Staff

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SARAH MAHNKE, MSW

Executive Director

Sarah is the founder and Executive Director of Thrive Central Oregon. She has worked in social services in Central Oregon for the last 15 years, finding incredible fulfillment in connecting people to the resources they are seeking. Sarah has called Central Oregon home for the last 20 years. 

BRITTA SCHROETER PHILLIPS, MSW

Outreach Services Manager

Britta grew up in Chicago, and as an adult has moved further and further west. After years traveling and working a myriad of jobs, she moved to Bend to pursue a Masters in Social Work, which she completed in 2016. Britta loves working with people of all ages, living and playing in the mountains, traveling to faraway places, and enjoying a good book in her hammock.  

KENDALL JOHNSON

Community Outreach Advocate

Kendall grew up in Minnesota and moved to Bend to serve with Thrive Central Oregon through the JVCNW program in August of 2018. This fall, she transitioned to staff in her new position as FUSE Outreach Advocate. Her passion for social justice and the opportunity to walk alongside in support of our Central Oregonian neighbors moved her to continue community outreach with TCO. Kendall loves running, cross country skiing, meandering farmer’s markets, and enjoying a good conversation or book over a cup of iced coffee.   

MELISSA VALADEZ

Community Outreach Advocate

Melissa Valadez holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies – Biology and Psychology from Southern Oregon University, Ashland Oregon. Melissa, her partner, and their daughter moved to the charming and picturesque district of Deschutes County to be in closer proximity to family. Melissa is currently attending Portland State University: School of Social Work Program, as she is spirited about social justice, human rights, and interrupting oppression. When Melissa is not actively engaged in Thrives’ extraordinary mission or graduate responsibilities, you will find her spending quality time with her loved ones catching the breeze, going on bike rides, hiking, water sports, zip-lining, movies, concerts, plays, museums, road-trips – the adventures are endless.   

EMILY BECK

Community Outreach Advocate

Emily grew up in California and recently graduated from UCLA with a bachelor of science in Human Biology & Society. She moved to Bend to serve with Thrive Central Oregon through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest program to gain some real-world experience at the intersection of society and health and to encounter others along their own journeys. When she's not in the office, Emily enjoys hiking, climbing, singing, and petting every golden retriever in sight. 

Jenna Fox

COVID-19 Support

Jenna grew up in the rolling plains of the midwest, where she graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in photography. Her internship on a rural farm near Eugene with WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is where she fell in love with Oregon. Soon after she and her husband and dogs moved to beautiful Central Oregon to explore the wild outdoors.  Her passion for helping people and strengthening community bonds is exactly why she loves working for TCO. In her free time she enjoys illustrating, embroidery, camping, waterfalls, and the Oregon coast.

GRAHAM FOX

Volunteer Extraordinaire

Graham was born in Bend and spent most of his youth in the Midwest before moving back to Central Oregon in 2014. Graham provides tech help and a variety of assistance, thanks to a long experience working with internet security, computers, and websites. Graham is currently a librarian and has worked in the public library world for the past 7 years. He loves helping people, his wife, dogs, snowboarding, and disc golf.

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Staff values

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Thrive Central Oregon is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency serving anyone in the Central Oregon Community that is in need of assistance connecting to resources. 
Our walk-in sites are currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please leave us a voicemail or email us to schedule a phone appointment. 
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Mailing address:

405 SW 6th St., Suite A

Redmond, Oregon 97756

(541) 728-1022