- Liberty (Barrett) Thompson – Founder/Executive Director
Liberty grew up in the Boise, Idaho area as the third of seven siblings. From a young age, she demonstrated a concern for the orphans and friendless and pursued friendships with those overlooked by others. In 2009, Liberty founded JEMfriends with the vision that each youth aging out of foster care would have opportunities to flourish in a society that understands their adversity and supports them in becoming loving adults. Currently, Liberty serves as executive director for JEMfriends, leading several programs that support aged-out youth, positively engaging many youth through personal mentoring and coaching, and increasing awareness of the needs of these youth. She is enthusiastic, motivated, and creative in her leadership of the JEMfriends community. Her life goal is to passionately serve others as Jesus did and to love without overlooking anyone.
- Naomi Miller – Volunteer Coordinator
Naomi grew up with seven siblings and at a young age learned the value of a family’s support. Through circumstances in her life, God opened her eyes to those around her who were without love, support, and guidance from their family context. Naomi wanted to spend her life serving Jesus by loving people, especially those who are broken, orphaned, widowed, homeless, or abused. In 2012, she met Liberty, and through her, learned about the needs of aged-out youth. She knew she wanted to dedicate herself to serve these youth. Naomi’s greatest joy is being a child of God, who has given her the greatest love she could ever have. Only because of Him does she have the ability to serve and love others with her whole heart.
- Melissa Wood – Life Skills Class Coordinator
Melissa Wood grew up in Boise and attended Capital High and BSU. She then spent two years in Peru as a Peace Corps volunteer. For ten years after coming back to Boise, she was involved in Rotaract and helped establish and facilitate a Rotary club, while working in real estate and agent services. Melissa heard about JEMfriends through her dad and his Rotary club. The ministry of JEMfriends peaked her interest, especially after having attended a foster care informational meeting at St. Alphonsus. She is enthusiastic about coordinating life skills classes, getting to know the youth, and making a difference in their lives.
- Julianne Nelson – Editor/Website Administrator
Julianne grew up as a big sister to eight siblings, two of whom are adopted. Because she has experienced adoption firsthand, she very much identifies with the ministry of JEMfriends to displaced youth. She has a love for writing and enjoys supporting the ministry of JEMfriends by editing newsletters and e-mails and by managing the JEMfriends website. Currently, she is studying to be a massage therapist.
- Mikayla Lee – Social Media Manager
Mikayla Lee was born and raised in Boise, Idaho. She graduated in 2017 as a homeschool student and is currently studying audio engineering online. She works at Spring Creek Assisted Living as an assistant to the activity director and loves to play music and games with the residents. She enjoys contributing to JEMfriends by creating posts on JEMfriends’ social media to keep supporters updated on JEMfriends’ recent stories and events.
RESIDENT ADVISER STAFF
- Sam Staigle – Guys House Resident Adviser
Sam is going to school for human biology and has worked as a phlebotomist for a year and a half. He got connected to JEMfriends through a Facebook post his mom shared and through a mutual friend who worked as a JEMfriends RA before him. He finds being a resident adviser to be hard but rewarding. He is hopeful for what his future in this ministry will bring.
- Vivian Williams – Girls House Resident Adviser
Vivian just graduated from BSU with a degree in Psychology and Spanish. She is currently applying to graduate school to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy. She loves the outdoors, working with kids, and helping others reach their potential. She is new to the RA position and is excited to be a friend and mentor to the residents at JEMfriends!