Meet the Team

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Erin Johnston

Foster & Adoptive Mom

 Founder & Co-Executive Director

As both a foster and adoptive mom, I have faced many emotions and twists & turns throughout my journey. But the moments that bring me the greatest joy are the moments when the kids that I have the privilege of getting to know experience true connection. I have seen the difference it makes when positive & safe relationships can be formed between families as well as the joy and security that it brings to the children. My faith continues to be the driving force behind my desire to meet the needs of the foster community in unconventional ways and is a constant reminder for me to love without borders. Having a B.A. in International Studies with a focus on Business Administration and Political Science,  I was always drawn to work in the nonprofit sector but imagined it would be abroad, never in my own backyard. I am excited to be able to use my background to put my passion for foster care into action and to ultimately encourage the foster care experience to become a united community working together to support our most vulnerable children.

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Megan Pearson

Foster Mom

 Founder & Co-Executive Director

Being a foster parent for six years, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am honored and humbled to be "the bridge" that connects and supports kids who come into care with their forever families, biological or adoptive. My favorite outreach we have done through Fostering Family Hope has been the prison visitation rooms. Giving kids and their biological parents a safe, nurturing, and fun place to play and connect has really left a special place in my heart. With a background in childcare, I know how vital the beginning years of childhood are to the development of healthy and successful children and my commitment to ensuring that children in foster care and their families have the ability to grow and strengthen their relationships is primary to Fostering Family Hope’s mission and vision for a collaborative community structure within the foster system. 

Our Board of Directors

Heather Kjos

Board Chair
Foster & Adoptive Mom

I started my foster care journey about 10 years ago to provide kinship care for one of my family members. I never imagined what an amazing, hard, conflicting, and beautiful experience it would be. We now have adopted two beautiful boys through foster care and continue to foster. I have never had such an important job and we are continually blessed by the families we take care of. I love to be an advocate for these kids, and help families heal and reunite. I'm amazed at the children's resiliency and I love to see how strong & amazing they become when they have a team of people supporting them. I also love being a support to families who are on this journey - no one quite understands unless they are in it! I couldn't be happier to be part of such a beautiful story!

Jessica Hynes

Secretary

Jessica graduated from Gordon College with degrees in social work and psychology and went on to work at the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Department of Mental Health. She worked extensively with teen moms and families involved with social services, working to provide them with the services they needed to succeed as thriving families. She now stays at home as a homeschooling mom of five, trying to foster faith, love and kindness in the next generation.

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Salestria Buckley

Treasurer

Salestria is currently a stay at home mom to 6 kids, and a step-mother to an adult son. She has always had a passion for children in need of care, and hopes to one day explore the possibility of raising foster children of her own.

She has an extensive but varied background in many aspects of finance. She has been the treasurer of her town's soccer program for over two years, and has sat on the board of various clubs and organizations in her local community. 

Salestria feels honored to be part of an organization that is making a positive impact in the lives of countless families in Connecticut, and is excited to be part of this journey!

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Alaya Linton

Board Member

Founder & Owner of Hope+Cents

Alaya is a personal financial coach and writer at Hope+Cents. She is a believer in the power of hope and is thrilled to serve as a board-member-at-large in support of Fostering Family Hope's mission.

www.hopeandcents.com

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Melanie Mascari

Board Member

Melanie is currently a stay at home mother of two children. In her pre-child life, Melanie spent 16 years working at a nonprofit organization which supports people with developmental disabilities along the Connecticut shoreline. Melanie's interest in foster care grew through the years while watching her dear friends, Megan & Erin, foster numerous beautiful children. Melanie believes Fostering Family Hope is an organization which will enrich the lives of both the children and families of foster care.

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Cindy Hernandez

Board Member

Cindy Hernandez holds a Bachelors in Liberal Arts, concentrating in School Health and Wellness, and a Master’s degree in Public Health from Southern Connecticut State University. She is currently Senior Project Coordinator. at the Child Health and Development Institue (CHDI), specifically working as the Project Director for the Coordinating Center for the Connecting Children and Families to Care Initiative (CONNECT). Prior to joining CHDI, she served as the Community Coordinator for ZERO TO THREE, Infant-Toddler Court Team Program, working in collaboration with judicial and child welfare leadership, community partners and stakeholders to plan, implement, market, manage and evaluate the local Safe Babies Court Team™ (SBCT). She also has experience as a Family Support Provider, providing intensive home-based case management services to children and families.