Indiana Youth Group Staff
Each staff member was asked how their background influences their present position and why they work at IYG.
Education Outreach Coordinator
I have been an Educational Presenter since 1991 for organizations like Indianapolis Civic Theatre's Kid Connection, Farm Bureau Insurance Project XL, and The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. In all of these programs, I've worked to teach youth tolerance of different types of people, and to learn from one another.
Working to help LGBTQ youth and their straight allies learn to make things better for themselves and future generations is not just my current job; it's my life ambition and professional passion. I truly believe that working for IYG is sincerely a blessing.
Mary A. Byrne
Being the ED fits me very well. I have for years worked in the women's and LGBT community… on LGBT politics, through owning Labyris, a women's bar/restaurant, producing the National Women's Music Festival, and by co-owning Out Word Bound bookstore to name a few. Plus my first job out of college was working with youth in crisis after they had run away from home. So between my love and respect for the youth in our community and my business/non-profit administration experience, I can pretty well tap into many skills and contacts that I have for the benefit of IYG and the youth we serve.
My passion and goal in working at IYG is to see a decrease in the isolation of LGBTQ youth. Being out there all by themselves, hearing all of the horrid things that ignorant people can say, with no one to talk to, is so incredibly hard to deal with…and that on top of all of the other changes that adolescents go through can be just too much to handle. I want these youth to know they are not the only one, that they are a normal part of society, that they have a great future in store. I want them to be happy and know they are okay.
Myranda Warden, MSW, LSW
To me working at IYG is the best of all worlds. My love for working with youth coupled with my passion for social justice and the advancement of the LGBTQ community makes this job ideal for me. Whether it's hanging out and talking to the youth, facilitating groups, supervising staff, developing programs, or providing youth with resources, it's hard to imagine this is my "job."
I come to IYG with almost a decade of experience working with youth in high-risk populations. I have worked with youth in a variety of settings: before-and-after school programs, summer camp, outreach programs, working with kids involved with Department of Child Services, the healthcare setting, and in community centers. I finished my Master of Social Work degree from IU School of Social Work in 2012. It was through graduate school that I began working with IYG. I interned with the organization in 2011. When my practicum was over, I didn't want to say good-bye so I stayed on as a volunteer. I love this organization and I have the utmost respect for what we do. I feel honored to be a part of it.
Volunteer Coordinator and Administrative Assistant
Coming out as an adult was scary and yet wonderful at the same time! IYG was in its beginning years when I found a comfort in mentoring the youth with creative talents to share. Over the years I grew into my authentic self and watched them blossom as well. When I found out IYG was looking for an administrative assistant I was thrilled as this has been my career for the past 35 years. To be able to give back to this organization in such a special way is a blessing!
As a lesbian, mother and grandmother, I have personally witnessed how alienation, discrimination and bullying can destroy the hope and tamp down the internal fire of creativity during a child's development. I am proud to be a part of this wonderful, inclusive safe place for LGBTQ youth. It is wonderful to see their smiles and hear the pride in their voices!
Parents' Program Coordinator
My entire professional career has been dedicated to youth… and I couldn't be happier! I teach acting classes at Jr. Civic, I worked at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis creating programs and performing Museum Theater pieces for visitors. I spent the better part of 16 years educating youth about HIV and STDs. Most recently I created the youth prevention program at the Damien Center called Teen Damien. Working in the service of youth is my pleasure and my passion and I intend to continue for many years to come.
Working at IYG allows me to combine my love for education and advocacy. Teaching parents and caregivers what they can do to have a better relationship with their youth is not only beneficial to the adult, it helps the youth too. I used to only talk to the youth of IYG about HIV and STDs. Now I get to help them and their parents on a deeper level and I am so honored for the opportunity to do so.
Prevention Program Coordinator
When I landed in Indianapolis several years ago, I began working at Planned Parenthood of Indiana. Although I had experience in the sexual health field and had mentored youth in the past, this was the first job I had where I was able to focus on both. It was through this position that I learned that working with youth is my jam, and it reinforced for me how important it is to have honest and accurate conversations around sex and sexuality. I was able to connect with IYG as a volunteer and knew that I would love to work for the organization if there was ever an opportunity. The Prevention Program Coordinator position combines my interest and passion in education, programming, training, case management, and advocacy. Currently, I facilitate the Coping And Support Training program (CAST) that focuses on mood management, drug use management/continued non-use, and positive life outcomes.
IYG youth and staff are some of the most passionate, creative, resilient, caring, and wonderful people I've ever met. I consider myself truly lucky to be among them.
Alvin was born and raised in Indianapolis. After coming out as gay in his sophomore year of high school, Alvin became a regular member of Indiana Youth Group, which gave him the personal confidence and supportive community he needed to succeed personally and academically. After graduating with honors from Lawrence North High School, he attended Pomona College in Claremont, California receiving a BA in Theatre and Drama in May 2010. After graduation he spent a year working abroad as an educator in Thailand with a study abroad program focused on development, globalization, and human rights.
He returned to Indianapolis to reconnect with family and make a difference in his own community. While serving as a Public Ally for the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center he started a new program called Innovate Indy which organized several local community-focused projects on issues ranging from education reform to job creation. Alvin also began volunteering with Indiana Youth Group. He facilitated several team-building and leadership development activities with IYG's Youth Council and served as a youth mentor at the center. After volunteering at IYG of over a year Alvin was excited for the opportunity to join IYG's staff as a Youth Worker in January 2013. Alvin has had an incredible journey which has led him to the other side of the earth and back again to IYG as he looks to support and empower new generations of youth.
Youth Worker Emeritus
Working over 20 years in the position of a school counselor before retirement has taught me the importance of listening and asking the right questions to bring out the stories the youth want to tell. Before I was hired on as a staff member I volunteered at IYG for years, starting about 1992 when IYG was just moving into the Center.
Working at IYG is a retirement job dream. The objectives of IYG remind me of the civil rights movement and women's rights movements of the 60's and 70's.
I'm a retired attorney with a strong interest in fighting discrimination and legal unfairness to the LGBT community and have been active in other LGBT civil rights areas other than those concerning youth. I also have served as treasurer in several not-for-profit organizations, and when I learned that IYG was looking for a part-time bookkeeper, I thought my abilities in the financial area could be of help to the organization, while the organization could help me have a better appreciation for the needs of LGBTQ youth.
There are very few causes closer to my heart than supporting and empowering LGBT youth. While a young person myself, I found support in communities of peers with whom I shared common interests and values, especially singing in the Indianapolis Children's Choir and being involved in community theatre. Our commonalities gave us strength, and our differences taught us compassion. I am excited to support IYG's mission through communications and fundraising because every young person deserves this gift of community, and every community achieves more when its young people thrive.
I am passionate about the nonprofit community in central Indiana, and am close to completing a Master of Public Affairs in Nonprofit Management from IUPUI. My entire career has been devoted to youth development. Having worked previously as a youth program quality assessor and trainer for the Marion County Commission on Youth, a youth leadership development specialist for Key Club International, and a recruiter for the School of Science at IUPUI, I have a unique combination of professional experiences - in programming, communications, marketing, volunteer management, advocacy, and fundraising. These experiences, combined with all that I've learned through my studies, will help me to tell IYG's story to the world and ensure its sustainability for many years to come.