Our Staff

We have a talented and devoted staff that is deeply involved in the lives of our youth and families. Our youth workers serve simultaneously as role models, mentors, tutors, counselors, problem-solvers, crisis intervention workers, and life skills coaches. They provide support and listening ears to struggling parents. They coordinate programming and solve problems with educators and school administrators. They act as intermediaries with police and serve as liaisons with other social service agencies.  Below are brief descriptions of the outstanding leaders who make our community a better place. Click one of the links below to navigate to a specific staff section:

Management | Grants & Administration | Community Schools 
Street Outreach | Clinical

Chute Team | Dawes Team | ETHS Team | King Lab Team | Lincoln Team
 Nichols Team | Oakton Team | Washington Team


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Laura Dell
Chief Operations Officer

Laura served as Y.O.U.’s Director of Professional Development before becoming COO. In both roles, she is focused on building a strong bridge of leadership for Y.O.U.’s future. Laura also maintains a long-standing leadership development consulting practice. Her academic and professional experience includes organizational development, executive coaching, teaching, and writing. She has lived in Evanston for over 25 years and likes to do crossword puzzles and fitness walking, but not at the same time.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 240

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Seth Green
Executive Director

Seth joined Y.O.U. as Executive Director in May of 2011 and he feels incredibly fortunate to work with such a talented and dedicated staff. Prior to Y.O.U., Seth led the Job Opportunity Investment Network, a social venture that moves vulnerable adults out of poverty and into long-term careers. He also founded Americans for Informed Democracy, an organization that empowers youth to tackle pressing social challenges through community-based action. Seth’s other work experience includes years as a consultant with McKinsey and Company, where he served such clients as the Gates Foundation and United Way, as well as time at the American Prospect, the Brookings Institution, and Lazard.

Seth has presented on his work at the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, World Bank, and U.N., and he has been a guest on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, the Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. His efforts have been featured in hundreds of publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and Marie Claire. In 2005, he received the Search for Common Ground Award for International Understanding and, in 2008, Utne Reader named him one of 50 “Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.”

A Marshall Scholar, Seth has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, master’s degrees from the London School of Economics and Oxford, and a law degree from Yale. He serves on the Evanston Mayor’s Safe Youth Task Force and is a 2012 graduate of Leadership Evanston. He and his wife Caitlin Fitz, an assistant professor of history at Northwestern, have an adorable toddler named Sojourner (who is pictured with him above).

(847) 866-1200 ext. 244

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Kimberly Williams
Chief Financial Officer

Kimberly is a certified public accountant and began her career with Pricewaterhousecoopers in the audit division. For the past several years, she has specialized exclusively in providing accounting and financial advisory services to not for profit organizations. She believes that being of service is her life’s work and she is honored and excited to be a part of this amazing team of committed and passionate individuals.

Kimberly is a native Texan, enjoys traveling, and has lived in New York, Denver, Cincinnati, London and now Chicago! She enjoys working with children and any and all performance art related activities. Every once and awhile you might catch her performing on a Chicago stage. 

(847) 866-1200 ext. 247

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Marianne Moberly
Director of Development

Marianne has a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois and over 25 years of experience in non profit administration, municipal government, and fundraising. She has served as the Director of Development at Y.O.U. since September 2009. Marianne has a long history of community involvement, serving as the treasurer of the Woman's Club of Evanston, in volunteer leadership positions in the Evanston Public Schools, and as a participant in Leadership Evanston. She resides in Evanston with her husband Tom and three children. In her spare time she loves to read, cook, and quilt, and once rode a bicycle 700 miles in Italy.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 231

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Renee Tetrick
Director of Program Advancement

Renee is from Glen Ellyn, Illinois.  She received her B.A. in Sociology and a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Indiana University, Bloomington and a dual Master’s degree in Social Work and Public Policy from the University of Michigan.  Renee has worked in the fields of education, youth development and community engagement in Chicago, Detroit, rural Mississippi, and Austin, Texas.  Her roles have included: AmeriCorps member, trainer, program coordinator, facilitator, community organizer, evaluator and researcher.  Renee loves traveling, cooking, reading, salsa dancing and yoga.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 227

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Leah Seligman, LCPC
Director of Clinical and Child Welfare Programs

Leah received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology at State University of New York, New Paltz College and her Master's of Arts in Counseling Psychology at Northwestern University. Leah has worked with youth since 2003 and has been with Y.O.U. since 2005. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Leah enjoys making Amigurumi (little crochet animals and toys) and spending time with her nephews and niece.

(847) 866-1201 ext. 321

Grants & Administration

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Meital Caplan
Communications Manager & Development Assistant

Meital first joined Y.O.U. her freshman year at Northwestern University as a work study directly interacting with the youth at Chute Middle School for four years. Upon graduating from the Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications in 2013, she joined Y.O.U. as its Communications Manager and Development Assistant. Drawing on her personal experiences with Y.O.U.’s youth, Meital looks forward to increasing the organizations presence and visibility. In her spare time, Meital enjoys completing Sudoku puzzles, listening to podcasts and exploring Chicago.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 221 

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Marla Mazzenga
Business Manager

Marla is the Business Manager at Y.O.U. She handles the business affairs and assists with financial reporting. Marla received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Welfare from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Previously she worked for the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation in Evanston as a paralegal and as a volunteer. Marla has a passion for live music, enjoys all styles of music and has attended over 100 Ravinia shows.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 224 

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Amanda Porta
Senior Development Officer for Major Gifts

Amanda is a graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington, where she studied Communication and Culture. During her time at IU, she discovered her passion for fundraising and non-profit work. Before joining the development staff of Y.O.U., Amanda worked for almost five years on one of the largest fundraising campaigns in Chicago to build Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. She then joined the team at the National Museum of Mexican Art, where she grew the membership and individual giving programs. Amanda is thrilled to be part of the Y.O.U. family, as the Senior Development Officer, where she will be working to grow private philanthropy in support of the kids we have the privilege to serve. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys being outdoors, checking out the latest restaurants, spending time with friends, family and walking her dog.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 229

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Dave Studenmund
Senior Associate in Grant Accounting and Finance Analytics

Dave is a 1985 graduate of the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. After school, Dave and his wife decided to stay in Evanston to raise their three children. They've never looked back. Dave has over 20 years executive and consulting experience in strategic and financial planning for private and nonprofit organizations. He is also known to be a bit of a baseball buff.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 247

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Leslie Warner
Grants Manager

Leslie is a graduate of Knox College and has lived in Evanston for over 30 years. She was a research associate for Northwestern University’s Office of Development & Alumni Relations for several years before taking on multiple volunteer roles at Oakton and Chute schools, Evanston Scholastic Chess, Childcare Network of Evanston, the Oakton Historic District Association, and the Evanston Dance Ensemble. Leslie has lived in Evanston for over 25 years and enjoys gardening, bicycling, running, travel, and following the Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Blackhawks.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 242

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Alvin Schexnider
Director of Human Resources 

Alvin grew up in Virginia and North Carolina but now calls West Humboldt Park home with his wife and beagle. Prior to joining Y.O.U. Alvin was the Director of HR & Administration at Urban Ministries, Inc. and also previously held HR roles for Abbott Laboratories in Chicago and Shanghai. Alvin has also done HR assignments for youth-oriented organizations in Chicago and Atlanta. Alvin has a B.A. in Political Science from Morehouse College and an M.A. in Human Resources from the University of Minnesota. He enjoys reading books, riding his bike in the city and tries his best to attend his neighborhood’s block network meetings.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 225

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Allie Koolbeck
Special Projects Manager

Allie is originally from Iowa, where she graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2013 with a degree in sociology and a certificate in nonprofit management. During college, she interned at a variety of nonprofit organizations, including the Iowa Food Bank Association, the Boys and Girls Club, and Everybody Wins! DC and realized her passion was in the nonprofit sector. In her free time, Allie enjoys cooking, reading, and exercising.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 0

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Ariel Maschke
Mentor Y.O.U.th Interim Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator

Originally from Albany, Georgia, Ariel moved to Evanston to attend Northwestern University, graduating with a double major in Communication Studies and International Studies in 2013. During her time at NU, she served as a research assistant for the Center on Media and Human Development and was actively involved in the Global Engagement Summit, the Center for Global Engagement, the Global Engagement Studies Institute and Pi Beta Phi. Ariel joined Y.O.U. in July 2013 as a Northwestern University Public Interest Fellow, taking on the role of Special Projects Manager. Her personal interests include community-based development, used bookstores, exploring Chicago and sweet tea.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 0

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Anthony Rubio
Multicultural Competency Coordinator

Originally from Southern California, Anthony joins the Y.O.U. administrative team as an AmeriCorps Public Ally. He received his dual degree in Business Administration and Global Studies from the University of California, Riverside. While in undergrad, Anthony also spent some time abroad in both Mexico and South Korea where he studied economic development in a variety of capacities. And while most of his work has centered on cross-cultural communication and community development, Anthony also holds a variety of interests in human rights and mental health issues. On his spare time he enjoys being with friends and family, gardening, concocting new vegan recipes, dancing (at times awkwardly), exploring architecture in the city, watching independent films, and reading.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 0

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Ellen Muench
Experiential Learning Coordinator

Ellen is a native Evanstonian that graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in government and history. She has worked as an intern at Heartland Alliance’s Refugee and Immigrant Community Services here in Chicago, as well as worked as a Classroom Coach in east Austin, Texas.

As Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator, Ellen has the privilege of working to connect two critical components that make up the foundation of Y.O.U.’s success: the incredible work done every single day by our program staff to support the youth in Evanston and the generous civic spirit that our growing community volunteer base embodies when they donate their time and talents to our kids.

Ellen loves being back in Chicago because it has the best of all of the things she loves: used bookstores, record stores and excellent comedy.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 323

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Jesse Chatz
Collaborations Coordinator

Jesse is a native of Evanston, having attended King Arts and ETHS. Currently, Jesse is pursuing an Advertising and Public Relations degree from Loyola University of Chicago. Upon completion of an AmeriCorps term, Jesse was offered and accepted a permanent position at Y.O.U. as the Collaborations Coordinator.

Jesse is a 2012 graduate of ETHS where he served as the Student Representative to the District 202 Board of Education. Jesse has organized many fundraisers and events in the Evanston community including, an alumni outreach program to benefit ETHS students, as well as, a nationally recognized fundraiser to help a local business remain viable in the community.

Jesse comes from a large family and enjoys his time with family and friends, as well as, traveling to new places. Jesse is extremely passionate about providing new opportunities to and working with young people.

(847) 920-4324

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Sarah Slavenas
Director of the Allied Against Violence

Sarah started her career as an associate producer and reporter before joining the non-profit sector. As the Communications Manager for Northern Illinois Food Bank she recognized a desire to work in a more meaningful capacity with social service clientele. While finishing her MS in Applied Family and Child Studies at NIU she joined the Y.O.U. Evanston team as the Director of the Allied Against Violence Project (AAV). She's excited at the prospect of making an impact on an issue she's passionate about, domestic violence. As the Director of AAV she'll be working with a group of mentors to create curriculum to help prevent and address teen dating violence.


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Maria Rassiwalla
D65 After School Programs Director

Maria has more than seven years of experience working in the non-profit and education sector. Maria currently serves as a Senior Youth Development Specialist where she acts as a direct service support to Y.O.U’s middle school programs as well as contributes to the development of program improvement tools for the organization.

In her previous positions, Maria was an Extended Day Program Director with Mission Graduates in San Francisco’s Mission District where she directed their flagship program and oversaw the program design, budget management, grant writing, and supervision. She also holds a Type 10 teaching credential and spent 3 years designing and implementing visual arts curricula at Byrne Elementary, a K-8 school in Chicago.  A strong desire to step in the non profit sector after her teaching stint led Maria to conduct volunteer work in Ghana, Africa where she taught Art in a remote village school, and shortly after became an AmeriCorps member in Oakland CA where she empowered the female youth of Oakland through Girls Inc. She holds a BFA from the University of Illinois Champaign, Urbana where she majored in Art Education.

Maria enjoys traveling, making pottery and most of all trying new foods.


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Melanie West
IT Manager

Melanie has over 20 years of professional experience in IT. She spent 10 years as chief engineer of an experimental multimedia studio at Bell Laboratories. During that time Melanie took a leading role on many critical projects. She also had ten years experience in the music business as a recording engineer in New York city where she received a Platinum album for her work with the Talking Heads. Because of her interest in children, she spent a considerable amount of her own time training teachers and community centers in technology and the promotion of science. Melanie holds a Bachelors degree in Music, Electrical Engineering and Communications, from Rutgers University, and a Masters degree in Interactive Telecommunications from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. 

Melanie is YOU's IT manager and joined YOU in May of 2013.   She was drawn to YOU because of the holistic nature of the organization and the passionate dedication of the staff. 

  Community Schools

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Melissa Carpenter
Community Schools Director 

Missy is a native of Northern California, but has lived in many places, including her time as a teacher and student in Guatemala (her heart's true home). She moved to Chicago after completing her graduate studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her Masters of Education is in Curriculum & Instruction, with a focus on Language, Literacy, and Culture, and she has a deep passion for building relationships between families, communities, and schools. She is an active member of Teachers for Social Justice as part of the Popular Education committee, and spends her spare time in the company of dear friends and family. Missy also loves to travel with her partner, Paul.

(847) 859-8598

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Erin Moore
Community Schools Manager, Lincoln Junior High School

Erin is thrilled to join the team leading Y.O.U.’s efforts to develop a community school initiative at Lincoln Junior High School in Skokie.  Previously, she held the position of Community School Coordinator at a Chicago Public School through a collaboration with Family Focus.  She also worked in parent engagement at a Family Literacy program at Albany Park Community Center supporting immigrant parents.  Erin has a B.A. from Wesleyan University in Urban Studies and American Studies.  She speaks Spanish due to extended study in Nicaragua and Mexico.  When she’s not working in the field of education, Erin loves to do yoga, needlepoint and ride her bike.  She seeks to bring joy to all the things she does.

(847) 676-3545 ext.1395

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Sarah Bernstein
Community Schools Associate, Chute Middle School

Sarah Bernstein is a native Evanstonian who is happy to re-root herself in the Evanston community through work with Y.O.U. She currently serves as the Community Schools Associate at Chute Middle School through the Chicago Public Allies Program. She is a recent graduate of Oberlin College where she earned her B.A. in Theater and Gender Studies. During her time at Oberlin, Sarah organized Oberlin communities around reproductive/sexual justice focused around youth empowerment/ community growth. This work has propelled her to amplify young people’s voices and experiences. When not working as part of the Evanston Community Schools Initiative, Sarah writes plays and performs with F.Y.I. (a Chicago sex-education theater collective).

(847) 859-8598

Street Outreach

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Andrea Horton
Street Outreach Director

Andrea earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in African-American Studies with minors in Political Science and Women's Studies from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. Andrea earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2003. She is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity Degree at Garrett Evangelical Seminary at Northwestern University. Prior to joining Y.O.U., Andrea was an attorney for the Chicago Board of Education. Andrea began her legal career with the Chicago Board of Education as an attorney in the Board’s School Law division. Andrea has been extremely active in several civic and non-profit organizations including the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the Rebecca Crown Youth Center and the Posse Foundation.  She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Women Divine which is an organization dedicated to educating, inspiring and empowering teen aged girls.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 246

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Antasia Maddox
Street Outreach Worker

Antasia was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Sociology with a concentration in Youth Studies. After receiving her degree she moved to Chicago and began working for non-profit agencies helping young adults reach their goals. She enjoys talking, art, cooking, walking in parks, and playing with her two dogs and cat.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 246
(224) 999-0266

Clinical Team

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Melody Rose, LCSW
Clinical Coordinator

Originally from Tennessee, Melody attended Indiana University and earned bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice and ultimately her master’s degree in Social Work.  She came to Y.O.U. in January 2010 with eight years of experience serving youth and families, including seven years in rural Indiana as a case manager and clinical therapist. She also had life-changing experiences teaching in the Bronx and on the West side of Chicago. Melody is passionate about empowering youth and families in Evanston.  Her free time is filled with music, vegan cooking and learning, writing and creating dialogue about social equality, peace and justice.

(847) 424-7932

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Dawn Ravine, MPH
Youth and Family Case Manager

Dawn was born and raised in Evanston. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sexuality Education from Hampshire College, and Master’s in Public Health in Sexuality, Gender, and Health from Columbia University.  Dawn has worked with inspiring, creative, and passionate young people for over 10 years; 2 years in Philadelphia, 8 years in New York City, and joined the Y.O.U. family in May 2012.  Dawn is excited to be back in her hometown and loves hot yoga, avocados, running, bike riding, community art projects and playing in the park with her daughter Nika and son Teji.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 236

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Karianna Kearns, AMFT
Youth and Family Case Manager

Karianna earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a certificate in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009. After working as a probation agent in Wisconsin, she went back to school and obtained her master’s degree in Couple and Family Therapy from the Adler School of Professional Psychology. Since living in Chicago, Karianna has worked with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice around issues of detention. She joined the Y.O.U. family in August 2012 as a clinical intern and is very energetic about her new position as a formal member of the Y.O.U. team.

(847) 866-1201 ext. 325
(847) 440-4604

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Estefanía Elías, LSW
Youth and Family Case Manager

Estefanía was born and raised in Argentina, and moved to Chicago in 2003 after marrying her husband.  She earned her B.A. in Business Administration from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and worked at various companies in Argentina and Chicago. In 2011 she decided to make a career change, pursuing a Master degree in Social Work at Loyola University.  Estefanía is passionate about making a difference in other’s lives and getting to know people of different cultures. During her free time, she enjoys playing with her cat and dog, exercising, getting crafty, and trying food from different countries.

(847) 866-1201 ext. 331

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Carla Smith, MSW
Youth and Family Case Manager 

Carla grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and attended Gustavus Adolphus College, where she obtained a BA in Psychology in 2007. After graduation she worked for Target as an Executive Team Lead; volunteered at the Salvation Army; volunteered with Bridge of Love Orphanage in Mexico; and became a youth mentor. At that time, Carla realized her passion was to work with youth and families. In 2011, she began the Masters of Social Work program at Loyola University Chicago where she obtained her MSW in 2013. On Carla’s down time she loves to spend time with her family, to travel and to enjoy varies Chicago sites and foods.

(847) 866-1201 ext. 330

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Laura Sudec
Clinical Intern

Laura Sudec graduated from James Madison University with her degree in Justice Studies. After college, Laura did a year of service with AmeriCorps working with ex-offenders and their families. Since then, she has been a Research Assistant working with people who were formerly incarcerated and addicted to opiates. Laura is currently going to graduate school at the University of Chicago to receive her degree in Social Service Administration. She is currently a clinical social work intern working at ETHS on the CONNECT team.

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Jane Syh
Clinical Intern

Jane is a recent graduate from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where she received a B.A. in Neuroscience and Writing. During her years in college, she discovered an appetite for active listening as well as a passion for mental health advocacy - both of which eventually led her to pursue a master's degree in social work. Originally from Cleveland, she was eager to return to the Midwest and is currently a first-year grad student at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Jane is an devoted Cleveland sports fan, TV sitcom watcher, blogger and cookie gobbler.

(469) 251-2491

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Kaia Trubiano
Clinical Intern

Kaia is a senior at Loyola University Chicago studying social work with a minor in psychology.  After completing her Masters, she hopes to work either within the foster care system or as a school social worker. Kaia loves all things Cleveland (especially the sports), pop culture, traveling and good restaurants. 


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Christine Lin
Clinical Intern

Originally from Southern California, Christine recently moved to the Chicago area to pursue her Masters degree at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. Christine is currently in her second year of the Counseling Psychology program obtaining a specialization in Sport and Health Psychology. Christine earned her B.A. in psychology from the University of California at Riverside and has developed an interest in working with youth. Christine's goal for the future is to be involved in working towards eliminating childhood obesity.


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Brittany Blackmon
Clinical Intern

Brittany Blackmon graduated from Loyola University with her B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. Since graduation, she has been working as the Employment Specialist for another nonprofit. Brittany is currently pursuing her Masters of Social Work from DePaul University and is the clinical intern for the Y.O.U. Spartans at Lincoln Jr. High School in Skokie. In her free time, Brittany loves cooking, spending time with family and friends, and visiting new places around the city. After graduation, Brittany hopes to continue working with youth.

(847) 859-9736

  Chute Team

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Janese Johnson
Site Coordinator 

Janese was born in Chicago and has lived all over the city and suburbs.  She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology, applied emphasis in Family & Family Services.  After college, she performed a year of service in the AmeriCorps program, serving the West Town and Austin communities and worked for five years as Lead Residential Counselor for the Boys Hope Girls Hope program in Evanston, IL.  In her free time, Janese loves cooking, spending time with family and friends and watching her favorite TV show Jeopardy!.  She is passionate about education, service in the community, volunteering with her sorority and involvement in her local church. 

(847) 866-1201 ext. 322

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Trevor Pontillo
Y.O.U.th Serve Member 

Trevor is originally from Zion, IL and graduated from Lake Forest College in 2012 with a degree in Economics and Cinema Studies. He loves to play soccer and has been playing since he was five years old. After playing two years at the collegiate level, he began coaching high school soccer in 2010. After coaching young adults and mentoring the youth of the Lake Forest community, he decided that working in youth development was his passion. He's a big Chicago Bears fan and an even bigger film addict.

(847) 866-1201 ext. 324

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Graig Tertulien
Youth Development Specialist

Graig is an Evanston Township alum who participated in Y.O.U. as a student since the 6th grade. Currently, Graig is working towards a degree in Film from Columbia College Chicago. He has recently joined Y.O.U. as a part-time Youth Development Specialist in hopes of influencing the students at Y.O.U. the way he was influenced when he was in the program.  During his free time, Graig enjoys going to his church, working on short films, performing, and writing both scripts and music. 


  Dawes Team

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Emily Roth
Site Coordinator

Emily Roth serves as the Site Coordinator at Dawes Elementary. She was born and raised in Evanston, IL and has been a part of the Y.O.U. family since February 2013. She is an ETHS graduate who earned her Bachelors in Public Policy: Urban Studies and American Politics from DePaul University in 2010. During her time at DePaul, she worked as an Americorps Jumpstart corps member at two Chicago public schools and served as a S.T.A.R.S. mentor to low-income first-generation minority college students. After falling in love with Ghana during her semester abroad in 2008, Emily returned to Ghana during summer 2010 to spend a few months working alongside villagers on a school improvement project. When she returned, she worked for an after-school program through the Chicago Metropolitan YMCA. She has now made her way back to her home community with hopes of collaboratively working to empower and inspire youth in Evanston. When Emily isn't working, you will most likely find her on a soccer pitch, performing on a Chicago stage, or exploring a new country. 

(847) 866-1201 ext. 243 

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Simone Hampton
Youth Development Specialist

Simone received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hampton University.  She is currently in pursuit of her master’s degree in Social Work.  Simone joined the Y.O.U. team in 2009 and temporarily left to join an extensive 10 month apprenticeship with Public Allies. She returned to Y.O.U. in the fall of 2011 where she hopes to share her experiences and skill sets learned during her absence. She has extensive experience working with youth, development and planning. In her spare time, Simone likes to travel, read and volunteer for FA.A.M. - a middle school basketball league in Evanston.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 243 

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Tom Thornburg
Y.O.U.th Serve Member

Tom is a graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Education.  While at Michigan State,Tom volunteered and served in several Lansing schools and also coached cross country.  After completing his bachelor’s degree in Social Studies education he student taught in Michigan for the 2012-2013 school year.  A Michigan native, Tom moved to Evanston as a Y.O.U. Inspire Fellow for the summer of 2013 at Evanston Township High School and has stayed on to be part of the Dawes team. In his spare time Tom enjoys playing tennis and guitar, swimming and listing his hobbies.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 243

  ETHS Team

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Ebele Onyema
High School and Street Outreach Program Team Leader, Director of ETHS-CONNECT 

Ebele Onyema serves as Y.O.U.'s Director of the CONNECT Center at Evanston Township High School.  Charged with leading the Center's strategy and operations, Ebele brings a wealth of corporate and non-profit programming and research experience to the table. 

Ebele has helped program large-scale events for Oprah Winfrey, MTV, FedEx, the Southeastern Conference, and New York, Los Angeles, and Miami Fashion Weeks.  She has produced concerts for numerous artists including Billy Joel, Ben Harper, Wyclef Jean, and O.A.R.  Ebele has also served as research consultant to a broad array of clients including leading media companies Hearst Magazines, Time Inc., Conde Nast, and Rodale.

After years in the corporate world, Ebele decided to turn a passion for youth development into a career.  Prior to joining Y.O.U., Ebele designed leadership programs on behalf of the Moran Center for youth at Chute Middle School and King Lab.  Most recently, Ebele, co-created the first ever leadership curriculum at the Young Women's Leadership Charter School, the only all-girls public school in Chicago.         

Ebele received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Economics from Georgetown University and her Masters in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.  However, the education she values the most is the one she receives from her parents, whose daily example shows her the importance of not only living the length of your life, but the width as well. 

(847) 424-7737

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Emeric Mazibuko
Youth Development Specialist/ PT Street Outreach Worker 

Emeric Mazibuko was born and raised in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He studied Early Childhood Development at the University of Port Elizabeth for two years.  After coming to the U.S., he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sound Contracting and Acoustics with a minor in Cultural Studies from Columbia College Chicago.  Emeric is a passionate and self-taught professional photographer, having worked in this field for almost 12 years. He has worked with various youth groups in the Chicagoland area on a volunteer basis and the work he has done with these youth, and the desire to do more, is what brought him to Y.O.U.  He believes that every child has potential latent within them, and art is one of the many tools we have at our disposal to tap into this potential.

(847) 424-7732

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Carrie Costanzo
Y.O.U.th Serve Member 

Carrie Costanza graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor's Degree in Advertising, with a focus on Public Relations. Since college, she has been very involved in leading efforts to rebuild homes and natural landscapes affected by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, LA. Carrie joined the ETHS team as a Youth Development Specialist in 2011.  For the past six summers, Carrie also has been a part of several outdoor camping and nature education programs within the Chicago Park District. She believes strongly that youth benefit from outdoor and extracurricular education just as much as they do from education within the classroom. She hopes to bring environmental awareness and stewardship to Y.O.U. participants and programs. She knows that from the roots up, we can make positive changes in all we do. Looking forward, Carrie hopes to earn a Master's Degree in Recreational Trip-based Therapy.

(847) 424-7732

  King Arts Team

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Hussein Napoleon-Ally
Site Coordinator 

Hussein received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Northern Illinois University. While attending NIU, he interned with the Joliet Youth and Family Services and Joliet Juvenile Correctional Facility. He also worked for University of Southern California as an RA for their Summer and Special Programs camps. Hussein currently works as a Y.O.U. Youth Development Worker at the Oakton site. He loves music, trying new food, and traveling. 

(847) 866-1200 ext. 245

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Jafet Melendez
Youth Development Specialist

Jafet was born and raised in Mexico City and lived there for eleven years before moving to Chicago in 2004. Since then he has continued his education by attending Noble Street College Prep, where he was involved in many activities and sports, including rugby for four years, leading his younger team mates to become better players. He was also involved in the cross country team, which he led in his senior year. Jafet worked at Camp VIDA for youth and is now attending the City Colleges of Chicago, where he will receive his Associates Degree in Art. Jafet is planning to transfer to Northeastern University in the fall to pursue a Bachelors Degree. Jafet enjoys trying new things and adventures, loves to play sports, is a marathon runner and has run the Chicago marathon three times, and also is a skydiver about to receive his skydiving license. 

(847) 866-1200 ext. 245

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Peter McGraw
Youth Development Specialist

Peter McGraw is originally from the suburb of New Lenox, and attended Loyola University Chicago where he majored in Political Science. He joined the Y.O.U. team in February 2012 as a work study student and began his full time work as a Youth Development Specialist at Evanston Township High School in August 2012. He is an avid fan of the Chicago White Sox, Bulls and Bears, and he loves to travel anywhere. He is a proud uncle of ten and enjoys spending quality time with family and friends. 

(847) 866-1200 ext. 245

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Vanessa Buenconsejo
PT Youth Development Specialist

Vanessa Buenconsejo grew up on the north side of Chicago. A Midwestern girl at heart, she left for the east coast to earn her bachelor's degree in international studies from The American University School of International Service. Throughout her collegiate career, Vanessa worked as a tutor, teaching assistant, and served as an AmeriCorps JumpStart member. During her junior year, she studied abroad in Rome, Italy, which inspired her to return post-graduation to privately tutor English. Since returning stateside, she has been enjoying volunteering for HEART as a humane education apprentice, the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, and her alma mater, Walter Payton College Prep. Her hobbies include yoga, baking, calligraphy, and traveling. She loves laughing, pizza, and writing thank-you cards. She is so excited to be a part of Y.O.U. and help her students shine for the world.


  Lincoln Team

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Brian Williams
Middle School Team Leader, Director of Y.O.U. Spartans

Brian has worked for over 15 years serving youth in positive youth development and in recreational programs. His work in youth development programs have supported the positive voice and choices of youth through goal focused activities. Working at Y.O.U. for nearly eight years has allowed Brian to establish new programs and develop long relationships with youth, parents and community partners. Brian’s passion is to guide youth through exploring new opportunities while continuing to learn about themselves throughout the process. Brian earned his master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University and his undergrad degree in Sociology from Northeastern Illinois University. When Brian is not working and volunteering in the community he is spending his time with his lovely wife Melissa and adorable dog Snoopy. 

(847) 676-3545 ext. 1355

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Henry Ternier
Y.O.U.th Serve Member

Henry Ternier is an Evanston Township alum who participated in Y.O.U. as a student since the 7th Grade. During his junior year at University of Illinois at Chicago he was a temporary mentor at the Nichols site. He has recently joined Y.O.U. as a part-time Youth Development Specialist during the spring of 2013 after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology. As a former student who was influenced by Y.O.U., he hopes to use the knowledge he gained as a participant to have a positive impact on this generation’s youth. Henry also hopes to continue his education and receive a master degree, and eventually a doctorate, in Clinical Psychology. Henry currently still resides in Evanston.

(847) 676-3545 ext. 1383

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Melanie Rivera
Y.O.U.th Serve Member

Melanie is a native Evanstonian. After graduating from District 65 and 202 schools, she moved to another amazing Midwestern city, St. Paul, MN to attend Macalester College and complete her B.A. in Psychology with minors in Chinese and Anthropology. Melanie joined Y.O.U. in June 2013 as an Inspire Fellow and now works at Lincoln Jr. High as a Y.O.U.th Serve Member in the Y.O.U. Spartans program. When she's not with Y.O.U., Melanie enjoys making delicious vegan food, practicing yoga, thrift shopping, speaking Mandarin and hanging out with cats.

(847) 676-3545 ext. 1383
  Nichols Team

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Katharine Graves
Site Coordinator 

Katharine received her BA from Columbia College Chicago. While completing her internship with Family Focus Evanston, her passion for working with children was rekindled. Through her son’s involvement with the Y.O.U. program at Washington school, she became familiar with the goals, ideals and practices of the program. She is the Site Coordinator at Nichols and hopes to continue to impact and inspire the youth. With a degree in fiction writing, Katharine continues to work on her writing and hopes to complete her novel.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 241

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Jacob Hostetter
Youth Development Specialist 

An alum of ETHS, Jacob has been involved in community and social justice work since he was youth himself.  After working with a wide range of people, in different communities of Chicago, Massachusetts, and the Caribbean, he has returned to work with young people in his home community of Evanston.  Having grown up with a learning disability in the public schools of New York and Evanston he is passionate about youths’ rights to learn and the extra help that many students need.  He also has a strong background in fine arts, and a passion for gardening.

(847) 866-1200 ext. 226

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Amanda Cimaroli
PT Youth Development Specialist

Amanda is originally from Indiana and moved to Chicago to attend Loyola University and study social work and criminal justice. During her undergraduate career, Amanda worked for Y.O.U. as a mentor/tutor at ETHS, site coordinator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Club, and as a clinical intern at the Nichols site. Amanda went on to pursue her Master's Degree in Social Work and complete an internship with Cook County Juvenile Probation. Having recently graduated from Loyola, Amanda was happy to return to Y.O.U. as a part-time Youth Development Specialist. In her free time, Amanda enjoys vegan cooking, doing yoga, and being outdoors as much as possible.


  Oakton Team

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Emily Fishman
Y.O.U.th Serve Member

Emily is originally from Highland Park, IL and is a recent graduate of Indiana University's School of Public Health. In high school, Emily found a passion for youth work while tutoring and mentoring middle school students. In college she volunteered for many public health organizations and decided to join the Y.O.U. team in June 2013 as an Inspire Fellow and now works as a Y.O.U.th Serve Member at Oakton Elementary. In her free time, Emily likes to read, swim and spend time with her friends and family. 

(847) 866-1201 ext. 326

  Washington Team

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Nicole Matthews
Site Coordinator 

Nicole attended Western Illinois University for her degree in Education. She served as the Program Specialist/Asst Director for central Evanston Child Care Center for 2 years and has been working with children of all ages for over 9 years and counting. Nicole has been a Youth Development Worker with Y.O.U. for almost a year. She is a dedicated wife and mother to her husband Romel and daughters Amber and Jade. She is also a member of Phi Sigma Sigma.

(847) 905-4955 ext. 4955

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Tamara Cohen
Y.O.U.th Serve Member

Tamara is a Chicago native and graduate of Highland Park High School.  She spent four years in upstate New York where she attended Skidmore College and discovered her passion for education and social justice.  During her time at Skidmore, Tamara worked under the guidance of the social work faculty to spearhead projects in community engagement and worked with young people as an ESL tutor, a recreation intern, and as an early education aide. In May 2013, she graduated with a B.A. in International Affairs with minors in Government and Dance.  She loves good food, dance and beagle puppies.  

(847) 905-4955 ext. 4955