As a Facilitator, Kelsey Peronto (she/her) supports educators, administrators, and community members in fostering environments that recognize, honor, and bolster the innate strengths of their students and youth. She collaborates with educators to build skills and practices that are trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, and grounded in dignity and respect for all. Kelsey believes in partnering with communities to create an education system where every young person can feel safe, heard, valued, and that they belong. She is honored to work with educators and youth to strive for a future grounded in connection and care.
Prior to working with BELONG Partners, Kelsey spent thirteen years in a variety of roles in the nonprofit and education systems supporting young people, survivors of trauma, and folks stuck on the margins of systemic inequities in Bellingham and Seattle, WA. She has served as an advocate for individuals experiencing intimate partner violence and sexual abuse, a community educator on healthy relationships and trauma-informed care, an Outreach Specialist for the Seattle Promise scholarship program, and an interim program and operations director. Her most treasured professional role was managing the Positive Adolescent Development (PAD) Program, a 24-hour shelter for youth aged 13-17 experiencing homelessness. The incredible young people and staff from her 4+ years at the PAD continue to be her compass in pushing for systems change for everyone to matter and belong.
Kelsey earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Western Washington University, which unlocked a career of lifelong professional learning and community connection. She is thrilled to continue learning with a dedicated community of educators through her work with BELONG Partners.
What are people most surprised to learn about you?
My best friend’s mom said it best after the first time I met her: “That Kelsey is a real jock, isn’t she?” Most of my family vacations and best memories center around Green Bay Packers (sorry, Hawks–Go Pack Go!), Seattle Mariners, and USWNT games, or my own experience playing soccer, running, and watching my brothers play baseball. Most-most surprising: I’ve enthusiastically attended multiple live professional wrestling events, including WrestleMania, where I got to smell what The Rock was cooking.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
Running, hiking, swimming, paddle boarding and hammock-ing with my partner, Jen, and our two dogs, Bigby and Momo.
Why are you passionate about working at BELONG Partners?
I want a future where everyone can authentically thrive; one free of racism, sexism, heterosexism, transphobia, classism, and all other systems of oppression and abuse that keep us separate and hurt. I believe this is genuinely possible, and BELONG Partners’ work can help us get there. I want to be a part of the work until that future is realized. I’m honored to be part of an organization that is pursuing this vision through the power of social emotional learning to strengthen communities and invest in our greatest asset–our youth.