Board Member Recruitment
Fairbanks Youth Advocates is currently seeking to expand our board with passionate and skilled individuals who share the desire to help the homeless, runaway and at-risk youth in the Interior Alaska Community. Specifically we are seeking individuals who have experience in: legal matters, business leadership, graphic design and website management, or fundraising. Please read through the documents below and send your application to Marylee@fairbanksyouthadvocates.org.
Fairbanks Youth Advocates Governance Board
- Patrick J Endres: President
- Dave Miller: Interim Vice President
- Heidi Bryan: Secretary
- Tami Manning
- Sarah Finnell
- Meryem Kugzruk (youth representative) on sabbatical
Patrick J Endres
Business owner: AlaskaPhotoGraphics
B.A. Theology; minor: Family & Counseling
I came to Fairbanks from Wisconsin in 1981 to attend the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. I’ve been here ever since, and have my home and business in the Fairbanks community. My choice to serve on the FYA board lies in the simple fact that I’m drawn to help young people, particularly those who for reasons often beyond their control, end up in difficult circumstances. I believe that older generations need to look back on younger ones with shrewd eyes and understanding, and where possible, help mediate them out of troubled pathways. I believe in the power of human presence, and creating an infrastructure to make positive connections happen in practical and meaningful ways can offer hope and help for at risk youth. I want to be part of that process, in particular in my community.
My academic degrees include a BA in Theology and a minor in family and counseling. My vocational experience includes creating a business in the visual arts, with a focus on free lance photography. Coupled with years of keen observation of life and society, my academic and work experience provide a skill set in the business and social spheres helpful for seeing the big picture of a non-profit entity.
Elementary Education Teacher
My participation in Fairbanks Youth Advocates can be traced back to my experiences growing up in a privileged environment, while recognizing the copious amounts of suffering throughout the world. At a young age I decided that I needed to spend my time trying to balance the inequalities of the world. In college, I studied abroad in South Africa and learned about the struggles and social justice programs there. I considered putting my efforts into global change, but decided I needed to return home to the United States where I could work within our country’s system to hopefully bring about change at a local level.
After graduating with a degree in Theater, I worked with at-risk youth in Seattle as an AmeriCorps volunteer. A year later, I moved to Fairbanks and soon was hired to run a Federally funded Street Outreach Program for homeless and at-risk youth. Throughout my years as the coordinator of that outreach program, I also worked as an HIV prevention educator, served as the financial officer at the Arctic Alliance for People, and directed a play about the lives of homeless teens in Fairbanks. After only 5 years in the social work field, I decided to pursue a slightly different career in Elementary Education (where not every youth I met would be in crisis). I am still passionate about this important social issue and want to stay connected and involved, using my past experiences to continue to support at-risk and homeless teens at a different level than I previously did. My involvement in Fairbanks Youth Advocates was a natural choice in rekindling my involvement with homeless youth advocacy.
Dave B. Miller
Homebuilder: Business Owner
I moved with my wife Laurie to Alaska in 1980. We lived in Delta Junction for the first 15 years we were in Alaska and raised our four children in a rural, conservative Christian community environment. We moved into Fairbanks in 1999 and consider Fairbanks to be our town. I had a transforming moment around the time we moved to Fairbanks. I found myself spending a lot of time in the visiting area of the mental health floor at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. I saw a lot of kids that were in really bad shape. My previous state of mind was to be judgmental and self-righteous towards kids with piercings and tattoos and obvious behavioral issues. After seeing some of these kids in a different environment, with a better understanding of why they were acting out and mistreating themselves and others I realized that God’s love for each of them was not one bit less than his love for me. This attitude change caused me to look for avenues to serve my town in a way that would help the less fortunate and not judge them.
When I had the opportunity to help with the S.O.A.P. kitchen remodel, I found out about F.Y.A. and their mission. I believe it is the perfect opportunity for me to let my light shine, to bring some energy and experience as a builder and businessman to assist F.Y.A. both as a board member and as a hands on helper on projects we become involved with. Laurie and I are about to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary and around the same time welcome our third grandchild into Fairbanks. I believe that our actions speak louder than our words and I am appreciative and honored to serve on the F.Y.A. board.
Admin and Marketing Assistant: Bettisworth North Architects and Planners
B.A Business Administration/Marketing
I learned about The Door through a friend that works there. Once I learned your mission and how you help the youth of Fairbanks, I decided to see how I could get involved. Growing up in a strong Christian home here in Fairbanks emphasized the need for this kind of work in the community. In college I saw this need on an even wider scale. Now that I’ve graduated college and have a steady job I have more time to volunteer for this type of work.
I chose to apply to the board because I felt it was the best fit for my skills, and I have a passion to help the youth of the Fairbanks community. I hope to use what I have learned from my marketing degree to let others know about Fairbanks Youth Advocates and how they can help.
I was born and raised in Fairbanks, the youngest of five. My parents were hard working, church going, homesteaders. My husband and I raised four amazing children in this town. I have always been involved with kids and youth through Sunday-school, camps, nieces and nephews, homeschoolers, outreach groups, or schools. This fall I’m going on my 10th year of working for the school district, tutoring kids K-8.
I went to church for many years, focusing inward. I want to be a part of loving people outside the church and am glad to have the chance to do that here with FYA. Two people close to me have lived on the streets of Fairbanks in their youth. I’ve seen this need for a safe, peaceful place for youth to get on track to be a responsible, contributing adult. Life is hard, joyful, painful, messy and wonderful. We all need help at different times. I am honored to be a part of this vision.
Meryem Kugzruk (on Sabbatical)
I have lived in Fairbanks all my life, and to me this is home. I chose to serve on the board because I have compassion for young people, especially those who don’t have a place they can call home like I do. My dad grew up in an alcoholic and abusive environment in bush Alaska. Through the guidance and wisdom of mentors, he was healed from most of his emotional wounds, and learned how to provide a loving place for his own family. I know I am blessed to be where I am today, and that I should not take my own life for granted. So for me, this is one way I hope to bless others, and help those my age see that they are loved.
Right now I am a senior at West Valley High School, where I am a freshman mentor and lead Christ Centered Youth, a Christian club at West Valley. I desire to use these positions to help advocate for at risk youth in our community, some of which even attend my own school. I believe that unity is important to effectively create change, which is why I want to be a part of a group that is united in helping provide homeless youth council and shelter.