NorthStar Advocates is a federally recognized, tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization (EIN 87-1428320) dedicated to preventing and ending youth and young adult homelessness in Washington state. NorthStar Advocates is in the “start-up” phase of organizational development, and began operations in July 2021.


All young people facing homelessness or exiting state systems have the support and resources they need to create a life that is healthy, loving, and achieves their NorthStar.


Preventing and ending homelessness by supporting young people, strengthening families and communities, and holding the systems designed to serve them accountable.


UNCONDITIONAL CARE: All children and young people deserve a safe, warm, nurturing environment to grow, learn, and thrive. Children and young people do best when they are raised by healthy families and communities. Families and communities do best when they are trusted, supported, and free of bias and discrimination. Society does best when young people, families and communities have the resources, policies, and opportunities they need to be strong, healthy, and lead their own lives. We want young people and families to not just thrive, but to survive!

The NorthStar was the name of the name of the newspaper founded by Frederick Douglas in 1847.

Our Team


Jim Theofelis

Jim Theofelis began his lifetime commitment to serving young people and families as an outreach worker on the streets of Seattle in 1979. For the next several years he worked on the “front lines” continuing to do street outreach and working in an emergency shelter that served youth surviving on the streets of Seattle that began his commitment to the philosophy of Unconditional Care: “All children and youth deserve a safe, nurturing environment to grow and thrive independent of behavior.”

His resume reflects his commitment to this philosophy as a therapist, advocate, non-profit organizational leader, founder, and Executive Director. In 1999, Jim authored and successfully advocated the Washington state Legislature to pass the HOPE Act, which established new and innovative programs designed to meet the needs of youth who were surviving on the streets. Perhaps more importantly, the HOPE Act advocacy and approach started a movement across Washington to ensure that young people with lived experience were leaders and decision-makers in developing and advocating for public policy and practice.

The success of the HOPE Act led Jim to found The Mockingbird Society in 2001, which is a national leader in elevating youth voice, advancing critical legislation, and developing the Mockingbird Family model. This innovative foster care model reduces multiple placements and runaway episodes while retaining quality foster parents. In 2017 Jim became the inaugural Executive Director of A Way Home Washington, an organization that is implementing the Anchor Community Initiative and is partnering with Community Solutions, a national leader supporting communities to reach “functional zero.

Jim is a Washington state Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Chemical Dependency Counselor who maintains a small private practice in Seattle.


Dr. Ben Danielson

Clinical Professor of Pediatrics University of Washington

Justice Bobbe J. Bridge, ret.

Founding President/CEO CCYJ

Lyle Quasim

Secretary Washington State Department of Social and Health Service (Retired)

Sen. Reuven Carlyle

36th Legislative District – Seattle


Daniel Lugo

Daniel Lugo brings lived experience and legislative expertise to the table. He grew up in an unstable home and entered the foster care system at age 17. These were difficult times for Daniel, but community advocates helped him overcome adversity.

Since graduating from the University of Washington in 2017, Daniel has worked for the Washington State House of Representatives as the legislative assistant to Representative Frank Chopp. Representative Chopp and Daniel have passed several policies and funding initiatives to improve Washington state’s public systems of care.

Daniel is honored to be a part of the NorthStar Advocates team and cannot be more thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with the organization!

Laurie Lippold

Laurie got her MSW from the University of Chicago and subsequently worked with pregnant and parenting teens.  After moving to Seattle in the early 80s she began working at a newly established group home (where she first met Jim!) and from there moved into licensing foster and adoptive parents, working with young people leaving residential care, and then with people who were involved with adoption (the adoption triad).

Laurie’s adoption work at the Adoption Resource Center at Children’s Home Society of WA is what led her into the policy area where she has been ever since — first with Children’s Home Society, the Children’s Alliance, the Family Policy Council, and after another many years as the Public Policy Director at Children’s Home Society, moved to Partners for Our Children.  Laurie’s policy work has focused primarily on child welfare, kinship care, behavioral health, poverty reduction, children’s health, and early learning.  Laurie also worked with the WA Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics for many years, as well as with the Mockingbird Society and A Way Home WA for several legislative sessions.

She is grateful for the opportunities she has had to help shape policies and practices that have hopefully (!) improved the lives of children, youth and families.  Laurie is married, has 2 adult children, and 1 absolutely adorable grandchild(!!!).  Being on the board of NorthStar Advocates is an honor.

Ros Ghan
NorthStar Advocates BOD Treasurer, Former Deputy Director of Mockingbird Society.  Active board member and community volunteer advocating for the well being of children, youth and young adults.  Co-Founder Austin Foundation Youth and Fitness

What’s in a Name?

Our Executive Director has been serving children, youth and families in Washington state for over 40 years-through non-profit organizations and his private practice. One of the exciting and meaningful aspects of the name NorthStar Advocates is how it challenges us as a new organization to not just patch system gaps with “Band-Aid” programs, but to be more intentional through an equity and justice lens:

“Where do we want to be in 1 year, 3 years and 5 years?” 

For example, in the child welfare and foster care system, driving toward a more humanistic goal instead of only improving the system for children today: “How do we strengthen and support families so that they do not need to enter the foster care system?” Let us remove the policies, practices and programs that are rooted in racism and white supremacy. The NorthStar Advocates approach insists that those with lived experience are at the table.

When Jim founded The Mockingbird Society, one of his guiding principles to elevate the voice and leadership of young people in foster care and/or homeless was: “If we are not at the table, we are on the menu!” NorthStar Advocates is dedicated to changing who is at the table, as well as the very menu being developed and served.