor Soma Church. I started working at Salem Leadership Foundation as West Salem Lightning Rod in 2015. Here’s a snapshot of the People, Projects, and Partnerships I’m currently involved with on a daily, weekly, and seasonal basis through SLF:
Jennifer is the coordinator of SLF’s Community Partnership Team (CPT) collaborative, which includes CPTs in east (CaPES), west (Edgewater Partnership), north (North Neighborhoods), south (South Salem Connect) and Keizer (Keizer United). Her background is in Christian Education (youth) and she has served for years in her church, Calvary Chapel Salem. She and her family are longtime Keizer residents and members of the Salem Academy academic and sports community.
I am proud to serve those in and around the Salem-Keizer area as the North Salem Lightning Rod. Although I am originally from Philadelphia, PA (cue the Fresh Prince theme song) I have lived in Oregon since graduating from Ithaca College. Serving the North Salem area allows me to work with the Northeast Neighbors Neighborhood Association, volunteer at Auburn and Parrish schools, visit my friends inside at Oregon State Penitentiary, as well as assist churches like Salem tabernacle and First Presbyterian Church of Salem, among others that love their neighbors and neighborhood.
My passion burns for youth and those affected by incarceration so I volunteer with WyldLife and help to gather a table of leaders who loves those affected by incarceration in Salem. I also engage in many conversations around social justice and equity. I attend Salem Alliance Church and seek to grow in and share perspectives of abundance, practice, peacemaking, and freedom.
“Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem.” – Lauryn Hill
Husband to Marsha Boes for 51 years. We have four adult children and eight grandchildren. I’ve been a Salem Leadership Foundation Lighting Rod Associate since 2007.
I enjoy serving Salem and Polk County in the following ways:
• Co-Chaired West Salem Neighborhood Association
• Received Salem’s Vern Miller Award
• Co-Chair of Community Homeless Connect in Salem, OR
• Founded and Co-Chaired Polk Community Connect in Dallas, OR
• Served on and Chaired Polk County Commission of Children and Families board
• Serving on Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency Exec. Board
• Served on Salem Net pastors fellowship Leadership Team
• Served as Salem Dream Center Board Chair
• Chaired Emergency Food and Shelter Board for Marion and Polk County
Other background information about me:
• West Salem Resident since 1992
• Pastor from 1983 – 2006 in Portland and Salem
• Diesel Technician 1968 – 1982
• Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion with a minor in Greek language
• Master of Divinity Degree
Born and raised in Salem, OR, Zyanya graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a degree in International Development and Non-Profit Management. She graduated in 2019 with a Master degree in International Development from Brandeis University in Boston, MA. Zyanya has lived and worked in Mexico, Argentina, France and most recently, Tanzania.
Zyanya first joined the SLF team in the fall of 2016 as the Community Partnership Team (CPT) Coordinator. In the spring of 2018 she served as the Interim CaN Centers Coordinator. In the spring of 2019 Zyanya moved back to Salem and is now a proud resident of East Salem and excited to serve as the East Salem Lightning Rod!
I moved back to the United States in June 2018 after living / working in Jakarta, Indonesia as a teacher and school administrator for 18 years. I was born and raised in New Jersey and spent a bit of time in Oklahoma to attend University and to begin my teaching career. Although family are still living in Oklahoma, I’ve followed God’s leading to Salem because of connections with friends… and for the mountains, lakes, rivers, trees and BEAUTY of the PNW!
While visiting the States in March 2018, I was introduced to Salem Leadership Foundation as I helped serve at the Community Homeless Connect. I was drawn to the vision and mission of SLF… such a big purpose, big heart and great work!
What a privilege it is to now work as SLF’s CaN Coordinator and to serve alongside the AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL SOULS of the SLF staff, the many churches and community members as we endeavor to bring health, healing and hope to the children, families and neighborhoods of Salem- Keizer!
Carrie Maheu just recently retired from active duty with SLF after 11 amazing years as one of our original Lightning Rods (field staff) … but she is still very involved in neighborhood initiatives through her church and as an SLF Ambassador.
In 1976 Carrie moved to Salem where she met and married her husband Michael. Their daughter Katie attended school in Salem and graduated from McKay High in 1995. They have attended the Salem First Free Methodist Church for 22 years where she serves as the CaN Center Director supervising free after school programming – with a focus on Neighborhood Outreach.
Carrie enjoys being a part of the Community her past and current affiliations are: McKay Area Coalition for Student Success (MACCS), CaPES/McKay CPT, No Meth/Yes Foster Care Campaign, Reading for All Initiative, Fostering Hope Initiative, Coordinator of the East Salem Community Dinner, Friends of La Casita and Community and Partners of East Salem (CaPES) Treasurer. During her previous career in retail management she served as a Softline Manager, Corporate College Recruiter, Administrative Assistant and Regional Competition Price Coordinator.
Her favorite thing to do is babysit her grandson.
Texas Native, who moved to Salem in 2008. Graduated from Corban University in 2011. Husband to Kristine Herring since 2011. Has three sons, James Dean, Jordan Kent, and Jackson Cole. Attends and serves at the Salem First Free Methodist Church. On staff with SLF as full time Lightning Rod since 2015. My favorite part of the neighborhood is smelling the fresh baked bread as I ride my bike past Miranda Bros Bakery on Lancaster.
Serves the McKay Area:
• After School Programs at Salem First Free Methodist Church.
• Partners and Coaches for Grass Roots After School Soccer Program, GRASSP.
• Co-Chairs Communities and Partners of East Salem, CaPES.
• Parks Co-Chair for North Lancaster Neighborhood Association.
• Younglife McKay Adult Support Team
• Younglives childcare volunteer
• Interfaith Hospitality Network Coordinator for Salem First Free Methodist Church
• Community of Gardeners Coordinator at Brown Rd Park
• Supports the McKay Area CaN Centers: Salem First Free Methodist, Calvary Chapel Salem, New Hope Foursquare, Holy Cross Lutheran, Grace Community, New Harvest.
First and foremost, I get to be Aaron’s wife. We have two boys, Andrew & Jonathan, and they don’t fall far from our tree: they love reading, music, adventures and laughter. I originally came to Salem (from Kauai, HI then Pacific City, OR) to study and play at Willamette… and I haven’t left this great city! My undergraduate and graduate degrees are in Exercise Science and teaching, and while I use them seldomly, the Willamette experience has been invaluable. I held a teaching position at Stephens Middle School (2003) for 10 wonderful years before I “retired” to do youth ministry and media work at Calvary Chapel Salem (2013). From there, I transitioned to Salem Leadership Foundation (2017). My work as CaN Centers Coordinator at SLF is continually widening my view of this incredible city, the churches and brothers & sisters that serve it, and the one true God who loves everyone.
While I have been here at SLF, I finally heard what God wants me to do and that’s to become a middle school math teacher here in Salem Oregon! I have completed my Associates at Chemeketa CC this year, June 2017. This fall, I will be an AmeriCorps member stationed at the Boys and Girls Club of Salem on Summer Street for 2017-18. After that I will be attending Western Oregon University to obtain my teaching degree. Did I forget to mention I’m getting married this August 2017 to Danny Navarro? It’s been seven years and we are ready! I’m sure you will still see me around to volunteer and help SLF just as they have helped me. 🙂
I was born and raised in Seattle Washington. I grew up in the Richmond Beach neighborhood, North of Seattle. I have a Bachelor of Science in Clothing and Textiles from Seattle Pacific University and an Associate of Arts and Science from State University of New York/Fashion Institute of Technology in Advertising and Journalism.
Sam and I moved to Salem in 1996, answering God’s calling for Sam to be the Executive Director of the Salem Leadership Foundation. Sam and I have been married for almost 30 years. We have two college age sons, Samuel Charles IV, & Andrew McLean.
We currently worship at Salem Alliance Church and live in a 100 year old home in the Grant Neighborhood.
We are passionate about neighborhoods, advocating for the underserved, servanthood and old house restorations.
I have been on staff at SLF since June of 2015.
Married to Jerry Dolar, and we have two young adult children (Josh & Laura). Originally from Montana, but have lived in Salem since 1992. I live in the South Gateway Neighborhood, our kids attended schools at Sumpter, Judson and Sprague. I worked as Parish Administrator at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in South Salem for 12 years. I volunteer with Interfaith Hospitality Network, Battlecreek Elementary, and SKIT theatre. Enjoy playing the piano, hiking, family reunions, and OSU sports!
Husband to Gabrielle (Gabi) for 16 years with two children (Kaden and Clara). I moved to Salem in 2003 to pastor and pursue my masters degree through George Fox Evangelical Seminary. I founded the Salem Missional Community Network; which has planted, coached and cultivated a dozen unique disciple-making churches in the past 10 years. I started working at the Salem Leadership Foundation as the South Area Lightning Rod in 2008. Here is a snapshot of the People, Projects, and Partnerships I am currently involved with on a daily, weekly, and seasonal basis through SLF:
• Chair of South Salem Connect (SSC) a Community Partnership Team (CPT) increasing neighbor livability through partnerships, one time projects and weekly programs.
• Team leader at Leslie Middle School and monthly events coordinator for Salem area Wyldlife.
• Founder and leader of the Salem Missional Community Network seeking out the broken and marginalized through forming families of missionary servants.
• President of the Co-Active Connections Board supporting its work to educate and advocate to promote awareness of the poverty experience.
• Poverty awareness coach and volunteer trainer for Community Connect, Salem Warming Center, and the annual Homeless Count.
• 10 year board member with Isaac’s Room supporting their work to help divested youth rise to the challenges of life through the IKE Box, IKE Quest and IKE House.
• Providing clubs and recruiting instructors for the After School Program at Leslie Middle School
• Champion for the Church @the Park & Room in the Inn efforts
• Supporting the South/Sprague CaN Centers: Emmaus Community Church, Capital Park Weslyan, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Trinity Covenant Church, Morningside United Methodist Church, and Gateway Foursquare Church.