Meet the team from Friends of the Children–Lane County Oregon.

Matt Springer

Matt Springer

Executive Director

Matt Springer

Executive Director

Matt Springer joined Friends of the Children in 2020 as Executive Director of the Lane County Oregon, location where his career in social services began 22 years ago. After stints working for various local nonprofit agencies, including Looking Glass and Northwest Youth Corps, Matt gained a Master's in Public Policy and Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon. Fueled by a strong commitment to social justice and systems reform, Matt championed sweeping changes in the higher education system in Montana prior to returning to Lane County in 2017. Recently, Matt served as the Programs Director for Northwest Youth Corps, serving close to a thousand youth each year through immersive workforce programs across Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Matt's wife, twin children and their dog, Hank Stamper, live in Eugene where an affinity for Sweet Life's cinnamon rolls presents a persistent distraction.

Monisha Akhoury

Monisha Akhoury

Program Director

Monisha Akhoury

Program Director

Monisha Akhoury is the Program Director at Friends of the Children- Lane County, joining the team in 2020. Monisha brings over 10 years of experience working with marginalized communities helping to bridge the gap. She has spent many years in Washington DC working for a successful high school mentoring program whose mission was to increase graduation and success rates of DC public school student. She has a passion for food and nutrition. She has worked for the Harlem Children Zone and Bushwick Campus farms bringing food education and food justice to underserved communities in New York City. She is dedicated to breaking the many systems of oppression people face today and is excited to work with the Friends of the Children team to break the cycle of generational poverty. Monisha loves all things food related, cooking it, growing it and especially sharing it and creating community around it.

Heather Moats

Heather Moats

Operations Manager

Heather Moats

Operations Manager

Heather Moats serves as the Operations Manager for the Lane County, Oregon Chapter. Heather joined Friends of the Children in 2020. Prior to Friends of the Children, Heather worked in the Maritime Ship Agency industry evolving from a boarding agent to a Regional Operations Manager, a position that focused on process improvement and efficiencies. The maritime phase of Heather’s career culminated in being the Director of Operations for SphereMD a small Healthcare company whose core business is providing healthcare to predominantly foreign maritime workers. During the eight years with SphereMD Heather was instrumental in building the processes, work-flows and data systems to support a national expansion, where the company grew from Portland, Oregon to providing services in all ports of the United States. Having also overcome adversities growing up, the vision, goal and methods used by Friends of the Children touches Heather at the core. When the Friends of the Children - Lane County Chapter opened Heather knew the opportunity was too good to be passed up and jumped onboard. When not out riding her motorcycle Heather enjoys hiking, music, reading, and puzzles mainly crosswords, sudokus, and nanograms.

Vanessa Clemons

Vanessa Clemons

Professional Mentor - Friend

Vanessa Clemons

Professional Mentor - Friend

Vanessa Clemons joined Friends of the Children, Lane County in May of 2021 as a Professional Mentor. Vanessa brings over 10 years of experience working with youth and families in educational and family services settings. Vanessa earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Administration while serving in the United States Navy. After completing her service in the military Vanessa returned to her home state of Arizona to continue her work with non-profit organizations. After learning about Friends of the Children organization, core assets and values Vanessa jumped at the opportunity to work with the organization that aligned with her own personal values and beliefs. Having dealt with obstacles in her own childhood, Vanessa understands firsthand the importance of mentor and the positive impact it can have on a child’s life.

John Patrick Bueno

John Patrick Bueno

Professional Mentor - Friend

John Patrick Bueno

Professional Mentor - Friend

John comes from a background working in Sociology/Human Service fields and entertainment. He enjoys laughing, smiling, and making other people happy. While attending college in Washington DC., John was an Activities Grad Assistant Supervisor and worked with different extracurricular clubs and programs at the school. If you’re into sports here is a fun fact about John; he used to dance and entertain people during the NBA Washington Wizards basketball games. Before moving to Eugene John worked in California as a recreational leader leading programs such as kids after school program, human services, food pantry and senior recreational programs as well as time as a peer counselor working at Cerritos College and Cal State Fullerton where he promoted higher education to the K-12th high school students informing them about their options to vocational programs, Associates degree, or transfer to a 4-year university in California. In everything John does he infuses his love of dance and creating new, fun, and exciting activities. He has a passion and heart for helping the youth and wants to make a difference and positive impact in their lives.

Final fun facts: John loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and has danced on stage with Vanilla Ice a Hip Hop rapper in the 80’s on the Today Show and on the “I Love the 90s Tour.