Emelia De Souza, President
Emelia is a transgender woman of color. She came out in 2011 just before starting interferon treatment for Hepatitis C. The treatment did not work and by July of 2012 the cancer had returned. Emelia was then put on the liver transplant list October 28, 2012 and received her second lease on life Memorial Day 2013. Emelia became very aquatinted with the hospital staff having multiply procedures and blood tests.
It was because of a few ER incidents that Jefferson Health Care was motivated to finish certification on the HEI. A nurse urged her to talk to the patient advocate giving her confidence that her voice could be heard. It was because this incident and the two leases on life which is rare that inspired her to fight for human rights and equality and be her authentic self.
Emelia has worked for world peace in a different setting in her Buddhist organization as a senior leader. Responsibilities are administration, contacting members and giving guidance in faith. She is still working on rebuilding her strength after losing so much from all the treatments and cancer and wants to return to her main hobbies of bicycling and golf. Emelia has always wanted to sing. She has a beautiful alto and tenor voice with a range of four octaves.
Emelia’s main focus is education to the youth. Being bullied most of her public school career she definitely knows the importance of stopping bullying in the schools. Her strong desire is to help these children who are very beautiful but different to be able to express themselves in a caring, warm and excepting environment.
Dawn Darington, Vice President
Ellen Caldwell, Secretary
Ellen is originally from South Carolina, where her son and his family still live. Though she misses her loved ones in the Southeast, Ellen appreciates the culture of the Pacific Northwest and loves life on the Olympic Peninsula. She enjoys hiking and beachcombing with her wife Cindy and their dog Simon. Ellen lives a holistic life dedicated to mindfulness, balance, and authenticity. She is proud to serve on the Jefferson County Pride Board of Directors as Secretary.
I have lived in Discovery Bay Resort for 16 mos. after visiting the area once. I fell in love with this beautiful area after visiting my friend. I returned to my home in Southern CA., gave notice at my job and started making plans for my future in WA. Three months later, I packed up my belongings, rented a U-Haul, hitched a trailer on the back for my 17yr. old CRV, put my pups in the cab of the truck, my cat in the car and headed north. I have worked many different types of jobs since my first p/t job at 12 yrs old. Over the years; UPS Delivery Driver, Grounds Keeper, House Cleaner, Substitute Teacher, Pro Shop & Cart Attendant, and many more. I am a proud Veteran having served 25 yrs in the Air Force.
I graduated from Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes) with a Bachelors in
Education. I have my teaching certificate for 3 states I have lived in, CA being the last place I taught as a substitute teacher. I went to Cal State Northridge to obtain my Masters in Counseling/Marriage and Family Therapy. I counseled many returning Vets and their families. I am also trained in Suicide Prevention and it has been extremely useful working with Veterans and the LGBTQ Community. I loved my time counseling clients at the LGBTQ Center in Ventura CA. as well as facilitating a Parenting Group. My favorite time at the Center was the Friday night drop in. This was so important for the homeless kids, the struggling and confused kids as they were searching for somewhere to fit in, to be a part of. For them to have every Friday evening until 9, a support group for them to just hang out with kids like themselves. To keep fresh in my field, I continued on with a 40hr. training in Mediation and Civil Harassment. I volunteered to mediate cases in the Ventura County Courthouse, mainly in Small Claims, civil cases between individuals and in the Veterans Court.
My volunteer history is also includes; Ventura County LGBTQ Center, AIDS Care, Habitat for Humanity, CASA (Court Appointed Systems Advocate), The Red Cross, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), coaching sports teams for middle school kids, etc. I am originally from the Cleveland Ohio area. I am the middle child of 13 children; 12 siblings (10 girls 3 boys). I am also a VERY proud Mom of my amazing daughter, whom I adopted, as an infant from China in 2000, with my former partner Luann. Our daughter, Jolee, is attending UC Davis in northern California. I am a practicing Buddhist which is how I met Emelia. I feel very blessed to be able to support this amazing community here in Port Townsend in whatever way is needed.