REACH Board of Directors

Denise Altvater, Passamaquoddy from Sipayik, has served as Coordinator of Wabanaki Youth Program for the American Friends Service Committee for over twenty-five years. She was central to the creation, design, and implementation of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission, being the first to share her experiences in state foster care with the community and public. Denise now serves as Treasurer for the REACH Board of Directors and the Finance Committee.

Esther Anne, Passamaquoddy from Sipayik, joined the Muskie School of Public Service in 2003 where she works on projects that engage and benefit tribal communities including facilitating the Maine tribal state Indian Child Welfare Act workgroup and creating child welfare resources with the Capacity Building Center for Tribes. She had a primary role in the creation and establishment of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Maine-Wabanaki REACH. Esther now serves as secretary for the REACH Board of Directors and the Fundraising Development Committee.  

Elise Bolda, retired from the Master of Public Health faculty at University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School, in 2018. Her eyes were opened to the history of Maine-Wabanaki relations, REACH, and the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Commission as the result of a Wolastoq graduate student’s work with REACH and the TRC. In addition to encouraging support for REACH’s work, Elise volunteers with I-PIE, a Muskie School-based group of students, staff and faculty working to decolonize education. Elise lives and continues to learn in Scarborough. She serves on the REACH Board of Directors and the Human Resources/Finance Committee.

Penthea Burns, has worked at the University Of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service since 1999 and in the field of child welfare since 1981.  Her experience includes delivering direct service, advocacy, training and technical assistance, and policy guidance. Penthea currently serves on the REACH Board of Directors (Board co-chair), Fundraising Development Committee, and initiatives focused on decolonizing higher education and faith communities. She is a co-founder of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Youth Leadership Advisory Team (youth leaders in foster care), and Camp To Belong Maine (a summer camp program that reunites siblings separated by foster care and adoption). Penthea has an adult son who lives in PA.

Luke Joseph, Passamaquoddy from Sipayik with lineal ties to the Houlton Band of Maliseets, and the Woodstock and Oromocto First Nations of Canada. He has spent most of his life working within the Wabanaki communities and with programs that benefit Wabanaki people.  Luke graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle with a degree in Teaching Physical Education (K-12) in June 2009.  He lives in the Micmac community with his wife Dena and their two sons where he is the Indian Child Welfare Coordinator. Luke serves as co-Chair of the Board of Directors and on the Human Resources/Finance Committee.

Alivia Moore, a member of Penobscot Nation serves on the Maine Tribal-State ICWA Workgroup as a former youth in tribal care and serves as an ICWA Qualified Expert Witness in Maine State Court. She works for A Family For Me, helping to recruit resource families for children in care. Alivia serves on the REACH Board of Directors and the Communications Committee.

Diane Oltarzewski, originally from New Jersey, moved to Belfast in 2013 when she retired from a career in organization administration. She has a B.A. in History from Skidmore College and worked most of her life in New York City. Once in Belfast, she soon came to know the work REACH and began reading and learning about the tribes and what actually happened in this land. Diane is a member of the Friends Committee for Maine Public Policy, monitoring the discussions at the Tribal-State Commission and learning about relevant legislation in Augusta, providing testimony to several committees on various bills introduced on behalf of the tribes. Diane serves on the REACH Board of Directors and on the Communications Committee.