Seattle Chapter – Board of Directors

Molly Abbruzzese, President

Molly AbbruzzeseBienvenidos! Welcome to Amigos! I was a volunteer with the Seattle Chapter in 1982 and 1983, giving vaccinations and building latrines, respectively, in the Dominican Republic and Mexico.  I am grateful to Amigos for inspiring my career path – I studied global health and development, volunteered with the Peace Corps in Ecuador, and have now come full circle, working in Vaccine Delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  What I love the most about Amigos is how it empowers youth – and I am super proud that my daughter was a participant in 2017! Email me at


Janet Robinson, Treasurer

janet_robinsonJanet is the mother of a veteran volunteer who went to Mexico in 2014. Janet is a strong believer in international education and foreign language learning. Her children have all attended Spanish immersion public schools in Seattle and spent vacations visiting a sister school in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Janet has been a Girl Scout leader as well as the Treasurer for Elementary School PTSA. She graduated with a BS in Computer Science from Cornell University. Reach Janet at


Erin Branigan, Training Advisor

Branigan_portrait_July14_Erin’s career path was informed by her early experiences in foreign language learning (French and Spanish) and international travel and service. As a French major in college, she was able to spend two years studying and working in southwestern France. She then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, pursued a degree in Public Health, and worked for two years in Mali, West Africa. Erin went on to work with tuberculosis control projects in Honduras, Peru and Cambodia. Her current work at the University of Washington in global HIV prevention, care and treatment, along with further language study in Portuguese, has allowed her to manage projects in Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire, Angola and Haiti. She feels passionately about promoting the transformative experience of intercultural learning to young people.


Lilia Fannin, Fundraising Coordinator

LFHola!  I was a 1977 Seattle Chapter AMIGOS volunteer in Nicaragua where I gave polio and DPT/Tetanus vaccinations in the Aldeas surrounding San Miguelito.  It’s absolutely amazing how AMIGOS gives opportunities for students to have amazing life changing experiences. This is my third year as a board member and I look forward to supporting our chapter in Fundraising.  Please support the Seattle Chapter through our traditional holiday citrus sales. We are also adding coffee to our fundraising events this year.  Please check back soon to order your citrus and coffee!  Muchas gracias!


Sam Vaux, Assistant Training Director

Hola! My name is Sam and I am a student at University of Washington studying Psychology. I was first introduced to AMIGOS in high school and had the chance to spend 8 weeks in Cotopaxi, Ecuador. In this short time, I was able to grow so much as an individual and learn about my capabilities as a leader. I learned to appreciate the beauty in the Spanish language and the culture surrounding it. My experience with AMIGOS showed me the power of young people to foster relationships, implement sustainable community projects and be positive role models. AMIGOS had an incredibly positive impact on my life and I stay involved because I see the transformation of so many young students to culturally curious global citizens.


Anna Colando, Training Director and Webmaster

I trained with the Seattle chapter of Amigos in 2012 and volunteered in Paraguarí, Paraguay, where I was involved with latrine construction and health education initiatives. I’m grateful to my Amigos experience for inspiring a deep appreciation for intercultural exchange and sparking my interest in global health. This led me to study Biology at Lewis & Clark College, where I graduated with a BA this past May. I moved back to Seattle in June of 2017and I’m thrilled to be back in my hometown and part of its Amigos community again. Contact me at


Dr. Edward La Cava, Medical Director

Dr. La Cava is a clinician/clinical investigator endocrinologist at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland, WA.  Previously, he has served as the Chief of Endocrinology and Diabetes and chair of the Department of Medicine at Evergreen Hospital Medical Center in Kirkland, WA, and founded Evergreen Diabetes and Endocrinology Group, PLLC. He completed his endocrinology/diabetes fellowship at the University of Washington/VA Medical Center in Seattle, WA. Dr. La Cava has served on the Faculty of Medicine at both the University of Washington and the University of Southern California. He is a Fellow with the American College of Endocrinology and a former senior editor of the ADA’s Diabetes Forecast Magazine. He has been listed in Best Doctors in America (2005-2006, 2007-2008, and 2011), Seattle Magazine as a Top Doctor (2013-2014), and Seattle Metropolitan Magazine (2014-2015). Additionally, he has was awarded the National Patient’s Choice Award in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. Dr. La Cava has lectured regionally, nationally and internationally (Argentina, Germany, Mainland China, Mexico, and Puerto Rico) on topics related to diabetes, as well as endocrinology and male Hypogonadism.


Grant Lyons, Paperwork Coordinator

Hello! My name is Grant Lyons, I’m a recent social studies graduate of Evergreen State College, currently working and living in the Seattle area, doing what I can to give back to the community that raised me. My first experience with AMIGOS was in 2012, when I got the chance to spend a short couple of months in Coclé, Panama working with the community on a number of different projects (reforestation, building bus stops and community gardens, ect). My experience in Panama was nothing short of amazing, and has since sparked a passion to continue traveling and align work with helping underserved communities. I’m stoked to be involved with an organization that has fostered considerably positive growth for me personally, and I’m extremely excited to contribute towards the success and experience of future volunteers as well.

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Charity EIN: 23-7209800

PO Box 30129
Seattle, WA 98113
T: (425) 610-8239