Matt Buehler – Urban Life Skills Program Coordinator, Little Village
Matt Buehler grew up in in Sheboygan Falls, a small town in Northeast Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelors of Nursing degree. He met his wife Nicole at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and she is currently now working as a Physician Assistant at Lawndale Christian Health Center (LCHC). Matt began his nursing career at Loyola Hospital in 2006 and in the spring of 07, God called Matt & Nicole to move to Little Village where Matt started working as a nurse at LCHC. He quickly got involved with Soul Purpose and then started mentoring with the Urban Life Skills (ULS) Program. In September of 2008, Matt quit his nursing job at LCHC to start working full-time with the Urban Life Skills program as a mentor and educational advocate. He now is the ULS Program Coordinator and works a few hours a week at LCHC as a home health nurse.
Matt DeMateo – Urban Life Skills/Little Village Site Director
Matt DeMateo grew up in Northwest Indiana where his father served as a pastor. He attended Moody Bible Institute from 2000-2003 where he graduated with a degree in Evangelism/Discipleship. He met his wife Sarah at Moody and in 2001 they both began serving in the Little Village community with New Life. Over the past 9 years they have been involved with the children’s ministry, after school program La Semilla and youth ministry. In 2006, God called them to serve full time in Little Village where they spend their time with youth and building relationships in the community alongside Pastor Paco. In 2007, Matt helped create the Urban Life Skills Program, a gang intervention program, that works with youth on probation. Currently Matt spends most of time directing the ULS program and doing community outreach work.
Nichole Finklea - Youth Director, Humboldt Park
Nichole prepares and brings to life our S.A.Y. Yes! middle school after-school program. An experienced, licensed high school teacher, Ms. Nikki has both urban and international teaching accomplishments. 15-20 "tweens" make her classroom their after-school destination, engaging in tutoring, jewelry-making, technology, Tae Kwon Do, basketball, and "God Questions." As a resident of Humboldt Park, Ms. Nikki cares deeply about her students' community and continually challenges them to reach beyond it.
Elizabeth Galik - Executive Director/Humboldt Park Site Director
Elizabeth ensures excellence in all aspects of the S.A.Y. Yes! after-school program. The founder and original teacher of this program at Humboldt Park, Ms. Beth coordinates interactions with 13 partner organizations, bringing over 100 volunteers each year from across the nation. Cooperating with the teachers, Ms. Beth ensures that programs progress toward their measurable objectives, including improvements in students' grades, attendance, and family participation, as well as meeting all requirements of foundation grants and government contracts.
Ken Kalina - Family Bridges/Midway Site Director
I received Christ as Savior in 1978 at 27 years old at Reba Place Church in Evanston. In 1981, I married Judy a member of Reba Place. We have 2 children, Kristin and Joshua. Joshua is in the marine reserves and is a junior in college majoring in business. Kristin is beginning a career in interior design. Judy is a bilingual Speech Pathologist that works for the Chicago Public Schools. We have lived for the last 15 years in the “Little Village” neighborhood of Chicago.
John Latorre - Creator of CrossOver, Humboldt Park
John Latorre, creator of CrossOver, has taken Bethel’s historic tradition of community open gym and raised it to the next level. Trained as a staff member at Teen Challenge and Moody Bible Institute, Johnny B. brings strong mentoring and leadership to the young men of west Humboldt Park. With his love of hip-hop, spoken word, basketball, and our youth, Johnny B. brings incredible passion and life experience to our youth, helping them cross over from adolescence to an incredible, satisfying, adventurous life in Christ.
Emily Minnick – Community Computer Lab/La Semilla, Little Village
Emily Minnick grew up in north central Indiana, and attended Bluffton University in northwest Ohio. She graduated in 2006 with a degree in special education with minors in Spanish and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). After spending two years back in Indiana working in a community mental health center, Emily moved to Little Village, Chicago in the fall of 2008 to spend a year serving with Mission Year, an urban ministry and discipleship program. Her Mission Year team was partnered with New Life Community Church in Little Village, where Emily volunteered in the church office and with after-school/summer program, La Semilla. When her Mission Year ended in August of 2009, Emily chose to stay in La Villita, where she will remain "until if or when God calls me somewhere else." Emily enjoys serving, connecting with people and using her organizational skills in her various roles with New Life Centers and New Life Community Church. She currently works as the computer lab assistant in the Community Technology Center, manages the church office and continues her work with the La Semilla program. She also counts it a privilege to be able to connect with and minister to other young women in her church small group and as a mentor in the Girls' Urban Life Skills program.
Jessica Ortiz - La Semilla Director, Little Village
Jessica Ortiz grew up in the Midway Airport area of Chicago; she graduated from Jones College Prep high school in 2007. She now is a current student at Moody Bible Institute, studying to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, anticipating graduation in May of 2011. She became a Christian a little more than four years ago, and began attending New Life Community Church in Little Village about six months after she was saved. She has now become an active member of the Church. She absolutely loves working with children! In the summer of 2007 she volunteered with the church’s La Semilla summer camp, and has volunteered every summer since then. Now, she has the opportunity to serve as one of its co-directors, for both the summer camp, and the after-school program. She does not know where God will send her after graduating from college, but she is eager to serve anywhere!
Kelly Thoes - Children's Director, Humboldt Park
An AmeriCorp member and Illinois licensed teacher, Kelly Thoes plans and leads all aspects of our S.A.Y. Yes! children's after-school program. Her classroom provides 40 children ages 4-11 with homework help, tutoring, nutrition, recreation, technology, and faith-based instruction. In addition to this, Ms. Kelly directs KickStart individualized tutoring and partners with Cameron Elementary School to assist Centers children within their school classrooms. Children and their parents love Kelly deeply; as many handmade cards declare, she is their "Best Teacher."
Debbie Jackson - Oak Forest Site and Baby TALK Program Director
Debbie is a certified Baby TALK Practitioner/Parent Educator with several years experience working with parents and children, birth to three years old. Her passion lies in working with this population, also drawing on her experience from Maternal/Child Nursing. The Baby TALK Playgroups offered in Oak Forest, allow parents the opportunity to learn about child development and age appropriate play. Parents and children participate in activities that enhance the child’s physical as well as cognitive development. Debbie is a resident of Oak Forest and a member of New Life Community Church, Oak Forest. She cares deeply for her community and hopes to make a positive impact on it through her work with these families. Debbie is a Registered Nurse, certified Infant Massage Instructor and trained in the Touchpoints model, through the Brazelton Institute at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard.
Brian Daly - New Life Fitness Program Director
Brian is the Co-Creator & Program Director of New Life Fitness, the CEO of Awakened Athletes, Inc.
http://AwakenedAcademy.com and http://NewPeakPerformanceModel.com Brian Daly combines his zeal as an entrepreneur, youth leader, and internet marketer with his faith and connections to produce extraordinary results. His passion and mission is to share his message, his faith and the answers that have been revealed to him to empower and enable what is possible in personal achievement and performance.
For close to a decade, Brian competed as a top Nationally-Ranked Wrestler, where he was twice invited to the largest Division I NCAA Championship Tournament as well as received a U.S. Marine Corp Award.
When it came down to the most critical moments of competition at the High School State and College NCAA National Championships, each time something happened and Brian’s performance wavered. Frustration and disappointment left Brian will many unanswered questions— it set him on a quest to find the Truth behind peak performance.
Brian currently lives near Midway airport in Chicago, works with the youth at New Life Community Church and currently travels to speak with top entrepreneurs, business executives & internet marketers. He is passionate about revealing to others how a mustard seed of faith, a disciplined desire and an unwavering commitment to excellence can stop the inner wrestling to achieve lasting success.