Leadership & Staff

Alaska Youth Advocates is effective through our strong staff and board partnerships. While there is a hierarchy structure, Alaska Youth Advocates’ core values of Empowerment, A Voice and Connections are extended throughout the agency. From our youngest, or most recent, Peer Outreach Workers to our Program Coordinator everyone brings life experience, education, passion and perspective to strengthen Alaska Youth Advocates and fulfill our mission. There is an array of experienced professionals to help the youth of our community to lead productive lives.

Meet the Staff

Serena Nesteby, POWER Program Coordinator

Hello! I am so excited to be a part of the team! I joined Alaska Youth Advocates in December 2014. I received my diploma from Barrow High School and my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Alaska Anchorage. I’m currently working on my MSW from the University of Western New Mexico.  I have worked with youth and families since 2010. I love books, TV show marathons and all things super hero, princess or Harry Potter related. I look forward to meeting you! Please email me with any questions, request or comments.





Chris Edited

Chris Mortenson, AYA Program Manager

I joined Alaska Youth Advocates in March 2014 as part of its merger with Anchorage Community Mental Health Services.  I have worked with ACMHS since 2008, as a Clinician in the Family Services clinic.  I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and continue to split my time between the ACMHS clinic and AYA. I was born and have lived most of my life in Alaska, graduating from Kodiak High School and UAA for both my undergrad and graduate degrees.  I am very excited to be joining AYA and the POWER Teen Center. Email me with any questions or concerns – I’d love to hear from you!




Ivory Dickinson, Peer Outreach Worker

Hi, my name is Ivory and I am a Peer Outreach Worker. I enjoy meeting new people and putting a smile on people’s faces! I look forward to meeting you.





Quavon Bracken, Peer Outreach Worker

My name is Quavon Bracken and I have been a Peer Outreach Worker with AYA since 2014.My favorite part of my job is knowing that our program makes a positive impact on the lived of youth that come into center. Even if the encounter seems small, it can be big to them.








Drake “Mr. Kool” King, Peer Outreach Worker

Hi, My name is Drake. I’m a new Peer Outreach Worker. I’ve worked with AYA for since March 2017. I like working here because I like helping people out.









Laurel Brady, BSW Practicum Student

Hello, I am happy to join AYA and the POWER Teen Center for my senior year in the BSW program for Social Work at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Although originally from Maine, I have lived in Alaska for 10 years and consider it home. But I am still a Mainer at heart! I look forward to working with the youth at AYA and helping them meet the challenges they might face and reach their goals.






Sarah Chen, Peer Outreach Worker

My name is Sarah Chen and I am a senior at West High and my favorite subject is government. I really like my job because I get to directly help people in my community. In my free time, I enjoy hiking the Alaskan wilderness, movie nights, and Debate!






Courtney Ledford, Peer Outreach Worker

Hello, my name is Courtney Ledford and I have been working with Alaska Youth Advocates since November of 2017. Working with AYA has shown me that there are a lot of awesome people and resources within the community, and I have enjoyed every aspect of it. I am a full-time student at UAA and in my free time, I love to be outdoors.