About Forge



Connecting generations to restore hope in our communities and help young people discover and pursue their true potential.

FORGE is leading the way as we:

  • Help communities understand the need for and benefit of cross-generational engagement
  • Recruit, train, and match great mentors with kids who lack positive adult role-models
  • Inspire and equip the adult population to effectively reach out to younger generations
  • Teach young and old how to show empathy and effectively form positive and lasting bonds
  • Collaborate with city, schools, and youth-serving agencies to provide support to young people and their families

Forge Youth Mentoring believes in the power of intentional multi-generational relationships. Our program offers a safe place for kids ages 7-18 to connect with a trusted adult and build a friendship that lasts a lifetime! 


Mentor matches meet for at least an hour a week for a minimum of one year. They are matched based on common interests, personalities, and experiences. While they are meeting, they can participate in activities of their choosing to help ensure enjoyment and growth.


Visit Our Results page to learn more about the research behind mentoring!

To better our communities, we must reconnect the generations.

``IN LARGE MEASURE, what's causing this crisis of American childhood is a lack of connectedness. We mean two kinds of connectedness — close connections to other people, and deep connections to moral and spiritual meaning.`` — Hardwired to Connect, The Commission of Children at Risk


FORGE was created to most efficiently and effectively impact lives.  We believe simple is good and volunteers make the greatest difference.


Our chapter strategy allows us to provide services to all communities for 1/3 the cost of other mentoring programs. Additionally, our National Office provides services to our Chapter Directors that allow them to spend their time simply developing the program in your community.



Todd Kleppin, Co-founder/National Executive Director
Todd is passionate about helping people discover their potential and experience life to the fullest.  That’s why he’s dedicated his life to growing youth mentoring.  He’s spent over 30 years in youth development, with the last 14 focused on growing mentoring around the northwest and beyond.  Todd is married to his high school sweetheart, Wendy, and has three adult children; Pearl, Hank, and Albert.


Matt Nash, Fund Development Director
Matt has lived his whole life in the Tri-Cities, Washington and has always worked to better the people all around him.  He’s spent many years in the corrections field, later moving into fund development to make an even greater impact on his community.  While much of his life has been spent in a wheelchair, Matt has never let that slow him down in building partnerships with people and businesses to accomplish great things for the region.  He has served on many local non-profit boards, in addition to being a member of Washington State _____ board.    


Simon Hart, Storytelling Director
Simon is a high school student that is already demonstrating incredible leadership abilities in his school, church, and with FORGE as a volunteer and previous board member.  He cares deeply for people and plans is complete a degree in Business and Non-Profit development to better communities.  Simon is gifted in writing and helping people tell their story and we excited to have him on the team!  Simon will be attending Lewis and Clark University in Lewiston, ID in 2022.


Leann Norberg, Administrative Assistant
Leann has given her life growing in her faith, serving others, and working in organizations that made a difference in people’s lives.  Before heading into retirement, she chose to join FORGE, to help us and the impact the community.  Little did she know what she was signing up for when she came on staff in 2019, but thanks to her experience and organizational skills, she helped the program grow quickly from infancy to an organization on the verge of mass expansion.  She is married to husband Steve and has __ adult children.  


Armando Ramirez, Mid-Columbia Basin Chapter Executive Director
Armando experienced a very difficult childhood, but thanks to two mentors coming into his life, he began to realize that he was worthy of love and that he could achieve great things.  Through the years he has used those experiences and lessons, as well as his leadership and translation skills, to help many people.  Armando began volunteering for FORGE in 2019 and joined our staff a year later.  His strengths and passion have helped develop every aspect of the program, including recruitment, mentor and volunteer training, and connection to Spanish speaking populations.      


Kimberly Gunvaldson, Mid-Columbia Basin Yakima Area Director
Kimberly grew up in Yakima and recently returned home to spend time helping her parents and take on the next phase of life.  After working in a variety of fields, and experiencing many difficulties in life, she wanted her next job to be meaningful.  Kimberly brings skills in communications, recruitment, and training development to FORGE and will help us expand throughout the Yakima Valley region as well as grow our Experience Partners program.     





Joseph Franell, Board President
Joseph Franell is the President of Blue Mountain Networks, a rural competitive Internet service provider and telephone company which includes Axxis Communications, Eastern Oregon Telecom, and Gorge Networks.  Blue Mountain Networks (BMN) serves residents, businesses, and the community of faith in more than 30 communities throughout Northeastern Oregon, Southeastern Washington, and the Mid-Columbia River region of the Pacific Northwest.  The Oregon Business Magazine called Joe, “The Rural Connector” because of his effective leadership in bringing broadband to rural markets in the region.

Joe has had a passion for mentoring youth for over 40 years.  While in college, he worked with hundreds of inner-city boys in Fort Worth, Texas, helping them to find a future that didn’t include the gangs.   He has continued to impact young people with one-on-one mentoring; by showing God’s love and helping each young person to realize their immeasurable worth.  

Franell is a ten-year veteran of the US Army, is happily married, and has one daughter.



Brian Vaughan, Co-Founder and Secretary-Treasurer
Brian Vaughan, CPA CSEP is a partner at the Certified Public Accounting firm of Hanson Vaughan, LLC. He has been working in the field of public accounting since 1991.  He quickly moved up to form his own accounting firm, of which he is a partner today.  His practice expanded to two sites in the Portland/Salem, Oregon, due to his hard work, understanding of people, and firm grasp of powerful business strategies.  He spends a great deal of time mentoring businesses, new and old, helping them become more effective and efficient.


Brian has volunteered and served with numerous non-profits including; Transitional Youth, the Navigators, CRU’s Priority Associates ministry, and local church youth ministries.  In his spare time he enjoys golfing, mountain biking, kayaking, working around the house, and spending time with his wife, Annette.


“Nothing has had an impact on my life equivalent to the deeper relationships I have been fortunate to be a part of.  Forge Youth Mentoring gave me an avenue to help make possible those same deep relationships for youth at a critical time in their lives.  That is why I chose to invest my time and resources into Forge Youth Mentoring.


Dave Allen, Member
Operations & Policy Senior Analyst (Retired)

Bend, OR


Mark Murphy, MemberManager and Senior Research Scientist, Pacific Northwest Laboratory 

Executive Director, Mid-Columbia Parenting

Richland, WA




FORGE  Youth Mentoring is a nonprofit organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We cherish the sacred dignity of every human being and celebrate diversity as a true representation of God’s love and creative expression. We seek to build a diverse community of participants, volunteers, and staff that fully engages in the transformative experience found in mentoring across expressions of human difference.

Reconnect Generations

Partnering diverse ages to develop greater understanding, respect, and love.

Everyone Has a Story

Empathy leads to tangible help and a desire to learn from others brings wisdom

Growth & Transformation

Through mentor relationships, kids and adults will make lasting positive change.

Equip and Support

Quality training and ongoing encouragement for staff and volunteers.

Safety & Transparency

Protecting all participants and partners with clear guidelines and communication.

Strategic Excellence

Balancing a service-oriented heart and business mind to achieve our potential.

Volunteer Empowerment

Investing in unpaid workers for key tasks to economize programming.


Serving every young person in need regardless of their circumstances.

Community Driven

Partnering with local businesses and community members.