May 20, 2018

Who Are We?

Marina Ball is serving her second term as Co-Chair of the Snohomish County Children’s Commission, having represented District 5 for the last 2 years.  Marina grew up in Sedro Woolley and spent many days visiting family in and around Monroe. After graduating from college Marina moved to Twin Falls, Idaho where she raised her own family and now lives in Lake Stevens with her husband and 15 year old dog.
Marina is a passionate advocate for helping youth build resiliency and finding a path towards healing and success. She has spent the last 20 years supporting youth to challenge themselves.  She has helped young children learn to read; coached soccer, softball, cycling, and Future City.  Recently she worked as a Transition Coach for youth at the Snohomish County Juvenile Justice Center helping youth identify positive support for their future.  Marina has been a Camp Counselor and a Program Manager with Girl Scouts of Western Washington.  Currently she sits on the Steering Committee for Snohomish County Project Homeless Connect and devotes her time to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, helping women and girls around the world improve skills and knowledge in teamwork and leadership.
Despite her family’s fond memories rock climbing at the City of Rocks along the California Trail in Idaho, her daughter now studies Ocean Physics at the University of Washington and her son studies Chinese and Computer Science at Boise State University.
Marina cherishes her time outside backpacking, canoeing, and skiing.  After sporadic fly fishing for the past 20 years, she is now a member of the Evergreen Fly Fishing Club.  It is safe to say that Marina’s acting career peaked in high school while performing puppet shows for youth in villages around Mexicali, Mexico.


Kristen Anderson is the 2015-2016 Co-Chair of the Snohomish County Children’s Commission and has been a Commissioner for District 5 for the last 4 years. After growing up in Spokane and graduating from Washington State University (Go Cougs!), she moved to Snohomish County in 1998. Kristen, her husband, and two young children live in Lake Stevens and she works in the Mukilteo School District. In addition to the Children’s Commission, Kristen participates in many local coalitions and collaborations across Snohomish County.
Kristen brings over 17 years of experience in grant/program management, drug and alcohol prevention science, and community organizing. Other areas of professional expertise include risk and protective factors, working with youth, understanding and navigating the public school system, and accessing local resources for families in need.
In her spare time Kristen loves to spend time with her family and friends, travel, read books, plan parties, and play with her kids. She also volunteers at her children’s school and is an avid volunteer for the American Cancer Society. During the fall, you can find Kristen and her entire family at many Cougar football games and events as they are huge WSU fans!


Desmond Pullen grew up on a farm in Rhodesia, present-day Zimbabwe, and now lives in Snohomish, WA with his wife, Karen. He is the sixth of eleven siblings, seven of whom are still living. Desmond attended a Catholic boarding school in Rhodesia from the age of 7 until graduating in 1965. He then attended the all-white Bulawayo Teachers Training College of Rhodesia; although he could attend classes, he was not allowed to live or have meals on campus. He moved to the USA in July 1972. He and Karen taught in a private junior boys’ school in Deerfield, Massachusetts. They lived in a dormitory while at the school and Desmond taught in the classroom, coached soccer (aka football), skiing – although he had never seen snow before, basketball – although he had never heard of it before, and track and field. He remained at the boarding school for fourteen years before moving on to become a principal at two consecutive private middle schools before retiring in 2006 and moving to Washington State in 2007. Karen and Desmond have two daughters and five grandchildren. One daughter lives in Snohomish, Washington and the other in Atlanta, Georgia. Desmond learned about the Children’s Commission from a friend and Commission member Chris. He attended his first SCCC meeting February 27, 2013 and decided to become a member a short time thereafter. Desmond now is sort of ‘unretired.’ He is the Children’s Advocate at the Interfaith Shelter for Homeless Families in Everett, WA. He serves on the board of the Snohomish County Health and Safety Network and is board chair of the Network Advocates. Desmond’s favorite sport is soccer which he played in high school, college and semiprofessionally in Rhodesia. He also ran soccer camps in Greenfield Massachusetts for 21 years and currently coaches – with his daughter – a soccer team of ten-year old girls, including his granddaughter. Desmond’s acting career ended with a part in the Kaufman/Hart play, You Can’t Take it With You. No, he never did meet Jean Arthur and yes, a grandfather of his was a renowned medicine man (a so-called witchdoctor).


Laura Hamilton returned to Snohomish County after 21 years, now living in Edmonds with her husband. She has two sons who live in New York with their wives and three wonderful grandchildren. Laura has represented District 3 as a Children’s Commissioner for 8 years. She brings 35 years of experience in education to the Commission where she worked with students and families with special needs. She helps to provide insight and support for children from birth to age 21 and their families, aligning with Snohomish County’s long history of recognizing and valuing the importance and challenges of raising children. Laura has served as a Co-Chair, Chair and a member of the Executive Committee throughout her tenure as a commissioner. She serves as vice-chair on the Chemical Dependency/Mental Health Board for Snohomish County.  She peaked in her acting career in 3rd grade where she starred as “Miss Nonsense Book.”


Jerry Strieck is currently serving his second term on the Children’s Commission representing District 1, and is currently the co-chair for the Community Juvenile Justice Coalition.  Jerry is a lifelong resident of Snohomish County and enjoys working with the Commission on matters benefiting Snohomish County’s children.


Pam Wessel-Estes is currently finishing her third term on the Children’s Commission representing the Commission District 2. She has served as Chair,Vice Chair,and on the Executive Committee as well as participating on a variety of other committees and planning groups during her tenure.  A native of Washington State, Pam has lived in Snohomish County for 24 years.  She brings decades of experience developing and managing non­profit organizations, public health, and social service programs to the Commission.  Areas of professional expertise include crisis intervention; sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse/neglect prevention-intervention; reproductive healthcare; human rights; homelessness/emergency shelter; and multiple domains within public health policy and prevention.  She recently left a professional career at theSnohomish Health District and now works as a community consultant.  Pam continues to be passionate and active in promoting healthy families and communities, with a special focus on the prevention and mitigation of childhood trauma.  Important life experiences include travel in Canada, Mexico, Europe, East Africa,and S.E. Asia where she served as a PeaceCorps Volunteer.  In her spare time, Pam is a fiber artist, gardener, writer and poet.  In 2012 she published her first children’s book, ‘A Quilt and a Home’.  She has been a foster and adoptive parent, and now the proud mother of two amazing young adults.  Pam and her spouse reside in north Everett.