Talofa and Malo e lelei! Vanessa Tufaga (she/her/hers) is a rising senior at the University of Alaska Anchorage, studying Political Science (with a focus in international relations) and International Studies. This summer and fall she is interning at the Peace Corps in the Office of Strategic Partnerships and Intergovernmental Affairs (SPIGA). Vanessa is passionate about indigenous sovereignty and learning about the history of the Pacific. Aside from her academics and work, she enjoys reading, listening to music, traveling and staying active. She is proud to be a part of a non-profit that is focused on empowering Pacific peoples both locally and nationally.
Dash is a queer Samoan individual born and raised in American Samoa currently residing on Dena'ina lands also known as Anchorage Alaska. She is the Anchorage Youth Task Force Coordinator, a Youth Champion Fellow, an entrepreneur and national youth advocate. Dash dedicates her life to serve and amplify youth voices working with Covenant House Alaska and many other organizations in the community. She hopes to use her platform to encourage more young people to fight and strive for success. She asks herself every day “are you going through it or are you growing through it?” Live your truth and do the damn thing!
Samantha F. Fili was born and raised in Leone, American Samoa. All her early childhood education to secondary education were completed in Leone. She attended and graduated from American Samoa Community College in Fall 2004. Left immediately after that to pursue a Bachelor of arts in Psychology at Alaska Pacific University. Since that shocking-cold arrival in January 2005, Samantha made Alaska her home away from home. This organization is a prime example of what she wishes was available for her and others when she first arrived in Alaska. A place where she can go to seek information about assistance for college students living independently, information about scholarships and grants available to pacific islanders, government assistance for medical needs, and such. She holds a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in criminal behavior. She is a mental health clinician for the Department of Corrections, with years of experience working for community mental health as a clinician. Samantha’s hope and prayer is that this organization will be of a great resource and assistance to our pacific islanders in Alaska. We are in unprecedented times, and she prays you and your family are well, and that you all are taking precautions to stay safe in our community.
Taivaleoaana Seven Toleafoa was born and raised in the island of American Samoa. A retired veteran with multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a champion when it comes to empowering young people to become better versions of themselves. Seven is a God fearing man and his favorite hobby is volleyball. Seven has been bestowed a (Matai) Chief title by his family to honor his dedication and service to the success of his family. He is a family man who prides himself in raising seven beautiful children.
Isabella grew up on both Samoan islands of Tutuila and Upolu. She loves spending time with her children, husband, and families. It was cultivated in her very early childhood years,-a spirit of love of family, community, and people. To further understand people’s thought processes and behaviors, she obtained a BA in psychology from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has military experience, has worked with children that suffer from conduct and other mental health disorders, and provided outpatient counseling to those that suffer from alcohol and drug addictions (mostly in Alaska’s family drug court and felony drug court). Due to experiencing adverse childhood experiences in her adolescent years, she is passionate about her current work in the state of Alaska’s children protective services. As a supervisor in their Family Services Department, she serves children and their families to mitigate existing safety threats, strengthen parental protective capacities, and reunify children with families or forever homes. She is passionate in her service to PCA and it’s grassroots efforts, to help support and strengthen the Polynesian Community that resides in Alaska.
Sela Vaka’uta Dettmer is a proud Tongan! She was born & raised in Tonga. She is a mom of two and a wife to her best friend Jason Dettmer. Sela Vaka’uta Dettmer and her husband owns a local financial agency in Anchorage. She hopes to use her platform to teach financial education in the community and how to be good stewards of their money. She wants to encourage our community that we are never too old nor too young to go after our dreams and goals.
Laulu Reagan Mamea- Average height, average size, average looking guy with a beautiful wife and 5 children. With a traditional Samoan upbringing, he has a genuine love and respect for the culture and the sacrifices that were made by those before him, especially his parents. This respect for the culture and ancestors brings him to Pacific Community of Alaska. Reagan brings a wealth of experience having worked with people of all ethnicities and background, during multiple deployments to the Middle East and living abroad. He is presently with the Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute, as a Quality and Population Health Specialist. He has more than 20 years of medical experience having served as a medic in the military and in the civilian sector. Post military he joined the Providence Alaska Medical Center Emergency Department, as an orthopedic technician. He is a medically retired disabled veteran, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, musician, podcaster and social influencer who founded Saafi Online Radio and Marketing. Furthermore, he is passionate and true to the cause of empowering Pacific Islanders with combating stigmatized views and social labels placed on them by society.