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May 23, 2022

New Friends Serving South Lane Cohort

Maria Abigail "Abi" Hernandez and Joel Erickson Start South Lane Cohort

Friends is honored to announce that Abi Hernandez has joined our team. Abi comes to Friends after two years in Japan working at a unique school that holds a 9-month training program for rural leaders from the most poverty-stricken areas of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. A second generation Guatemalan-Mexican-American Abi brings a keen understanding of the challenges around blending cultures, succeeding through adversity and the tremendous value of supportive adults in children’s lives.

Abi will be joined in May by Joel Erickson. The two newest Friends will be tasked with serving our new cohort, based in South Lane County. Thank you again to the Gray and Tykeson Families for their support of expansion into South Lane County.

Youth and families in our new cohort were identified in partnership with South Lane School District, Family Relief Nursery, Preschool Promise, Peggy’s Primary Connection and DHS. We are anticipating that as much as half of the South Lane cohort will be comprised of Mam-speaking youth and families. Mam is a Mayan language spoken by about half a million people based primarily in Chiapas and Guatemala. We are so excited to introduce Abi and Joel to these new youth and families as we begin our 12-year journey together.

Joel Erickson started in early May.