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 2019 Friends of Youth Leadership Award winners
Christine is the unit director of the Southside Boys & Girls Club in St. Cloud, MN. Youth Christine works with come from challenging family situations including abuse, neglect, poverty, foster care, and incarcerated parents. She does so without judgement and never forgets that the child or teen she is working with deserves the opportunity for a successful future.
Christine and I have worked together for nearly 21 years at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota. She is as caring and connected to the children and teens that she serves today as she was 20 years ago. She advocates for them, encourages them, provides guidance, and leadership to them and her staff. She is always there for others to offer support, services, and guidance.
At our annual Service to Youth Breakfast, a young woman who now works for Christine stood up and talked about how Christine is her supervisor now, but she was a club kid who attended the club nearly every day growing up. She came from an immigrant family with many struggles and she said that Christine was like a mother to her while she was growing up. She cared for her, gave her a moral compass, celebrated her accomplishments, and helped her through challenges at school and in her home life. Nominated by Deborah J. Nebosis
Julie protects, fights for, and supports the work of young people by going above and beyond in addressing issues with thoughtful solutions, a team player mentality, and consistent communication. Confidentiality and security are her upmost concerns. She prioritizes making space for staff to convey a healthy environment for our young people to find their identity, voice, and a sense of belonging.
I admire her unwavering belief to approach every situation with respect and honesty. She truly cares about treating everyone fairly and responding with kindness regardless of the situation. Families who have been in our program for many generations still continue to bring their youths because they trust what we do for the community because of Julie’s character.
Julie has been working for this program for 25 plus years now since February 14, 1994. This is a quarter century impact which shows her drive and passion for the Native American community. Many youths who have come out of the program still talk about their experiences and advocate for our program even today, especially those who bring their youths. Nominated by Yeeleng Vue
Kathy makes time for all the students we serve, no matter how they enter our space. She is calm, collected, and compassionate. She is driven to do what’s best for our young people and has been doing it for years. Her commitment to the mission of Miller Mentoring defines what it means to work in education: show up, be there, invest energy, and make a difference.
I admire her calm demeanor when working with the most challenging situations we see. She is able to develop relationships with students quickly and she carves out time to assist whenever necessary. She also balances acceptance and accountability with students in a way that not only makes for short-term gains, but also long-lasting impacts.
I am fairly new to the Miller Mentoring Program but have known Kathy for years. Years ago, she created space for high-school seniors and their families to come to our program to work on applying for financial aid so they would have an opportunity to attend college after high school. That continues to this day as we have 10 seniors who are working with her to apply. Without that, they may not have considered college as a reality. She makes our program better every day. Nominated by Drew Althoff
Mary is a natural youth worker. She has so many years of experience working with youth that have gotten in trouble with the law or have been sex trafficked. Mary creates positive trusting relationships and provides an environment where young people advocate for their needs, learn to make positive and healthy choices, and plan for their future. She has a gift for getting young people to see possibility.
Mary is dedicated and provides a tireless effort to create positive relationships. She is willing to listen, provide positive feedback, and works to create a cohesive environment not only for the clients, but for her employees too. She never gives up and is a true advocate for youth.
This past summer, Mary was at a meeting with Bob Fletcher from the St. Paul Police Department. He mentioned taking his boat on the lake and Mary knew how much her young people would love to do that. She made it happen. Some were scared, but she shared how scared she was and how nice it would be if they could share this experience together. They had a great day on the lake lying in the sun, tubing, and swimming. She told me that all the girls had big huge smiles on their faces. Things like this make Mary who she is. She’s a natural. Nominated by Sara Morris-Perry
Thank you to our 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award winner
As an athlete, Darrell holds rushing records at the University of Minnesota and was a professional football player for the Green Bay Packers. Darrell could have chosen many career paths and he undoubtedly would have succeeded in any of them. But he chose to serve youth and model his persistence and professionalism by leading a mentoring program that incorporates physical health into a young person’s overall well-being.
Darrell is a tireless advocate for our young people and is characterized by humility, compassion, and a commitment to equality. He genuinely cares for others and makes an effort to help them any way he can. No matter how busy Darrell is, he always has time to say hi and ask how YOU are doing. It’s easy to spot that his greetings are not simply social etiquette, but genuine curiosity.
For many years, Darrell has opened up Bolder Options to YIPA for our board meetings, focus groups, team meetings, and anytime we need space to conduct our business. A couple of weeks ago our team was meeting and he noticed we all had our jackets on. They were having problems with their furnace, but without asking he found a space heater and warmed us up by placing it in our meeting room. Sometimes, it’s the little things that show true character. It was a small act of kindness that he didn’t need to do, but he noticed our discomfort and acted on it.
Past Friends of Youth Leadership Award Recipients
Class of 2018: Adam Gau, Jenilee Drilling, Nikki Monette, Rica Rivera
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
2018: Bob Sherman
2017: Chris Aldrich
2016: Lisa Meunier
2015: 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