Meet our YMI Staff
Darren Heil – Founder and Director of Community
I started Community First Initiative (now Youth Mentoring Initiative – YMI) in April of 2008. My desire is to bring the community around the school systems and to create specialized mentor programs to meet the critical needs of their students. With limited budgets and small counseling departments, schools need volunteers from the community to get involved and to recognize the role they can play in the growth and development of students. My faith has compelled me to serve, and I want to serve the schools in whatever way I can. My passion is to bring the community together to make a difference in the next generation.
Todd Melloh – Executive Director
Todd has been working in the development, marketing, advertising, public relations field for 25 years with stints at the Indianapolis Colts, as an NFL Agent, general manager for Ball State University Athletics, an author of “24 Dates With My Dad” workbook designed to bridge the gap between fathers and children, the Domestic and International Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Samaritan’s Feet.
In 2013, Todd started working for Horizon Christian School as Vice President of Development, where he created a curriculum called Beyond, which is being taught by many schools across Central Indiana. It’s designed to equip students with a life calling plan and a strategy to live a life of service, purpose, passion, while under God’s direction. In 2014, he started an organization called, GameDay Coffee helping fathers get more connected to their children. An active community volunteer, Todd is very active in his church, Northview Christian Life Church in Carmel, he coaches football and loves spending time with his family.Todd Melloh is married to Carrie, a family doctor in Fishers and has four boys, Luke 19, Evan 17, Graham 8, and Hudson, 5. Next to God, family is the most important thing in his life.
Lora Stayton – Director of Mentoring
Lora Stayton is a Hamilton County native who has joined the YMI team as the Director of Mentoring. Being a mentor has been an important role in Lora’s life since graduating Indiana University in the late 90s. Mentoring remains a family affair as both Lora and her husband, Jared, focus their personal time individually pouring into the lives of young adults and together coming alongside newly married couples. Besides being a part of the YMI team, Lora is a team member on a couple other business projects. Also,Lora and her husband own and operate their business, Brickhouse Coffee Co. (a local direct trade coffee roaster that wholesales and retails coffee, trains and consults coffee shops, and offers a mobile barista service).
Alison Gatz – Parent Liaison
My name is Alison Gatz and I am so incredibly excited to serve as Parent Liaison for YMI. I am a self-proclaimed “Jack-of-all-trades” but I do, however, hold a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from Ball State University majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Political Science. I held positions in Probation and Youth Detention before changing gears and heading into Corporate America to enjoy a successful career in sales.
After our third daughter was born, I hung up my high heels and became a full-time Mom. I was able to keep my health and fitness passion alive by joining the Wellness staff at the Fishers YMCA as a part time Wellness Coach. I also get the opportunity to teach cancer survivors how to get back on track through Livestrong at the YMCA cancer exercise program.
I live in Fishers with my three daughters; Bailey, Sydney and Mia, my hubby Bryant and crazy Great Dane, Blue.
Jaime Bessignano – Director of Development
Originally from Western Illinois, I graduated from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Moved to Indianapolis in 2000 and have been here since. I was a pharma rep for 14 years, and have also done a big fundraiser for my aunt. My aunt is the longest cancer survivor (65 years), and I held an event to raise money in her name for Susan G. Komen. Doing a big fundraiser helped me realize how much I enjoy giving back to the community. I am married with 3 kids (10, 9, and 6).
Joshua Reynolds – Mentor Trainer
Josh has been a part of the YMI Mentoring Organization since it was a living room concept with founder Darren Heil. Aside from being a mentor at fishers junior high with several young men, Josh helps train and write curriculum for mentors to use. Josh and Darren have traveled to Washington DC and presented their curriculum at a national mentoring conference. He currently lives in Bloomington with Laura and four daughters! Josh teachers, coaches, and leads College students at Indiana University.
Amy Crell – Administrator
Amy Graduated from Ball State University in 1987 with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Legal Administration. She started her career as the office manager for a law firm in downtown Indianapolis, where she worked for seven years prior to starting her family with her husband of 28 years.. Since that time, Amy has chosen to stay home and focus her talents on raising her children and volunteering in our community. Amy and Steve, an attorney in Indianapolis, have three children: Jacob 23, Hannah 21, and Emma 18.
Briana Anderson – High School Counselor and Site Coordinator for Fishers High School
Laura Adkins – Office Manager and Site Coordinator for Fall Creek Junior High
Audrey Pattern – Front Office and Site Coordinator for Hamilton Southeastern High School
Jay Springer and Betsy Baker – Sand Creek Intermediate Counselors and Site Coordinators
Krista Weber and Jennifer Smith – Riverside Intermediate Counselors and Site Coordinators
GiGi Lewis-Benbow – ISR Director and Site Coordinator for Riverside Junior High
Valerie Ax – Office Manager and Site Coordinator for Fishers Junior High
Robert Milford – Attorney at Law and CPA | Drewry Simmons Vornehm, LLP