"I hold the image of valo teens emerging into the world with a deep-rooted desire to engage meaningfully with whoever they meet — igniting sparks in their communities, one connection at a time."
Dana has been passionate about working with young people for over thirty years. After graduating from Middlebury College with a degree in English and Education, she cut her teeth in an experiential youth program in DC and as a middle school teacher outside Boston. Dana went on to receive her Masters in Education from Harvard and to work at Freeport High School for almost 15 years, where she taught English and advised a number of clubs. Over many summers, Dana co-directed an overnight summer camp for underserved kids. In 2013, after almost twenty years in the classroom, Dana left the school setting to found and lead Valo, and she's never looked back. She can't imagine a better place to work and learn - alongside passionate adults and inspiring teens who continue to show what real connection feels like. Dana's involvement on various Boards and in volunteer capacities ties back to kids. She currently serves on the Boards of To the Top Foundation (president), SEEDS of Independence, and Main Idea at Camp Walden, as well as a parent coordinator at her children's school, and middle school cross country coach. Dana has also earned her life coach certification through Optimize. In her free time, Dana has discovered a new love of marathons; when she’s not pounding the pavement, you can find her with her family skiing, biking, hiking, or diving into Casco Bay. Dana lives in Freeport with her partner, Erik, their three sons, and too many pets to list.
"Working with young people has filled me up in wonderful and unexpected ways allowing me to see the world with fresh eyes, to listen more acutely, to love more fully, and to laugh more heartily."
Meg earned her B.A. from St. Lawrence University. She started her career at UNUM in Tarrytown, New York, and later transitioned back to Maine as an Underwriter and eventually a Regional Underwriting Director in UNUM's South Portland office. After a decade at UNUM, Meg moved to Smith Group Reinsurance & Consulting where she continues to work part-time writing white papers and moderating webinars for the industry's group disability segment. Meg joined Valo in 2015 as a guide and added Program Director to her plate in 2019. She earned her Life Coach Certification from Optimize in 2017. Raised in a family of educators and the youngest of five, guiding comes naturally to Meg. She grew up, and currently resides, in Yarmouth where she and her husband Colin brought up their four daughters. Meg is an active member of First Parish Church where she taught Sunday School and led teen youth groups for many years. Outside of her time at work, Meg sits on the Riverside Cemetery board as Secretary and is a co-Moderator of her church's Council. She loves spending time with her family, writing, taking her dogs for walks, and winning (occasionally) at games of spoons!
"To guide alongside our valo teens is to be reminded that there is much to be hopeful about in our world."
Previously rooted in the Washington, D.C. area, where she worked as a therapist in a psycho-educational day school and in therapeutic foster care, Meeghan holds a master's degree in clinical social work (MSW) from Smith College. Her first job as a foster care case manager in New York City and an incredible mentor, Louella Dandgridge, instilled in her a passion for listening and seeing the whole person, especially those that are underserved. Grateful to have called Maine home for just shy of twenty years, Meeghan's work with children, families and adolescents has been a constant despite her geography. Meeghan has continued to deepen her understanding of the ways that young people navigate the unique complexities of today's world from her children, Ella and Luca, who are now young adults. Outside of her work at Valo, Meeghan consults with young people, families, and organizations that are facing challenges. She remains committed to issues of inclusion, access, and safety for all people. Meeghan lives in Yarmouth with her partner Joel and their pup Cheetoh. While she savors her life in Maine, she frequently gets the itch to travel, far and wide. Seeking out adventures, she is drawn to the water, the mountains, and learning from new cultures. She will head anywhere in the world with her family (and occasionally Cheetoh) in tow.
Development & Media Director
"Teens bring a fresh perspective to the world. Their opinions, thoughts, voices, and ideas keep me energized, connected, and hopeful."
The oldest of 9, Katie has been supporting young people for 10+ years and her close relationship with her high-school-aged sister keeps the work fresh and energizing. Katie earned her B.A. in Economics and Consumer Behavior from Hendrix College. Following graduation, Katie spent several years working in the Boston tech scene, before joining Valo in 2019. She has been passionate about working with teens and expanding our digital presence ever since. In addition to her work at Valo, Katie serves as the Director of Communications for First Parish Church in Yarmouth, where she is responsible for connecting the needs of the community with the many resources offered by the congregation. She has also served as a volunteer for The White Mountain National Forest trailhead stewardship program, and is involved in Sobo Central, a nonprofit serving the community of South Berwick, where she lives with her husband Shane and rescue dog, Coco. When not on retreat, you can find Katie enjoying the Maine woods, and her garden, with her husband and pup.
"Working with teens has helped me gain perspective. It has made me realize that there is a sweet spot between adolescence and adulthood where caring adults can capitalize on creating experiences with very meaningful, positive influences."
Natasha was raised in Iowa in a large family. She moved to Maine in 2007, and began working as a teacher in outdoor experiential education. After obtaining a Masters in counseling from the University of Southern Maine, she has been a counselor in Maine public schools since 2011. Within her school district, Natasha serves on many teams to ensure students have everything they need to be successful. Her roles include CARE team (securing donations from community members on an ongoing basis), BOOST (district drop out prevention team), 504 coordinator, civil rights team advisor, and summer camp scholarship committee. Working as a guide with Valo since 2018, Natasha loves what she does and feels honored to play an important role in kids' and teens’ lives. What draws her to the work with Valo is the unique, thoughtful ways of being together. Guides learn from teens, and vice versa, in a multi- generational, enriching, and eye-opening experience. Natasha lives in Portland with her partner and 2 young kids. In her free time, you can find Natasha designing and making beaded accessories, for her hobby turned small business.
"I appreciate the opportunity to grow alongside the teens and to partner with them to cultivate the space where we can collectively push our edges and hold and support each other in our vulnerability."
Chris originally hails from New York with a decade or so stop off in New Hampshire. He earned his B.S. degree in outdoor education with a minor in therapeutic recreation from the University of New Hampshire. He is passionate about building relationships and engaging with youth in Maine in unique and transformative ways. Chris finds value in investing his time in the communities he lives in to encourage safety, connection, and growth. Valo offers him this opportunity to build long term relationships with teens to help them realize how they want to show up in the world in healthy ways that align with their values and interests whilst holding their emotional well-being with utmost care and importance. Formerly program specialist and training institute program director at Maine Boys to Men, Chris continues to do consulting work at the organization because he believes in their mission-driven work. He also works (and climbs!) at Evo Rock and Fitness. Chris loves to find connection and adventure in the natural world; he travels deep into the mountains to find rocks to climb, where he finds grounding and serenity, so that he can show up as the best version of himself. Chris and his partner Leah live in Freeport with their cats, Newt and Birch. He is excited to take a major step in his journey with the prospect of a baby on the way!
"I enjoy working with teens because I believe that there is no greater need today than helping to equip young people with the tools to create healthy and sustainable communities."
Henry is a native Mainer who grew up in Yarmouth and spent his college years in Waterville at Colby College. He was a member of Valo during his high school days and loves the idea of giving back to the program and the community it inspires. Henry is drawn to working with the next generation of thinkers, doers, and feelers who will light the way for all of us in the future. When he's not leading retreats at Valo, Henry works for John Libby as an architectural designer. In his free time, Henry loves making music, spending time with his people, and being by the ocean.
"I am humbled by the opportunity to create an environment where teens feel welcomed, seen, heard, and accepted."
Macy is a new Freeport resident after living in many parts of Maine. Macy earned her B.A. in Gender and Women’s Studies and Sociology with a minor in Africana Studies from Bowdoin. She has been involved in the education sector for the last 10 years through many avenues including teaching in Armenia, a director for afterschool programs, and substituting in Maine schools around the state. Her interest in Valo stems from having a glimpse of students inside the school setting, as well as structured settings after school. She's passionate about finding ways to help students connect to their peers in a completely different environment than the ones that exist now. She appreciates Valo’s unique approach to community building and its work providing space for teens to be curious and to connect. She has a pup named Pushkin that she brings almost everywhere.