Gov. Little appoints nine new commissioners to Serve Idaho

Gov. Brad Little appointed nine new commissioners to the Serve Idaho Commission. They add to the existing commission of 13.

“The new commissioners bring a passion for volunteerism and AmeriCorps in their communities,” program manager Renee Bade said. “We are excited to welcome them to the commission to share their expertise in advancing service across Idaho.”

Commissioners are listed below per region.

Northern Cara Neilson

Cara Neilson was appointed to represent community-based agencies and resides in Athol. She currently serves as president of the Kootenai Health Foundation, leading a team of staff and volunteers providing support to northern Idaho’s largest health system. She has been involved in philanthropy in the Gem State for the past 25 years, either raising funds for nonprofits or directing grant and corporate giving programs. She is passionate about community involvement and is currently a member of the Coeur d’Alene Rotary and the Women’s Gift Alliance.

North Central

Chelsea Weeks was appointed to represent the volunteer sector and resides in Lewiston. SheChelsea Weeks developed her passion for volunteerism serving as an AmeriCorps member with Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC). Upon completing her master’s degree, she served with AmeriCorps VISTA, where she helped establish the Warrior Food Pantry at LCSC. Weeks also currently serves as the director of operations with the YMCA in Lewiston and Clarkston, Washington.



Eric Anderson also joins Weeks in the north centralEric Anderson region. Anderson was appointed to fill the role of an individual representing higher education. He resides in Moscow. Anderson works for career services at the    University of Idaho where he serves as the associate director for employer relations and experiential learning. He is an AmeriCorps alum serving with AmeriCorps National Civilian, Community Corps, AmeriCorps state and national, and has worked for the Corporation for National and Community Service for five years. As an AmeriCorps member he helped at Ground Zero after 9/11 and in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.


Destinie HartDestinie Hart was appointed to represent community-based agencies. Hart is an AmeriCorps alum having served two years with Lewis-Clark Service Corps tutoring and mentoring elementary school students. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from Boise State University and has worked in public service for over a decade. Additionally, she serves as an elected trustee on the Meridian Library District Board, and is a commissioner on the Meridian Historic Preservation Commission.

Jennifer Hensley was appointed to represent the business sector. Hensley serves as theJennifer Hensley executive director of Downtown Boise. She previously had roles with the Minnesota Museum of American Art in Saint Paul and Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority in Colorado. She also holds a seat on CATCH Idaho’s Board of Directors, International Downtown Association’s Education Committee, Boise Farmer’s Market’s Volunteer Committee, Visit Boise’s EDI Committee and the Idaho Child Abuse Prevention Month Committee. Hensley is a native of Texas, with master’s and bachelor’s degrees from West Texas A&M University.

Julia HopperJulia Hopper was appointed to fill the position representing the Idaho Department of Education. Hopper serves as the GEAR UP program coordinator where she oversees the GEAR UP grant. She has a background in elementary education and curriculum development, and received her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Idaho and her Master of Science in curriculum and instruction from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah.


South central

Mike WilkinsonMike Wilkinson was appointed to represent local labor organizations. He is a school counselor at Robert Stuart Middle School in Twin Falls. He is a member of the American School Counselor Association, the Idaho School Counseling Association and the Idaho Education Association.




StephanStephanie Taylor-Thompsonie Taylor-Thompson was appointed to represent community-based agencies and is a lifelong resident of Idaho Falls. She is in long-term recovery and was formerly incarcerated. Taylor-Thompson earned full pardons from both Idaho and Montana in 2017 and is currently pursuing her master’s in social work at Northwest Nazarene University. She is also a former reentry specialist for the Idaho Department of Correction and an AmeriCorps VISTA alum. She currently serves as director of reentry transformation for Workbay, field director and prison ministry manager for Prison Fellowship.

Becky Martin was appointed to represent the tribes. She is the risk management coordinator for the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel. She previously worked as the emergency coordinatorBecky Martintor for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ Emergency Management, and is working on her master’s degree in emergency management and homeland security with Arizona State University. She is also a graduate of the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce leadership program and served on the Board of Directors of Leadership Pocatello-Chubbuck.

The commissioner’s mission is “to inspire and recognize volunteers and empower communities through service, and AmeriCorps, to solve Idaho’s unmet needs.”

In 2022, AmeriCorps committed more than $5.7 million to support Idaho communities through AmeriCorps initiatives. This federal investment leveraged more than $1.5 million in other resources to strengthen community impact, build local support and increase return on taxpayer dollars.


Serve Idaho is a division of the Idaho Department of Labor. The commission administers Idaho’s AmeriCorps programs. Serve Idaho is funded in part by the federal agency AmeriCorps and the Idaho Department of Labor.