Anna Johnson lives and works in Seattle, Washington as Team Leader for Maryknoll’s Young Adult Empowerment team, and she loves exploring the wisdom young adults have to bring to the teachings of and ways of living faith. Anna holds a degree in Peace Studies and Political Science from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, and graduated with a deep love for the non-violent teachings and lived social justice witness of Jesus. After college, she lived as an Overseas Lay Missioner with the Holy Cross in Bugembe, Uganda learning from and teaching Internally Displaced Communities. She grew up with a wild love of the outdoors, and on any given weekend you can find her camping, kayaking, hiking with friends or her partner, Corbin, and their dog, Tilly.
Brenda Noriega was born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico. She came to the United States at the age of 17 leaving everything she knew behind and embracing the United States as her new home. Brenda works with young adults and the Hispanic/Latino community. She serves the entire Southern California region. She has been serving God’s people and influencing her community from an early age at the parish and diocesan level. Brenda earned a master’s degree in pastoral ministries from the University of Santa Clara. Brenda represents Catholic young people in the United States at the Youth Consultative Body for the Dicastery of Laity and Family Life in Rome. Brenda’s passion is to empower young people, accompanying them to become who God created them to be as missionary disciples practicing their Christian values in their daily life. She believes in holistic discipleship and the importance of self-care as part of spirituality. Her favorite way to be nourished by God is through Scripture, contemplation of the Blessed Sacrament, nature, and good food.
Jorge Rivera was born in Puerto Rico, America’s Island of Enchantment, and moved to Chicago (Chi town or Windy City) with his family as a young child. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Arts in Educating Adults from DePaul University. Jorge is a Mission Educator and Promoter in the Church Engagement Division of Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. He is based at the Maryknoll House in Hyde Park, Chicago. His responsibilities include fostering a culture of mission and supporting communities of missionary disciples especially among young adults and the Hispanic/Latino community. Something that Jorge enjoys is sharing the message of LOVE through music. He is a singer-songwriter and has several recordings.
Lefteris Sitaras is the Administrative Assistant at the Seattle Maryknoll office and goes by Lefty. He was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, lived in Athens, Greece and currently resides in Seattle, Washington. He holds a bachelors in Philosophy and spent over 25 years working with youth and young adult ministries in the Greek Orthodox Church. He is most excited about helping the YAE community grow and to be a positive experience for young adults. Lefty, along with his son and daughter, enjoy playing, repairing and collecting pinball and arcade games, as well as caring for “Snake” their bearded dragon.
Stephanie Luna, whose name preference is Luna, is a native Californian. Her childhood was mostly spent throughout the Los Angeles area and has settled in Northern CA. Luna is a first-generation college graduate from California State University, East Bay with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. She completed two volunteer years, one with the Franciscan Community Volunteers in St. Cloud, MN, and another with San Francisco AmeriCorps. She was able to surround herself by loving and fearless children. As a Mission Educator- Promoter for the San Francisco Bay Area, Luna hopes to create a safe space for young adults to build community and to help individuals discover their authentic selves. In her spare time, Luna enjoys spending time in her garden. Her urban farmer hero is Ron Finley, and she hopes to become a gangsta gardener herself.
Walter Hidalgo was born and raised in the south side of Providence, Rhode Island to immigrant parents from Guatemala. He holds a PhD in ministry from New York Theological Seminary where his focus was on the intersectionality between socio-spiritual movements and Hip-hop culture. As a Mission Educator Promoter that’s based out of New York, his focus is primarily on helping to develop our free resources for teachers and catechists while accompanying young adults into becoming missionary disciples. In addition to his ministerial work, Walter enjoys traveling, working out, reading, sushi and spending time with his amazing daughter!