Youth Intervention Hall of Fame

Youth workers and the people who support them do the vital work of guiding the positive development of our youth. In programs as varied as the needs of the youth they serve, youth workers bring heart, passion, and commitment to their work every day.

The Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA) recognizes the greatness in all youth workers. To shine a bright light on the value of youth workers and the strong allies who support them, our Youth Intervention Hall of Fame features their amazing work through the Friends of Youth Leadership Award.

You – our members – nominate your top performers for the Friends of Youth Leadership Award. YIPA also chooses one dedicated volunteer for the Outstanding Achievement Award.

The Friends of Youth Leadership Award is your chance to showcase an individual who goes above and beyond to help our youth positively develop their unique skills and talents. Your superstar could be a volunteer, a staff member, a program leader, a director, a philanthropist, an elected official, or even a young person themselves. Nominations are accepted roughly between mid-October through mid-November annually and the winners are inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Annual Meeting of the Association on the first Friday in December. Remember, you must be a current YIPA member to submit a nomination.

We honor the 2018 Friends of Youth Leadership Award winners

Susie Bjorklund

Adam Gau

Adam is genuine in his interactions with youth and always has their best interests in mind. He continuously finds new ways to adapt to current trends and issues that face youth, like Drunk Goggle Obstacle Courses or lessons about social media and its implications for families. He goes all out in his desire to help youth.

Adam is loyal to his school and community, and he shows a passion for giving back. He always does what’s best for kids even if it goes against the grain of how most police officers would handle an incident. He is always looking for ways to improve and make a more impactful SRO program to serve his school.

As President of the Minnesota Juvenile Officers Association, he’s developed new programming to positively affect school policing. When Adam’s assignment as SRO was in danger of being cut, he not only found a way to keep the program going, but was able to double the coverage so he could be in school full time with the youth. The students held a rally for Adam with shirts and bracelets to show how much they value him and want him around. Nominated by Cory Spencer.

Rita Younger

Jenilee Drilling

Jenilee is a true advocate of youth leadership. Jenilee meets youth where they are both physically, by being out in the community each week; and personally, by allowing them to determine their next step on their path in life.

She is steadfast in all she does. She is organized, loyal, innovative, and most of all caring. Jenilee is the first to volunteer for extra work, even though she already has a super busy caseload. She has weekly outreach commitments at a local youth drop in center, a homeless youth residency, and a local community college. If Jenilee is part of a project, it will be successful for all involved. She is a true champion for youth and youth programs.

Over the past two years, Jenilee helped a young person secure housing, complete high school, get a paid work experience, obtain a driver’s license, and now he’s enrolled in college! Her comprehensive and caring approach make a big impact through all the small thoughtful steps and resource connections she demonstrates in her daily work. Nominated by Bridgett Backman.

Christina McCoy

Nikki Monette

Nikki has dedicated 20 years to working with young people to provide positive youth development opportunities and promote sexual health. Now as a supervisor, Nikki mentors new professionals to have confidence, expertise, and compassion for the youth they reach. Nikki is an outstanding educator but is exemplary in providing authentic and supportive leadership to new youth workers and sexuality educators.

Nikki is a rare professional that can work effectively and seamlessly with youth, parents, and professionals. She coaches enthusiastically alongside teens as they try new skills, listens compassionately while parents share parenting fears, and advocates strongly for colleagues. Nikki is steadfast. As organizations close, grants end, and challenges surface she takes the higher ground and works tirelessly for youth impacted.

A co-worker quoted, “Her unwavering strength is a force.” A student said, “She was VERY respectful and made sure we understood so we’d be safe in the future.” A classroom teacher stated, “Nikki had endless amounts of knowledge and her excitement is contagious! She had a lot of success engaging my students.” Nominated by Lisa Turnham.

Phil Winger

Rica Rivera

Rica is a youth worker who is passionate about the Native American youth she works with in South Minneapolis, the same neighborhood she was raised in. She has encouraged, supported, advocated, and cheered on the youth at the Division of Indian Work through homework help, cultural activities, and literally just being there for a child in need.

Rica is a member of the Seneca nation and grew up in a family well known in the Indian community for their work. She has continued that tradition in her own way by working tirelessly for youth. She’s a dedicated and loyal person who finishes a task set before her and is always willing to take on a challenge. Kindness, patience, and humor are characteristics that I admire in my co-worker and friend. These are attributes that lend themselves well for youth work.

Rica is an only child. I believe the youth she works with become like her younger siblings. There are a few young ladies in our program who know they can call on Rica for advice, comfort, an ear to listen, or a joke to cheer them up. She does this without hesitation, as a big sister would. Nominated by Madelynn Ducheneaux.

Thank you to our 2018 Outstanding Achievement Award winner

Lisa Meunier

Bob Sherman

Bob is always willing to engage in advocacy. He regularly meets with his legislators and they know him by first name. Bob promotes the importance of helping youth and he proudly touts the positive outcomes of Youth Intervention. He works closely with his locally elected officials and has introduced YIPA to them to help with our advocacy.

Bob is honest; he’ll tell you what he thinks and doesn’t hold back from saying the tough things that need to be said. He is diligent and professional in his approach to youth work. He brings a no-nonsense attitude and puts his nose to the grindstone to get things done. He cares deeply and works unselfishly to ensure the work you do is understood, supported, and properly funded.

Bob and YIPA’s team have been meeting with County Attorneys to discuss Youth Intervention funding. Bob brings his diligent work approach to these meetings and is insistent in defending and promoting the need for more funding for youth-serving programs. We know when it’s time to ask Bob for his help he’ll be there so you’ll all do better.

Past Friends of Youth Leadership Award Recipients

Class of 2017: Andrew “Drew” Lemmie, Chandra “CeeJay” Jackson, Natalie Johnson Lee, Sherenia Gibbs
Class of 2016:
Susie Bjorklund, Rita Younger, Christina McCoy, Phil Winger
Class of 2015:
Gary Keifenheim, Erich Lutz, Ruby Cortez
Class of 2014: Alec Staffon, Ehyrn Barthelme, Eriann Faris, Shari Barmash
Class of 2013: Julie Hignell, Loralee Marvin, Lisa Crocker, Senator Scott Dibble
Class of 2012: Patty Wetterling, Mandy Meisner, Kate Swenson, Louis Ochoa
Class of 2011: Maria Kustritz, Dean Prince, Steve Smith, Cathy ten Broeke, Akeel King
Class of 2010: Patty Halvorson, Lisa Hoogheem, Paul Weiler, Mayor Scott Lund, Commissioner Gail Dorfman
Class of 2009: Talia Beck, Doug Hovelson, Meredythe Jones Rossi, Krista McFarland, Quintin Jackson, Erin Rasmussen, Mayor R. T. Rybak
Class of 2008: Guadelupe Gadea, Angela Gonzalez, Autumn Nelson, Mayor Bob Nelson, Patsy Boen, Ronald Evans, Jr., Jenny Hong, Girls RAP Program of the YWCA of Minneapolis
Class of 2007: Montrell Donaldson, Chief John Harrington, James Backstrom, Mike Loud, Nick Schuum, Pam Rusten
Class of 2006: Jason Christen, Senator Sam Dallas, The Smith Foundation, Darrell Thompson
Class of 2005: Yusuf Abdullah, Cass County Commissioners, Lynn Haglin, The Ordean Foundation
Class of 2004: Chris Ganzlin, Terry Troy, Real Estate Equities, Inc.
Class of 2003: Marc Ashton, Representative Karen Clark, Mariah Docksteader

Past Outstanding Achievement Award Recipients

2017: Chris Aldrich
Lisa Meunier
Kathy Tingelstad
2014: Tamar Ghidalia
2013: Connie Landecker
2012: Colleen Fritsch
2011: Talia Beck
2010: Peter Geier
2009: Paul Ramsour
2008: Cheryl Meld
2007: Paul Meunier
2006: Cathy Bergh
2005: Paul Weiler
2004: Kelly Peterson
2003: David Wilmes
2002: Steve Commerford
2001: Brian Dahl
2000: Cheryl Jensen
1999: Perry Lofquist