I am excited to be working with youth and the rest of the staff at Friends of the Children. I have spent the last 10 years of my life working exclusively with youth of all ages and in various environments. Most of my experience comes from working as either a teacher’s aide or as the teacher, teaching every grade level and subject from pre-k up to the 12th grade. I have experience in general education, special education, public schools, and private schools so I have seen lots of the in’s and out’s of the education system. In addition to teaching, I have also worked as a mental health counselor, behavior specialist, and daycare provider. I have a wide set of experiences that have led me to learn lots of skills to help children that include school success, learning strategies, coping with stress/anxiety, behavior management, trauma sensitivity, and various other life skills. I am so grateful to be a part of this team and help our communities here in Utah.
Andrea has spent her career working in the non-profit and education sector, starting as a high school English teacher and following that path through college access programming with the Utah System of Higher Education, then United Way of Salt Lake where she worked as a Community Collaborations Director for almost 3 years. From there she embraced her path as a fundraiser of her passions and joined Latinos in Action, then the Refugee and Immigrant Center, and then a small start-up called the Good Samaritan Foundation focused on building Neighborhood Centers within high-need communities. She stepped outside of the box for a couple of years and did fundraising for the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, expanding her network and skill set in fundraising and philanthropy. She sees joining Friends of the Children - Utah team as the culmination of her professional career and education to this point. Andrea graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelors in English, Secondary Education and a Masters in Public Administration. She also teaches for BYU-I Pathways program, Westminster College for their Masters of Community Leadership program, and the Masters of Public Administration at the University of Utah when the opportunity presents itself.
Family Engagement Specialist & Professional Mentor / Friend
I have always had a passion for helping others and value doing work that is rewarding to me. From previously working in diverse populations, I have discovered I enjoy spending one on one time with individuals, getting to know them, and helping them achieve their potential in life. I was thrilled to discover Friends of the Children and become part of an organization that strives to help youth and families become successful in their daily lives. I believe it is important for children to have a friend they can rely on and know they will be there for them when life gets difficult. I am looking forward to my time with Friends of the Children–Utah and becoming a Friend! Outside of work, I enjoy spending time outside in the mountains, baking delicious treats, and traveling to learn more about this big world.
I taught preschool for seven years. While working, I also was getting a Bachelors of Social Work through the University where I interned at the Division of Youth Services for Salt Lake County. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, working out, and cooking. I have a strong passion for social justice and advocacy of others that I am eager to implement into our community.
John Koranicki is the Operations Director for Friends of the Children – Utah. John moved to Salt Lake City in 2017 and since has fallen in love with the city and the community. When Friends of the Children received the local support to open a Utah chapter, he found the perfect way to work and serve in his community. John is driven by the mission of serving our most vulnerable children No Matter What and inspired by the commitment to improvement and expansion of service through continual research. Prior to Friends of the Children, John Co-Founded a private wealth planning firm in St. Louis. As the Director of Operations, he was responsible for building the foundational pieces of the new company and managing its workflow. John earned a BS in Finance from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. He continually strives to find opportunities in operational efficiencies and maintains the frugality needed in launching a new chapter. He is truly excited to see the impacts we have on our Utah children and neighbors. John enjoys travel and met his wife, Pauline, while in Europe. They now live in Taylorsville and appreciate the many outdoor recreational activities found in Utah.
I am so excited to be part of the Friends of the Children – Utah team! I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Music Education and dreamed of being a music teacher. I moved from Kansas City, MO to Kotzebue, Alaska in order to fulfill that dream. I traveled to 11 different remote, rural Alaskan villages teaching music one week at a time. I faced many challenges in that work and grew to love my job, although I slept on couches or inflatable beds and ate way too many canned soups during those years. During the pandemic I realized I wanted to be closer to my family, so I moved to Salt Lake City, a halfway point between my family in Kansas City and my family in California. I love music, art, dancing, creating, cooking, eating, movies, working out, and I always love learning new things.
¡Estoy muy emocionado por formar parte de Friends of the Children – Utah! Me gradué de la universidad con título de Educación de Música y soñaba ser maestro de música. Me mude de Kansas City, MO a Kotzebue, Alaska para vivir ese sueño. Viajaba a 11 pueblos remotos y rurales una semana a la vez enseñando música. Tuve muchos retos en ese camino pero me fascinaba el trabajo, aunque la mayoría del tiempo dormía en un sillón o cama inflable y comía sopa de lata demasiadas veces en esos años. Durante la pandemia me di cuenta de que anhelaba estar más cercas a mi familia, entonces me mudé a Salt Lake City – el punto central con mi familia en Kansas City y mi familia en California. Me encanta la música, el arte, bailar, crear, cocinar, comer, las películas, el ejercicio, y siempre quiero aprender cosas nuevas.
As the Program Director for Friends of the Children – Utah, Logan Meyers strives to enrich the community through meaningful youth and family programming. During his time as a public school educator, Logan witnessed the value of mentorship and how positive influence and support can help a child discover their unique talents, develop meaningful goals, and thrive in a way that complements their ambitions. He is an enthusiastic leader who enjoys working on professional teams with altruistic minds and loves teaching and interacting with students of all ages. As a constructivist educator, Logan creates meaningful learning environments that allow children to learn through real, practical experiences. He is also passionate about college access and believes everyone can find their community in higher education – Logan worked for the University of Utah for a number of years, providing historically underrepresented K-12 students with meaningful college exploration experiences. Logan attended Utah Valley University where he earned a degree in Secondary Art Education, along with a Utah State Teaching License. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration at the U of U. When he’s able to find free time, Logan loves to paint, travel, and watch live music.
I am so excited to be working with children and the amazing staff at Friends of the Children. I have always had a passion for working with youth, supporting each child’s learning and growth, lending a helping hand during challenging times, and serving as a shining light in their lives. Over the past 20 years, I have had the pleasure of working with youth of all ages, their families from diverse background, and within various settings. My prior professional experiences as an online ESL teacher, Parent Educator, preschool teacher, private tutor, and community volunteer have all provided me with valuable skills needed to help children “shine bright” along their life’s journey. I believe that each child can learn, grow, and achieve when given the necessary tools, resources, and commitment of a trusted “Friend.” I am so grateful for Friends of the Children and the wonderful opportunity to serve as a “Friend!” In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and dog, traveling, volunteering, and continuing to be a learner at heart.
Quincy Parkes serves as the Legislative Analyst for Friends of the Children – Utah. Quincy is a graduate student at the University of Utah currently pursuing a Masters degree in International Affairs and Global Enterprise. She received Bachelors degrees from the University of Utah in Health, Society, and Policy & Peace and Conflict Studies, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution. Quincy has a passion for advocacy through policy and legislative involvement, and loves being able to serve as a voice for our youth and families through her role. Outside of work, she loves to read, be outdoors, find new music, and travel.
Sandi is passionate about the power of access and mentorship to transform lives and is grateful for the opportunity to work in this space every day. As the Executive Director of Friends of the Children - Utah, she works with her team and the community to develop strategic direction around partnership, development, growth and impact of the program. As a first-generation college student, Sandi earned a BA in Dance, an MPA, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration. Prior to being selected as Friends—Utah’s Executive Director, Pershing worked as the Vice President of University Relations for the National College Advising Corps, and was the Assistant Vice President for Engagement, and Dean of Continuing Education at the University of Utah. In these roles, Sandi and her teams worked with community partners across the state of Utah and the U.S. to build and support programs, partnerships, and pipelines to and through higher education for first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students. Sandi teaches in the MPA program at the University of Utah and is a Past National President for the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. In her spare time, she loves to travel, dance, and spend time with her family.
Hi, my name is John Schwiebert, but most people call me Jack. I am ecstatic to be joining the Friends of the Children–Utah family and to help make a difference in the Salt Lake City community. I have been working with children since 2011 when I got the opportunity to go work in Calcutta India with the Sisters of Mother Teresa. Since then, I have worked with children from many diverse backgrounds at the Jewish Community Center. I also got the opportunity to work with teens in Sydney, Australia. When I am not working with children, I enjoy playing/watching basketball, hiking with my dog Bowie and reading a good mystery book. Again, I can't wait to get started working with Friends of the Children–Utah.