Charlia Messinger, Executive Director
Charlia came to PiPE in 2015, after graduating from The Evergreen State College. She has been an advocate for survivors of violence since 2011, and coordinated the Coalition Against Sexual Violence for most of her time at Evergreen while studying anti-colonial feminist history, art and practice. Charlia has sought out an administrative role to continue to create services and programs to best support survivors where it has been missing historically. Her experiences as a queer woman, a trauma survivor, and with size and class discrimination inform the work she does for our communities.
Charlia spends her time outside of work supporting local music, and hanging out with her dog, Agatha and her ball python, Monty. She enjoys creating jewelry and painting, and can often be found stuck in blackberry thorns trying to reach an elusive berry.
Mika Semrow, Program Coordinator.
Mika’s path to working at PiPE is a strange and meandering one that started in food service and survivor advocacy. Freshly graduated from college, and burnt out on non-profit work, they took a job at a local bar where they had the opportunity to experience the support, care, and comradery of their unhoused customers. From then on, they felt called to use their skills to support the houseless community in Olympia and give back some of what had been given to them. That was in December of 2016 and they’ve never looked back. In their free time, Mika enjoys playing fetch with their dog, Bear; reading; listening to podcasts; or doing DIY projects around their house and garden.
Nina Carmichael, Systems Advocacy Coordinator:
Nina came to PiPE in 2018, two years after graduating from the University of Washington. She has been an advocate for survivors of violence since 2010 and has worked and partnered with places such as: KCSARC, Orion Center, Friends of Youth, NW Network and Safeplace doing research, advocacy, paneling, community awareness/prevention outreach, curriculum building and workshop facilitation.
Nina was brought to this work through a lifelong recognition not that every body is treated or valued the same; that some folks live with persistent marginalization based on the social and physical identities they hold and that reality created a need for many, if not all, social service organizations/agencies.
With this understanding, her entrance into PiPE has expanded opportunities for people to engage/partner with social service providers in consensual ways for free and voluntary services. Nina is drawn to the ability to heal when willing and sufficiently supported and looks for ways to do so for participants in her role at PiPE.
Vanessa Di Benedetto, Mobile Advocacy Coordinator
Vanessa is still in shock that it’s possible to be a professional advocate. After a lifetime of being wired to stubbornly try to improve conditions that they themselves were entrenched in, in everything from treacherous public school classrooms to insidious violence within punk culture to the myriad of social services they’ve depended on to a militarized border and countless activist endeavors which reproduced the very oppressive dynamics they sought to undermine, Vanessa inched away from fighting and towards healing as a means for justice. It took a lot of experimenting with coping methods of varying degrees of success before Vanessa found some strategies that inspired them to pursue a “profession” in trauma recovery, focusing on Equine facilitated therapy in multiple treatment centers before joining PiPE in May of 2017.
Although Vanessa was first certified as an Advocate for survivors of sexual assault in 2005 and was certified by five different agencies while doing unpaid work in this field between then and now, it wasn’t until becoming the Advocacy Coordinator at PiPE that Vanessa experienced advocacy work in a way that combined so many of the skills and interests and values that they had developed through their own life experiences: The perfect blend of fighting for people while simultaneously supporting them through various processes of healing. To balance the chaos, Vanessa tries to spend as much time away from places that are busy with people as possible. They love anything to do with horses, anything involving their dog and their step-dog, quality time with loved ones, wilderness that doesn’t require too much physical effort, anything to do with the harvesting, cooking, and eating of food, driving on back roads, and creating things with their hands.
Autume-Eve Briarhart, Mobile Advocate
Autumn-Eve Briarhart is new to houseless advocacy, but is excited at any opportunity to help their community. With firsthand experience in navigating the systems and obstacles often placed in front of marginalized communities, Autumn is especially equipped to offer their services to those in need. Outside of work, Autumn can be found walking at the docks, reading poetry, or cooking for their partners.