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.
Email Darren at: email@example.com
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).
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
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.
LeeAnn Barclay – Campus Coach
Originally from Ohio, Lee Ann graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics Management. After college, she worked in the mortgage industry for 2 years. She shifted gears and became the national accounts customer service manager for Advanced Drainage Systems located in Columbus, Ohio. After she met her husband, Brian, in 2000 she relocated to Minneapolis, MN where she continued her career in customer service. When their daughter, Hanna, was born she decided to leave the corporate world and become a full-time mom. In 2010, Lee Ann and her family moved to Fishers where she found her love for volunteering. She is active in church, her daughter’s school and in the community. She has been involved with YMI for 3 years as a volunteer and mentor.
Hope Matthews – 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.
Brishen Weir – Campus Coach
My name is Brishen Lewis-Weir. I am a Clinical Social Worker with a subspecialty in School Social Work. I received my undergraduate degree in Social Work from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. in 1998. In 2003, I received my graduate degree from Loyola University in Chicago, IL. Most of my employment has been in various school settings in inner city Chicago, Chicago suburbs, Indianapolis Public Schools and Washington Township Schools. I also have experience working in Juvenile Correctional Facilities in Indiana. I recently obtained a position with YMI as a Campus Coach for the intermediate and junior high schools, and I plan to begin seeing clients in private practice as well. I am looking forward to getting back into the school sector, this will enable me to be more “hands on” with our youth in this community. When I am not working I enjoy spending time with my daughter Bella and (soon to be husband), Josh. I have 3 pets(one dog, two cats) and we reside in Fishers. I enjoy traveling to the Caribbean, biking, and spending time outdoors(live music included:)
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 24, 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