“I became part of a church family, The Beach Church, and my family needed some help. Some of my family members were struggling with the stress of sleepless nights in their vehicles. God impressed upon me that I could do something to alleviate some of that stress. One Starfish was born.”
Tia Fechter is a mother, a wife, a psychometrician, and a community volunteer. She founded and serves as President for One Starfish. Tia first learned of the power of dedicated community service as an AmeriCorps trail crew member with the Maine Conservation Corps where she served for one year post high-school graduation. She earned her doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. To learn about her as a psychometrician, you can find more here.
“In a time of deep uncertainty and polarization in our world . . . now more than ever, it is time to come together as neighbors to support those who are less fortunate than we are. One Starfish is an organization that does just that. Helping people move from homelessness to living in homes. Giving women, men, and families who live in their cars safe places to park and sleep at night. And then coming alongside them with caring social workers and volunteers to help them take next steps toward living in a home. It works because compassionate people in our community know that we’re a better world when we take care of ourselves and one another.”
Brian Bajari is co-founder and CEO of the non-profit Spero Challenge which inspires students to identify community problems important to them, propose unique solutions, create business plans, and enact their projects with their friends and/or families. Brian has over 24 years of experience organizing, leading and influencing in the world of nonprofits, churches, NGOs and grassroots organizations; from students to outdoor-living populations to former child soldiers in refugee camps. Brian has been a co-founding board member of six nonprofits: Pass the Word (a Saturday meal-sharing and supplies distribution for outdoor-living neighbors), One Starfish Safe Parking (safe parking for people sleeping in their vehicles), The Beach Church (now Al & Friends meals for the hungry), Jews Christians Muslims United (an interfaith neighboring and service initiative), Spero Challenge, and most recently B.L.A.A.C. (Black Leaders And Allies Collaborative). Brian is also a graduate of Breakthrough for Men and is one of its newest board members. You can watch his presentation of Spero Challenge at the 2019 Social Innovation Summit in L.A. here and his TEDx talk, “What I’ve Learned about Compassion from the Homeless” both on YouTube. Brian is a graduate of Dartmouth College, has studied at Fuller Seminary & Regent College in Vancouver, and received a graduate certificate in Leadership in the New Parish from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. Brian has four wildly wonderful children.
Sara Myers formed the fundraising group, We Help Homeless Women. One Starfish was able to first launch due to the determined and tireless effort of this group. Sara has been at the forefront of organizing several successful events that have raised thousands of dollars.
Sara served sixteen years on the Folsom City Council and Folsom Cordova School Board in Folsom, CA. She has extensive experience in public relations as a federal administrator. She has also served as a consultant to three colleges on training programs. Sara has been recognized with a Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award. Sara completed three master’s degrees: University of California, Berkeley (History), Pepperdine University (Human Resources Mgmt. Award of Distinction,) and Texas A&I University (Educational Administration).
“I support One Starfish because it helps people currently disadvantaged and currently without the resources necessary to rise from their unwanted situation.”
Evelyn Kahan has committed her time with 26 years of social justice work on the Monterey Peninsula. She is a former teacher in the field of Adult Education. Evelyn currently serves two non-profit organizations: One Starfish and National Coalition Building Institute as a member of the planning committee.
“I stayed with various kindly friends for 2 years until they, too, had their own personal emergencies to deal with. I was in One Starfish’s Safe Parking program for 6 months. They provided a safe place for me to sleep in my car at night while I completed 6 months of intensive EDD Displaced Worker training. I initially found rewarding work in education, but now work for One Starfish to help others return to their regular lives.”
Hope Tadema is a talented writer and editor. She has collaborated with professional artists, writers and editors to create industry-leading, innovative materials to serve the interests of educators, families, and non-profit organizations. She has led the development and edited everything from office policy documents and business strategies through psychodiagnostic reports. For One Starfish, she leads grant writing and management efforts, trains advocates and volunteers, negotiates pro bono services for program guests (e.g., dental work), and develops content for emergency preparedness training. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Golden Gate University, a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biological Science from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, and two Associate of Science degrees from Monterey Peninsula College—Computer Information Systems & Computer Technology.
Sari Powles has an ongoing quest to promote significant, positive change in communities and individuals through advocacy, empowered by compassion. In addition to One Starfish, she has served on the board of directors for Carmel Red Cross and Pac Rep Theatre. She is an avid fundraiser, having raised money across the globe—for Very Special Arts in New Delhi, India and the League of Women Voters in Chicago. She presently serves as the Ombudsman for the Alliance on Aging.
Sari holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education with a certificate in Early Childhood Development and Psychology. She has served as a leader on various educational and spiritual fronts including as director and head teacher for Tri-con Day Care and After School Center in Chicago, executive director and president of Suburban Fine Arts Center, teacher for American International School in New Delhi, and spiritual counselor and facilitator for various self-help groups.