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Board of Directors

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Families Helping Families is proud to introduce our hardworking board of directors, all of whom serve as volunteers in the organization. Our team is proud to help support Iowa’s foster children and foster families.

If you’d like to join our team of volunteers, learn more and apply for available volunteer opportunities.

For information or to reach our Executive Board of directors – Amy Jellison, Dawn King or Brenda West – please contact us today.

Amy Breese, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Amy joined Families Helping Families of Iowa (FHF) after serving as volunteer treasurer in 2012 and now is vice president and chief financial officer of our organization. She offers 17 years of nonprofit training through MidAmerica Housing Partnership, Waypoint, Horizons and Families Helping Families. Amy is a certified Consumer Credit Counselor with a background in business management, accounting and tax preparation; she is a solid leader in finance. Amy safeguards donations, grants and the assets of (FHF) through a transparent and accountable financial infrastructure with the purpose of sustaining and continuing the mission of (FHF). In addition, Amy coordinates fundraising initiatives, volunteer coordination, board development, strategic planning, and community outreach/awareness. She is a great leader serving our incredible team and volunteers. She currently serves as an Adjunct Supervisor with Mount Mercy University to allow students the ability to do their social work internships with Families Helping Families. Amy is the mother of four amazing children, absolutely loves her dog, Tucker, and is a licensed foster parent.
Dawn King, Treasurer & Executive Board Chair
Dawn is proud to be the Treasurer for Families Helping Families and is excited about the amazing work with children that the organization focuses on. Dawn was adopted by an amazing family and raised on a farm in Clinton County. She was a member of the National Honor Society and published in the book of Distinguished American High School Students. She moved to Cedar Rapids in 1985 attended Kirkwood Community College and graduated with an Associate degree in Accounting. For over 17 years, Dawn worked at Yellow Book USA advertising as one of the top sales associates and Sales Manager. She was active on the board of the Ascension Lutheran Church as the Social Concerns Director. Dawn has been working at DuPaco Community Credit Union for the past 7 years as a Member Service Representative/ Lending Consultant in Cedar Rapids, IA.
Sandy Merritt, Director of Event Coordination
Sandy retired in June 2014 after more than 40 years in education. She was a first grade teacher and high school drama director and later worked with Grant Wood AEA, College Community, Curriculum and West Elementary in Independence. She is currently works part time at the School Administrators of Iowa in addition to volunteering at her local school, library and Families Helping Families. Sandy is passionate about helping children to grow and learn. She has been part of Families Helping Families since March of 2015 and loves seeing the look in a child's face when he/she gets a new pair of shoes, a new shirt, or a toy! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and grand-puppies, reading, crafts, traveling, spending time with friends, and shopping.
Raymond Siddell, Director of Volunteer Coordination
Raymond began volunteering with Families Helping Families after hearing about the organization while taking classes to become a foster parent. He has since completed the classes and is now a licensed foster parent. Raymond is a lifelong citizen of Cedar Rapids. Growing up, his family resided on the Southwest side of Cedar Rapids. He is a Jefferson High School graduate - Class of 2008. He currently resides on the Northwest side of Cedar Rapids with his husband, Rob, and their 2 Chihuahuas - Beau and Chloe - and a Black Lab mix, Duke. Professionally he is a REALTOR with Ruhl & Ruhl Realtors.
Lindsay Klith, Board Secretary
Lindsay began volunteering with Families Helping Families during the annual Christmas party in 2016. The organization appealed to her because having been in a foster home as a child, she wanted to give back to a to which should could relate.  Currently Lindsay works full-time as an office manager for L&P Painting. She also serves as a coach for Farrell's Extreme Body Shaping to help others reach their fitness goals. She completed her associate's degrees in both Business Management and Interior Design at Kirkwood Community College in 2012. Lindsay was born and raised in Cedar Rapids and loves spending time with her son, LaKyle (age 11), daughter, Zaidali (age 2) and rottweiler, JoJo.
Ashley Vanorny, At-Large
Ashley is a lifelong Cedar Rapidian who learned the value of hard work by helping on her family farm. She graduated from Kirkwood Community College with an AS in Criminal Justice, and also holds a BS in Psychology and a BA in Political Science from the University of Iowa. Currently, Ashley is completing her Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration from Des Moines University.  She work as an IT Analyst with the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. Ashley takes enormous pride in her advocacy for foster children, low-income families, and celebrating and supporting diversity. She came to be involved with Families Helping Families through her membership with Junior League of Cedar Rapids and is very excited to be joining the board.
Brenda West, At-Large
Brenda has been volunteering with Families Helping Families since January 2015 and brings a wealth of experience in communications, office management and she has excellent organizational skills. She also brings public relations and marketing skills to the Families Helping Families team. Brenda very much enjoyed serving Waypoint Services as the Senior Executive Assistant to the Executive Board and the Board of Trustees for six years. Since 2007, Brenda has been serving customers at Toyota Financial Services.