Staff

“Our kids are often faced with barriers that must be overcome. Every accomplishment and profession of faith is reason to celebrate — a glimpse into what Jesus referred to when He said, ‘I have come so that they may have abundant life.’” (John 10:10)

—Donnita Travis
Founder & Executive Director

dot-book

Literacy is an important part of By The Hand Club and that is why we decided to take photos with our favorite books.

Meet Our Staff

By The Hand is unlike conventional programs. While we emphasize measurable educational goals, our focus is on loving the whole child—which leads us to focus on all aspects of child development. We literally and figuratively take kids by the hand and walk alongside them from the time they enroll in our program until they’re adults, walking independently with the Lord. We tutor them to academic excellence. We mentor them to their full potential. And we care for them as our own.

 

Executive  
Donnita Travis

Donnita Travis

Founder & Executive Director

312.305.2622

"Every day I thank God for His awesomeness—and for each and every child He brings to By The Hand. For me, there is no greater privilege than to serve God by investing in the lives of His children—mind, body and soul."

Sensing that God wanted her to start a holistic after-school program to help children from Chicago’s most under-resourced neighborhoods have abundant life, Donnita Travis resigned as president of an advertising agency and launched By The Hand Club For Kids in 2001. Under her leadership, By The Hand Club has undergone tremendous growth, becoming a $7.4 million nonprofit with five locations and a staff of 111 employees and 400-plus volunteers.

Still serving as a volunteer, Donnita is driven by her love for God and His children. She has been recognized for her work with children as Chicago magazine’s Chicagoan of the Year in 2012, the recipient of Mayor Daley’s SAGE Award in 2011 and Northwestern Kellogg’s School of Management’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010. Donnita has a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and communications from Spalding University. Most recently, she attended Harvard Business School for Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management after receiving the HBS Club of Chicago’s Roman Nomitch Fellowship.

Anwar Smith

Anwar Smith

Managing Director of Operations

312.860.2731

"By The Hand recognizes that God’s heart is for youth and families and it is an honor and privilege for me to be a small part of God’s life-altering and redemptive work."

The Lord has given Anwar Smith a passion to serve youth since he was a teenager. Prior to joining By The Hand Club in 2014, Anwar served as a director for a large nonprofit organization where he provided consultation to 26 community centers in and around Chicago. Before that he lived and worked in Wisconsin for a ministry to at-risk youth who were referred by the court. In his “spare” time, Anwar is the volunteer youth pastor at Living Word Church and has an extensive letter writing ministry to inmates in prison. Anwar has a Master of Education degree in youth development from UIC and a Bachelor of Arts in Christian education and youth ministry from Taylor University.

Michele Hoekstra

Michele Hoekstra

Senior Director of Learning

708.772.8778

"My desire is for all kids to learn. I love seeing when they are excited about something they understand, find interesting or just discovered, and the smile that spreads across their faces as a result."

Michele Hoekstra has always loved the natural curiosity of kids and has always had a heart for education in the city. She believes being a strong reader can help open doors and opportunities for students’ futures. Coming to By The Hand Club has given her the freedom to put those beliefs and interests into practice while she mixes all of her experiences together. Michele has worked as an elementary school teacher for 16 years in the South Loop, Lawndale and Austin neighborhoods of Chicago. Her experience in teaching ranged from kindergarten to eighth grade. Michele received her Master of Education in language and literacy from National Louis University and Bachelor of Science in elementary education with a kindergarten endorsement from Taylor University. Attending Calvary Memorial Church, Michele has been involved with the prayer ministry, Sunday school, a community outreach called the Clothes Closet and small group ministries.

Rachel Gallardo

Rachel Gallardo

Managing Director of Program Innovation

773.609.2510

"I'm driven by the idea of leaving a legacy. I believe my legacy will be the relationships that I develop with people. Specifically, I want to develop relationships with others that lead them to Christ. I'm daily overwhelmed by the idea that the Lord has led me to serve at By The Hand. My prayer and hope is that He will use me to leave a legacy with the students and staff that points them to Christ."

Rachel Gallardo comes to By The Hand Club from Teach for America where she was the director of teacher leadership development, responsible for managing team leaders and coaching over 200 teachers in science, technology, engineering, and math across the Chicago area. In this role, she also managed principal and school relationships, led specialized diversity training, and worked with staff to redesign Teach for America’s summer training program for new, incoming Chicago corps members. Prior to this, she served as the manager of leadership-innovation and intervention for Teach for America. Rachel earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas A&M University and currently attends Southern Methodist University where she will receive her Masters in Design and Innovation. She currently attends Watermark church located in Dallas, Texas.

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Altgeld-Murray  
Omokhosen

Omokhosen "Osen" Imoukhuede

Site Director: Altgeld-Murray

773.934.9698

"I love working with children and helping them recognize that they are unique gifts in the eyes of God. I am also passionate about kids who face challenges which have prevented them from getting adequate educational, emotional and spiritual support. This has led me to volunteer with children and also to work with kids from early childhood up to the age of 18."

Omokhosen “Osen” Imoukhuede served as the director of the Kidzcity Department for CityLight Church where she managed week-to-week programming of the children’s church.  Osen is a member of CityLight Church and works with Kidz Explosion and volunteers at the NICK Center (Nurturing Inner City Kids), a weekly outreach initiative which ministers to underprivileged children in the Kenwood, Woodlawn and Bronzeville neighborhoods, teaching them the Word of God while also providing homework help and tutoring. She completed her master’s in educational leadership with a concentration in higher education from DePaul University. She has a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.

Jamie Morriss-Benoit

Jamie Morriss-Benoit

Assistant Site Director: Altgeld-Murray

773.418.7690

“Children are our present, not just our future. That's why I love when Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me (Matt. 19:14).’ I want to be part of what God is doing now to draw children in and see them thrive today, be active and positive world citizens today, following Jesus and leading others today. God is able—and invites our students at By The Hand to join in the restoration of all Creation thanks to abundant life in Jesus right now!”

Jamie Morriss-Benoit received her degree in psychology from California Lutheran University, which encouraged and deepened her passion for holistic ministry in terms of understanding a person as body, mind and soul. She loves when children are emphasized, seeing that they too are vital in the kingdom of God here on earth and have so much to offer. Jamie is also a worship leader at NewStory Church in Edgewater.

Tamisha Ballenger

Tamisha Ballenger

Team Leader: Altgeld-Murray

312.956.7383

“My passion is to drive students to use their mind, body, and soul; in achieving all things in life.”

Tamisha Ballenger joins By The Hand Club from North Park University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. After not understanding her passion, Tamisha pursed marketing positions. However, God was constantly sending her youth ministry positions that lead her to By The Hand Club. Tamisha works with kids ministry at Harvest Bible Chapel and attends New Life Covenant Oakwood church.

Felix Bunn

Felix Bunn

Team Leader: Altgeld-Murray

773.349.5380

"I joined By The Hand because I believe the children of our communities are so important and need to be brought to Jesus (Matt. 19:14), and there's no greater investment to change a city and a nation than making sure our children are living in the abundant life of Christ (John 10:10)!"

Felix Bunn has a bachelor’s from the University of Illinois in speech communications. At the university, he was part of the Excel Campus Ministry leading Bible study and serving as a worship leader. Felix pursued an advanced diploma of ministry from Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia. In this role, he worked to build community between new college students and worked with the kids ministries as a worship leader. He attends the City Church of Chicago and is on the worship team.

Micah Carter

Micah Carter

Team Leader: Altgeld-Murray

872.333.8816

"The vision and mission of By The Hand aligns with my life. I love being a part of an organization that serves children and it is important to me to work for an organization that is faith-based."

Micah Carter comes to us from Nehemiah Urban Church where he was a mentor and teacher. He worked with young men ages 12-17, teaching small group classes, coordinating field trips and executing other responsibilities. Prior to this he was a mentor for the King of Glory Tabernacle where he taught youth and led various summer programming activities. Micah is completing his degree in music education from Columbia College. He currently attends First Paradise Church.

Tracie Evans

Team Leader: Altgeld-Murray

773.850.7343

Tracie Evans is returning to us in a new grade. She was a team leader last year in 4th and continued to volunteer, and returns as a Master Team Leader with 7th and 8th grade students this year! She is actively involved in leadership at her church, Ingleside Community Church of the Nazarene and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Illinois.

William Gill

William Gill

Team Leader: Altgeld-Murray

773.546.8499

“I want to change the lives of people in city communities for the better, and share the message of the love of Jesus Christ.”

William Gill comes to By The Hand Club with a passion to use his gifts of music and writing to inspire Chicago’s youth. Born and raised in the Englewood community, Will attended Robert Morris University. In addition to impacting young people at By The Hand Club, William serves in a role as a youth minister at the Philadelphia Church of God in Christ.

Jon Hane

Jon Hane

Spiritual Development Specialist: Altgeld-Murray

312.636.0955

"I am continually amazed and encouraged as I watch the lives of my students—by their growth in the midst of all the challenges and trials they face is the fuel for my passion."

Jon Hane worked as a youth pastor for eight years at several churches as well as a staff member with San Diego Youth for Christ and Youth Specialties. His last church position was with Community Christian Church in Aurora, IL where he spent time ministering to students in the under-resourced community of East Aurora. Jon graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with a Bachelor of Arts in Christian ministries with an emphasis in youth ministry.

Phil Hoy

Team Leader: Altgeld-Murray

Phil Hoy comes to By The Hand Club from Carrickfergus Grammar School in Northern Ireland. Phil has a variety of previous experiences working with kids including Vacation Bible Study, Kids Summer Scheme, being a youth leader at church and participating in a Mission Trip to Hungary by working with children’s work and manual labor.

Brittany Jett

Brittany Jett

Team Leader: Altgeld-Murray

773.946.1497

"There’s a huge difference between a job and a calling. I feel like being a team leader for By The Hand Club For Kids is my calling from God. Whether I’m tired, sad or mad, I am called to do this work and give my kids the best because God has put it in me to do so. This calling is something I can’t run from even if I wanted to. My goal is to give the kids at By The Hand Club an experience every day of knowing that the sky is the limit and I’m here to help them reach it."

Brittany Jett was born and raised on the south side of Chicago and is a recent graduate of Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts in communications. She has been involved in the inner cities of both Washington D.C. and Chicago, teaming with others to offer youth programs that deal with non-violence, education, poverty and the arts. She considers this opportunity a blessing to share her testimony through her service to be an example for the kids to see that, though you may face trials and tribulations, with God all things are possible and impossibility only exists if you allow it to.

Lesley Morales

Lesley Morales

Team Leader: Altgeld-Murray

312.813.8244

"There is so much potential in every child and to be a part of the work to uncover it is a blessing. What a privilege it is also to impart what God has placed on the inside of me: a love for worshipping our King Jesus, foreign languages and culture, healing, and the prophetic. God have YOUR way in us this and every year!"

Lesley Morales comes to By The Hand Club from North Park University. She worked with the Greater Works Private School, tutoring fifth- and sixth-grade students in math and science. She also worked with an education program while at North Park. The students in this program were at-risk youth who lived in Hammond, IN. Lesley’s degree is in biblical and theological studies. She is an active member of the All Nations Worship Assembly and is currently a part of life groups.

Chantria Morris

Chantria Morris

Team Leader: Altgeld-Murray

708.539.5845

“I believe if you change the mind of a child you can change the world.”

Chantria Morris attends Freedom Temple Church of God In Christ, where she’s involved with fundraising. In addition to this, Chantria’s family has played a big part in Chicago by serving the Englewood community for 24+ years through the Feed, Clothe, Help the Needy mission program. This program is a nonprofit organization that feeds families and offers other needs to the community, which is owned and operated by Chantria’s grandmother and mother.

Ngozi Okoro

Team Leader: Altgeld-Murray

708.400.3275

Ngozi Okoro comes to By The Hand Club after working with children as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She graduated from Roosevelt University with her Bachelors of Science in Sustainability Studies. Ngozi loves working with children, helping them grow, challenge and build their minds so that they know they can do all things. She currently attends CityLight International Church in Chicago.

Denise Patton

Denise Patton

Team Leader: Altgeld-Murray

708.229.2280

"I joined By The Hand because I know life is not easy, especially when you lack guidance in your life. I lost my mom at the age of 11. So it was hard and I want to show these children that there is somebody that loves them and wants the best for them. By The Hand has these children's back through college and I want to be a part of giving them abundant life and demonstrate the love and kindness of Christ."

Denise Patton worked for God’s Little Sugars where she was a teacher. She was responsible for helping the assistant director plan activities for children, maintaining a safe and healthy environment, and keeping student records. Denise was also the chair of the Peter Rock Church’s YWFC, a community-based mentoring program for girls, ages 15-18 years old. She has an associate’s degree in early childhood development from Kaplan University and currently attends Bethel Baptist Church.

Ruth Raickett-Roberts

Ruth Raickett-Roberts

Team Leader: Altgeld-Murray

708.221.9886

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)

Ruth Raickett-Roberts comes to By The Hand Club after working as a teacher and a home health care provider. She attended Concordia University – Chicago where she received her Masters in Educational Administration. Currently, she is involved at the Living Word Church in Lansing and is active in the women’s ministry.

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Austin  
Bernadette Ballenger

Bernadette Ballenger

Site Director: Austin

312.208.6094

"I want to give back to my community by mentoring and helping youth make wise and healthy decisions."

Prior to By The Hand Club, Bernadette Ballenger was a teacher assistant at Daystar School, working with first- and second-grade students during the day and first- through eighth-graders after school. She also worked with the Sunshine Gospel Ministries’ after-school tutoring program. She is a mentor and Sunday school teacher at Ellis Avenue Church. Bernadette began at By The Hand as a volunteer then moved from being a team leader to a site director. She is an excellent leader and lives in the Austin community.

Jaclyn Latourelle

Jaclyn Latourelle

Assistant Site Director: Austin

312.647.0876

"Seeing God work in these kids' lives makes everything I do worth it."

Volunteering at By The Hand Club beginning in 2012 furthered Jaclyn Latourelle’s passion for teaching and youth development. She then decided to join By The Hand Club as an assistant team leader. In addition to helping students excel academically, Jaclyn largely influenced volunteer efforts at the Austin site, and was later promoted to Assistant Site Director. She has also worked with Latinos Progresando, developing youth through their theater program. She has a Bachelor of Arts in theatre design with a focus in youth development theater from Columbia College. Jaclyn regularly attends Missio Dei – Humboldt Park.

LaKimbra Arrington

LaKimbra Arrington

Team Leader: Austin

312.929.8301

“It is my desire to empower kids and help them understand that God has created them for a purpose. He has a plan for their lives.”

LaKimbra Arrington served as a Youth Ministry Team Leader for several years for the Third Baptist Church of Chicago. She was also a mentor for the church’s “Girls Rites of Passage” program. LaKimbra now attends New Life Covenant Southeast church. Ten years ago, LaKimbra launched her own business, Unique Virtual Design. It specializes in web design, social media strategic planning and print marketing materials for both consumer and business-to-business clients. LaKimbra earned her Bachelor of Science in computer science from Northern Illinois University.

Deonte Baker

Team Leader: Austin

773.272.6438

Deonte Baker comes to By The Hand Club with an extensive vocal performance background. He has worked with students on the fundamentals of musical notation, harmony, scales, melodies, and vocal performance. Deonte went to Columbia College where he studied vocal performance and is currently enrolled at Harold Washington studying Music Education.

Cory Collins

Cory Collins

Team Leader: Austin

312.315.9862

"As a black man who grew up in the Austin community I feel like God called me here to give the kids nourishment and to teach them about how the culture I grew up in led me to God. I just want to eliminate the black male stereotypes and show the kids that our culture is not bad. All we have to do is let God work. Jeremiah 29:11 - 'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

Cory Collins was an assistant team leader at Austin before becoming a full-time team leader. He has experience as an education specialist for Inparaell. Cory also worked for ASM Chicago where he taught children of various backgrounds sports and educated them in ways to keep the environment and neighborhood clean. In addition, he provided instruction that helped children learn about different cultures. Cory studied business at Central State University and attends New Life Community Church.

Micah Dennis

Micah Dennis

Team Leader: Austin

773.426.3391

“As a native Chicagoan, and as someone who has seen By The Hand flourish over the years, I’m proud to be a part of the good work being done in Austin.”

Micah Dennis grew up on the south side of Chicago and now lives on the west side. He attended Wheaton College where he received his Bachelor of Arts in international relations. Since then, Micah has worked as a full-time math tutor at Little Village Lawndale High School for two years. Micah currently attends Immanuel Anglican church where he serves as an altar guild team leader and a small group leader.

Lauren DeVries

Lauren DeVries

Team Leader: Austin

312.613.2911

“Thus far in my life, I have discovered three truths about myself - I love the Lord, I love kids, and I love urban ministry. By The Hand is the perfect crossroad for those three passions.”

Lauren DeVries brings her past experience working with Young Life on Chicago’s Northside as well as being involved in Willow Creek Community Church’s youth group. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Young Ministry with a minor in English Creative Writing from North Park University in Chicago. Lauren attends Christian Fellowship Evangelical Free Church where she participates on the prayer team.

Toi Dickson

Toi Dickson

Team Leader: Austin

773.870.1314

"I joined By The Hand because I love serving God's people and love spreading the word of God."

Toi Dickson comes to By The Hand Club from Oak Leyden Developmental Services where she was a training counselor. In this role, Toi participated in final assessment meetings and helped evaluate the progress of her clients. She is a licensed pharmacy technician and attended school at Everest College. She currently attends Harvest Church.

Andrew Everhart

Andrew Everhart

Team Leader: Austin

248.410.0453

“I believe that we are called to live incarnationally. This means that just as Christ came to dwell among us, as a servant, so too should we dwell among and do life with those whom Christ has called us to serve.”

Andrew Everhart has a passion for preaching God’s word along with reading, studying and writing. Growing up near Detroit, Andrew moved to Chicago where he studied at Moody Bible Institute with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology. He then went on to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he received his Master of Arts in Systematic Theology and Church History. At Missio Dei Humboldt Park church, Andrew is a service coordinator, deacon and a preacher.

Fiona Grant

Fiona Grant

Team Leader: Austin

312.882.6134

"My opportunity to serve at By The Hand is such a privilege knowing that each day I get to teach, love and serve God’s children whom He loves so deeply. Knowing the life change, restoration, and breakthrough God is able to bring these students through By The Hand is what excites me about this ministry."

Fiona Grant was an assistant team leader at By The Hand Club-Cabrini for a year before joining us as a full-time team leader. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in urban ministries from Moody Bible Institute. While at Moody she did a summer internship with Kids Across America working as a camp counselor. Fiona also worked at God’s Children Orphanage in Haiti as a tutor, helping special needs orphans. Attending Soul City Church, Fiona volunteers on the Host Team on Sunday mornings and co-leads a small group for college women.

Maurice Reed

Maurice Reed

Team Leader: Austin

708.942.9799

“I want to make a change in kids lives. They need to see more males doing positive things and being taught the Word.”

Maurice Reed brings great, positive energy into his role as a Team Leader at By The Hand Club. As an Austin resident, Maurice has volunteered at the South Austin Island Boyz Basketball Team where he mentored and encouraged younger teammates. He graduated from ITT Technical Institute where he earned his associate of applied science degree. Maurice currently attends Greater St. John Bible Church.

Abi Robinson

Team Leader: Austin

317.696.9273

Feeling the love and energy children have reminds me every day that we are all God’s children and his beloved.

Abi has experience working with kids as a volunteer at Zionsville Community School system and Traders Point Christian Church Blast program. She participated in the program for early childhood education through the J.E.L. Career Center. She attends New Life Little Village Church where she helps in the children’s ministry. Abi joins us as a mission year volunteer where she is exploring the depths of what it means to love and serve communities as Jesus did.

Akeeysha Rodgers-Williams

Team Leader: Austin

773.317.5710

“By The Hand realizes that children are our future, and they are a big part of our everyday lives. Like the saying goes, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ I am inspired and have a passion to help change these youths lives.” Proverbs 22:6

Akeeysha Rodgers-Williams is a regular attender at Greater St. John Baptist Church in Austin and is involved with the new membership committee and wherever she is needed. She is working towards receiving her Associate of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice from Harrison College. She has over 15 years working as support and customer service specialist in a variety of roles. Most recently, she served as an intern for Volunteer Camp Noah where she assisted counselors in watching and interacting with youth.

Lawrence Thompson

Team Leader: Austin

773.773.1587

"I have been blessed to have people in my life that have helped me dream big and do even bigger things. I believe that it is God’s will for me to pass on that light to every child I can, in helping them dream big and reach their full potential.”

Lawrence Thompson grew up in Englewood and is passionate about helping the youth of our community. Previously, he worked for a television network where he was a writer, singer and actor for a national children’s TV show. Lawrence graduated from University of Central Florida (Orlando) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater.

Darion Williams

Team Leader: Austin

708.315.4272

Darion Williams started working at By The Hand in 2013. He is a native of Oak Park and currently attending school. He was promoted from assistant to Master Team Leader in 2016 and also actively serves By The Hand Club on many weekends, facilitating opportunities for the space to be utilized for the community.

Lucas Wittman

Lucas Wittman

Team Leader: Austin

515.988.3553

“I want to help students understand who God is, and who He made them to be, with a brain that can learn, and a body that can be taken care of.”

Originally hailing from Johnston, Iowa, Lucas Wittman attended Moody Bible Institute where he studied Pre-Counseling. He is involved with a high school youth group at Calvary Memorial Church. Prior to By The Hand, Lucas has worked at Inner City Impact as a Christian Kid’s Club volunteer and intern.

Rodney Williams

Rodney Williams

Spiritual Development Specialist: Austin

708.673.2890

"John 4:34: 'My food' said Jesus 'is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.'"

Rodney Williams comes to By The Hand Club from Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Most recently he was a senior clinical assistant, responsible for providing administrative support for physicians in the hematology and oncology departments. Rodney is also the founder of Cozy But Kingdom, a ministry focused on the arts, music and poetry. He is a graduate of the Dorolyn Academy of Music where he earned a certificate in piano, music production and theory.

Jarvis Buchanan

Team Leader: Austin

217.929.1329

I may not change the world but let me inspire someone who can.

Jarvis attended Eastern Illinois University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in English and professional writing. He has worked at Dominican University in the Gifted and Talented Program in which he helped middle school students excel in areas in which they were struggling. Jarvis currently attends Legacy Christian Fellowship and is on the worship team there.

Darrell Gordon

Volunteer Coordinator: Austin

917.569.6400

To take the youth of this generation by the hand and show them the love of Christ is why I chose to work at By The Hand Club.

A Chicago native, Darrell has lived and worked in various places around the country. Wherever he goes, his desire is to mold, shape and lead youth in the direction God wants for them. Darrell joined the By The Hand Club after completing his certification in Pastoral Ministry from Summit International School of Ministry in Pennsylvania. In addition to his work and ministry with By The Hand Club, Darrell fellowships at Chicago Tabernacle and works with a church planting team in the McKinley Park neighborhood.

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By The Hand/Moving Everest  
Lamont Washington

Lamont Washington

Site Director: By The Hand/Moving Everest

773.891.8001

"If you change the life of a child, you will change the trajectory of his or her family. If you change the child's family, you will forever change the community."

LaMont Washington has served as a director of youth development for over 14 years, across multiple states. His responsibilities included overseeing the day-to-day operations of the program, program compliance, the creation of assessment and measurement tools, and creating curriculum and training resources for youth development and youth employment programs. Lamont strongly believes that the community is a great ally. He believes in interfacing with potential partners that will help to improve the quality of youth services holistically. He is a proud alumnus of the historic Wilberforce University–the first privately owned institution of higher education for African Americans (HBCU).

Talisha Cheeks

Talisha Cheeks

Assistant Site Director: By The Hand/Moving Everest

773.255.2052

"I am most excited about aligning with the By The Hand Club For Kids vision to see children in critical need meet Christ and, in Him, have life most abundant. My hope is to complete my work in Christ by aiding in the development and growth of arts and education programming at By The Hand as a light in communities here in Chicago and the world."

Talisha Cheeks worked for Metropolitan Family Services where she was responsible for planning and leading several out-of-school time activity programs. She brings a strong technical background to her role as assistant site director and a unique ability to build rapport with people. She holds a bachelor’s in communication from Western Illinois University.

Yasenia Roman

Yasenia Roman

Spiritual Development Specialist: By The Hand/Moving Everest

773.559.2868

“The greatest message one person can carry to reflect the intimate and active presence of God in his or her life is the love, peace and strength one brings into a room without any words.”

Yasenia Roman joined By The Hand Club because of her passion to share and teach the gospel to all ages, and looks forward to building relationships with families and connecting them with the body of Christ. She currently attends Soul city and she has actively taught praise dance to both children and adults, she disciples women in their walk with Christ, and she works with youth. She holds a degree in dance from Northeastern Illinois University. She enjoys teaching praise dance free of charge to the community.

Laura Carmer

Laura Carmer

Team Leader: By The Hand/Moving Everest

630.240.0019

"By The Hand was an answer to a unvoiced prayer to God for a job that would allow me to share my faith and teach, which I love doing, at the same time. Which only reaffirms just how good God is to me because even when I don't ask He goes above and beyond what I could ever think of to ask."

Laura Carmer is a Chicago native and is completing a Bachelor of Arts in English, at Northeastern Illinois University. She plans to go on to complete a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Her church home is Armitage Baptist Church where she serves with the food pantry, children’s ministry and handicapped ministry. She continually looks for ways to use her gifts of teaching, giving and mercy to build God’s kingdom. In her spare time she makes jewelry for her business LedBytheTrinity.

Julie Cokenour

Julie Cokenour

Team Leader: By The Hand/Moving Everest

773.656.0764

"A quote that best describes why I decided to join By The Hand is 'I Can. I Will. I Must.'"

Julie Cokenour is from Farmington, Michigan where she worked with kindergarten-third grades engaging students in emergent learning and maintaining strong classroom management. Julie also worked with Mission Year where she co-developed curricula, assessments and instructional materials for special needs students. Julie holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College in arts management and is pursuing a master’s in counseling psychology at Trinity Christian College.

Alexis Collins

Alexis Collins

Team Leader: By The Hand/Moving Everest

708.488.8564

Alexis Collins attended Illinois Center for Broadcasting and has her associates in communications/radio broadcasting. She attends Christ Revival church on the south side of Chicago where she is very involved in youth ministry at church as well as outside of the church. She is committed to helping kids understand that they are loved no matter what. She has experience leading outings of groups of children and mentors and is excited to join By The Hand Club in empowering children.

Andre Cooper

Andre Cooper

Team Leader: By The Hand/Moving Everest

312.340.4996

Andre Cooper is from the Austin community and has volunteered and interned with By The Hand Club the past two summers. He returns to us after completing his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin where he was also a student athlete and worked as a technician.

Alissandra Cuevas

Alissandra Cuevas

Team Leader: By The Hand/Moving Everest

872.235.5332

“I hope that I can help the kids be unashamed for Christ and By The Hand helps me do that.”

Alissandra Cuevas finished Chicago Masters Commission in 2015 and has vast ministry experience at places including New Life Covenant, Bridge of Life and River of Life. She has also done missionary work in Haiti with kids. She was a teaching assistant at Salem Christian School where she oversaw groups of 40 students and she attends New Life Community Church – Humboldt Park.

Jacquanda Jones

Jacquanda Jones

Team Leader: By The Hand/Moving Everest

773.910.3748

"I love working at By The Hand because of the kids. The way they steal your heart is a constant reminder of the awe and love of Christ. They inspire me to be better, love more, trust more and continue to walk in the will of Christ."

Jacquanda Jones has worked at By The Hand Club for almost three years. She began as an assistant team leader at Englewood. Prior to working at By The Hand Club she served as a marketing assistant where her focus was connecting communities with resources and sponsored events. She is pursuing a degree in marketing from Columbia College Chicago.

Sherrie Nelson

Sherrie Nelson

Team Leader: By The Hand/Moving Everest

773.331.8680

"I am in love with the fact that God has chosen me to be a part of his work and I am excited to be able to share the gospel with the kids."

After attending By The Hand Club as a student, Sherrie Nelson worked as an assistant team leader at the Austin site before becoming one of the pioneer staff members of By The Hand/Moving Everest. She has been on staff for over 10 years. She has also taught Junior Achievement throughout Chicago. Sherrie also studied education at Robert Morris University.

Elizabeth Pasichnyk

Elizabeth Pasichnyk

Team Leader: By The Hand/Moving Everest

254.541.9440

"I felt a clear calling in my life to partner with By the Hand in ministry. I love investing in children's lives, and finding new ways to make everyday tasks fun! My deepest desire is to make Jesus' name known among the nations, and I believe that begins by investing in the next generation.”

Elizabeth Pasichnyk is currently a member at The Moody Church, where she is involved with kid’s ministry for 1st and 2nd graders as well as the Crossroads University ministry. She received her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and a Master of Music in vocal performance from Michigan State University.

Grena Pryor

Grena Pryor

Team Leader: By The Hand/Moving Everest

773.712.0955

"I decided to join By The Hand Club For Kids because I always wanted to work at a place where I could share the gifting of God. I want to work with an organization that allows me to teach or express how great our God is and work with like-minded individuals who worship God. I attended ABC Youth Center and someone poured into me, mentored me and assisted me with homework and so on, so I want to do the same for the youth."

Grena Pryor comes to By The Hand Club from Youth Outreach Services where she was a prevention specialist, responsible for leading life skills training for the after-school program that included tutoring, setting up field trips and working with parents. She also has extensive general office experience. Grena holds diplomas from Farragut Career Academy and Malcolm X College in nursing, general education, medical assistant and is a certified emergency medical technician. She attends New Kingdom Church where she is currently a Minister and Lead Prayer Intercessor.

Rodney Smith

Rodney Smith

Team Leader: By The Hand/Moving Everest

708.539.2207

“‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ (Philippians 4:13)”

Rodney Smith is a proud Austin native who has served in education for over 15 years. He attends Corinthian Temple where he serves as a deacon, choir member and lead singer. Rodney’s love for his students truly shines through, and he is dedicated to helping them navigate and grow in their talents and gifts. He especially enjoys sharing his love for culinary arts with his students and believes this is a great way to expose his students to abundant cultures and life. Rodney plans to continue his education and obtain a degree in culinary arts.

Gayinga Washington

Gayinga Washington

Team Leader: By The Hand/Moving Everest

773.414.7221

"What motivates me is seeing children thrive in spite of the challenges they face. By becoming all that God has created them to be."

Gayinga Washington attended National Louis University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Human Services. She recognized her passion for working with children as a volunteer in her children’s school. She then went on to pursue it professionally. Gayinga has worked as a teacher’s assistant in head start and also served as a parent advocate. She is a member of Breakthrough World Harvest Ministries and volunteers with Courtside Ministries.

Dyquan Lynch

Team Leader: By The Hand/Moving Everest

When teachers see students like they see themselves, they see the best in students. - Chris Emdin

Dyquan Lynch comes to By The Hand Club For Kids all the way from North Carolina where he was the Assistant Program Director of Peacemakers of Rocky Mount, a local after school program. He was also a Servant Leader Intern at Freedom Schools, a program founded by legendary civil rights activist Ms. Ella Baker. Upon sensing God’s call to the city of Chicago, Dyquan moved from North Carolina in January 2017 and joined By The Hand in February 2017. He is currently a part of Legacy Christian Fellowship where he serves in urban missions and outreach.

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Cabrini-Green  
Steven Glover

Steven Glover

Site Director: Cabrini-Green

312.805.3528

"’And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the lest of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me…’ (Matthew 25:40)"

Steven Glover was director of evangelism and mission for Evangelize4Life, a nonprofit founded for the purpose of teaching evangelism and conducting outreach ministry through the use of street ministry, website resources, talk radio and social media. He is also a church planter and develops church planters through training sessions. Steven was a teacher for Emmanuel Christian School and helped develop the Way of Youth Ministry, a program that targeted inner-city youth for evangelism and character development. He holds a diploma in pastoral theology from Liberty Bible Institute, a bachelor’s in religion from Liberty University and a Master of Arts in Religion in evangelism and church planting.

Dezsiree Jones

Dezsiree Jones

Assistant Site Director: Cabrini-Green

630.886.9973

"The kids—that’s what keeps me going. My students."

Formerly a kindergarten teacher at Cambridge Academy, Dezsiree Jones is passionate about helping kids. She holds a Bachelor of Science in child psychology and criminal justice from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL. Dezsiree is actively involved at New Life Celebration Church of God in Dolton. She is the head Sunday school teacher for preschoolers as well as helping with the junior and senior high ministry.

Boman Bognet

Boman Bognet

Spiritual Development Specialist: Cabrini-Green

312.971.7348

“What inspires me to work with "By The Hand" is it holistic approach to address human needs, the mind, body and the soul. It addresses fundamental question about who we are as God's image bearers. In simple terms, By The Hand reflects human justice, and gives hope to the hopeless. My daily motivation comes from kids I see everyday knowing that God has not forgotten them.”

Boman Bognet brings his past experience working as the Christian Education department head at Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA). There, he helped develop a strategic plan for meaningful community engagement. He attended Moody Bible Institute where he received his masters in Ministry Leadership along with his Bachelor of Arts in Communications: Electronic Media. While attending college, Boman was an intern at Park Community Church. He currently attends Good News Church.

Carl Bowers

Carl Bowers

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

517.505.4251

Carl Bowers attended Michigan State University and received his Bachelor of Arts in Communication. While in school, Carl was a dance instructor/mentor at All of The Above Hip Hop Academy where he was responsible for planning and organizing weekly lessons and setting up classes for ages 6-18 from beginner to advanced. He currently attends New Life Logan Square Church.

Janelle Cole

Janelle Cole

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

312.213.9279

Janelle Cole brings to By The Hand Club experience as a student life coordinator, working for the Urban League College Track. In this role she developed recruitment strategies and set up community service projects designed to help students increase their grade point average and ACT/PSA scores. Prior to this, she was the head mentor for Project Butterfly, preparing students to transition from adolescence to adulthood. Janelle has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Southern Illinois University and attends Trinity United Church of Christ.Janelle has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Southern Illinois University.

Uyioghosa (James) Ebomoyi

Uyioghosa (James) Ebomoyi

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

970.397.8142

“What I love most about By The Hand is that they incorporate divine values into the environment and use spiritual principles to handle any issue.”

Uyi Ebomoyi has been tutoring for about three years in different programs such as YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs. Although Uyi graduated with a business management degree from Chicago State University, he’s found that his real passion is tutoring kids and applying neuroscience to help them retain what he teaches. Due to his humble beginnings, Uyi has felt a calling to work with at-risk youth who struggle with learning. He currently attends Universal Church.

Abdule Finner

Abdule Finner

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

708.308.4312

“‘For as he thinketh in his heart so is he.’ (Proverbs 23:7a)”

Abdule Finner is a 2013 Moody Graduate and has extensive experience both in ministry and the workplace. He has worked in the banking industry before becoming a pastor at Siloam Baptist Church, where he is passionate about mentoring young people in the faith.

Elisha Frison

Elisha Frison

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

734.864.2038

“I have always been passionate about education and sharing the Gospel with kids. By The Hand seemed like the perfect combination of all that God has placed on my heart in recent years.”

Elisha Frison comes to By The Hand Club from Huntington University where she received her Bachelor of Science in youth ministry and children’s ministry. While in school, Elisha worked as a Campus Ministry Coordinator and was a youth ministry volunteer – college crew with College Park Church. She previously worked with Center for Students Missoins where she developed a heart for kids in need. She now attends Park Community Church – Forest Glen.

Jasmine Jaurigue

Jasmine Jaurigue

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

847.529.5841

"I specifically want to work at By The Hand Club because not only does it focus on helping high-risk, inner-city children have an abundant life, which is my passion, but it is also Christ-centered. I want to be able to guide youth with Jesus being so present. Youth are the future, and I have a strong passion for making sure the youth are guided in the direction they are meant to live. I don't want a zip code to determine what kind of quality education or guidance they will receive. I want all children to succeed."

Jasmine Jaurigue comes to By The Hand Club from Habitat for Humanity where she was a neighborhood engagement specialist. She co-designed and taught a homeownership class and designed a cooking curriculum for an after-school program. Prior to this, Jasmine worked for AmeriCorps providing academic, social and emotional support for at-risk ninth-graders. Jasmine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Elmhurst College and attends Cornerstone Chicago church.

Addie Lesperance

Addie Lesperance

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

860.977.7564

“I decided to join By The Hand in order to partake in the effort to share the good news of eternal life for all.”

Addie Lesperance is completing her bachelor’s at North Park University. She brings to us five years teaching experience. She has worked as a private tutor in English, math and reading and worked for the Pacific Garden Mission as a counselor and teacher. Addie also taught at the New Testament Baptist School in East Hartford, CT. Addie attends Maplewood Bible Baptist Church.

Derek Leyendeckers

Derek Leyendeckers

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

217.257.0400

"By The Hand gives me the opportunity to renew the city and impact the students’ lives through God's love."

Derek Leyendeckers was a volunteer with By The Hand Club-Cabrini while in college. He has experience as an ESL tutor for Literacy Chicago, working to help students improve their ability to read, speak and write English. Derek is an experienced photographer and worked with Greater Chicago Motors editing their website and creating customized content. Derek has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of Illinois at Chicago and attends Park Community Church – Logan Square.

Marcus McClain

Marcus McClain

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

618.713.5448

"Children are our future so investing in them is of the utmost importance."

Marcus McClain was born in Chicago, IL but raised in Biloxi, MS. He has been a martial arts instructor, served in the United States military and has been a delivery driver but that all changed when he encountered Jesus Christ on February 24, 2013. He is now attending Moody Bible Institute studying theology in pursuit of God’s call on his life to be a pastor. He is also a deacon and ministry leader at Uptown Baptist Church. He is passionate to see the Church in America reflect the Church of Acts chapter 2. He believes a major part of that is ministering to the youth of America.

John Morales

John Morales

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

630.200.4355

"’Start children off on the way they should go and even when they are old they will not turn from it.’ (Proverb 22:6)"

John Morales is completing his bachelor’s degree in business and economics at North Park University. While at North Park, he has worked as a writing advisor, helping students with school papers. John has also been part of the North Park football team. Attending Seed of Peace Church in Medinah, John is part of the worship team and the children’s ministry. John’s wife, Laura, will be joining our Cabrini Team as a team leader.

Rudy Salt

Rudy Salt

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

773.988.0479

“Working at By The Hand is an answer to prayer for me to do what God is calling me to do in ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ by being the light in dark places and showing Hope to the hopeless. Chicago for Jesus.”

Rudy Salt came to know Jesus five years ago and wants to share how coming to Christ has changed his life with children and teens. Rudy currently attends Metro Praise International church where he is a deacon along with being the director of “Chicago for Jesus”. He came to By The Hand Club from School of Urban Missions Bible College and Theological Seminary where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Biblical studies.

Darriah Springfield

Darriah Springfield

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

214.853.1627

“I love working at By The Hand. It is so refreshing to see the hand of God working on the hearts of children. This is not just a job for me; it’s a ministry!”

Darriah Springfield has a passion for young children and young people, currently serving as youth minister at her church, Greater Hope Baptist Ministries. She has served as Sunday school teacher since the age of 13 and has been a licensed preacher since the age of 14. She has led several Bible studies, Sunday school classes and homework clubs through her church. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hillside FEB College in Moore, OK.

Tiffany Thompson

Tiffany Thompson

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

405.264.6751

“I want to impact students’ lives with the truth of who they are in Christ. I count it all joy, when troubles come, for my faith is growing.”

Tiffany Thompson is a native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in marriage and family education at the University of Central Oklahoma. She recently moved to Chicago to attend Moody Theological Seminary. She recently joined TrueVoices Chicago as the only woman poet on the team.  Tiffany is a proud member of New Life Covenant Southeast under the leadership of Pastor John Hannah.

Emily Na

Team Leader: Cabrini-Green

770.877.0369

I am excited to serve the children of Chicago in a safe, enriching afterschool environment with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ!

Emily comes to By The Hand Club For Kids from the state of Georgia. She moved to Chicago to study at Northwestern University where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and English Language. In addition to serving the children of the Cabrini-Site, Emily also serves in the children’s ministry at her church, Church of the Beloved

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Club For Big Kids  
Dwayne Moment

Dwayne Moment

CBK Program Manager

954.213.3141

"As I researched By The Hand I was very impressed by the organization’s mission and goals to nurture and focus on the whole child: mind, body and spirit. It's the same way that Jesus looks at us—the whole person. 3 John 1:2 says, ‘Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.’ I am grateful that when others labeled me and said that I wouldn't succeed there was someone who took me by the hand and told me that I can do it! Just like this organization does with every child that walks through their doors."

Dwayne Moment comes to By The Hand Club from the McGraw YMCA Children’s Center in Evanston where he was the lead teacher. He also served as the executive director for Teens of Purpose in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Dwayne has a Bachelor of Science degree in public relations from Florida A and M University and a Master of Arts in applied professional studies from DePaul University’s School for New Learning.

Sean Flynn

CBK Coach: Englewood

773.630.6918

"As a concerned citizen and lifelong resident of Chicago, I am passionate about mentoring at-risk youth in my community. Working for By The Hand allows me to pursue my interest in supporting youth. This is the direction I believe God would have me go."

Sean Flynn brings considerable experience working with at-risk youth. He has worked at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, worked for other organizations as a basketball coach and as a mentor for the Harris YMCA. Sean is a self-published author who wrote his memoir and collaborated on an accompanying 10-week mentoring curriculum. He attended Harold Washington City College for general studies and Illinois Institute of Art for Multimedia and Web Design. He is a licensed barber with several years experience. Sean is a member of the Joliet Church of God where he works with children in a variety of roles, most notably as a mentor and tutor.

Victoria Marshall

Victoria Marshall

CBK Coach: Cabrini-Green

708.674.8668

"The mission of By The Hand is important to me because I, too, desire to help students develop a strong Christian foundation."

Victoria Marshall comes to By The Hand Club from New Moms Inc. where she worked with adolescent parents providing a variety of education programs for children up to age three. Prior to this, Victoria worked as a family support specialist, conducting home-based visits to enhance the parent-child relationship. Victoria has also worked for Young Life where she provided prevention and intervention services to urban youth through personal mentoring and counseling. Victoria attended Oral Roberts University where she studied social work and currently attends Nehemiah Church.

Antoine Smith

Antoine Smith

CBK Coach: Altgeld-Murray

314.265.9865

“After giving my life to Christ, I decided to serve and give back. By The Hand allows me to not only use my gift for youth development but also to give back in the same way someone once did for me. I was that kid we see every day.”

Antoine Smith comes to us from the Safer Foundation where he was a program manager responsible for managing the day-to-day operations, among other tasks. He also served as senior operations manager for Junior Achievement of Chicago and assistant director for the Young People’s Project of Chicago. Antoine has a bachelor’s in business administration from Loyola University and a master’s of business administration from Robert Morris University. He attends West Point Missionary Baptist Church and is involved in Sunday school.

Tyrise Brinson

Tyrise Brinson

Jr. High Program Coordinator

773.682.6382

"I'm in love with By The Hand and know that God predestined this time for me to serve youth by empowering, educating and encouraging them that there is abundant life through Christ. Generational cycles are being broken and our families at By The Hand will be saved and we'll see the fabric of the Austin community change."

Tyrise Brinson was born and raised in the Austin community. Prior to joining By The Hand Club she served in the Austin community over the last six years as a case manager for the Healthy Start Program at PCC Community Wellness. Tyrise also served as an outreach worker, coordinator and liaison via the “Red Folder Initiative” for the Healthy Births, Healthy Communities program. She studied Organizational Leadership at Roosevelt University. Tyrise and her husband attend L.I.F.E. Ministries in Chicago and have one son.

Valencia Carter

CBK Coach: Altgeld-Murray

773.837.4753

Valencia Carter has a Bachelors in Marketing Communications from Columbia College and extensive experience working in ministry development. She has a Diploma from the Pivot Point School of Cosmetology and also Living Word School of Ministry. She is the founder of 1Faith Ministries that internationally trains and develops ministry leaders. She is a member of Living Word Christian Center with Dr. Bill Winston.

Brittany Densieski

CBK Coach: Englewood

631.626.6205

"These children are close to the heart of God. It is my passion to walk life with them, to love and serve them with the Father's heart. Isaiah 1:17 ‘Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.’”

Brittany Densieski attended Moody Bible Institute and received her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Ministries. While in college, she volunteered with Sunshine Gospel Ministries and Grip Outreach for Youth. For two years she served as a SLAM coach, an intern and mentored high school girls, walking life with them spiritually, emotionally and academically. She has been serving as the Youth Music Volunteer at Family Focus Christian Center in Englewood the past two years.

Tatiana Scott

CBK Coach: Austin

614.592.0821

Tatiana Scott is originally from New York and attended Ohio State University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Sociology. Before coming to By The Hand Club, Tatiana facilitated a 2-4 week camping and outdoor experience for urban youth with The Fresh Air Fund. She heard about By The Hand Club after meeting CBK students while volunteering at SLAM. Tatiana currently attends Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park.

Sparkle Washington

Sparkle Washington

CBK Coach: Cabrini-Green

312.636.4387

"Transformation happens from the inside out. I love that By The Hand focuses its ministry on each core area of each student: mind, body and soul."

Hailing from the Lone Star State of Texas, Sparkle Washington has a considerable background in education. She served Kerala Prime Learning Center, Dallas, as an English/math tutor and an SAT workshop coach. For ten years plus, she also served the Wichita Falls Independent School District where she was voted student body’s favorite teacher. Sparkle has a bachelor’s in secondary education from Midwestern State University and a master’s in media arts and media communication from Dallas Theological Seminary. She is an active member at City Point Community church serving on the praise and worship and media team.

Emanuel Williams

Emanuel Williams

CBK Coach: Austin

773.870.2129

Emanuel Williams was born on the west side of Chicago and was adopted by his uncle and aunt who were in the Army. They moved to Alabama, Wurzberg, Germany and back to Alabama where he finished high school. After four years in the Navy, Emanuel graduated from Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical Institute with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science. Since moving to Chicago, Emanuel has been mentoring teenagers at a number of youth organizations. Emanuel attends Legacy Christian Fellowship Church.

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Club For College Kids  
Rebecca Bunn Bognet

Rebecca Bunn Bognet

Director of High School and College Programming

773.938.0663

"I'm honored to serve By The Hand youth and families. I believe that serving others and helping them have eternal life is the essence of true religion."

Rebecca Bognet has a passion for people’s spiritual, academic and physical development…especially under-resourced youth and families. She has served as a youth center director, academic program coordinator, community program consultant, middle school teacher, Sunday school teacher, as well as a vocal and visual artist. In 2012, she completed her first full marathon to raise money for a youth organization and later took a missions trip with a local singles ministry, helping to serve over 75 orphans and 600 health fair patrons in Nigeria. Rebecca holds a Master of Education in youth development from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rebecca and her husband have one daughter and attend ECWA Goodnews Church-Chicago.

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Compassion and Crisis  
Bethany Arvan

Bethany Arvan

Director of Compassion and Crisis

312.305.2628

"I’m excited to serve with an organization that enables me to share the truth of who Christ is while showing love to children and families in a tangible way."

Bethany Arvan is committed to our kids’ knowing Christ personally and experiencing His transformative power in their lives. Recognizing that God cares for the whole person, she is a committed nurturer of the whole child—mind, body and soul. Prior to By The Hand Club, Bethany facilitated high school and volunteer groups at Chicago nonprofit and social service organizations on behalf of the Center for Student Missions in Chicago. Bethany has a Bachelor of Arts in urban ministry from Moody Bible Institute. As a student, she worked with urban junior high youth and children with HIV. She also taught English as a second language in Sarajevo, Bosnia. While currently attending Park Community Church Rogers Park, Bethany serves in the Loop Kids ministry.

Myriyah Williams

Compassion and Crisis Assistant

773.658.6113

Myriyah is a By The Hand Club alumni and is currently studying Criminal Justice at Trinity Christian College. She is the first ever Compassion and Crisis Assistant and joins Bethany Arvan in helping offer resources and support to our students and family. Myriyah will graduate in 2019 and is passionate about using future careers to make a difference for kids.

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Englewood  
Eddie Wilson

Eddie Wilson

Site Director: Englewood

773.733.9837

"I want to work with By The Hand because of its holistic approach working with students. I want to assist the agency in creating a space that is spiritually, physically and emotionally safe."

Eddie Wilson comes to By The Hand Club from the Rebecca K. Crown Youth Center where he was the center director. During his tenure, Eddie significantly increased program funding and exceeded recruitment goals. Prior to this, he served as the director of the Family Economic Center and the Community Business and Technology Center in St. Louis. Eddie was responsible for supervising seven programs and helped several micro enterprises start successful businesses. Eddie has a bachelor’s in English and communication from East-West University and a Master of Business Administration from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management. Eddie is a member of New Life Christian Fellowship Oak Park.

Rosalyn Overton

Rosalyn Overton

Assistant Site Director: Englewood

847.942.9979

"Just Speak It!"

Rosalyn Overton sees herself as a spiritual vessel in the classroom to expose and introduce her students to their gifting, talents and callings for the Kingdom. Her church home is Follow Me As I Follow Christ Outreach Ministries International where she is involved in preaching, teaching, training, praying and counseling the congregants and leadership. She holds two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in biology from Chicago State University and a Master of Education in Biblical studies from Hope Bible College.

LaDarious Beal

LaDarious Beal

Team Leader: Englewood

773.331.5309

“Always Abounding!”

LaDarious Beal is the director of the Young Preachers Network for the Church of God in Christ, Inc (COGIC) Midwest Region of the Youth Department. LaDarious is also the chief adjutant for the 5th Illinois Jurisdiction-East, servicing 47 churches across the inner city and suburban areas of Chicago. He completed his studies at the C.H. Mason Bible College, majoring in pastoral care and evangelism.

Shanta Evans

Shanta Evans

Team Leader: Englewood

312.305.2630

“I've always loved children and nothing pleases me more than seeing a child thirst for the knowledge of Christ. To be a part of a team that goes into the heart of our city reaching our youth through the word of God is a definite privilege and I've received just as much as I've given.”

Shanta Evans was the first ever staff member of By The Hand Club For Kids! She served many years in Cabrini-Green and returned to join our Englewood team. Shante is an active member at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist church where she leads in the women’s ministry. She is incredibly gifted in working with young people and has strong relational skills as well as deep understanding of the communities By The Hand serves.

Cornell Ferrill

Cornell Ferrill

Team Leader: Englewood

773.559.7944

"I decided to join By The Hand because it opens the door to help communities where, from the outside, a lot of people only see darkness. But inside these communities are gems—talented and gifted children who will become the leaders of tomorrow."

Cornell Ferrill joined By The Hand Club after working for Daystar School as an after-school care assistant responsible for working with pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade students. Prior to this he worked for Mission of Virtue and Excellence as a music team leader. Cornell also worked for the athletic department of Kentucky State University as a staff reporter. Cornell has a bachelor’s from Kentucky State University where he received several honors including senior of the year. He currently attends Canaan Community Church.

Chris Ferrill

Chris Ferrill

Team Leader: Englewood

773.988.5071

“I believe that in order for the world to change for the better, we have to focus on rebuilding relationships, communities and families, and not revisit the misfortunes of our past. It’s like Socrates said ‘The secret of change is to focus your energy not to fighting the old but on building the new.’”

Chris Ferrill has worked with multiple grade levels at the Englewood site and loves more than anything bringing joy, hope and love to the youth of Chicago. Chris is passionate about sports and music, has attended Leo High School and is involved at Canaan Community Church as a youth pastor.

Nealoni Fisher

Nealoni Fisher

Team Leader: Englewood

773.707.7052

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Nealoni Fisher was one of the first team leader at By The Hand-Moving Everest then promoted to third-grade team leader at Englewood. Neal has a passion for helping young people achieve their personal goals as well as become successful, productive citizens of society. He currently attends New Life Covenant Church. Neal graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in communications.

Ledgure Herron

Ledgure Herron

Team Leader: Englewood

773.584.5124

"Working for By The Hand allows me to continue the mission I have been on – working with at-risk youth."

Ledgure Herron joins us from Alternative Academic Achievement Academy where he was a teacher with responsibility for implementing Individualized Education Programs. Prior to this he worked as a case manager for the Chicago Housing Authority, responsible for leading career and vocational workshops and helping students find summer employment. Ledgure has a bachelor’s degree in theology from Grace Seminary and attends Freedom Temple COGIC.

Ed Johnson

Pastor Ed Johnson

Spiritual Development Specialist: Englewood

312.515.3349

"Seeing their eyes opened to a new world and their emotional and spiritual growth opened my own eyes to what I wanted to do after the Air Force."

Prior to By The Hand Club, Ed Johnson served 20 years as youth pastor at Rock of Our Salvation Church in Chicago and in the U.S. Air Force for 23 years as an aircraft mechanic and production supervisor. During that time he volunteered as a youth director in Tampa, FL and Las Vegas, NV. Seeing himself in the kids at their age—seeing their eyes opened to a new world and seeing their emotional and spiritual growth develop had a dramatic impact on Ed. “I could have been a By The Hand kid, but there was no By The Hand to help me.” Ed received a Master of Arts in urban ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a Bachelor of Arts in general studies from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

Joshua Larson

Joshua Larson

Team Leader: Englewood

815.298.6934

"I interned at By The Hand last year while I worked for the Center for Student Missions. I grew to love the kids and I have a huge heart for my kids. I really resonate with the mission and vision of By The Hand. After a year of interning, I wanted to stay with my kids."

Joshua Larson brings experience working with at-risk children while on staff at The Park, a local church summer day camp ministry. While in college he worked as a mentoring coordinator for the Journey to Success Mentoring Program. Joshua also worked with the Center for Student Missions leading short-term mission trips to Chicago. He has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University in psychology and currently attends Missio Dei Wrigleyville church.

Jayla Paulson

Team Leader: Englewood

715.437.0295

I believe that the children we work with are intelligent, passionate and full of love. I want to love on them and help them grow in all areas of their life – mind, body and soul.

 

Jayla currently attends Harold Washington College with plans to transfer and continue studying sociology. She attends Chicago Tabernacle church and has actively been involved in youth ministry in the past with Young Life and Sunshine Gospel Ministries.

Tabitha Tabb

Tabitha Tabb

Team Leader: Englewood

773.868.7026

“‘Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing’ means to have faith and to trust and know that anything is possible with God. When we believe it, we will soon see it. With By The Hand Club, standing on the belief that change is possible with our children will manifest the change we desire and strive for. Faith is the substance of things hoped.”

Tabitha Tabb believes that her dancing is one of the keys to manifest breakthroughs and overcoming any trial, obstacle or spiritual struggle. Working towards receiving her Associate of Arts degree at East-West University, Tabitha is also involved in choir, praise dance and altar guild at New Life Covenant Progressive Community Church where Pastor John Hannah is the pastor.

Stephanie Cassell

Team Leader: Englewood

Stephanie Cassell graduated this past May from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied Linguistics with a minor in Speech and Hearing Sciences. Stephanie has previous experience working with students at Freedom School Partners, Communiversity and a YMCA. She also had the opportunity to study abroad in Shanghai, China for a month during her undergraduate studies.

Tyler Proctor

Team Leader: Englewood

Tyler Proctor received his Bachelor of Arts in English at North Greenville University in South Carolina. While completing his degree, Tyler was on the North American Mission Board as a student missionary in Miami, Florida. After graduation, he worked at the Instituto Mexico Nuevo, El Carmen as an ESL Intern, instructing classes from grades 6-11 in English grammar and vocabulary.

Khandi Simone

Team Leader: Englewood

480.266.6586

Simone grew up in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood of Chicago and was ordained an Evangelist by Apostle Clifford Turner of Liberty Temple Hall Gospel Church. She studied Drama and Dance at Howard University. The Phoenix, AZ area has been home to Simone for the past 10 years. She served as Director of the Ministry of Dance at World Deliverance Outreach Ministries in Chandler, AZ an active member for 8 years. She counts it an honor to serve the inner city of Chicago.

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Facilities  
Miguel Rodriguez

Miguel Rodriguez

Director of Facilities

312.523.5048

"Working for By The Hand is an answer to prayer. I have always wanted to work with kids who share the same struggles as I did growing up here in Chicago."

With over 25 years of carpentry, construction, and business experience, Miguel Rodriguez brings to By The Hand Club expertise in building maintenance, remodeling and general contracting. Having owned his own company for 10+ years, Miguel has vast experience with repairing and renovating homes and churches, including the historic Moody Church in Chicago. Currently, Miguel runs the Franson Risberg Memorial Mission home in Logan Square, a housing residence for missionaries, pastors, and Christian students. In addition to his professional experience, Miguel brings to By The Hand Club a first-hand knowledge of the under-resourced neighborhoods that By The Hand Club serves. Having been raised in the inner-city of Chicago himself and having overcome some of the same obstacles, Miguel is grateful to be able to work with the students to motivate them to reach out to God and never give up.

Antoine Scott

Facilities Manager

773.454.9136

God's Word tells us 'train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.' I was once a lost child. Now I'm found. As a Christian, it is my duty to share God's love and Word with His children.

Antoine is a Chicago native who was raised in the South Shore community. Antoine’s life was forever changed when he heard the Gospel and became a Christian. Since then, he has been developing his gift for working with his hands and staying active in influencing the lives of others. He received his HVAC-R Certification from Lakeland College and prior to joining By The Hand Club, he served as the Facilities Technician at St. Leonard’s Ministries. He has a passion for tutoring students in math and discipling young people.

Jerry Hooks

Facilities Assistant

773.916.0628

 

Jerry Hooks graduated from Manley Career Academy High School and is joining Miguel and David on the Facilities team. Jerry attends New Mount Pilgrim Church, located in West Garfield Park. We are thrilled about him joining the team.

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Finance  
Marc Kole

Marc Kole

Senior Director of Finance

616.808.6906

"I felt that the Lord was calling me to help. He had opened doors, through making me available, by putting people in my life who were supporters of the organization, by introducing me to the dedicated leaders and wonderful staff of the organization. Plus, the organization's need fit very closely with my skill set and experiences."

Marc Kole started his career at Arthur Andersen in Grand Rapids, MI, eventually transferring to the Andersen office in Chicago. During his career, he has served in top financial and leadership roles for a number of companies most recently serving as chief financial officer at Hope Network, a $125 million Christian, nonprofit, healthcare and human services provider in Grand Rapids. Marc graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s in business administration and is a non-practicing CPA in the state of Michigan. He currently attends Thornapple Evangelical Covenant Church and is a member of their finance committee.

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Fund Development  
Susannah Schwarcz-Yount

Susannah Schwarcz-Yount

Senior Director of Fund Development

312.550.3737

"I love seeing our children grow academically, physically and spiritually. God is doing tremendous things in our children’s lives and I feel truly blessed to be a part of it."

For Susannah Schwarcz-Yount, it’s such a joy hearing our kids share their excitement about their first ABC report card, acceptance of Jesus as their Savior, graduation from high school or start of college. Bringing plenty of enthusiasm and a love for people, Susannah previously served as a director of development for Caris Pregnancy Centers, assistant director of development at Art Institute of Chicago, and currently serves on the Wheaton College Alumni Association Board. Susannah has an Master of Business Administration from North Park University and Bachelor of Arts in communications from Wheaton College. She attends Park Community Church.

Nancy Good

Nancy Good

Director of Fund Development

847.421.1576

"I am grateful to be part of such an effective ministry which transforms lives through the love of Christ and provides children with hope for the future. I love seeing children grow spiritually, develop confidence in their academic abilities and know they are valued."

Nancy Good has a passion for serving children and families. The ministry of By The Hand Club is one that is close to her heart because of the tremendous investment it makes in the lives of so many children. Nancy has been involved in Chicago-area ministries for almost 30 years; including founding Caris Pregnancy Centers, an abstinence education program in Chicago Public Schools, and served as director of development for a child welfare organization. She has a Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois Chicago and a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Illinois University. Nancy currently attends Christ Church Lake Forest.

Allison Daze

Allison Daze

Fund Development Manager

312.636.2839

"I love working for an organization that is committed to nurturing the whole child—mind, body and soul."

Allison Daze first got involved with By The Hand Club as an intern while attending Wheaton College. From that time on, the kids and the mission of By The Hand Club have been close to her heart. Prior to By The Hand Club, Allison worked as a consulting business systems analyst at Abbott Laboratories. Allison has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and a certificate in urban studies from Wheaton College. Allison is a member of Church of the Beloved-Near West.

Megan Harvey

Fund Development Associate

907.978.5007

“I love that By The Hand recognizes the image of God in each child and believes in the potential each one has to change his or her community. It is an honor to be a part of what God is doing here.”

Megan Harvey first came to By The Hand Club as a volunteer at the Altgeld-Murray club. She earned a Master of Social Work from Indiana University and has several years of experience in fundraising, program development and project management. She served as founding program manager for Public Allies Indianapolis. She also worked for her church, raising funds to turn an empty bowling alley into a community center. Megan loves seeing God transform people and places, making all things new. Megan is a member and active volunteer at Living Word Church in Lansing.

Ben Nussbaum

Ben Nussbaum

Fund Development Coordinator

630.414.7054

"I feel grateful to be working for an organization that is committed to this city and the people of this city. God is already at work in Chicago, and in a city that is undeservedly stigmatized, I hope I can help tell a different story. These kids are going to do great things--it's our job to connect them with the resources to do so."

Ben Nussbaum came to By The Hand Club after graduating from Wheaton College with a degree in Biblical and Theological Studies. As a Christian, he is confident kids of this city–the imago Dei–deserve the God-given opportunity to know God, be in relationship with Him, and flourish as a result. He is also committed to learning from the kids and from the city. He previously worked with YoungLife at Wheaton Warrenville South High School, Residence Life and the Chaplain’s Office at Wheaton College, and G.O. Ministries in the Dominican Republic. Ben attends Holy Trinity Church-Pilsen.

Suzette Webb

Senior Manager of Fund Development

708.261.3303

“I am honored and grateful to be a part of an organization that inspires children to let their little lights shine. By The Hand children beam so brightly with possibility to the extent that even those who only witness their change are impacted.”

Suzette Webb loves to see children thrive and flourish. She knows this is a real possibility when the right seeds – spiritual, academic and physical are planted and nurtured in children early on. “By The Hand has mastered the process of planting seeds early and often in their children.” Suzette comes to By The Hand Club with 20+ years experience in designing effective marketing and sales strategies for high growth firms such as Burger King Corporation and United Airlines. Suzette holds a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Business, Northwestern University, and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola University. She has been a member of Pastor John Hannah’s New Life Covenant (Southeast) since March 2013.

Marilyn Cassells

Marilyn Cassells

Fund Development Coordinator

312.329.0705

"By The Hand is a wonderful opportunity to be an instrument of God in making an eternal difference in the lives of children and their families."

As fund development coordinator for more than 12 years, Marilyn Cassells is a constant presence at the club, wearing many hats in faithful service. Prior to joining By The Hand Club, she worked at her first nonprofit, Overcomers, holding an administrative post for two years. Prior to that, her corporate career included Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Marshall Field’s, National Boulevard Bank and Marmont Corporation. Marilyn began her working career by teaching music after having earned her Master of Arts in music education from Indiana University and Bachelor of Arts in music education from Olivet Nazarene University. She is a member of The Moody Church.

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Literacy  
Martha Metcalfe

Martha Metcalfe

Senior Reading Specialist

219.798.7643

"I long to see my students at By The Hand embrace their worth as God's image-bearers through their relationship with Him, their creativity and expression, and their academic exploration of God's world."

Martha Metcalfe has is passionate about integrating faith and learning while working toward justice through education. She was previously an elementary teacher in public and Christian schools, specializing in fourth-eighth grade humanities. She holds a Master of Education in integrated curriculum and instruction from Covenant College and a Bachelor of Arts in education from Wheaton College. Martha is an active member of Living Hope (PCA) church, participates in Bible study, teaches Sunday school and serves on the worship team.

Denise Bouquet

Denise Bouquet

Reading Specialist: Englewood

847.373.2216

"It is my goal and desire to help children grow and overcome obstacles that may be preventing them from being all that God has made them to be. A particular scripture that I like, which complements John 10:10, is Jeremiah 29:11 'For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' I hope to play a small part in helping children truly have hope, a future, and abundant life."

Denise Bouquet has a bachelor’s from Elmhurst College with an emphasis in special education and a master’s in education as a reading specialist from National-Louis University. Denise began as a volunteer at By The Hand and was previously worked at Wheeling High School and Roselle Middle School and as a special education teacher and reading teacher. Denise has also trained at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning and at the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education. Denise and her husband are members of The Moody Church.

Margaret Brown

Margaret Brown

Reading Specialist: Austin

630.667.3156

"One of my greatest passions is to help struggling readers become fluent and be empowered to choose the trajectory of their lives. Working at By The Hand Club is my dream job, because I get to help children live abundant lives centered in the hope that Jesus brings."

Margaret Brown has over 19 years teaching experience. She and her family lived in Indonesia for nine years where Margaret was a homeschool Co-Op teacher, International School Learning Specialist, ELL and first-grade teacher. After returning to the USA in 2008, Margaret taught in North Lawndale Schools and worked in the private sector as a reading implementation coach. She has a Bachelor of Science in special education and holds certification from pre-K through high school. Margaret was on staff with Navigators for nearly 20 years. She and her family attend Christ Church of Oak Brook.

Helen Eng

Helen Eng

Reading Specialist: Cabrini-Green

773.916.6316

“When I was in fourth grade, I learned that God is the one who created me and has a plan of hope and a future for each person. Knowing God has a plan for each of us made me want to believe in Him. I work at By The Hand because I hope every student will also have the opportunity to know Christ's love and hope for each of them.”

Helen Eng received her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Northwestern University and her Master of Arts in Reading Education from Concordia University. When opportunities arise, Helen volunteers at her church, Chinese Christian Union, its Christian elementary school PTCS, and its community outreach Pui Tak Center in Chinatown.

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Operations  
Sarah James

Sarah James

Senior Program Operations Manager

312.515.7772

"I love being able to work with a child in every area of his or her life. And I love teaching our kids who God is and how much He cares for them."

Thoroughly committed to the kids, Sarah James is a long-time presence at By The Hand Club. Prior to By The Hand Club, Sarah taught elementary school and ran youth programs. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from the University of Indianapolis and an Master of Arts in urban ministry from Moody Bible Institute. She attends Park Community Church.

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Volunteer Department and Human Resources  
Julie Heth

Julie Heth

Director of Volunteer Development and HR

630.640.3813

"I joined By The Hand, because I wanted to work with a group of passionate, spirit-filled leaders who care about kids and a city well. I want to see young people fall in love with Jesus and grow into all that God has called them to be, and By The Hand offers an opportunity to make a difference in that way."

Julie Heth comes to us from Igniting Hope Ministries and Bethel Church in Redding, California. She brings administrative experience from serving as the director of Marion Inner City Outreach after-school program and as Operations Manager for Management Consulted. She holds a bachelor’s in Christian educational ministries from Taylor University. She attends Greater Chicago Church in Oak Park where she is actively involved with the prayer team.

Latoya Pinson

Latoya Pinson

Senior Manager of Volunteer Development

312.636.2709

"It has always been my dream and passion to work with children in underserved areas. So when the opportunity came to serve at By The Hand Club For Kids, I knew it was for me."

Helping kids see and reach their potential in God so that they can have an abundant life keeps Latoya Pinson motivated. Latoya is in her 5th year at By The Hand Club and served as a Team Leader before becoming Senior Manager of Volunteer Development. She also launched her own business after completing an entrepreneurial business program at the Joseph Business School. Latoya is an alumnus of Columbia College Chicago, where she majored in arts and entertainment management. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in fashion and retail management in 2006. She currently attends Living Word Christian Center church and is looking forward to being a new mom.

Larvon Birch

Larvon Birch

Volunteer Coordinator: Cabrini-Green

312.731.0342

"I feel that God has called me to By The Hand Club to be a part of what He is doing in the lives of our families and community."

Larvon Birch joined By The Hand Club in 2007. She has an associate degree in salesmanship and marketing from the City Commercial School of Business in Liberia/West Africa. She attended Moody Bible Institute and Truman College. She has been a member of the St. Luke Church of God In Christ for 21 years, is part of the Evangelistic Outreach Ministry Team and directs the Nursing Homes Ministry.

Dustin Brewer

Dustin Brewer

Volunteer South Regional Manager

312.478.4289

“By The Hand really is the Church outside the walls. Daily, we break bread as a family, we study God’s word, and make Jesus the center of all. Personally, I appreciate the way that By The Hand so closely cares for its kids and raises them up in Christ. It’s something I’m privileged to be a part of.”

Convinced that God was calling Dustin Brewer into music ministry, he left his small town in Ohio to pursue a music degree in Chicago. Soon after finishing at Moody Bible Institute, Dustin found himself working as the Co-Director of Extended Day, the elementary after school program at Latin School of Chicago. During his time there he newly realized his passion for working with youth before moving on to By The Hand, initially working as Team Leader before moving into the Volunteer Department. Dustin holds a B.Mus from Moody Bible Institute. Dustin and his wife are closely connected with community groups at Holy Trinity Church and are proud parents.

Taletha Cousins

Volunteer Coordinator: Englewood

815.483.9874

"I believe God has called me to By The Hand to be apart of what he is doing with our families and the community. I am excited to be apart of such an awesome ministry assignment!"

Taletha Cousins has used her LPN Licensure from Detroit Practical Nursing Center to serve as a youth camp nurse and counselor at Wades World Foundation in Chicago. Prior to this, Taletha worked in Business Development as the Care Transitions Coordinator at Amedisys Home Health. She also has experience in event planning. In addition, Taletha is also a minister who loves assisting churches with growth opportunities.

Timothy Hughes

Timothy Hughes

Volunteer and HR Processing Analyst

708.745.4382

"I have always felt passionate about helping others, and By The Hand helps me to fulfill that dream. I not only consider this a job, but also a ministry."

Timothy Hughes is a graduate of St. Xavier University with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Tim currently attends Chicago First Church of the Nazarene where he got involved with By The Hand Club as a weekly volunteer. He then joined the volunteer development as a processing analyst, helping individuals who share his desire to help others. He now assists in both Human Resources and the volunteer department. His work enables every site to have the paid and upaid support staff they need to serve kids well.

Eric Peng

Eric Peng

Volunteer North/West Regional Manager

224.805.3068

"It is a privilege to be a part of By The Hand Club. It is especially a blessing to be able to share, connect, and see the excitement of volunteers as they learn more about By The Hand Club and get connected with our kids. It is here you know and see that the Kingdom of God is for children such as these and we get the mutual blessings of witnessing this Truth and living it."

In addition to working at By The Hand Club, Eric Peng is also the community engagement pastor at Ninth Hour Covenant Church. God developed his heart for the city of Chicago through a 2010 mission trip where he worked with By The Hand Club in Austin. He loves to engage people in bringing God’s Shalom to the city. Eric earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and received his master of divinity at Moody Theological Seminary in 2011.

Ulyssia Dennis

Human Resources Manager

773.234.6993

This is the first time in my career in which my profession is so closely aligned with my personal commitment to the Great Commission. I cannot think of a better way to use the education and professional experience that God has given me, than to serve an organization whose mission is to help children experience abundant life.

Ulyssia grew up in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood and understands firsthand how important it is for students to be exposed to the Gospel and quality academic resources as early as possible. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ulyssia began her career as a Human Resources specialist with Texas Instruments, Inc. in Dallas, TX. She continued expanding her professional experience in a variety of roles in the Dallas area including several years as the Administrative Manager at counseling center and – most recently – as a Project Manager with Optum Health (a UnitedHealth Group company). When she’s not supporting By The Hand staff, Ulyssia can be found leading a small group and serving in women’s ministry at Good News Church in Gage Park.

Lisa Schilling

Volunteer Coordinator: By The Hand/Moving Everest

773.301.0606

I am for a moment, but God is forever (Malachi 3:6). I give all my heart to God and my God-given life experience to every soul.

In addition to joining staff, Lisa Schilling has an extensive background with By The Hand Club. She was a founding member of the volunteer council and has volunteered for four years at the Cabrini-Green location. Additionally, she is on the women’s auxiliary board and uses her creativity and determination to volunteer her time in countless other ways with By The Hand Club. She graduated from the International Academy of Design and Technology with a bachelor’s in merchandising management.  Lisa attends Moody Church where she is involved in volunteering and Bible study.

Darrell Gordon

Volunteer Coordinator: Austin

917.569.6400

To take the youth of this generation by the hand and show them the love of Christ is why I chose to work at By The Hand Club.

A Chicago native, Darrell has lived and worked in various places around the country. Wherever he goes, his desire is to mold, shape and lead youth in the direction God wants for them. Darrell joined the By The Hand Club after completing his certification in Pastoral Ministry from Summit International School of Ministry in Pennsylvania. In addition to his work and ministry with By The Hand Club, Darrell fellowships at Chicago Tabernacle and works with a church planting team in the McKinley Park neighborhood.

Sarah Kooiman

Intern

713.494.5357

Children have so much potential. Give them the skills and remind them they have value, and they will go far.

Sarah is currently a senior at Trinity Christian College pursuing a degree in entrepreneurial management and a minor in psychology.  While in high school, Sarah worked at her school’s elementary after-school program. Sarah attends Spring Cypress Church when at home in Spring, Texas where she is part of the nursery staff.

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