Welcome Family Services Manager – Jessica Jorgensen

We are excited to welcome Jessica Jorgensen, Family Services Manager, to our growing team. Jessica will be working with partner families in the Homeownership Program and Home Repair Programs in Kittitas County.

Jessica comes to us with experience working for Catholic Charities Housing Services as a Pre-Purchasing Counselor. We are excited for the knowledge and experience Jessica brings to Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity.

When asked what brought her to Habitat for Humanity, she compassionately replied, “The mission behind Habitat. I love helping families less fortunate reach goals they never thought would be possible.”

Jessica is married to her high school sweetheart, and they have a beautiful daughter and two fur babies. She loves to cook, anything outdoors such as camping and hiking, and loves the beach, “That’s my happy place.”

Meet Habitat Development Assistant Tammy Tyler

“If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.”

William H. McRaven

We all have those people in our lives that become the glue that just helps hold things together. That is the role that Tammy Tyler fills for Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity. She is the quiet strength that has carried us through during this challenging year or more. 

I have seen her go out of her way to help anyone in need. It is a small community, and we get a lot of calls from people around the county who need help. Even if it is not something that falls within the traditional Habitat frame, Tammy will take the time to find resources that will be able to help—that is just who she is. 

When I first started here at Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity, I knew right away I had a fantastic co-worker in Tammy. Her energy and skill level work well with my own and she has a gift for figuring things out and discovery. As we look to KC Habitat goals for the future and helping build communities, it only made sense to put the right people in the right positions to help us get there. 

To that end, I am pleased to announce the promotion of Tammy Tyler to Development Assistant for Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity and I look forward to watching her thrive and grow, helping even more people along the way. 

Kelle Vandenberg
Area Director 
Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity

Meet the New Habitat Area Director Kelle Vandenberg

Kelle Dvorak Vandenberg has spent most of her professional career combining business development, economic growth and non-profit work with volunteerism. As a former Vice President of a multi-million-dollar corporation, this marketing and development executive has had the privilege for the last 16+ years to work for a company where her leadership was able to drive change. She also created an environment of shared success and vision, with fiscal responsibility, open communication and targeted growth.

Kelle Vandenberg, Area Director

While balancing her corporate career, she was afforded the opportunity to serve on  an international non-profit organization. As Executive Vice President of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, Global, she led the development branch whose goal was to recruit and sustain donors; give a platform for women to voice their specific needs and help build a community of people willing to share their skills and teach others. She has traveled the world, speaking publicly and meeting people within the global coffee community who, despite their daily struggles for clean water or the devastating effects of climate change, manage to laugh infectiously in the face of adversity.

An active CWU graduate, she moved her family from Ellensburg to the Bothell, WA area in 2003 but had always planned to return, as both she and her husband have strong family ties to the region. Since coming home in July of 2019, Kelle volunteers on the Ellensburg Community Radio board, the Economic Vitality Committee for the EDA, the Valley Musical Theatre board and has participated in the Our Voices of Kittitas County, an organization developed to plan and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote. She is eager to join the Habitat for Humanity organization and bring her passion and commitment for helping people to the valley she calls home. 

“What I find most compelling about the Habitat for Humanity organization, is that it breaks down social-economic barriers, bringing people together to strengthen, invest in and rebuild their communities. In today’s world, we need the hope that Habitat represents; we need to find reasons to come together and rebuild our communities.”  

Finding Her Style: Visiting the Clothing Section w/ Wecho Barnes

What do you look for in a consignment store? For some, this could be donating to a worthy cause, agreeing with an organization’s mission statement, finding unique trinkets or even meeting other customers. 

Everyone has their specific need when entering the Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity Store. For many, this includes being able to donate and shop for clothing items.

According to Cashier Wecho Barnes, “We started the clothing part of the Store in September of 2017 because we noticed how many people wanted to donate clothing, so when the office relocated, we used that space to make the clothing section.” 

As a non-profit organization, it is important to meet the needs and demands of the community, both in the Store and in other programs. After this section was developed by Barnes and other staff members, she explains she began to work primarily in this section while also helping in the houseware area when needed.

“My favorite section in the Store is definitely the clothing section because I’m always adding cool finds to my ever-growing wardrobe.” There are so many items constantly entering the shelves that even Habitat employees such as Barnes can’t help but join in on the shopping.

She adds, “I’m always seeing nice donations come in; my personal favorite clothing find I [have] bought is an extra-large, long-sleeve, button-up shirt with different animal tracks on it. My favorite accessory I bought is a beautiful pair of long feather earrings.”

There are always a variety of items that grace the shelves of the Habitat Store — even some designer labels. “[Over] the years, we’ve seen lots of cool things — vintage clothes and toys and sometimes jewelry. We sometimes get brand new items, as well as name brand items,” says Barnes.

The Habitat Store is a major success not only for the organization but also for the community. Each employee has the opportunity to provide for others and uphold Habitat’s mission to provide the people of Kittitas County with affordable housing, everyday. 

“My favorite part of working at Habitat is how accomplished I feel at the end of the day,” explains Barnes. “A hard day’s work for me — pricing and selling donations — is a step closer to getting a family into a home they can afford and call their own.”

Every donation and purchase from the Habitat clothing section (among others) is a step closer to continuing to provide adequate shelter and resources for the community. Barnes finalizes, “The amazing part of having the clothing section is now we have a place for people to shop for affordable clothing in our community!”

To visit our clothing section, head to 212 S. Railroad Avenue, Ellensburg, WA 98926.

Q&A w/ Tammy Tyler, Habitat Bookkeeper

Q: How long have you worked for Habitat for Humanity? 

A: I have worked for Habitat for Humanity for a year. 

Q: Why did you start working for Habitat? 

A: I was completing my AAS in Administrative Assistant and had inquired about an office internship I needed to complete before graduating. Habitat already had an intern, but was seeking to fill their paid bookkeeping position. I thought the position would be perfect for me and my goal was to work in a human resource department doing payroll or accounts payable / receivable. I immediately applied, had an interview soon after, and was offered the job a couple days later. 

Q: What is your favorite part of working for a non-profit? Why? 

A: It is rewarding to be able to help people with either resources or achieving the dream of owning a home. I remember giving the keys to the homeowner of the last house we built. She was so excited and happy that she had a place to call home. 

Q: Is this the first non-profit you’ve worked for? 

A: Yes 

Q: What does your day-to-day at Habitat look like? 

A: My day always starts with checking the mail, checking emails, and checking voicemails. Throughout the day I answer the phone, return emails, and help anyone who comes into the office. Other duties I may do throughout the day include: processing invoices, paying bills, making bank deposits, tracking donations, creating board reports, ordering supplies, entering store sales, paying taxes, processing payroll, reconciling bank accounts, and any other thing that comes to my desk. 

Q: What does it mean to be a bookkeeper? 

A: Being a bookkeeper requires basic knowledge of accounting. Unlike larger corporations, who have a person designated to accounts receivable or accounts payable or payroll, a bookkeeper does all of the record keeping of the finances. 

Q: What are your hobbies outside of work? 

A: I don’t really have any hobbies. I do like to read a good book, cook, and care for the wild and stray animals around the property. My favorite thing is to visit my boys in Spokane, WA.