Meet the Words Alive Team
Patrick is the Executive Director of Words Alive. 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 education-focused community partnerships across the county, such as the Diamond Education Excellent Partnership, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors as chair of the 0-5 Working Group. 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.
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 programming in literacy, leadership, and college readiness 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.
Read Aloud Program Manager
Vichittra Chaleune is responsible for developing, implementing and coordinating the Words Alive Read Aloud Program. Prior to Words Alive, Vichittra was an AmeriCorps VIP Fellow at Voices for Children where she supported the volunteer management office. She is a San Diego State University alumna and continued her education in Vermont at the School for International Training where she earned her master’s degree in Service, Leadership and Management with an emphasis in Conflict Resolution. Her interest in cultural diversity inspired her to work with refugees in City Heights and complete her practicum with the International Rescue Committee. As a result, she wrote her capstone paper titled, Conflict Resolution Through the Study of Food where she identified food as a commonality shared among individuals and a potential bridge towards peacebuilding. Vichittra is a San Diego native and continues to be passionate about making positive impacts in her community.
Christina Meeker, CVA
Volunteer Program Manager
Christina Meeker is a nonprofit professional with specialty in volunteer management and organizational engagement. In January of 2019, she celebrated five years with Words Alive, and currently oversees the volunteer program and corporate engagement for Words Alive. Christina serves as a council member to the Volunteer Administrators Network of San Diego, in partnership with Nonprofit Management Solutions. She is a San Diego native who enjoys snorkeling, hiking, and being outdoors with her dog. She practices and teaches yoga, and is a dancer with Shock Army, an adult hip-hop troupe at Culture Shock Dance Center. Christina has a BA in Communication Studies and Spanish from the University of San Diego.
Sara 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. Currently, Sara oversees Words Alive’s communications strategy and campaigns, as well as manages the development of curriculum guides for the Adolescent Book Group. Sara is also the Volunteer Campaigns Manager for The Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit organization that works to engage people in social change through the power of popular stories. Sara is very passionate about reading and is excited to be working with the Words Alive team.
AmeriCorps VIP Fellow
Jonathan Camitan is Words Alive’s 2018-2019 AmeriCorps Fellow. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to serving with AmeriCorps, he worked as a legal assistant at De Castro P.C and as administrative assistant at the Philippine Consulate of San Diego. Jonathan’s passion for reading has him excited to work with Words Alive this year.
Administrative & Database Coordinator
William Carleton is a San Diego native who grew up with a love of books and reading. This interest lead him to graduate from the University of San Diego in 2015 with a Bachelors Degree in English. Looking to start a career which helped others, William became involved with several local nonprofits after graduation, including Words Alive. After interning with Words Alive, William is excited to join the team as an Administrative and Database Coordinator.