Melinda Giovengo, Ph.D., CEO & President
Dr. Melinda Giovengo became the Executive Director of YouthCare in November 2006, rejoining the agency she had served as a case manager and program manager more than twenty years prior. She has thirty years of experience in developing and implementing re-engagement programs for out-of-school and homeless youth.
Melinda holds an M.A. in Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and is published on issues regarding youth homelessness and the impact of learning disabilities in hard-to-serve populations. Melinda speaks locally and nationally on youth homelessness, adolescent mental health issues, and child sexual exploitation. She is the Board Chair of the National Network for Youth and a board member of the National Youth Employment Coalition. In her free time, Melinda enjoys traveling, spending time with her wife and son, and amassing custom-fit sweaters for her tiny Chihuahua, Pepe.
Degale Cooper, MSW, Chief Program Officer
Degale Cooper joined YouthCare as the Chief Program Officer in June 2018. Her thirty-year professional history in the non-profit sector includes an array of direct clinical services, program development and implementation, international consulting on issues of child welfare, and executive-level experiences within organizations dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, improving foster care systems, and eliminating experiences of homelessness for youth, young adults, and families. She has held leadership positions at The Mockingbird Society, The YWCA, Treehouse and Youth Eastside Services.
Degale received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Washington, B.A. in Psychology from Seattle Pacific University, and clinical supervision certification from the University of Washington. With over fourteen years as a foster parent, Degale passionately engages in her community as a mentor and support for children, youth, and families. In her free time, Degale enjoys fishing and squid jigging, camping, designing great food, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.
Dina Wilderson, Ph.D., Learning & Impact Officer
Dina serves as YouthCare’s Learning and Impact Officer. She has over a decade of executive-level experience within agencies focused on eliminating the experience of homelessness for youth and young adults. Broadly speaking, her work has been focused on helping organizations know their impact through the development of sound measurement systems and the incorporation of program evaluation into everyday business practices. Her expertise is in program evaluation, performance management, outcomes measurement, information dissemination, knowledge sharing, advocacy, and public policy. Prior to relocating to Seattle, Dina served as the Chief of Research and Evaluation at Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco.
Dina received her doctorate degree in Child and Family Studies from Syracuse University. She is a member of the National Network for Youth Policy Advisory Committee and the National Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Center (RHYTTAC) Advisory Board. She is also Co-Chair of the All Home King County System Performance Committee.
Evelyn Correa, M.A. SHRM SCP, Human Resources Officer
Evelyn Correa serves as YouthCare’s Chief Human Resources Officer, a position she has held since 2014. With over twenty-five years of experience in the field, Ms. Correa brings expertise in talent management, diversity and inclusion, organization and staff development. Evelyn holds certifications as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the Society for Human Resources Management, a B.A. in Psychology from Pace University and an M.A. from Antioch University in Seattle. A semi-empty nester, Evelyn lives in Seattle with her husband of twenty-nine years, her college-age son, one dog, and two cats. Evelyn enjoys camping trips with her family, reading, traveling, and spontaneous pot-luck dinners with a beloved group of neighbors.
Jody Waits, Development & Communications Officer
A Detroit native, Jody Waits came to Seattle in 1997, determined to build a career that would make a difference to the community. Her professional history includes leadership positions at Women’s Funding Alliance, Child Care Resources, Girl Scouts of Western Washington and Pride Foundation. A former president of the Northwest Development Officers Association (AFP/Advancement Northwest), Waits is also adjunct faculty at the University of Washington with the Non-Profit Management Program. She has a bachelor’s degree in religion and history from Denison University. Jody is a committed home chef, enjoys spending time with family and friends, and slowly restoring her vintage Ford van.
Richard Heine, Chief Operating Officer
Rich moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2006 with a focus on entering the non-profit sector in order to align his work with his passion. Joining YouthCare in 2017, he brings over twenty years of financial experience across multiple industries including HealthCare, Private Equity, and Museums. Leveraging this breadth of experience, Rich brings a broader perspective to financial management and the role it plays in supporting and guiding organizational direction. Rich holds a B.S. in Accounting from Central Washington University. When not at work, Rich enjoys mountaineering and hiking with his fiancée Kara and dog Kalani.