Our Staff

Josh Blakesley, M.Div.

(he/him)

Founder, Executive Director

The Welcome Project PA

Josh grew up in the Midwest before completing a B.A. in Theatre at Northwestern College [IA] and a Masters of Divinity [M.Div.] at Princeton Theological Seminary [NJ]. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ [UCC], Josh has lived and worked in Iowa, Philadelphia, Hawai’i, Mexico, and Michigan. Currently, he is Pastor of Love In Action UCC, an open and affirming congregation featured in a Vox Media episode of Divided States of Women with Liz Plank and in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Josh has 20+ years of experience working with children, youth, and adults in various intra and interfaith settings. Josh is a fellow of Interfaith Philadelphia, designing and coordinating HS and University student groups for interfaith immersion service-learning weeks, called “Alternative Break Interfaith Encounters.” Josh also co-facilitates “How to be an Interfaith Ally” trainings for Philly Peace Day and recently, in Toronto at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. He also performs regularly with the dinner theatre company, Without a Cue Productions, and has developed theatre arts curriculum for use in religious and secular settings. Josh also enjoys playing basketball, strumming on the guitar, traveling, learning languages, or making strange and funny faces. He lives in Center City Philly with his life and laugh partner María Elena.

Jenn A. Petro

(she/her)

Co-founder, Program Supervisor

SAGA Community Center

Jenn A. Petro is a proud transwoman and mother of three grown sons. She is an activist, poet, musician, artist, storyteller, speaker, twenty-year elementary school teacher, and workshop leader. She has been featured on an episode of Vox Media's Divided States of Women with Liz Plank, as well as in the the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Montgomery News, and the Bucks County Courier Times. She has published articles for GLSEN and the Montgomery County Women’s Center, as well as two books of trans-related poetry.  Jennifer has spoken at rallies., featured in a production of This is My Brave, was a speaker for International Day Against Homophobia; she has also led Q-Crew groups at local libraries, and has been a part of efforts to successfully pass Human Rights Ordinances in Hatboro and other boroughs of PA. She set up the first LGBTQIA booth at Glenside Elementary School’s Diversity Fair. She has also led an LGBTQIA training at PECO Energy, and helps lead queer support groups. In addition to her passionate activism and work with the SAGA Community Center, she loves used bookstores and thrift stores, reading P.G. Wodehouse, and eating dark chocolate.

Nicolette (Niki) Kulp, LCSW

(she/her or they/them)

Co-founder, Director

SAGA Community Center

Nicolette (Niki) is a Clinical Social Worker from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Niki's desire to serve the LGBT+ community began while she was an undergraduate studying psychology at Arcadia University. As a Montgomery County native, Niki was acutely aware of the lack of resources and support for the LGBT+ community in her county and it became her dream to be part of the solution. She completed her thesis on Identity Development of Gender and Sexual Minorities and went on to study Clinical Social Work at Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. While there, she interned with Mazzoni Center's counseling program in Philadelphia and graduated in 2016. That year, she met Josh Blakesley while visiting an LGBT-affirming faith community in Hatboro, PA. Niki shared with Josh about her passion for the local LGBT+ community and desire to help fill the need for more support and resources. It turned out Josh had a similar vision, and with his support, Niki co-founded SAGA Community Center in 2017. The leadership team quickly grew, attracting others who shared the desire for increased support and connection for the LGBT+ community in the suburbs. Niki feels privileged to be a part of such important work with a team of such wonderful and talented humans. She will continue to focus her passions for service, social justice, and mental health and wellness toward the goal of increasing support for the LGBT+ individuals of the Philadelphia suburbs.

Aimee Sarah Goldsmith

(she/her or they/them)

Co-founder, Assistant Director

SAGA Community Center

Aimee is a professional artist with a BFA in sculpture from the University of the Arts. She spent three years as a 3D Printer technician for a local company, two years as a machine shop technician for the University of Pennsylvania, and five years working as a tooling / sculpting / mold making & casting technician for Lenox Corporation. Here, she took advanced courses in SolidWorks and designed and printed 3D parts for figurine and ornament models. In her spare time, she helped to co-found SAGA Community Center in 2017 and has been integral in program development, planning, implementation, web design, and marketing. She also assisted with building SAGA's Queer Library and serves on SAGA’s Advisory Board . Her other interests include vacationing in the Poconos, walking along the Wissahickon, crafting handmade wooden jewelry, and other commissioned artwork. She enjoys live music, outdoor festivals, DIY projects, and spending time with her loved ones.

Our Board of Directors

2020-2022

Laurie Schrecengost, Secretary
Education Specialist, Lakeside

Adjunct Professor, Immaculata University

Worship & Community Leader, Love In Action UCC

Gerald W. Vassar, Chair (he/him)
President/CEO of Lakeside

Member of WPPA

Organizational Strategist

Elle Anzinger, Treasurer (she/her)

Councilperson/Pro-Tempore, Borough of Hatboro 

Geologist, Sediment Remediation Group at Jacobs

Nancy Guenst, Vice Chair (she/her)

Mayor of Hatboro

President of Designs In Stone, Inc.

Member Elm Street Hatboro

Member of WPPA


Alexander Myers (he/him)

Community Volunteer/LGBTQ+ Advocate
Treasurer of Elm Street Hatboro
Member of Rotary, International
Member of WPPA


Jeff Chirico
Realtor@, BHHS Fox & Roach
Freelance Reporter, 6abc Action News

Lelia “Kai” Howard (they/them)
Chief Information Officer,

Accreditation Liaison Officer,

Bryn Athyn College

Member/Leader, Love In Action UCC

Member/Leader, SAGA Community Center

Jim Leamon (he/him)

Biopharma Development Director,

Diversity and Inclusion Leader,

Jazz Pharmaceuticals 

Member/Leader, Love In Action UCC

Member/Leader, The Welcome Project PA

Rev. Kim Kendrick, M.Div. (she/her)
Chaplain at Bethany Children’s Home

 

Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu (he/him)

Education and Outreach Director,

CAIR-Philadelphia

Lecturer and Editor-in-Chief www.themaydan.com

Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University

CONTACT US

The Welcome Project PA

350 S. York Rd. Hatboro, PA 19040

T: 215-675-8808

E: info@welcomeprojectpa.org

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