Meet Our Commissioners

2018-19 Seattle Youth Commissioners

Co-Chairs

Aliya Adan
is a junior at Franklin High School and a proud Seattle south end native.  She was appointed to the Seattle Youth Commission by City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw in 2017.  A strong advocate for volunteerism and leadership development, Aliya is Vice President of the Muslim Student Association and a member of the National Honor Society and Learning Buddies.  As a Commissioner, Aliya elevates voices of youth and underrepresented communities to local government officials and advises on City projects. In 2017, she facilitated Mayor Jenny Durkan's Chief of Police Search youth forum, advised on the 2017 Family Education Levy, and provided marketing recommendation to the Seattle Public School's Skills Center.  She is most passionate about addressing issues of gentrification, classism, and the underrepresentation of POC in elected local government positions.  She is eager to pursue a career in either Computer Science, Political Science, or Law.  

Oliver Anderson-Sanford is a junior at The Center School.  A member of the Associated Student Body, he is eager to find solutions to homelessness, promote environmental equity, and advocate for sound fiscal management in education.  Oliver is also a member of the National Model United Nations (NMUN) where he won the Outstanding Delegate Award for his work on food security and mental healthcare in Libya.  He believes that taking ideas from both sides of the aisle is the key to building a better community for us all, no matter creed, color, or economic status. 

Members

Abdiweli Abdi is an alumnus of Franklin High School and currently attends Seattle Central College.  A native of Somalia, Abdiweli is passionate about immigrant rights and their access to employment and basic resources.  In 2017, he attended Mayor Jenny Durkan's Seattle Chief of Police Search youth forum at Rainier Beach Community Center, where he spoke about the over-policing and excessive regulation of immigrant and POC communities.  Abdiweli's comments were incorporated in the community feedback that eventually led to the appointment of Chief Carmen Best.  An aspiring politician, he hopes to learn more about politics and how to become more involved in government.  Abdiweli is committed to dismantling inequitable systems that impact all people and thinks that his commitment to equity work is an important contribution to the Seattle Youth Commission.

Ava Allard is a sophomore and attends Lakeside Upper School in District 5.  She is interested in alleviating youth homelessness and drug use by providing a safe, positive and healthy spaces for Lake City youth to enjoy.  Ava moved to Lake City two years ago from Mercer Island.  Her awareness of the inequitable resources available to the Lake City community inspires her advocacy for a cleaner and stronger community.  As a Seattle Youth Commissioner, Ava seeks to learn more about City government and how best to address the unique challenges impacting various diverse cultures and communities.      

Ben Fryer is a senior at West Seattle High School.  Having observed that some of his friends are sometimes treated differently by police and teachers, he is concerned with fairness as well as transportation. Ben is keen to work with the City to make sure everyone is treated fairly.  He also wants to work with other young people around the City to learn from them and to share insight into West Seattle issues. When he is not working on commission-related work, Ben enjoys playing basketball.

Chloe Rubin is currently a junior at Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Chloe is committed to promoting gun control and mitigating the impact of violence. In wake of the Parkland shooting and after witnessing the injury of a friend as a result of gun violence, she is incredibly motivated to fight for gun control.  In addition to her work with the Seattle Youth Commission, Chloe serves as a teen ambassador for One Love, a national organization leading in the education of young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships.  She is also co-founder of Students Spreading Disability Awareness club at her school where she works alongside Disability Rights Washington to help further their public education efforts.  Chloe is keen to share her leadership and advocacy experience with the Seattle Youth Commission.

Dylan Clauson is a first-year student at Holy Names Academy. She believes she can make a difference and has many ideas on how to improve the City of Seattle.  Dylan is particularly concerned with finding solutions to homelessness in the City. As a commissioner, she hopes to gain a greater knowledge of how the City works and how to solve effectively some of the more widespread issues in Seattle.  Dylan hopes to motivate other kids and teens to want to be involved and make a difference.  She is currently involved in the social justice club at her school and is a member of the crew and robotics teams as well. 

Gian-Nicholo Rosario is a Rainier Beach High School (RBHS) alumnus and is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of Washington. He hopes to address student homelessness and funding inequities within Seattle Public Schools.  Having seen first-hand the adverse consequence that school budget-cuts have on student learning, Gian knows that homeless youth are disproportionally impacted. He honed his advocacy skills by participating in 206 Forward Youth Advocates of Seattle, a group of young leaders who practice the power of youth voice by advocating for policy and practices that promote equity. Gian continued his youth advocacy work by advocating for RBHS' inclusion in the Building Excellence Levy. He brings a valued perspective unique only to the students living in the Rainier Beach area. Cultural relativism is a concept Gian learned while at RBHS as an International Baccalaureate Student. He encourages the application of cultural relativism to the work of the Seattle Youth Commission when advising on local government policy matters.

Henry Irving Engel is an 8th grader at Denny International Middle School.  Henry is eager to work toward solutions addressing homelessness, racial equity and gun violence.  He served two years on the Student Race and Equity Team at his school and participated in the Youth Ambassador Program.  Henry hopes to help make Seattle a more equitable place for people of color, people in poverty, LGBTQ people and for women.  He has marched for Black Lives Matter and anti-gun violence and has visited Olympia to meet Governor Inslee to talk about gun reform and the concerns of Washington students. As a Seattle Youth Commissioner, Henry hopes to add to solution-based discussions aimed at improving communities and the lives of youth residents.

Jordan Howard is a first-year high school student attending Seattle Academy of Arts and Science.  A new resident of Seattle, Jordan moved here recently from Chicago.  He is concerned with issues related to homelessness, youth detentions, mentorship for young men, and public safety.  As a Seattle Youth Commissioner, Jordan hopes to learn how local government works, how the voice of the people is heard, and what measures are used to manage budgets and results.  Jordan is proud to have spent three years in China and to be part of a family deeply committed to community involvement.  He hopes to continue such traditions while seeking new ways of community engagement.

Katherine Kang is an 8th grader at University Prep.  She has a four-year history in advocacy and civic engagement.  Katherine's been recognized in the Seattle Times Ignite Education Lab for her youth advocacy work and is a first-place winner of the Holocaust Writing Contest.  Her commitment to creating a bully-free community is demonstrated by her work on the DC Bully Buster leadership team. Katherine also served as a volunteer intern for the Korean American Coalition Voter Registration program where she helped community members through interpretation and access to in-language voter registration materials. She is a recipient of the gold President's Volunteer Service Award. Katherine welcomes the opportunity to join the Seattle Youth Commission and advising on issues that impact youth.

Linda Phan is a junior at Garfield High School.  She is a first-generation Asian American woman whose parents immigrated from Vietnam.  Linda is a gymnast and has been playing ultimate frisbee since middle school. She is eager to address various inequalities that Seattle youth face.  Linda sees the Seattle Youth Commission as a way of amplifying the voices of underrepresented communities.  Her previous leadership experience includes volunteer work for The Service Board, Post 84 and Girl Up.  At school, Linda participates in numerous clubs and currently serves as the President of DECA, the Vice-President of the  American Civil Liberties Union, the Vice-President of the Vietnamese Student Association, and the Secretary of the National Honors Society. 

Madison Jackson-Hite is a sophomore at Ballard High School.  A newcomer to youth civic engagement, she is concerned about immigrants' rights, women's rights, and climate change.  Madison seeks a place where women's voices can be heard and appreciated. She views the world through many different perspectives: Madison has two moms (one of whom is African American), Muslim cousins, Venezuelan half-siblings, and her recently deceased grandfather was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. She identifies as a quiet leader who found her voice and confidence at an all-girls school.  She is interested in joining the voices of youth commissioners who are addressing issues impacting youth.  

Rosy Allen is a sophomore at Roosevelt High School.  Born in Guatemala, Rosy immigrated to the United States as an infant.  She enjoys living in Seattle but is disappointed by the racial injustices she witnesses at her school and around the city.  As a result, Rosy is committed to making Seattle more inclusive.  As a musician and musical theater performer, she identifies the arts as a way to convene, strengthen and elevate the people of Seattle.  Rosy hopes to increase awareness about the impact of inequity on students.  The Seattle Youth Commission is a place for her to contribute to discussions on City policy. 

Wanjiku Hopps is a junior at Seattle Preparatory School. She is deeply concerned with the inclusion of special education students in the community, homelessness in Seattle, and racial inequality issues. Wanjiku has an older brother with autism and understands that the inclusion of special needs students is vital for their growth and the growth of our community. She is committed to working toward a more equitable future for youth from marginalized racial, social, and economic backgrounds. Through her involvement with the Skyway Boys and Girls Club and the Black Student Union at her school, Wanjiku has already begun working toward these goals. Through the Seattle Youth Commission, she hopes to connect with her peers on issues that are impacting Seattle communities. 

Photo credit: Adrian Sims, 2018