Who We Are

IMG_4059.jpg

Carolina Pfister

Executive Director

Carolina is a multi-cultural media artist and non-profit director who has worked professionally with media and nonprofit management in both Brazil and the USA. Her nonprofit work has often focused on underserved youth—with program development, storytelling, and capacity building at the core. Carolina has also worked with youth in art education, developing and implementing programming through museums and art organizations, as well as co-founder of an inner city cultural center and farmer’s market to name a few. She came to the USA for an MFA and ended up an incidental immigrant. On the other end of things Carolina once received an Emerging Latina Filmmaker award from Women In Film and now makes audio stories weaving the threads that connect it all—it is her belief that to be curious and caring with our communities, and with the land that nourishes us, is at the heart of what it means to be home. When she’s not working with CultureSeed she’s writing, hiking, and unwinding with her partner and 9 year old twin boys. She is immensely grateful to live walking distance from CultureSeed and to be able to choose from at least three trails to get there.

 
Kay-Alton.jpg

Kay Alton

Program DIRECTOR, Behavioral Health Specialist

Kay is the Program Director and Behavioral Health Specialist for the year-long CultureSeed immersion and founder of our Community Program Bending The Bars. She has utilized her breadth of experience and education to provide trauma-informed curriculum oversight for all of CultureSeed’s programming. Kay has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California Berkeley in Environmental Youth Therapy, a Master of Education with a focus on Youth Development Leadership from The University of Minnesota and a Master of Social Work from California State University.  She is a Certified Counselor in WA, a trained strategic facilitator in the Technology of Participation™ methods, and holds an 500 hour yoga teacher certification through Yoga Alliance. In the past Kay has developed, implemented and evaluated programs for underserved youth through after school programming in Oakland and Minneapolis. Kay has a pulse on the needs of our community through her work doing in home counseling and social work with English and Spanish speaking families in Klickitat and Skamania Counties. Kay is honored to be able to provide mental health counseling to youth at the White Salmon Academy through CultureSeed. Kay lived abroad and communally for her first 14 years and the colorful complexity of that experience has permeated much of what she does. When she’s not working with adolescents she is splitting wood and gardening alongside her 2 year old son and partner on their ten acres, a fifteen minute walk from the CultureSeed office.

 

Kenji Stasiewicz

LEAD GUIDE

CultureSeed’s lead guide, Kenji Stasiewicz, has called the Columbia River Gorge home for the past 3 years.  Exposure to a vast array of experiences ranging from wilderness therapy to emergency medicine, adventure guiding to experiential education, has encouraged him to navigate these dimensions around group facilitation and awareness building in the community. The question of identity fascinates Kenji in a country with such diversity around individual and collective heritage and ancestry.  His direct life experiences as a person of mixed origins has fueled curious self reflection and outward exploration, weaving together a foundation that gently encourages others to do the same.
OUTDOORS CERTIFICATIONS: Wilderness EMT, River Rescue Certification - Professional, ACA Level IV Kayak Instructor
OTHER TRAININGS: Heart of Facilitation by PYE Global, Trauma Informed Sanctuary Model, Youth Mental Health First Aid

 
IMG_4112.jpg

Yesenia Castro 

OUTDOOR LEADERSHIP PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Yesi was born and raised in Hood River, Oregon, she is a Public Health Practitioner and Certified Community Health Worker. Yesenia has extensive experience working with different sectors in the Mid-Columbia Region to ensure Latino inclusion and voice in community initiatives. In 2016 she helped pilot the LatinXplorers program in The Gorge, an initiative to get Latinx people outdoors. She is passionate about social justice, equity, and leveling the playing field for all POCs and marginalized communities. In June 2017 she was featured in the REI film titled “I am Here” a short film telling the story of her experience as a Latina in the outdoors. On her spare time she enjoys traveling and exploring the outdoors. Yesenia studied Public Health and Merchandising Management at Oregon State University. 

 
Kika.jpeg

Kika Kielpinska

YOUNG WOMEN’S CIRCLE GUIDE

Kika's guide work arises from a love of wild places, stories, and the human journey. She trained with and volunteers for the School of Lost Borders, a nonprofit offering rites of passage which cultivate self-trust, responsibility, and understanding about ones' unique place within society and the natural world. In CultureSeed's Young Women's Circle, Kika explores inner experience, and invites confidence through self-awareness and belonging. 

 
on-hood.jpeg

Erik Larson

YOUNG MEN’S CIRCLE GUIDE

Erik volunteers as CultureSeed’s Young Men’s Circle Guide. He is a resident of White Salmon, where he lives with his family of twin boys and beautiful partner. Erik has been involved with men’s work aimed at teaching and integrating emotional literacy and support for the past 18 years. His professional career is in technology, with a specialization in data analytics software. For fun Erik enjoys spending time with his family, skiing! and dipping in the cold waters of the PNW.

 

Meet CultureSeed’s first JUNIOR GUIDES and emergent YOUTH COUNCIL

All of our Junior Guides have successfully completed at least one full year of our Year-Round Outdoor & Community Engagement Program.