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.

Sloan Hamilton

Sloan Hamilton

Program Director

Sloan Hamilton

Program Director

Sloan’s 20+ years of youth and family engagement experience comes from previous roles running residential camps and retreat centers, and community parks and recreation programs. Sloan has been responsible for staff/volunteer development and training, outcome-based program design and implementation, youth and young adult development, family engagement and events, fundraising and marketing, emergency action plans, facility management, site development/ land-use, budget development, asset management, and food/nutrition services. Learning from and working with diverse populations, generations, and people of differing abilities has defined Sloan’s career.

When not working, Sloan loves playing in the outdoors – walking the dogs, kayaking, tree climbing, hiking, and gardening; as well as playing indoors - backgammon, cooking, watching sports, and lounging with family are all favorites.

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.

Elliott VanZandt

Elliott VanZandt

Professional Mentor - Friend

Elliott VanZandt

Professional Mentor - Friend

Elliott joins friends of the children with over 13+ years of experience of working with youth. 10+ of those years were specifically working with young people struggling with mental health. Elliott is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. He started working with young people by taking a temporary position at a summer camp in northern Minnesota. When Elliott finished working at the camp, he wanted to pursue working with young people full-time. Educating, guiding, mentoring, and learning from them. Elliott has lived and moved all over the country chasing jobs with that purpose and meaning. Including working at Leadership camps, in outdoor education, wilderness therapy, adventure therapy, at a residential boarding school, and young adult transitional programs in places ranging from Missouri to Minnesota, North Carolina to Utah, and finally landing in Oregon. Recently Elliott and his wife have bought a house and have made Eugene and Lane County their permanent home. Elliott is excited to be part of the Friends team and aligns with their values, goals, and mission. Elliott is excited to mentor and work with the Children and learn and grow alongside of them.