About La Center United

Who We Are

La Center United is a community coalition made up of individuals, businesses, and agencies who all share a vision for a healthy and resilient community. We believe in the power of positive community change when we all work together.

The coalition formed as a grassroots effort by concerned citizens in 2013. In 2014, La Center United incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, and in 2015 we were awarded a federal Drug Free Communities Support Program grant for $125,000 a year for five years. With this funding, we are working to increase community collaboration and reduce substance use and mental health issues facing today’s youth.

Our Mission

Inspiring our community to be safe, healthy and resilient; Preventing destructive behavior through open access to education and environmental strategies; supporting those in need, sharing ideas and offering help

Our Vision

A healthy and resilient community for youth and families

Executive Board

Kristen Soske

Chair

Kristen Soske is passionate about youth. She is a Midwestern transplant who loves the Pacific Northwest. Kris is a lifelong learner and student of childhood psychology; an avid traveler, having worked for the airlines and managed corporate travel agencies during her working years.

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Kristen Soske is passionate about youth. She is a Midwestern transplant who loves the Pacific Northwest. Kris is a lifelong learner and student of childhood psychology; an avid traveler, having worked for the airlines and managed corporate travel agencies during her working years. When her children were born, she put her skills and passion for all children into volunteering.  Parent Participation Nursery School, PTO, Alternative High School, The Loft (a place for teens), reading mentor, math tutoring, teaching kindy kids at church… service to others helps Kris receive so much more than she could ever give. And she invites you to volunteer with her! It is so fulfilling!  

Kris is one of the founding members of La Center United.

Melinda Mazna

Vice Chair

Melinda is an avid volunteer in the community. She is continuously striving to make La Center the best place for families to live and play. She helps organize many of the community events, such as Our Days and the Christmas Festival, and is heavily involved with Track & Field

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Melinda is an avid volunteer in the community. She is continuously striving to make La Center the best place for families to live and play. She helps organize many of the community events, such as Our Days and the Christmas Festival, and is heavily involved with Track & Field at the high school. 

Melinda has been involved with La Center United for many years and became a board member in 2018.

Jill Neyenhouse

Secretary

Jill has 19 years of experience in education, beginning as an English teacher and Choir Director. She spent 4 years running The Bridges Academy for ESD 112 and 6 years at Cascadia Technical Academy as an administrator. She is passionate about learning and creating positive learning experiences for students.

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Jill is the principal at South Ridge Elementary School. She attended Western Washington University where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Education and then received her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from WSU Vancouver. Jill has 19 years of experience in education, beginning as an English teacher and Choir Director. She spent 4 years running The Bridges Academy for ESD 112 and 6 years at Cascadia Technical Academy as an administrator. She is passionate about learning and creating positive learning experiences for students.

Jill has two awesome kids at home who keep her very busy as a chauffeur, chef, and bank. She is an avid Mariners fan, even though they disappoint her every season. She also enjoys hiking and snowshoeing, and tries to spend as much time outside as possible. Jill loves music and shares her singing with everyone, usually from her office.

Jill joined LCU in 2018 in order to give back to her community and help foster a safe and positive place for her kids to grow up.

Betsy Hoppe

Treasurer

Betsy is a Metallurgical Engineer and works at Steelscape in Kalama, Washington. She works primarily in steel manufacturing and quality systems management and has done this for almost 30 years.

Betsy joined La Center United in 2013 and became a board member..

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Betsy is a Metallurgical Engineer and works at Steelscape in Kalama, Washington. She works primarily in steel manufacturing and quality systems management and has done this for almost 30 years.

Betsy joined La Center United in 2013 and became a board member in 2015. She remembers coming to one of the original coalition meetings shortly following a local suicide attempt. She wanted to learn more and be a part of the solution in our little town of La Center.

She really liked the idea of learning, participating, and sharing of information to help us all be informed and enabled to act where needed.

Kate Soske

Communications

Kate works as a Paraeducator at La Center High School and is an Instructor for the challenge course. Working with youth on the challenge course if one of her passions as it allows her to push students outside of their comfort zone and helps them gain some confidence in themselves.

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Kate works as a Paraeducator at La Center High School and is an Instructor for the challenge course. Working with youth on the challenge course if one of her passions as it allows her to push students outside of their comfort zone and helps them gain some confidence in themselves.

Kate began volunteering with The Loft Teen Center and found a connection with La Center United through that. Kate became a board member in 2019. 

Nisa McDaid

Community Member 1

Nisa has over 20 years of experience working in the healthcare field. She received her RN at Lower Columbia College in 2005 and went right into Oncology after graduating. She returned to school later and got her Bachelors degree in Nursing in 2016. She worked at PeaceHealth..

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Nisa has over 20 years of experience working in the healthcare field. She received her RN at Lower Columbia College in 2005 and went right into Oncology after graduating. She returned to school later and got her Bachelors degree in Nursing in 2016. She worked at PeaceHealth Cancer Center in Longview for 8 years and has been with Legacy Cancer Center in Vancouver for almost 4 years.

Nisa is married and has two boys, 10 and 13, and they both attend school in La Center. Working in cancer care is her passion as she focuses on prevention and wellness of mind, body, and spirit.

Nisa got involved with La Center United when she returned to school to obtain her Nursing degree. She completed her community project with La Center United and focuses on tobacco prevention and youth. Nisa has stayed an active parent volunteer and became a board member in 2018.

Melissa Flatt

Community Member 2

Melissa has a passion for youth empowerment, which is why she has worked with youth most of her life. She currently works for the La Center School District as a Paraprofessional and served many years as a Girl Scout Troop Leader.

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Melissa has a passion for youth empowerment, which is why she has worked with youth most of her life. She currently works for the La Center School District as a Paraprofessional and served many years as a Girl Scout Troop Leader. 

Melissa has been a part of La Center United from the beginning and helped to successfully secure federal grant funding. Melissa served as the Communications Chair before transitioning into the Community Member at Large role. 

Connection is the Best Prevention

Our Partners

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