Annie Van Avery
Annie has more than fifteen years of nonprofit leadership experience including two previous roles as an Executive Director. She has demonstrated a strong commitment to social justice, youth outreach, and advocacy work throughout her career and volunteer commitments. Annie grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has experience with community outreach work in cities on both coasts as well as rural communities. She has a gay father, a lesbian mother, and is herself the mother to two daughters, ages two and fifteen. Annie and her family live in Seattle, Washington.
National Program Director
Robin Marquis was brought into the world by a lesbian mother, a bisexual mother and a queer father. Raised in rural northern New Mexico, she found her pride in her family by connecting to a community of peers dedicated to gender, sexuality and racial justice. Robin has a self designed degree from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University titled, “Empowerment Education through the Environment and Creative Arts,” with an LGBT Cultural Studies minor. Robin has worked in the Pacific Northwest with Powerful Voices, Camp Ten Trees, YouthCare, and Teen Link providing social justice, creative healing and youth empowerment programming for youth from marginalized communities. Robin lives in Oakland with her partner.
Family Week Intern
Sammie Groom is currently a student at Columbus State Community College and is working on earning a degree in sociology. Born and raised in Ohio, she has a bisexual parent who came out later in life and is a 2nd Gen COLAGEr. She has been volunteering at Family Week since 2012 after briefly living in Washington, D.C. to be the Youth and Campus Outreach intern for HRC. Sammie still lives in Ohio and spends her time traveling around the Midwest.
Family Week Intern
Providence (Prov) Ryan is a rising senior at Colgate University, where she is pursuing degrees in Biology and Philosophy. Outside of the classroom, she is involved in a lot of positive sexuality and social justice activism, and works to bring speakers and programming to Colgate’s campus that touch on themes of positive sexuality, LGBTQ identity, and intersectionality. Prov grew up in Schenectady, NY, and has lesbian parents. Her LGBTQ family was created when her biological mom came out later in life. This is Prov’s first time working with COLAGE, and she can’t wait to meet other COLAGErs at this year’s Family Week!
Jesse Sgambati is an activist, musician and producer who has been artistically involved in many social justice projects and benefit concerts in his hometown. A 2nd Gen COLAGEr he has been involved with COLAGE his entire life and worked as a volunteer staff member for the first time during Family Week 2014. Jesse lives in Syracuse New York with his two dad’s and two dogs.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies Fellow
Sacha Finn is a recent graduate from Princeton University where she concentrated in Anthropology while pursuing a pre-medicine track. Sacha was awarded the ReachOut 56-81-06 Fellowship to create a guide for youth and young adults born to LGBTQ parents through the use of assisted reproductive technologies (ART). As a donor-conceived child herself, she is aware of the challenges of growing up in a “different” family and hopes to use her experiences to help others navigate their journey to self-discovery. Sacha was raised in West Hollywood, California by her two mothers and she will spend the upcoming year in Washington DC. After the fellowship, she plans to earn an MD/MPH and become involved in shaping women’s reproductive health policy concerning ART. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
LilliAnn Simmons Plourde
LilliAnn Simmons Plourde is a student at the University of Vermont pursuing a B.A. in English and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. She was adopted from Paraguay and raised in Quincy, Massachusetts by her two lesbian moms. LilliAnn was COLAGE’s Lead Community Relations Intern during the Summer of 2013, and is currently using her experience as a transracial and transnational adoptee to help create the Adoption Guide. Contact: email@example.com