The Youth Development Champions Program is intended to teach champions best practices to lead the public discourse on the value of out-of-school time programming and advocate for increased public and private investment in proven practices.
With a focus on youth success, each champion will work to strengthen community awareness, support effective programs, and bring diverse partners to the table in order to make things happen.
Meet our 2020 Youth Development Champions:
Adam M. Mendoza is President of Mad Science of N.E. Phoenix and owns several other businesses in technology and real estate. He is a Phoenix native and now provides after-school grant programming at the very schools he attended as a child. Mad Science provides S.T.E.M.after-school programming, workshops,camps, shows, and birthdays. Adam has volunteered in the community at organizations such as CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), Volunteer Center of Pinal County, homeowner’s association, and property owner’s association. He also served in the Arizona Air National Guard for 12 years as a satellite and microwave specialist. A strong believer in education he earned several degrees in business including a Master of Telecommunications Management degree. Furthermore, he spent several years as an online adjunct faculty member at the University of Phoenix. Adam is also a father to a middle school aged son and daughter that will be entering Kindergarten. For fun he enjoys cycling, hiking, coaching flag football, and exposing his children to experiences, such as sporting events, theater, bowling,travel,and anything age appropriate to expose them to all that life has to offer. He brings a unique perspective to the community due to his varied background and experiences!
Addis Laws Jr., is a Business & Entertainment Consultant with extensive knowledge in developing business & entertainment business models with an emphasis on relationship development & retention. Addis chose to journey down an academic path that earned him a pair of associate degrees in Business Management & Audio Engineering. Laws began his first business “BMG Productions & Ent, LLC” an Independent Record Label & Artist Management company in 2008. As a minority entrepreneur, he was able to give back to his community by creating jobs for community residents as well as participating in philanthropic efforts with various non-profit organizations. Laws founded Business Minded Group Consulting, LLC in 2018 to assist start-ups,entrepreneurs, and artists in achieving their business goals. Addis continues his philanthropic efforts by devoting time to partner with various community organizations including law enforcement, the education system, and community legislative initiatives.
George Colebrook is currently the Regional Community Outreach Director for Uptown Jungle Fun Park in Peoria, Arizona. In his role he looks for opportunities to build partnerships with the community in fun and creative ways. He has worked in the childcare field since 1995, as an afterschool caregiver, assistant site-director, site director and a Superintendent of Youth Programs for the City of Peoria. In addition, George is a former middle school teacher and school administrator. George loves to be in the great outdoors and loves to camp and travel with his wife and three kids.
Jenna Cooper, CNP is the Executive Director of Youth Development for Valley of the Sun YMCA, where she oversees preschool, after school, day camp and teen programs. Jenna re-joined the YMCA in September 2018 and has 7-years experience working in YMCA programs. She was previously the director of outdoor innovation at the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California Council in Sacramento, Ca. and the director of strategic partnerships at the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, a national network of colleges and universities that prepare students for careers in the nonprofit sector. Jenna is passionate about delivering engaging and meaningful programs to youth, and helping legacy nonprofits meet the needs of today’s communities. Jenna, a native of West St. Paul, Minn., graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in nonprofit leadership and management and in 2019 graduated from North Park University with a masters in business administration.
KateLynn Dean grew up in small-town Iowa but everything she knows is BIG –big hair, a big family, and BIG ideas for making change happen! She is a first generation college graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Sociology from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and a Master of Social Work from Arizona State University. Much of the work she has done is in the world of nonprofits, serving survivors of domestic violence, human-& sex-trafficking, and children in out-of-school settings. She is passionate about social policy, women’s rights advocacy, and especially the future we are building for our youth. Her motto is to love fiercely, fearlessly, radically and unconditionally. In her free time, you will find her reading, trying new recipes, or crafting household items for friends. She is always ready for a road trip adventure with her husband or a night-in to cuddle with her two kitties, Beesly & Halpert.
Courtney Osterfelt is the director of The Launch Pad. She has a bachelor’s degree in Education, a Master of Arts degree in Social Change and Community Development, and she has been working with teens for the past 17 years. Courtney founded Women’s Empowerment Breakthrough, a non-profit educational organization for teenage girls in Yavapai County in 2003 and started working on developing The Launch Pad in 2011. Courtney loves working with teens because she remembers her teenage years being particularly challenging and she wants to support teens in becoming who they want to be. She also believes teens are powerful people who can inspire and create great change in our community and it is an honor to support them in realizing their own potential.
Kalman Mannis believes success has been noted as being a life well-lived. His philosophy has always been to make the most of every experience and, when needed, share and advocate for those with fewer resources. Over the decades he has worked in corporate America, been a High School Science, Math, and Technology teacher, and an entrepreneur. Currently, he directs a project with the Arizona Science Center funded by the National Science Foundation. The Rural Activation and Innovation Network (RAIN) supports rural communities through the development of Innovation Councils and community engagement. These councils have been entrusted with funds to seed place-based out of school time STEM programs and projects. Their efforts have brought together local businesses, elected officials, community colleges, K12, libraries, and non-profits to develop learning opportunities for all ages. In addition to this fellowship, Kalman has also been a fellow with the STEM Learning Ecosystem’s LEAD STEM Fellows, and ASU’s Sustainability Fellows. Through his current work, he has been able to actualize a zig zagged career path and degrees to a place so he can effectively advocate for those who have chosen to live in rural Arizona.
Lisa Kramer is a Minnesota native that moved to Arizona in 2008 for educational pursuits. Shortly after moving, she fell in love with the sunshine and desert landscape. Lisa completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in social and behavioral sciences and nonprofit administration at Arizona State University. She is also a Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association of Interpreters. Before joining the Phoenix Zoo Volunteer Management Team, she worked with several local and national organizations, designing and executing programming for capacity-building initiatives. These initiatives include two 10-month long apprenticeships with the AmeriCorps Public Allies Program, hosted through the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation in Phoenix. Lisa has nine years of experience leveraging volunteer talent in missions driven organizations and doing what she enjoys most -mentoring youth. In 2016, she joined Arizona Center for Nature Conservation, working in support of ZooTeen youth volunteers at the Phoenix Zoo.
Alexander Meyer is the Community Programs Manager at the Arizona Food Bank Network (AzFBN), where he manages what AzFBN refers to as innovation: programs centered on solving hunger over the long-term. To pursue this goal, he curates programs that create wraparound anti-hunger support systems for specific populations, such as children, college students, and seniors. To bolster these programs, among others, he also manages AzFBN’s AmeriCorps VISTA program, food pantry grant making program, and community outreach, all of which support AzFBN’s vision of a hunger free Arizona.Alexander’s passion is empowering the disadvantaged to take advantage of opportunity. Boiled down, it is opportunity, be it a lack thereof, or an inability to make use of opportunity, that is the cause for the difference between those trapped within the cycle of poverty, and those who are not. Alexander knows he wouldn’t be well-disposed to take advantage of life’s opportunities to achieve much of anything if he were hungry and malnourished. Why should he expect anything different of someone else? For that reason, he works to empower people by providing them with access to one of life’s most basic needs: food.When he isn’t combating food insecurity, Alexander can be found training for his next backpacking adventure, reading books about life’s deepest topics, pondering the world he wants to see and the change he needs to be, and partaking in anything related to music, be it playing a traditional Irish folk instrument, searching for innovative artists, or practicing his dance moves at home.
Jessica Romo and her family moved to Douglas, Arizona from Agua Prieta Sonora, Mexico to start their life in the United States. She graduated Douglas High School in May of 2009 and started Cochise Community College in the fall of the same year. At Cochise Community College she pursued her Associates Degree in Criminal Justice graduating May of 2011. After spending the majority of her life in Douglas, AZ Jessica moved to Flagstaff, AZ to attend Northern Arizona University. She majored in Political Science with a minor in Criminal justice. After spending two years working towards her degree, Jessica graduated in May of 2013 with Magna Cum Laude. Upon graduation, she moved to Tucson, AZ where she began looking for employment in the legal field as her passion was to help others. Unsuccessful in her search she decided to go back to school to get certified as a paralegal. After attending a year at Pima Community College she discovered that her passion was geared more towards helping the greater good and community as a whole rather than a case by case means. She volunteered at different organizations before obtaining a child watch attendant position at the Lohse Family YMCA. There she realized her love for youth development and the impact it has on the community. Shortly after, she obtained the position of Youth and Family Program Coordinator at the YMCA where she currently works on family programming and oversees the Jacobs YMCA after school program.