Ali Epperson

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Once upon a time in college, Ali and Stella were introduced by mutual friend/bandmate, Dave. After learning that Ali was job hunting and had experience with kids, Stella advised Ali to apply at Child Craft. The rest, they say, is history. Ali worked for Child Craft for 5+ years, finishing her gig there as the Assistant Director of the summer camp/after school program, before heading off to Seoul, South Korea to teach English. Upon her triumphant return the States two years later, Ali has been employed as a Bilingual (English/Spanish) 3rd grade teacher with Austin ISD. Aside from her PhD in Awesome, Ali holds a BA from the University of Texas (Spanish), a Texas State Teacher’s Certification, and extensive experience working with kids from a broad range of countries, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

As an educator and grown up who likes to hang out with kiddos, Ali is committed to the idea that each moment has the potential to be a teachable moment, and that it is our job as educators/adults to provide kiddos with the tools necessary to empower them to seek out knowledge and become life-long learners. Aside from doing fun kid stuff with Stella and spilled milk, Ali’s passions and interests include travel, culture, language, cooking, reading, sewing, drinking coffee, and fighting for equality and social justice (especially when it comes to education and young folks).

ali@spilledmilksocialclub.com

Stella Maxwell

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Stella Maxwell, co-owner and president of the Awesome Association, has been heavily involved in the creative community in Austin since she moved here in 1999 from Terrell, Texas. Like her friend and partner Ali, Stella hails from the University of Child Craft where Harma and Ken Jordan had a positively powerful impact on how and why she interacts with young people the way she does. Stella has worked with kids in and out of Child Craft for the better part of 13 years in capacities ranging from camp counselor and pre-school teacher to assistant director and “Boss Queen.”

As an artist, Stella’s creative expression manifests itself in myriad forms. From music to shrinky-dinks to story telling (and writing!) to roller derby to making up games and activities for kids and big kids (errr… grown ups?), Stella is never lacking fun and exciting ideas to share with those around her. She fronted local band, Cruiserweight for almost 15 years, so performing arts are her forte. She enjoys tres leches cake, chips and salsa, shoes that make her tall, getting married on playgrounds, and her cat Meechi. Her dream is to produce her children’s musical Adam and the Bull Shark and to continue being awesome in a way that fosters a sense of creativity and empowerment in the lives of young ‘uns.

stella@spilledmilksocialclub.com

 

Tandera Louie!

Tandera (rhymes with “Sandra”) has an impressive background, having worked with kids for over eight years! Born and raised in Austin, Texas, she started working at the Boys and Girls Club of Austin when she was just 18. She took a hiatus from Austin to study at Texas Southern in Houston, before returning to Austin to help run and facilitate the 21st Century after school program at Reagan High School. During the spring of 2015, Tandera and Chelsea teamed up to lead a Community Club where the students spent their time focusing on empathy, compassion and community awareness and service. Summer 2017 will be Tandera’s 3-year anniversary at smsc and her 4th summer with us, and we sure are glad to have her!

Family is very important to Tandera. Her best friends are her older brother Tremaine and boyfriend Seneca. Her mom is her hero because she’s never let life struggles get the best of her. Tandera’s passions include social justice, taking naps, and her sweet ‘fro, which she affectionately refers to as her “crown of glory.” At smsc, Tandera really appreciates the supportive nature of her coworkers and our constant effort in providing kids with fun, engaging experiences that will stay with them for life.

These are a few of her favorite things:

Karaoke/shower song: International Players Anthem by Outkast and UGK
Food: All.
Ice Cream: Cookies n Cream
Game: Tetris
Movie: Jackie Brown
Musical: The Wiz
Water Slide: “I hate water slides.”
Adventure: “I went on a road trip through the Midwest when I was 16. I saw an Amish barn raising and real snow in Wisconsin. It was a weird trip.”

M.E. Pistorius!

M.E. is returning for her second summer at smsc! She found us by driving by our location and noticed Milky calling her name from the sick sign out front. She is happy to be with smsc so she can follow her love for working with children. She is currently studying at the University of the Texas, in the hopes of finishing a degree in English and Sociology within the next year... or so… She has worked at the UT History Department, as well as various summer camps, but she used to toss dough, pizza dough that is, for some cash in high school.

M.E. LOVES photography, journalism, baking, and creative writing. She works for The Daily Texan as well as ORANGE magazine at school, so she’s always running around Austin to photograph bands or protests. You can catch her at any slam poetry event, hiking at the Greenbelt, or kayaking on Lake Austin with her friends. When M.E. has a weekend off after a long week of stressful school work, her favorite thing is the two hour drive to Houston to see her family and her best friends. She’s super attached to her three brothers (especially her twin!), who have always pushed her to stay curious and never get bored. Stay wild my dudes!

These are a few of her favorite things

Karaoke/shower song: Satisfied – Hamilton Soundtrack
Food: Sushi
Ice cream: Mint chocolate chip
Game: Salad bowl
Movie: Francis Ha
Musical:  Phantom of the Opera
Waterslide: I prefer rollercoasters!
Adventure: All my memories with my brothers from my childhood – building forts, camping, and the like! We used to go on an annual camping trip to Garner State Park; I always have the time of my life outdoors with my family.

 

Iris Gomez!

At the age of 16, Iris and her family moved to South Texas from Mexico! She finished high school in the Rio Grande Valley and will graduate from the University of Texas with a degree in Sociology and Theatre and Dance this spring. She is currently very passionate about Latino and Theatre for Young Audiences and has been involved with community engagement. Recently she was involved in Luna, a bilingual play about a daughter of Mexican migrant workers performed in different elementary schools in AISD and at UT Austin. She plans to pursue a career as a teaching artist in Dallas after getting married this summer. In addition, one of her favorite things is to cook Mexican food for people so if you are ever interested in some GOOD Mexican food you know who to talk to!!

Iris joined spilled milk the summer of 2016, and ever since then she has loved getting to know the kiddos, (and she CANNOT wait for another summer). Some of her favorite things to do are to play “Mafia”,  “Freeze Dance” and other games that involve the entire group. She has also created a few really cool LASER MAZES involving spies, ninjas, and the search of treasure.   

These are a few of her favorite things:

Karaoke/shower song: “7 Things” by Miley Cyrus
Food: Duh… MEXICAN
Ice Cream: Vegan Rocky Road
Game: Monopoly
Movie: Bride Wars
Musical: The Book of Mormon
Water Slide: “I like to keep my feet on the ground!”
Memory/adventure: “My favorite adventure was going to Minnesota, because there was so much snow, warm cookies, tons of friends, a tater tot hot dish, and the Mall of America… It had an amusement park!”

 

Erin Fleming!

Erin grew up in Levittown, Pennsylvania, 30 miles from philadelphia, and 1 mile from the best pizza place in the world. She graduated from Temple University in 20016, receiving a BA in English with a concentration in writing. After college, Erin spent some time trying to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up. Watching both of her older brothers take risks and shoot for the stars, she learned that sometimes you have to shake things up and be open to change in order to figure things out. So, in 2007, Erin packed up and moved to Austin, seeking new environments and experiences… and also, cause, why not?

Inspired by the youth arts scene in Austin, and because kids are the most creatie and brilliant people in the world, Erin decided to focus her energy on children’s theater. In 2009 she joined the whirlwind that is Austin Children’s Theater, or ACT for short. She bravely took on the roles of Assistant Director and Writer in Residence. Having always love writing and theater, she began busting out scripts for kids, and now has over a dozen short plays and several musicals under her belt.

Last year, Erin decided it was time to branch out and share her energy and imagination with kids in other creative environments. Because they have awesome personalities, and a mission statement she can get behind, Erin reached out to spilled milk social club. Now, she gets to hang out with kids every day, creating, learning, and laughing with them, which is pretty much the best job ever. Erin believes that children can do anything; they just need the tools and confidence. She is happy to help supply both… and in turn get a little more of hear for herself, too. After all, we never stop growing.

These are a few of her favorite things:

Water Slide: Schlitterbahn’s famous Black Knight… Or, rather, the idea of the Black Knight. Erin has never actually been on the Black Knight, but one can dream.

Caitlin Murphy!

Caitlin, a Georgia peach, was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia where she spent her childhood days running, playing soccer and competing on the swim team, eventually graduating to coaching other kiddos. In the spring of 2016, Caitlin picked up running again. This past February she completed her first marathon and finished 29th in the women’s division, and qualified for Boston in 2018! Not only is she a talented athlete, Caitlin is also a scholar and fluent in French and piano. She even placed 3rd on the National French Exam in high school AND knows all the lyrics to “Rapper’s Delight”! She is passionate about healthy foods and loves cooking and coming up with new recipes to share with her friends. She also ALWAYS has snacks with her. Caitlin currently

attends UT where she is working towards dual majors in French and Biology. After working at spilled milk for a few years, Caitlin realized what we knew all along and changed her major to Early Childhood Development!

A seasoned spilled milk veteran, Caitlin has been a vital part of the spilled milk team for four whole years, and this will be her 5th summer working with the pints! Woah. She loves being part of smsc because even if she’s tired or having a bad day, being around our awesome kids and staff puts her in a great mood! Her passions (at smsc) include gitter, office supplies (sharpies!), organizing things, and making sweet signs to hang on the wall. In the smsc Summer Olympic Games, she is also the only counselor to have led her team to victory TWICE!

These are a few of her favorite things:

Food: Smoothies (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
Ice Cream: Mint choco chip!
Game: What time is it Mr. Wolf?
Movie: Finding Nemo (and Old School)
Musical: Lost & Broken: a tragedy of keys and phones
Water Slide: “I’ve never been on a super cool water slide. My friends and I made this slip ‘n slide down their driveway once with a tarp and baby oil. It was REALLY fun!”
Memory: Crossing the finish line of the Austin Marathon last February!

Nick Garcia!

Nick was born in Florida and lived there for about a year, then moved to San Antonio, Texas. He learned how to read at the age of 3, and to this day can still recite his alphabet backwards. He grew up with 2 younger siblings, and 4 parents (Mom, step-mom, dad, step-dad.) Top of his class in most subjects, he was also the 3rd runner up for his high school’s Prom King in 2014. Nick now goes to The University of Texas at Austin studying film, a passion he developed when he was young.

A spilled milk newbie, since January 2017, he was initially made aware of the team through his friend M.E, another spilled milk caretaker. Though he is new to the child-care business, it is something that he looks forward to every Tuesday and Thursday. He hopes to continue his adventures at spilled milk and enjoys the few hours a day where he can be a kid again and create great memories with the pints, gallons, and spills.

These are a few of his favorite things:

Karaoke/shower song: Money Trees by Kendrick Lamar
Food: Wiiiiiings, super spicy.
Ice Cream: Cotton Candy
Game: Public answer- Cards Against Humanity. Honest answer- Chess. Respect Chess.
Movie: Fantastic Planet
Musical: Zoot Suit
Water slides: There was one at Six Flags that I can’t remember the name of, but it was so fun I honestly thought I wasn’t going to make it.
Adventure: One time my friends and I went to New Orleans over Spring Break. They went on a haunted tour of the city while I had strep throat and ate soup at the motel.
 

 

Kendall AuBuchon!

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Kendall moved with her very musical family to Texas when she was three. She has been in Austin since fourth grade where she has been ever since. Kendall loves hiking anywhere and everywhere, camping, kayaking, and pretty much anything outdoors. She completed her Masters degree in Wildlife Ecology this past Fall from Texas State University. Music, theater, tap dancing, mountains, animals, plants, fairies, dragons, and it goes on and on… Kendall is passionate about having passion for so many things!

Kendall came to work at smsc by way of her daughter, Meadow, who attended Spring Break Camp in 2013 as a make-believe aficionado. After meeting the spilled milk staff, she was hooked! She is excited to return to spilled milk for her fourth summer! Kendall loves working with kids, especially when she can emphasize a connection to nature, regardless of what the activity may be. Recently, she helped put in some new gardens at spilled milk so if you haven’t noticed, check them out!  If you ever have a gardening query, want to make a fairy house, or have any questions about wildlife, find Kendall.

These are a few of her favorite things:

Karaoke/shower song: Various musical numbers
Food: TACOS
Ice Cream: Coconut, or cookies-n-cream
Game: Let’s Make a Choice: the decision making game!
Movie: The Golden Compass
Musical: Les Miserables and Chicago
Water Slide: “I don’t know what it means to say a ‘favorite’ water slide, as I haven’t been on one since I was a kid. Errr… OH, maybe like the Log Flume ride.”
Memory/adventure: “I took a trip by myself to Washington State, where I camped, climbed mountains, kayaked in the sea, and hiked. It is a truly beautiful area that I hope to return to one day. Walking in an old growth forest has a way of deepening a connection to nature that many of us have forgotten.”

Holly Arthur!

Holly was born and raised right here in Austin, Texas. Like Emily, Holly also has an extensive history with spilled milk and Child Craft. She attended preschool at the Harris Ave location of Child Craft, and then went on to work with at the after school program in 2010 under the supervision of Harma and Stella (and sometimes Ali). In the summer of 2012, she accepted an offer to work at Camp Bull Shark (spilled milk’s first summer EVER!) She left us for a few years while she was staying at home with her son, Simon (who’ll be ready for spilled milk next year!). Boy, are we glad to have her back! Holly graduated from UT with a B.A. in Linguistics and sometimes thinks about applying to the combined M.A. and PhD program for documenting and describing endangered languages, but also thinks about opening up her own sewing business and teaching kids sewing classes…so who knows what’s to come? She certainly doesn’t!

Holly’s favorite part of working and playing with kids is hanging out and bonding with them and helping to show them that they are strong and powerful and that they are people with a voice in this world! In her capacity at smsc this summer, Holly will be driving the Terrible, Terrible Beast (our bus) and working with the Gallons!

These are a few of her favorite things:

Karaoke/shower song: She wishes she was singing “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by Otis Redding but she’s really singing, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the Trolls soundtrack.
Food: Mediterranean & Middle Eastern
Ice Cream: I’d rather have a brownie!
Game: Perquackey and My Word and Spite & Malice
Movie: Into the West and White Christmas!
Musical: Mary Poppins (should White Christmas go here??)
Water Slide: Schlitterbahn… all of it!
Memory/adventure: The cruise she took with her son, Simon, to various islands in the Caribbean!

Emily Seay!

Emily is an Austin native. She is very close to her family, including her two younger sisters, one who lives in Austin and one in Colorado. She is also an awesome mother to her two kiddos, 8 year-old Cameron and 2 year-old Kennedy. Emily has a long history with smsc. She was counselor-in-training (CIT) under Stella and Ali at Child Craft Summer Camp when she was thirteen years old! She worked several summers at Child Craft, a preschool teacher in Tarrytown and currently works at the Austin Children’s Shelter. She has a passion for social work and helping children, and plans to follow this passion into a career.

This will be Emily’s fourth summer working with us at spilled milk social club. Emily will be switching gears and working with the Pints Staff this summer, and will drive the Terrible, Terrible Beast (our bus!) for their field trips. She appreciates that smsc creates an environment that encourages creativity in the most awesome and fun ways. She loves working with kids because of their ability to overcome difficult situations, their honest perspective, and their creative and adventurous nature. Welcome back for another awesome summer, Emily!

These are a few of her favorite things:

Karaoke/shower song: Gangster’s Paradise by Coolio
Food: Avocados!
Ice Cream: Caramel Turtle Fudge
Game: Catchphrase
Movie: The Incredibles
Musical: Adam and the Bull Shark!
Memory: “Motherhood. The good, the bad, the ugly!”