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The entire Transitional Youth team is dedicated to serving "the least of these." Each member has a passion for coming along side the broken, hopeless, and lonely, to bring wholeness, life, and love. They work tirelessly to help our youth become healthy and productive, and to give them a platform to reach their full potential. 

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Executive Director

Rhona has worked with the marginalized youth of Portland her entire career; youth caught in the cycles of abuse, poverty, addiction, sex trafficking, homelessness, and hopelessness. Rhona knows firsthand the pull of the streets as she too was once one of the youth that she serves today.

Born at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Rhona’s first home became the family car for the first seven years of her life, along with three of her six siblings, a mother who came from abuse herself, and a father whose addictions and abuse would lead her mother to eventually escape to Portland, the city Rhona now considers home.

Rhona’s childhood was filled with neglect, abuse, loneliness and points of despair so deep she started using drugs at 12 years old, was on the streets as a runaway and a throw away at 13, and by 14 was a teen mom.

As Rhona became a mother at this tender age, she experienced hope for the first time in her life. At 14 she called out to God and dared Him to reveal the reality of His existence. He did, and Rhona never looked back. That tiny thread of hope was all she needed to fight; fight for her baby girl, fight for her life.

Today, Rhona serves the youth of Portland on the very streets she came from. She is the Founder of Braking Cycles, and she feels great honor to be the Executive Director for Transitional Youth.


Rhona is the mother of four beautiful adult daughters and the proud grandmother to six. She has devoted her life to God, her family and bringing the marginalized youth of Portland hope through the transforming message of the outrageous love of God, our rescuer and restorer.

A Message from Our Founder

My wife Susy and I started Transitional Youth in 1991 as a means to support homeless children. Although we had a distant dream of ultimately providing these youth with homes of their own, we initiated assistance through financial and material contributions to other local youth programs.

We understood homelessness was, and still is, a complex concern compounded by alcohol, drug, and mental health issues. Economic and employment downturns push more at-risk families towards life on the edge. Yet as needs grow, so does Transitional Youth’s momentum. Every year our scope of contributions increases. People and businesses want to help us out.

After many years of forging ahead with outreach, activities, and donations, in January of 2005, we realized a long-held dream and opened the doors of our first home. Our plans include more homes and transitional apartments. Words can’t express my gratitude for the numerous blessings Transitional Youth receives to help our kids create productive, meaningful lives.

I’m thankful for caring employees, partners and dedicated volunteers who allow Transitional Youth to thrive. We believe that through God’s grace, and continued community support, our future’s wide open. Just as our youth discover the courage to seek changed hearts, so can we, to see the potential they may not yet see in themselves.

Thank you,

Bert Waugh Jr.

Additional Staff

Jason Craft
Business Manager
Contact Jason

Board of Directors

Rhona Mahl
Executive Director
Transitional Youth
Portland, Oregon 
Contact Rhona

Gabriel Moreno

Executive Pastor of Ministries and Creative Arts

Crossroads Community Church

Vancouver, WA USA

David Adams, CPA

Shareholder and Assurance Dept. Chair

Geffen Mesher

Board Treasurer 

Portland, OR USA

Bert Waugh, Jr.
Board Chairman of Transitional Youth

Beaverton, Oregon USA

Ryan Jones 

Managing Director and Wealth Manager

First Republic Investment Management

Portland, Oregon USA

Gary Gorsuch

West Linn, Oregon USA

Lydia Massaad
Owner of Al-Amir and

Founder of Our Giving Table 

Board Secretary
Portland, Oregon USA

Blake Schellenberg
President of RiskPoint Insurance

Board Vice Chair
Lake Oswego, Oregon USA

Bert Waugh III
Boring, Oregon USA

We believe, with your help, we can stand in the gap for our youth and build bridges to a better tomorrow.

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