YIPA employees and directors are a team. Like you, the well-being of our young people is our just cause.
A brief message from YIPA's Board President, Louis Ochoa Jr.
Meet Your YIPA Team
Paul Meunier (he/him)
Executive Director

Hello. I love my job and enjoy working with you as a way to impact the lives of our young people. I’m lucky to be connected with so many dedicated, passionate, and skilled people in this field of youth work. You and I share a desire to make life better for others and most of my work life has involved public service.

I worked directly with young people for many years as the lead of a therapeutic unit in a setting IV emotional behavioral disorder (EBD) program. I’m a trained psychologist and was also a City Council member and then Mayor of Ham Lake. Yep, I am a political junkie too.

I’ve been involved with YIPA for many years, as a member of YIPA’s Board of Directors and its Vice President before joining the team as an employee. Most people tell me I work too much and they’re likely right, but I always make time for family fun, running and working out, and reading and listening to podcasts about leadership.

Please know you can reach out to me anytime by emailing me at [email protected] or calling me at 763-434-4190.

Barbara Van Deinse (she/her)
Operations Director

Hi, I’m Barbara, YIPA’s Operations Director. I strive to make everything we do better! I am involved in just about everything YIPA does and my job is to ensure your satisfaction with our services. I want every interaction you have with us to be positive, because you deserve nothing less.

Before joining YIPA, I worked in the corporate world. As a manager, I got to combine my love for helping people grow, solving problems, and providing exceptional customer service. The work had plenty of rewards but I felt I could do more to make a difference in the world.

My desire to do more meaningful work brought me to YIPA. And that’s when I discovered the amazing work of youth-serving agencies and the awesome power of youth workers! Helping you get the tools and training you need, advocating for the recognition and funding you deserve for the invaluable services you provide is the greatest work I’ve ever done!

I’ll help you make the most of your membership, so contact me at [email protected] or 651-688-3866.

Jade Schleif (she/her)
Training Coordinator

Hello there! I joined YIPA because I believe in the power of youth workers. I’m committed to thinking critically and holistically about how our work can best serve you. Born and raised in Minnesota, I earned my B.A. in Sociology and Justice and Peace Studies from the University of St. Thomas. I served multiple terms as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow at the American Indian Magnet School in St. Paul, as well as the Minnesota Alliance With Youth.

As YIPA’s Training Coordinator, I’m able to integrate my passions for youth work, connection, and lifelong learning in order to offer you opportunities for exceptional professional development. I’m devoted to Restorative Justice and facilitating Circles, as I believe they are key to being with each other in a new way that upholds compassion and accountability.

In my free time, I enjoy losing myself in nature, walking my cat, re-reading Kurt Vonnegut novels and crafting any excuse for a weekend trip to the North Shore! Please know that you can reach out to me anytime at [email protected] or 651-330-1090.

Joanne Rice (she/her)
Member Satisfaction Specialist

Hello, I’m Joanne, your Member Satisfaction Specialist. I’m here to make sure you have what you need from our exceptional trainings and relentless advocacy at YIPA.

I have a B.A. in Sociology with a Family Concentration. My passion for working with youth started as an AmeriCorp volunteer at the Family Violence Center shelter. Before joining YIPA, I worked in several different youth and adult advocacy roles and most recently was a Shelter Manager at Tubman.

We have much to learn from young people and I’m encouraged to see them leading, using their voice, and taking action for racial, economic, and social justice. I believe we all have a responsibility to walk alongside young people and support them in their journey. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, my partner and our two boys, and our beagle, Jack. I love road trips, the outdoors, hiking, fishing, bike riding and spending time on the lake.

I am honored to work with you and support you. Feel free to call me at 651-491-0212 or email [email protected].

Louis Ochoa Jr. (he/him)

I have a passion for public service and believe that all youth can be successful and productive citizens if given the opportunities that they need. As your board member, you can count on me to support and advocate for our youth and youth programming.

Since 1997 I have worked at the Moorhead Police Department and have a bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. My experience and education help me make the right decisions when it comes to positive Youth Intervention programming. In my free time I enjoy camping, boating, fishing, ice fishing, hunting, golfing, and spending time with my family.

You can reach me by email at [email protected] or call 218-790-4054.

Kristin Elizondo (she/her)
Vice President

I believe that supporting our youth is the most impactful way to effectuate positive change in our world. I was a juvenile public defender and saw how a lack of resources hinders even the best of intentions. As your board member, I’ll use my personal and professional skills to address the myriad needs of our youth at a macro level.

I have lived and traveled many places, but I love Minnesota the best. I enjoy Viking’s and Twin’s games, ballet, theater, movies, and chef-driven restaurants. My greatest joy is sobremesa – friends and family sitting around my table after a shared meal.

I’m happy to help, please reach out to me at 612-201-5640 or [email protected].

Dr. Laurel James (she/her)

I believed that I could make a difference in the lives of other young people in my community and in the world in the 1970’s. Fast forward to today, I remain steadfast in my belief about every young person.

As your board member, I bring my passion, education, life experiences, and skills as a social worker, youth advocate, educator, and organization leader to YIPA. Let’s work together in a quest to advance opportunities for young people all over the world.

In my free time I enjoy traveling, visiting Tea Rooms and museums, and curling up with a good book at the beach.

If I can be of help to you, call me at 301-467-5560 or email me at [email protected].

Sherrita Allen (she/her)

I believe in giving back to those committed to supporting our youth. As your board member, I use my 25+ years of experience in social services to help empower amazing youth workers like you.

I’m enthusiastic about teaching youth how to be their authentic selves. Our goal is to help them understand who they are in the skin they’re in despite the ever-changing societal standard of “normal.”

With a Master of Arts in Counseling specializing in grief & loss, sexual maladaptive behavior, and human trafficking, I’m ready to help. On a personal note, I enjoy reading, socializing, and singing.

Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or 417-300-3386.

Lucy Bossert (she/her)

As an experienced and proud youth worker, I’ve seen firsthand how quality training impacts the outcomes of youth-serving organizations. As a YIPA board member I bring expertise in youth programming, project management, and volunteer training. I’m excited for this opportunity to collaborate with other changemakers in the field to keep pushing boundaries to better show up for our youth.

In addition to my work as Outreach Director at Bolder Options in Minneapolis, I’m a dog mom to two rescue dogs, I make visual art, enjoy sailing with my husband, and soaking up the outdoors, no matter what season.

If I can be of help, reach out to me at [email protected] or 715-410-4244.

Stacey Guilfoyle Collier (she/her)

Youth are the key to world change. As a young person, I benefited greatly from mentorship and intentional youth programs. As your board member, I’ll work to ensure your program can create similar opportunities for all youth.

I’m committed to assisting YIPA in bringing youth work to the next level and expanding it for years to come. You can count on me to utilize my Business Management degree, extensive experience facilitating equity and inclusion trainings, and a sincere compassion for youth to advance YIPA.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with family, being outdoors and traveling.

Call me at 651-560-5144 or shoot me an email me at [email protected] if I can help you.

Dan Huebsch (he/him)

Hello, I’m Dan! I truly believe that positive change in our world starts with providing the next generation with as many tools and opportunities as possible.

Having an Elementary Education background gives me a unique perspective while working directly with youth and families in rural Minnesota as a diversion worker and mentor. This provides the YIPA team another voice to communicate the needs of our smaller communities and continue building on the important resources YIPA provides.

In my free time, I enjoy traveling with my wife, running, and spending time with our two dogs.

Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or 218-371-7101.

Shalin Johnson (he/him)

“Action taken before a loss is cheaper than action taken after a loss.” I believe that Youth Intervention is practicing personal risk management and I enjoy being an advocate for your work.

My degree is in Risk Management and Insurance. I bring that perspective to YIPA with over 29 years of experience. I’m active on various Brooklyn Park commissions and a Rotarian. In the past, I was active with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Foundation and served as the treasurer for Bolder Options’ board of directors. My hobbies include attending various sporting events, fishing, golfing, and being outdoors as much as possible.

You can contact me at [email protected] or 612-598-3883.