Regional Director, Social Services, West
Sierra Molton is KIND’s Regional Director, Social Services, West. Prior to joining KIND in January of 2022, Sierra spent 20 years serving unaccompanied refugee and immigrant minors as both a Social Worker and then Clinical Program Manager with Refugees NW Foster Care, a program of Lutheran Community Services. Sierra is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). She received her Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Washington and her undergraduate degree from Pacific Lutheran University in Psychology and Spanish. Sierra began her career as a social worker in northern Chile, where she lived for 2 ½ years while volunteering in a group home through Jesuit Volunteers International. Sierra is honored to work for KIND and is committed to supporting the growth and success of the social services team to promote the rights and well-being of all unaccompanied children. Sierra currently resides in Seattle with her husband and twin daughters.
Jessica Castellanos rejoined KIND in January 2021 as the Managing Attorney of the Seattle field office. She has worked as a removal defense attorney in detained and non-detained contexts and was previously a Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney in KIND’s Los Angeles field office. Most recently, Jessica was a Staff Attorney and Clinical Supervisor at the East Bay Community Law Center where she had multiple roles, including serving as the lead attorney for UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student Program, clinical legal educator for UC Berkeley law students, and removal defense attorney. Jessica began practicing immigration law as a Staff Attorney with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Arizona. Over the course of her career, Jessica has represented unaccompanied children, adjudicated complex and highly sensitive fear-based protection claims as an asylum officer, mentored pro bono attorneys, provided legal assistance to detained immigrants in some of the most remote settings, and managed high-volume caseloads on the detained and non-detained dockets. She is excited to return to KIND to support an exceptional team of advocates in advancing and defending the due process rights of children navigating our complex immigration system. Jessica received her B.A. from UC Berkeley, where she majored in Sociology, and her J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law, where she was the co-founder of Hastings Students for Immigrants’ Rights. Jessica was the recipient of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award for her participation in the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic. She is licensed to practice law in California.
Nancy has supported the Seattle office as the Supervising Attorney of the Detained Program since November 2021. Prior to joining KIND, she was an Associate Attorney at the University of San Francisco School of Law’s Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic where she represented families and unaccompanied children in immigration court, the asylum office, and state courts. Nancy has also advocated for immigrants, low-wage workers, and farmworkers at various nonprofits, government agencies and in private practice. In law school, she participated in the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, was Co-Chair of La Raza Law Students Association, was an active member of the Hastings Students for Immigrants’ Rights, was part of the Social Justice Lawyering Concentration, and a Senior Articles Editor of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal. In the last few years, Nancy has volunteered several times in Mexico helping asylum seekers in transit or stuck in refugee camps in border towns. Those experiences have strengthened her passion for serving this vulnerable population. Nancy received her BA from UC Berkeley and JD from UC Hastings College of the Law. She is admitted to practice law in California. Nancy is a native Spanish speaker who grew up in El Salvador. Working with a majority of Central American children is very near and dear to her heart.
Elizabeth Baldwin joined the KIND Seattle office on an interim basis in January of 2020 and became a Senior Attorney and the Microsoft Coordinator in October of 2020. As a student at Seattle University School of Law, Elizabeth served on the editorial board of the law review and worked for two years as a Legal Advocate at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. She also externed at the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington. Following graduation in 2004, Elizabeth served for nearly two years as a judicial law clerk at the Washington State Court of Appeals. Later, she coordinated the Children's Legal Rights Program at Volunteer Advocates for Immigrant Justice (KIND’s predecessor organization), where she supported pro bono attorneys serving UACs in detention. Elizabeth then worked for nearly 11 years at the University of Washington School of Law, serving first as the legal writing advisor in the Legal Education Support Program—Afghanistan (LESPA); then as a Lecturer teaching advanced courses in legal research and writing across law school programs; and finally, as the Associate Director of the Master of Jurisprudence program. Notably, before becoming a lawyer, Elizabeth spent many years teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, including immigrant youth at a publicly funded, alternative middle and high school program. She also earned an M.A. in Applied Linguistics at Teachers College, Columbia University. Elizabeth is glad to be back working with UACs and mentoring pro bono teams on their cases.
Yohana supports the Seattle office as Senior Attorney of the Expanded Seattle-King County Immigrant Legal Defense Network team. Yohana joined KIND in 2017, after initially volunteering with KIND’s Newark office and went on to serve as a Microsoft Fellow, Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, and Staff Attorney. In 2021, Yohana also supported the work of KIND’s European Initiative as a consultant. Before joining KIND, Yohana’s advocacy led her to work with such organizations as the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project, Centro Legal de la Raza, and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Los Angeles (CHIRLA). Yohana received her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and holds an M.A. in Francophone Studies from UCLA and a B.A. in French from the University of Kentucky. She is fluent in Spanish and French.
Bio coming soon.
Giselle is a Staff Attorney in KIND’s Seattle office working with the City of Seattle and King County’s Expanded Legal Defense Network. She graduated with her J.D. from Vermont Law School and received her B.A. from Norwich University. During law school, she interned with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the Vermont Defender General’s Office, and participated in her school’s immigration clinic. Prior to working at KIND, Giselle worked in private practice as a family law attorney who focused on juvenile cases.
Kelsey is a Senior Attorney at KIND’s Seattle office where she works with detained youth in Washington. Kelsey joined KIND in September 2018. She received her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law. During law school, she interned with the Northwest Justice Project Farmworker Justice program, participated in the International Human Rights Clinic, and worked for a private immigration attorney. Prior to law school, Kelsey worked in the U.S. refugee admissions program with the International Rescue Committee in Maryland and the Resettlement Support Center in Kenya.
Taylor Faranda is a Staff Attorney in KIND's Seattle office working with the City of Seattle and King County's Expanded Legal Defense Network. She graduated with her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2018 and received her B.A. in Cross-Cultural Studies and Spanish from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington in 2012. During law school, Taylor participated in various organizations providing legal aid to immigrants and refugees and she was a clinical student in her law school's Asylum and Human Rights Clinic and DACA and Immigration Detention Clinic. After graduating from law school, Taylor completed a clerkship with the Honorable Steven D. Ecker on the Connecticut Supreme Court. She is licensed to practice law in Washington.
Interim Staff Attorney
Cheri Barrett supports the Legal Programs Team in the Seattle field office. She joined the KIND team full-time in September of 2021 and previously worked as a legal intern at KIND during the summer of 2020. Prior to joining KIND she graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, Washington with a Juris Doctorate. During her time at the University of Washington, she was a student attorney in the University of Washington School of Law Immigration Clinic where she assisted clients seeking asylum and U visa status. In addition, she co-authored a report on state entities regulating the Northwest Detention Center in Washington state. In the summer of 2019, Cheri spent time working in Malta with Jesuit Refugee Services as a legal extern where she aided their legal team and worked at initial intake centers and detention centers to advocate for the residents. Prior to law school, she volunteered at Catholic Community Services of Utah where she completed DACA and naturalization applications. She also worked with Lifting Hands International in a refugee camp in Greece to provide healthcare, food, English instruction, and activities for their women’s center.
Vanesa Hernandez-Rodriguez supports KIND as a Legal Advocate. Vanesa was the first in her family to graduate from both college and law school She attended Soka University of America graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Science in 2018, and from Seattle University School of Law in May of 2021. She joined the KIND team August of 2021. Prior to KIND she worked as a Judicial Clerk for the Tulalip Tribal Court working with judges on legal research. She also worked as a Research Assistant with Professor Robert Boruchowitz conducting research on the legal disparities surrounding people of color and exploring ways to both strengthen and support the Public Defender’s Office in their work.
Equal Justice Works Fellow
Javiera Wood is an Equal Justice Works Fellow in KIND's Seattle office. She graduated with her J.D. from Seattle University School of Law in 2020 and received her B.A. in International Studies and Chinese from the University of Oregon. During law school, Javiera interned for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and worked as a judicial extern for Washington State Supreme Court Justice González. As an EJW Fellow, Javiera will advocate on behalf of unaccompanied immigrant children in Eastern Washington to improve their access to legal services, by building a network of legal services providers who will provide direct representation, education, and community outreach.
Holly joined Kids in Need of Defense in January of 2017. Previously Holly served as case manager and paralegal for various immigration legal service providers in Texas and Kentucky. Holly studied social work and Spanish at the University of Kentucky.
Claire Looney joined KIND in October of 2019. While attending Macalester College, she spent much of her time volunteering with Latinx-led or focused organizations such as CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio), the National Asylum Help Line and Casa de Esperanza. She also spent time volunteering in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, and studied abroad for a semester in Chile. After graduation in 2017, Claire began working for a private immigration firm in Minneapolis. Before coming to KIND, she served as Project Director for a youth leadership program based in Costa Rica with the non-profit Amigos de Las Americas.
Selina Villagomez Marinas
Selina received her bachelor's degree from Washington State University. After graduating, she worked as a Senior Legal Assistant in the greater Seattle area. She has worked primarily in the immigration, family law and personal injury fields. She has years of experience coordinating and facilitating consultations and in her prior role, she was responsible for acting as the main point of contact and liaison between attorneys, clients and other office business partners. She is well versed in crisis management, conflict-resolutions and communicating with others cross racially and culturally despite language and other miscellaneous barriers. Selina comes from a Latin American background and immigrated to the U.S. as a child where she was able to gain first hand experience of the complex immigration system.
Felisha Palomera brings to KIND her diverse experience as an advocate, activist and ally to historically underserved communities. Felisha has experience working on a wide range of social justice issues including immigrant rights, civic engagement, and the plight of the wrongfully convicted. Prior to joining KIND’s staff, she worked for Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), El Centro de La Raza, and the Innocence Project Northwest. Felisha holds a B.A. in Law, Societies and Justice from the University of Washington. Felisha is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with her family in her hometown of Mount Vernon, Washington.
Alexandra joined KIND June of 2021 as a Paralegal for KIND’s Seattle office. She graduated from Western Washington University in Law, Diversity and Justice from Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Her studies emphasized Latin American Studies, Human Services and Policy. Alex graduated as the Outstanding Graduate in Law, Diversity and Justice for the 2020-2021 academic year. Her academic work has largely revolved around due process violations within the United States immigration system. Alex is bilingual in Spanish and English.
Social Services Supervisor, West
Kimberly Manson joined the KIND Seattle office as a Senior Social Services Coordinator in August of 2021. For seven years previously, Kimberly provided intensive, clinical case management to Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URMs) in the Seattle area, helping to develop best practices with unaccompanied youth and the people who serve them. Kimberly holds a Master's in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Washington, and a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies & Spanish from Seattle University. As the grandchild of Portuguese immigrants, Kimberly is grateful to serve immigrant youth and their families. She is proud to work for KIND and promote justice for all migrant communities of the United States.
Social Services Coordinator
Jenna joined the Seattle KIND office as a Social Services Coordinator in 2020. Prior, Jenna worked as a Bilingual Community Advocate in King County, providing intensive case management to Spanish-speaking youth and young adult survivors of human trafficking. In 2014, Jenna graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistic Sciences. She then moved to Colombia where she taught English to low-income young adults pursuing technical careers. In the Seattle area, Jenna has worked as an Instructor's Assistant in English language learner classrooms, and volunteered extensively in legal and citizenship clinics for immigrant communities.
Bio coming soon.