Patrick is the Executive Director of Words Alive, San Diego's leading community-based literacy organization. In this capacity, he provides vision and leadership to the staff, programs and community that serves the more than 5,000 children and families impacted by Words Alive on a monthly basis. Patrick earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from San Diego State University with distinction, and graduated from the Executive Non-Profit Management Program at Georgetown University’s School of Public Policy in Washington, DC. With a strong nonprofit background, Patrick has held leadership positions in arts, culture, community and development organizations in San Diego as well as Washington, DC.
Susan Arias, M.A.
Susan Arias joins the Words Alive family after 10 years in Orange County, CA working for the Boys and Girls Clubs. After receiving a B.A. in Spanish from Vanguard University and M.A. in applied linguistics from Biola University, Susan started her journey in nonprofit management and fundraising. Susan is excited to share her love of reading and help further the impact that Words Alive has on the San Diego Community.
Amanda Birmingham Bonds, M.A.
Amanda Bonds serves as Program Director at Words Alive, providing leadership for a portfolio of programs targeting children, youth, and parents including our Read Aloud Program, Family Literacy Program, and Teen Services Programs. Amanda also manages agency evaluation efforts and represents Words Alive on multiple literacy and education-focused community partnerships across the county, as well as the San Diego Council on Literacy, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Chair of Affiliate Programs. A 2014 Fellow of the San Diego Leadership Alliance, Amanda earned her master’s degree in literature from the University of California, San Diego prior to joining Words Alive in 2009. Believing in the power of learning, her teaching history includes college-level writing at UCSD, elementary age classrooms in Jamaica and summer programs at the San Antonio Zoo. Before moving west, Amanda served as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Keeping Austin Housed Coalition, providing advocacy and case management to homeless immigrant families in her native state of Texas.
Read Aloud Program Manager
As the Read Aloud Program Manager, Fran O'Callaghan is responsible for connecting students in preschool through 3rd grade with the joy and power of reading each week. Graduating with a B.A. in education & art from the University of Reading, Fran joins Words Alive having recently relocated from the UK. Fran has over 10 years experience managing and developing arts based education programs, including delivering a regional strategy for the Arts Council England to support the vision that; ‘every child and young person experience the richness of arts and culture.' The program incorporated developing training & support on specific program materials, facilitating networking groups, events, and continued professional development opportunities with participation from 350 schools and 235 arts and cultural organizations across the South West of England. She is thrilled to join Words Alive at such an exciting stage in its development!
Teen Services Program Manager
Jessica Fryman, Teen Services Program Manager, provides direction and leadership for the Adolescent Book Group and the Words Alive Westreich Scholarship Program. As a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer (2014-2016), Jessica trained teachers and developed literacy, leadership and college readiness programming for youth in the West African country of The Gambia. She also previously taught English as a Second Language in Santiago, Chile. Always passionate about people’s stories, Jessica started her career in the newsroom and earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism at the University of Nevada.
Vichittra Chaleune, M.A.
Associate Program Manager
Vichittra Chaleune is responsible for providing support to the Read Aloud and Family Literacy programs at Words Alive. Prior to Words Alive, Vichittra was an AmeriCorps Fellow at Voices for Children where she assisted with volunteer recruitment and outreach. Vichittra is a San Diego native and graduated from San Diego State University where she studied humanities. She continued her education in Vermont at the School for International Training where she earned her master’s degree in intercultural service, leadership and management.
Volunteer Program Manager
Christina Meeker is a San Diego native who began her career with Words Alive as a volunteer intern in 2012. One year later, she joined the staff as Administrative and Volunteer Coordinator. In her current role, she serves as the Volunteer Program Manager for the office and its many programs. She graduated class of 2013 from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Spanish. She is an active alumna, participating in campus events and in the training of new members to the professional business society Alpha Kappa Psi. Christina also serves as a council member to the Volunteer Administrators Network of San Diego.
Office & Communication Coordinator
Sara Mortensen is the Office & Communication Coordinator at Words Alive. She is native to San Diego and graduated from the University of California, San Diego with both a B.S. in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Neuroscience and a B.A. in Dance. Previously, Sara worked as a Research Assistant with the Veterans Medical Research Foundation on the QUICK Study, which aimed to quantify how the use of Electronic Health Records in clinical settings affects physician-patient communication. Sara is also the Volunteer Campaigns Department Manager for The Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit organization that works to create positive social change through the power of story. Sara is very passionate about reading and is excited to be working with the Words Alive team.
AmeriCorps VIP Fellow
Erin Rexin is a 2017-2018 AmeriCorps Fellow and the newest member of the Words Alive team. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology and a minor in Managerial Economics from the University of California, Davis. Most of Erin’s previous work and volunteer experience has revolved around wildlife conservation but her passion for reading and youth literacy has her excited to collaborate with Words Alive in the coming year.