Kaeli’s Welcome

Hello everyone! My name is Kaeli Patchen, and I am thrilled to be the new DC Middle School and Peer Mentorship Program Coordinator for AALEAD! Although it’s a strange time to be starting this new position, I am so excited to continue my journey as an educator and activist.

I first got into social justice work at my high school in Minnesota, where I belonged to a club called “The Justice League” (not to be confused with the superhero team). It was there that I learned about systems of privilege and oppression, different facets of identity, and intersectionality. I started to understand my role as a privileged ally, and I became passionate about understanding different perspectives and identities. While I didn’t go on to study this work professionally, the concepts I learned definitely stuck with me, and I have used this passion for social justice and activism in every part of my life. 

But the biggest part of my life so far has been theatre. I’ve been doing shows and singing for as long as I can remember, and I moved to DC in 2014 to study Musical Theatre at American University. When I graduated, I began to work as a professional actor and theatre educator. In addition to my passion for theatre, I developed a love of teaching and interacting with youth. I was, and still am, inspired by the endless creativity, enthusiasm, and intelligence that young people are capable of.

This is me singing in the final round of the NextGen: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow competition at Arena Stage in 2018!

As the pandemic hit, it became harder and harder to work as a theatre artist. I knew that it was time to transition toward a different job. Little did I know that I would find a position that combines all of my skills and passions here at AALEAD! While I love performing and being in the spotlight, my favorite things about theatre are putting myself in other people’s shoes, being creative, and building a sense of community and teamwork. As a program coordinator, I’ll get to do all of these things while exploring new cultures and ideas and being part of an incredible new community of youth and staff. I can’t wait to get started.


P.S. Here is me with the other greatest love of my life: dogs

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