Ely Blackwood is Northwest Youth Discovery’s Program Director. Ely earned a BA focused in Inter-cultural Communication, Women's Studies and Sociology with a minor in ECE and Spanish from Oregon State University and is completing her Masters in Social Work from PSU. She has an extensive background in working with youth and families and much of her practice has focused on strength-based, client centered approach, and trauma informed care. Ely moved to Central Oregon over 10 years ago when her family pointed to a dot on the map and said "there". Ely has three amazing children, two loyal pups, a crazy cat and a charismatic tortoise. In her free time, she loves laughing and hanging out with her kids, family and friends, dancing, hiking, practicing capoeira and traveling any chance she gets.

Northwest Youth Discovery is a nonprofit residential treatment facility for girls between the ages of 12 to 18.  We are located in beautiful Bend, Oregon where unlimited outdoor recreation is available throughout the year.  We believe in hiring the best people who are inspired to create a healthy and caring environment for the youth we aim to serve.  Your support is essential for us to provide behavioral, emotional, social, and psychological support  and a second chance for youth.

Brandon Reese, Board Chair, is an Oregon native with a horticulture degree from OSU. He began landscaping in Central Oregon’s Sundance Neighborhood after the Skeleton Cave fire. From that day forward, his passion for landscape creation has been based on building rapport with clients, by seeing what they see, understanding their needs, and sharing their joy in the transformation of faceless dirt into head-turning, life-enhancing outdoor environments. Brandon is a local entrepreneur with ownership in Moonfire and Sun Garden Center, Red Tank Cider, and Aspen Landscape Development. A past president of the local chapter of the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association (OLCA), and a Community Education instructor for Central Oregon Community College, Brandon is committed to civic involvement, and has donated goods and services to local organizations. In his free time, Brandon enjoys spending time with his daughter, friends, and family.


Jennifer Weeks earned a BA from the University of Oregon and a Master's in Counseling from Oregon State University. Jennifer has worked with Spanish and English speaking survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault and human trafficking as a women's advocate in Bend. She is the local volunteer coordinator for Postpartum Support International and serves as a member of Central Oregon's tri-county Maternal Mental Health Initiative. Jennifer is a DONA trained labor doula and worked as a midwife assistant for many years. She has made Central Oregon her home for 10 years and enjoys spending time with her husband and five children on their small goat and chicken farm. Her hobbies include hiking with her dogs, snowboarding, camping, and visiting the ocean as often as possible.


Jennifer Clifton earned a BA from the University of Southern California and attended the University of San Diego School of Law on an academic scholarship where she was a member of the University of San Diego Law Review, and Order of the Coif. Jennifer graduated cum laude and in the top 6% of her class. Jennifer currently practices law at Fortress Financial in Bend. She is married and has three children. In her free time Jennifer enjoys reading and spending time with her family outdoors exploring all that Central Oregon has to offer.


Merrilee Parsons earned a BA in Communications from California State University, Chico. A recent Bend transplant from San Francisco (but she was born in Oregon!), Merrilee is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, acts as the Volunteer Coordinator at Westside Village Magnet School and sits on the school’s Site Council. She currently works as a Marketing Consultant for technology companies and enjoys spending time with her daughter and friends.




Rita Schenkelberg is the Clinical Mental Heath Therapist at Northwest Youth Discovery. Rita has been working in residential programs for the past 5 years. She received her undergraduate degree in Counseling Psychology from Colorado Mesa University where she worked at her first residential program. Rita moved to Bend, Oregon to receive her Masters in Clinical Mental Heath Counseling. She started working at Northwest Youth Discovery as a Residential Counselor on the floor and was quickly promoted to a therapist position. Rita graduated from Oregon State University with her Masters in counseling.  She is very passionate about youth and helping them on their journey to adulthood. Rita enjoys the outdoors and practicing yoga. 

April Streeter is Northwest Youth Discovery's Founder & Director of Operations and serves on the Board.  April earned a BS in  Business  Administration & Psychology and a Master's of Education from Montana State University. She enjoyed working for Billings Public Schools in Montana as their Business Analyst for many years before moving to Bend, Oregon in 2008 with her husband and two children.  April worked for a local nonprofit in Bend as their Director of Operations, honing her writing and social media skills before becoming a research writer for a local company.  April specializes in financial analysis, quality improvement, grant writing, nonprofit management, and research. During her free time, April loves to spend time with her children, family, and friends.  Her hobbies include snowboarding, hiking, and reading.  She is also involved in the film community with her son.

Board of Directors

Heading in the Right Direction

Richard Streeter is Northwest Youth Discovery's Founder & Executive Director and serves on the Board.  Rich has more than 20 years of progressive mental health and leadership experience in the field of adolescent residential care. He holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Development from Montana State University and a Master's in Mental Health Counseling from Oregon State University. Rich has extensive experience working throughout the treatment continuum and specializes in crisis management, trauma informed care, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Reality Therapy, Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, and Motivational Interviewing. Rich moved to Oregon in 2008 with his wife and two children. He enjoys snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking and spending time with family and friends. But mostly snowboarding.