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U of I Retirees Association

UIRA has a membership of nearly 500 from every part of the University. Learn about UIRA

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Recreation and Wellbeing

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Lachelle Smith

Lachelle is the Director for ECHO Idaho. Prior to joining the WWAMI team, Lachelle was most recently a special projects contractor for the public utility company in American Samoa. She previously managed a $1.5 million grant portfolio of AmeriCorps VISTA and Senior Corps programs that focused primarily on meeting health and education needs in communities across Idaho. Lachelle taught elementary school music in Minnesota before earning a Master’s in Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Except for a two-year stint in the South Pacific, she has called Boise home since 2010.

Lachelle is passionate about social justice and routinely volunteers with organizations that support access to resources for underrepresented groups. She actively mentors a refugee family in Boise, and previously worked as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Indiana. She also taught high school in the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific, and worked at an underprivileged kids camp in Connecticut.

Lachelle loves to listen to podcasts, run in the foothills and travel.

Lachelle Smith


Lachelle Smith headshot


[email protected]

Kayla Blades

Kayla is the Program Coordinator for ECHO Idaho. Previously, Kayla served as the Idaho State Program Officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) where she managed a $1+ million grant portfolio. Before moving to Idaho for her position with CNCS, Kayla served one year as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with the St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity in her home state of Wisconsin. During this time, she also volunteered as a sexual assault services advocate for the St. Croix Valley Sexual Assault Response Team. Before completing a term of service as a VISTA, Kayla received her undergraduate and graduate degree in public administration from Upper Iowa University.

When not working, Kayla loves volunteering at her two sons’ schools, reading, baking, hiking new trails and exploring the latest frozen yogurt shops.

Kayla Blades

Program Coordinator

Kayla Blades headshot


[email protected]

Jessica Whitlock

Jessica is a Program Coordinator for ECHO Idaho. She graduated from Brigham Young University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and a minor in editing. Before joining ECHO Idaho in March 2019, Jessica worked in the publishing industry, where she enjoyed source editing and proofreading publications about nineteenth-century American religion.

Jessica grew up in Utah’s Salt Lake Valley, and in August 2018 moved with her husband to Moscow, Idaho, where she enjoys running on the Paradise Path, gazing distractedly at the hills of the Palouse, eating pizza and looking for opportunities to play volleyball.

Jessica Whitlock

Program Coordinator

Jessica Whitlock headshot


[email protected]

Contact Project ECHO

Phone: 111-364-4698

Fax: 111-364-4698

Email: [email protected]


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