Meet our YMI Staff
Darren Heil – Founder
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.
Alison Gatz – Executive Director
My name is Alison Gatz and I am so incredibly excited to serve as Executive Director 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.
Jennifer Kimble – Director of Mentoring
Hello, my name is Jennifer Kimble. I am originally from outside Chicago, but moved to Indiana in High School. I graduated with my Associates Degree from college in Minnesota and I am currently finishing my Biblical Counseling degree from Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis. Over the past twenty years I have worked as a youth leader in two different churches and child care staff in a group home. I worked on several research projects mandated by Congress to better improve the child welfare system.
Ten years ago I focused on staying home with my kids but also volunteered and served as the Troop Coordinator for 8 years with American Heritage Girls.
I am very excited to be on this journey with YMI and look forward to being a part of where it is going. I share life with my husband of 22 years and have four kids, Cassidy (16), Annalee (14), Colton (8), and Addison (6). I love the outdoors. music and camping with my family
Hope Matthews – Director of Campus Development/FHS Campus Coach
Hope has been working with teens and young adults in various capacities over the last 25 years and is excited for the opportunity to partner with YMI. After earning her Bachelors degree in International Relations, she moved to abroad to study and teach English as a Second Language before coming back to start a family. While being a stay at home mom, she hosted support groups for teen moms, was a youth leader at her church and organized mission trips and support for an orphanage in Haiti.
She received her Masters degree in School Counseling in 2010 and worked as a counselor at an International School in Germany. Since returning to the States, she’s been working with homeless teens and young adults at Outreach, Inc. in downtown Indianapolis as well as with Child Advocates, as a court representative for children in foster care. Hope has been a Coordinator for a foreign exchange student program for the last 10 years. Hope is married with five children, ages 15-27, and enjoys yoga, swimming, reading and travel. Her faith and desire to follow God’s leading is the basis for all she’s involved in.
Amy Crell – Director of Operations
Amy has been with YMI since May of 2016 as an Event Planner, Administrator, and now as the Director of Operations. Amy Graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Legal Administration. She started her career as the Legal Administrator for a law firm in downtown Indianapolis, where she worked for seven years prior to starting her family with her husband Steve. Between Amy’s career as a Legal Administrator and YMI, She chose 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, Hannah, and Emma.
Your YMI Team
Hope Matthews – High School Counselor and Site Coordinator for Fishers High School
Laura Adkins – Office Manager and Site Coordinator for Fall Creek Junior High
Miriam Jones – High School Counselor Secretary and Site Coordinator for Hamilton Southeastern High School
Jay Springer and Betsy Baker – Sand Creek Intermediate Counselors and Site Coordinators
Jennifer Smith and Rachel Underwood– 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
John Kozloski – Fallcreek Intermediate Counselor and Site Coordinator
Jeff Iagulli – Assistant Principal and Site Coordinator at HSE Junior High/Intermediate