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About OYM
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Odyssey Youth Movement promotes equity for LGBTQ+ youth in the Inland Northwest through youth-driven programs and community education.


Thriving LGBTQ+ youth in the
Inland Northwest.


all people have inherent worth

social justice

Inland Northwest youth deserve equitable access to resources and opportunities.


human connectedness fosters a greater understanding of self, others, and the world around us.


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Ian Sullivan
Executive Director
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Ryan Schlott
Programs Manager
Chandler Wheeler
Outreach Manager

Ian Sullivan (he/him) has more than ten years of experience in youth work and peer mentoring. His experience includes work as the Education Manager at Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho where he oversaw the implementation of evidence-based and peer education programs throughout central, Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Ian continues to stay active in the South Perry Business and Neighborhood Association, the same neighborhood that Odyssey calls home, as well as with the Spokane Spectrum Singers.

Ryan Schlott (he/him) has three years of experience in LGBTQ education and peer mentoring. Throughout his time at the University of California, Riverside, he has researched and published best practices for LGBTQ mentoring, led after school programs for at-risk youth, and participated in community outreach education. Through various peer and youth mentoring roles, Ryan has found his passion in fostering community through personal connection and intersectional education.

Chandler Wheeler (they/them) has worked with LGBTQ media representation and youth advocacy for over 6 years. They were the student director of Pride at Whitworth University for three years, during which they gained experience in media management and marketing. They have done freelance graphic design & communications work for several local organizations, including the Say It Out Loud conference and GOLY. Their passion lies in creating media content that is accessible, mindful, and represents a variety of diverse experiences. 

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Sylvan Gates
LGBTQ+ Youth Systems VISTA

Sylvan Gates (they/them) is working with Odyssey through AmeriCorps VISTA this year. Through VISTA, Sylvan is working with local schools to create a network of knowledgeable and connected student clubs and trusted adults that are equipped to have safe and affirming interactions with LGBTQ+ students throughout the school year. They have been working with LGBTQ+ young people for the past 4 years in a high school setting and are excited to bring their skillset to Odyssey. Sylvan is new to the Spokane area and is enjoying exploring the region.

Essek Aaroni
Young Adult Peer Facilitator

Essek Aaroni (they/them) facilitates Odyssey's Young Adult drop-in program on Thursday nights and has been a participaint in Odyssey drop-in, as well. Odyssey has been Essek's first experience in a community of any kind. They love hanging out with their friends at Odyssey and getting to know new people who started joining us. They are a huge nerd when it comes to monsters, aliens, video game, dnd, sewing and fashion.

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Contact Us

1121 South Perry Street

Spokane, WA 99202

(509) 325-3637

Thank you for contacting Odyssey!

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Kathryn Depaolis
Board Chair

Dr. Kathryn Depaolis (she/her) is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Eastern Washington University (EWU). She received her BSW from KU, MSW from The University of Illinois at Chicago, and her doctorate in Social Welfare from the University of Kansas (KU). Her interests include bullying and peer victimization, with a specific interest in cyberbullying, among children and adolescents; anti-bullying prevention and intervention strategies; social policy; and social justice. Her professional experience includes 16 years of direct practice as well as management and consultation in the areas of child welfare, senior supportive housing, employee assistance programs, and disability management. She has been a part of several projects concerning bullying among children and adolescents, including an anti-bullying policy development and training initiative which developed and conducted anti-bullying policy development workshops to educators and administrators across Kansas, and a bullying assessment and intervention development project in seven elementary schools in the Kansas City area. Kathryn is new to the Northwest and is enjoying exploring this beautiful part of the country. 

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Abbie Speer
Board Member

Abbie Speer (she/her) has a diverse background working in the nonprofit, private sector and small business worlds. She earned a B.S. from Slippery Rock University in Parks and Resource Management. Abbie worked at the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania as a camp director for the summer of 2008. After moving to Spokane, she worked at the West Valley Outdoor Learning Center as an AmeriCorps volunteer and as an educator, where she continued working with youth in the wilderness. She left the nonprofit sector to start her own small business in the craft beer industry in 2013. She forged many relationships with other small businesses in the region through this venture. After selling her business in 2019, Abbie entered the world of construction, where she now serves as the Construction Lead for a small general contracting company. Abbie enjoys spending time with her wife, two dogs and cat, starting on many home projects and hiking in the woods.

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Erik Maas
Vice Chair

Erik Maas (he/they) is a Puerto Rican, queer, transgender artist and graphic designer who uplifts diverse voices through LGBTQ+ education and exploring themes of authenticity, self-discovery, and mental health in his work. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Savannah College of Art & Design in Atlanta, GA and has spent the last ten years designing for healthcare, real estate, online privacy, and social causes. His advocacy work is centered around radically increasing access to healthcare for the trans community. In 2011 he became one of the founding members of JustUsATL, an Atlanta-based organization providing a youth-run, affirming safe space for Atlanta's LGBTQ+ youth. In 2017, he and his husband created a YouTube channel centered around trans healthcare, social transition, and life as a married trans couple. And in 2018, he founded the first gynecological health support group for transmasculine folx as well as a global support network exclusively for parents of trans youth. His other passions include sculpture, triking on the Centennial Trail, rockhounding, and buying too many plants. Find his work at or @erikmaasart.

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Emily Willet
Board Member

Emily Willet (she/her) is a queer-identified mental health counselor in Spokane with a private practice focusing on the LGBTQ+ community. Growing up a pastor’s kid in the Bible Belt gave her a unique perspective on what religious trauma and minority stress can do to a person, inside and out. Much of Emily’s training and work has been with youth and young adults with complex trauma, as she hopes to provide the type of emotional support and advocacy she needed at that time in her life. She is also a huge music nerd and enjoys singing, playing, and performing in her free time. Other hobbies include overthinking, learning random facts, cooking low FODMAP meals, hammocking, hiking with her dog, snuggling with her cat, and playing video games with her girlfriend.

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Jeremy Whittington

Jeremy Whittington (he/them) is the Managing and Artistic Director of Stage Left Theater, the Inland Northwest’s premiere progressive non-profit theater. He is also a published illustrator and prolific graphic designer, having illustrated numerous children’s books and designed countless logos, brochures, backdrops, and packaging. Jeremy studied Theatre Production at Ohio University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Sanford-Brown in 2014. He has been the Resident Designer for multiple theaters over the past decade, including The Public Theater of San Antonio, The Modern Theaters of Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, and Lake City Playhouse. An accomplished actor, he has performed across the country in numerous plays, musicals and fundraising events. Jeremy has often taught workshops on graphic design, scenic design, and drawing at high schools, and he is also active in the recovery community. Find his work at, and visit the theater at

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Aren Murcar
Board Member

Aren Murcar (he/him) is an Urban Planner at a local consulting firm in Spokane. He has called Spokane home most of his life, graduating from Eastern Washington University for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. Aren formerly served as Treasurer for the Board of Directors at Spokane Edible Tree Project and has worked at multiple environmental non-profit organizations in Spokane and Seattle. Aren’s passion for urban planning, especially alternative transportation, is highlighted by his experience navigating society as a queer person. He believes communities can be strongest only when everyone has a seat at the table, which is why he is passionate about working for LGBTQ+ youth to have the same opportunities and support as everyone else. 

Jared Schatz

Jared Schatz (he/him) is currently the Director of Finance and Operations for Lumen High School. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Washington University and went on to pass the CPA exam.  He was on the board of directors as Treasurer for Lutherhaven Ministries for seven years as well as serving on the board of directors for two different church congregations.  He has also volunteered with some area Gay Straight Alliance groups in local high schools.  Jared is passionate about supporting LGBTQ+ youth to help ensure that are able to achieve their full potential in life.​

Board of Directors
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