Jennifer Yonan
Executive Director

Jennifer is a successful executive with broad-based experience in the fields of nonprofit leadership, fundraising, marketing, community/government relations, economic development and business operations. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration and a Certification in Fundraising Management from North Park University as well as a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL with a degree in Communications.

Jennifer served for twelve years as Vice President of Marketing and Development with the United Way of Lake County and most recently as Executive Director with Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center in Gurnee and Skokie.

Jennifer was drawn to YCC because she wanted to serve the vulnerable in the area where she was born and raised and because she recognizes the importance of education and hands-on experience in the trades. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling around the Lake County Forest Preserves. Her favorite word is Courage.

Karen Rios
Program Director

Karen joined YCC as Program Director in 2020. She has over 20 years of experience working with community-based, social service organizations and is passionate about ensuring that people have the resources they need to succeed.

Karen earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies from Iowa State University and her Master’s degree in Business Administration from Aurora University. Karen was excited to join the YCC team and have the opportunity to serve youth who are in the process of transforming their lives.

Karen loves to spend time with her family, travel and learn about other cultures. She is developing her cooking skills in Puerto Rican cuisine and is active in scouting. While she won’t say that she loves it, she has developed an appreciation for camping.

Fred Williams
Member Services Manager

Fred received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications at the University of Iowa and a Master’s of Divinity/Pastoral Care and Counseling at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL. He is a United States Air Force Veteran.

As the Case Manager, he’s had success with members by working with them directly in an effort to build a sense of self-motivation from within.

In his spare time, he’s a smooth jazz and R&B aficionado. He enjoys discovering obscure tracks and plans to share them with the world as an internet radio DJ.

Susan Green
Instructional Services Manager

Susan has been with YCC as Instructional Services Manager for nine years with a primary focus on helping community youth earn a GED. To date she has helped close to 100 members earn their high school equivalencies.

Susan earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Lewis University. She holds a Master’s Degree in Instructional Leadership from Loyola University, Chicago.

She enjoys taking road trips with her family to the Colorado Rockies where they camp, hike, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Susan is a proud lifetime member of the Girl Scouts. She is an avid reader of different genres however Cozy Mysteries are her favorite.

Jennifer Cooper
Placement & Alumni Manager

Jennifer Cooper is an educator who has worked in multiple school districts throughout the United States. After graduating in 2010 from Denison University in Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies, Jennifer moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she received her Masters of Education: Youth Development Leadership in May of 2014. Jennifer has extensive experience in working with youth of all backgrounds. Her passion for youth development started early on in her career when she worked as an AmeriCorps member for Citi Year. 

Ian Biggs
Violence Prevention Program Coordinator

James Taylor
IT Instructor 

Edith Elias
Program Enrollment Coordinator

After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Wisconsin- Parkside, she learned about service and the positive impact it has on our community. That is why she was interested in an organization such as YCC that serves people in need. She believes mentors are essential for guiding our youth to success!

Through her volunteer work, she has enjoyed forming relationships with non-profit organizations nationally and abroad. Her most recent volunteer trip abroad was to the Amazon rainforest in Colombia, where she served alongside families of the local communities.

She enjoys spending time with her family and her 2 boys that keep her very busy. Her happy place is being in nature and walking trails.

Rosie Roche
Director of Development & Communication

Rosie loves YCC because of the whole person approach of the programs. Mental health and life skills are as important as formal education and career readiness, and it is this enlightened approach to empowering young people to make their own paths that attracted her to join the dedicated and inspiring team.

Rosie lived most of her life in London and moved to Evanston 20 years ago. She has been enjoying the beauty of Lake County as her home for two years now and is very pleased to both live and work in her community. 

Beth Pierson
Director of Development & Communication

Beth joins YCC after a diverse career spanning the worlds of business, education, and nonprofit organizations.  She has a BA from Kenyon College, an MA in English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.  She began her career as a high school English teacher and since then has maintained a passion for working with young people and organizations that serve them. 

Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, with significant time spent living in Massachusetts and New Orleans, LA, Beth has now spent the majority of her life in northern Illinois, where she has raised two young adult children.  She is proud to call Lake County home. 

Bill Foltz
Outreach & Community Services Coordinator

Bill received a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication from Illinois State University and has been a member of the YCC staff since 2012. He had a desire the learn the needs of young people in the Lake County area and sought out YCC, serving two terms as an AmeriCorps VISTA as the Bridge to College Specialist. He then served one year as an AmeriCorps member in the role of Program Coordinator, and has been in charge of keeping member files up to date and in compliance with government regulations. Bill was the Program Coordinator at YCC since 2015 and was promoted to Program Manager in the fall of 2019.

In his spare time he loves to watch baseball and is a Chicago Cubs superfan!

Sadaf Surani
Data & Grants Manager

Sadaf joined the YCC team as a Data and Grants Manager in March 2021. She has over 6 years of experience working across financial and non-profit sectors. 

She earned her Bachelor’ degree in Economics and Finance, and later got her Master’s in Business Administration, both from Institute of Business Management, IoBM. 

Sadaf is passionate about making a difference in the lives of people by being a catalyst to transformation. She was drawn towards YCC to be able to serve the opportunity youth, as she believes these young adults are the future of generations to come. 

Sadaf loves to travel and spend quality time with her family, but cooking remains the heart of all her hobbies.

Jim Malecha
Finance Director

Michelle Lord
Finance Assistant

Dan Knight
Residential Construction Foreman

Jimmy Ollie
Construction Supervisor

Jimmy first joined YCC as a YouthBuild member as an opportunity youth that the program served.

He said that his construction teacher handed him a hammer and it changed his life.

He was able to turn his life around thanks to YCC and he now teaches the National Center for Construction Education and Training (NCCER) Core Curriculum Class to members from similar backgrounds to him.

He enjoys guiding members down a positive path in life!

Teryan Washington
Construction Crew

Steven Panos 
Construction Crew

Steven joined the YCC program as a member in December 2020. After completing the program, he was hired on the full-time construction crew in February 2021 and was later promoted to full-time crew leader. During his time working at YCC, he has been attending the College of Lake County to earn his Associate Degree in Business Administration and will be graduating in May 2024. 

When he’s not busy with work or school, he enjoys playing video games and spending time in nature. Steven has a passion for preserving the environment and being a part of the YCC mission.
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