Carol Grimsby (ext 125)
Carol Grimsby is the Executive Director of Wingspan, Southern Arizona ’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community Center.
Grimsby is the former Executive Director of a group that advocates for neglected and abused children, the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in Kansas City, Mo. She led the agency as it implemented its long term strategic plan.
In Missouri, she was active in community groups such as Women with One Voice, a non-profit dedicated to raising funds for organizations providing services for women, where she chaired the Board; and, the Human Rights Campaign (serving as political Co-chair and Faith and Diversity Chair).
A graduate of the University of Missouri (Kansas City), Grimsby owned and managed a catering company for many years and also served as the Foundation Director of the Neosho Hospital Foundation in Chanute, KS.
Homeless Youth Project Advocate
Rev. Heather L. McClaren
Heather McClaren, Wingspan’s Homeless Youth Project Advocate, has been passionate about LGBTQ rights, social justice, and helping youth since her own teen years, when she encountered discrimination and hardship firsthand. Heather’s faith helped her through these experiences, and led to her interest in studying religion as an undergraduate at the University of Arizona. In 2010, Heather earned a Master’s degree in Religious Education. In 2011, she was licensed and ordained as a non-denominational minister.
Heather has been working with children, teens, and families for over 10 years in a variety of settings. Prior to joining the Wingspan team, Heather served as the Youth Minister for the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Silver City, New Mexico. Here she created and ran an after-school program that supported Latino families who were struggling with barriers such as: parental incarceration, social justice issues, and poverty. Prior to her work at the Good Shepherd, Heather made an impact as a teacher in the Virtues Project; increasing self-esteem, life skills, emotional intelligence, and compassion in youth.
Heather returned to Tucson in 2013 and has been enjoying her position as the Homeless Youth Project Advocate ever since. Heather is so proud to be part of the Wingspan team, and couldn’t be happier in her position, empowering youth to achieve their goals for a brighter tomorrow.
In her free time Heather explores Southern Arizona with her partner and her black lab, Scout.
Catherine Memale (ext 121)
Catherine Memale has spent her life split between her home state of Connecticut and her chosen home in Tucson Arizona. Catherine graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Religious studies and a minor in women’s studies before returning to Connecticut where she worked as the Office Operations Supervisor in human resources, administration and office technology for the department of Commerce during the 2010 census. She found her passion for activism and working with youth renewed after spending time as an organizing fellow during the 2012 election. Following the census, Catherine made the decision to return to Tucson and settle into a home where she lives with her partner, 2 pups (Mason and Dixie) and an assortment of backyard poultry.
Ian, iTEAM Program Coordinator, has been a member of the Wingspan team since February 2008. Having served the Eon Youth Program in multiple capacities during this time, Ian’s current responsibilities include the coordination of the comprehensive network of care for LGBTQQIA youth provided by the federally funded iTEAM project, a collaboration of six agencies. In Ian’s hometown of Memphis,Tennessee, Ian attended the University of Memphis, graduating in 2005 with English and Sociology majors and Spanish and Biology minors. Ian is currently completing an M.A. degree at the University of Arizona. Ian is a poet, artist, blues devotee, and the Official Favorite Person of his two dogs, Flower and Bean. Wingspan is “home”.
Youth Outreach Specialist
Jeanette Valencia (ext. 131)
Jeanette grew up in the border town of Nogales, Arizona. She moved to Tucson in 2003 to attend The University of Arizona and became the first in her family to graduate from a university. In 2007 she received her B.A. in Mexican American Studies and minor in Spanish. She describes her university experience as one that positively awakened her world. It was then when she decided to volunteer for several community service based organizations and developed a path of empowering people of all ages. For the past ten years, Jeanette has been involved in a variety of programs helping underrepresented populations and at-risk youth. In 2007, she became an AmeriCorps member and dedicated herself in a student advocate position for a high drop-out prevention and intervention program. From tutoring and advising K-12 students to assisting drop-out prevention programs, Jeanette continues to give back to her community and promote awareness.
Aside from academic outreach and community service involvement, Jeanette is always striving to inspire individuals through art and music. She can be found working on a creative project during her free time. She loves to DJ and create art. Recently, she created a concept where participants produce art by fingerpainting to therapeutic music. She calls it “music inspired art.” She was invited to host a workshop in San Diego, CA to present this concept. You can find her hosting various creative workshops throughout the year. Jeanette strongly believes that following your passion and helping those in need is one of the best investments one can make in life. Jeanette looks forward to creating positive paths and opportunities for the LGBTQ community at Wingspan.
Anti-Violence Program Advocate/Educator
Jackson Wray (ext. 115)
Growing up in rural Arivaca AZ, Jackson’s interest in social stigma lead him to the University of Arizona where he initially studied psychology then, later, sociology and gender & women’s studies. His interest in marginalized populations has driven his primary research which has centered on the intersection of gender, racial/ethnic, and sexual orientation identities and their subsequent marginalization that often accompany them. Additionally, he has written on students’ experience of survivor guilt by focusing on its consequences on psychological well-being and how those psychological consequences (i.e., isolation, loss, conflict, and guilt) may subsequently manifest themselves negatively on things like health and academic performance. He comes to Wingspan in hopes of working to better the livelihood of youth within Tucson and surrounding communities and encourage the resiliency that exists within each of them. In his free time he enjoys laugher, films, and most things athletic.
Wingspan staff email addresses are constructed as follows: first letter of first name + last name at wingspan.org. For example, Oscar Wilde(email@example.com).