Indiana Youth Group Staff
Each staff member was asked how their background influences their present position and why they work at IYG.
Manager of Training
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.
I get the privilege to educate professionals and community members on the best ways to work with and support the future generations of LGBTQ+ youth and their straight allies. This is 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
Director of Programs and Training
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.
Manager of Curricula Development
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. While at IYG, I've been able to facilitate groups, adapt evidenced-based curricula, develop a trans* competency training for health/mental health providers, and co-author a suicide prevention program specifically for LGBTQ youth called Thrive: Dare to be Powerful!. It's been a dream come true!
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.
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.
Activity Center Manager
I believe in IYG's mission and am passionate about youth work. Working with queer youth has always been dear to my heart. I strive to always provide youth with a safe space to exist and IYG only further allows this space to be created.
I graduated from Ball State with a Bachelors degree in Social Work and am continuing my education through a Masters degree in Social Work as well. Through my school and life experiences, I have established a code of ethics and values which have led me to where I am today.
Education Program Coordinator
From the first time I walked into IYG for volunteer training I knew this was the kind of youth center I wanted to be a part of. I loved the fact that everything at IYG was youth centered, and I have seen amazing examples of the ways our youth make this place way more meaningful that the adults could on their own. When I moved back to Indiana, I did not expect to find my dream job here, but you never know what is in store! I am so thankful that they let me be a part of the team officially.
My background is in teaching; I am a certified teacher in the state of Pennsylvania. I taught high school Physics and middle school Science. I am so excited to start an education program here at IYG! LGBTQ+ youth are still at a much higher risk of not finishing high school, and I know all of us can use some help navigating the waters of financial aid and scholarship applications as we look at the next steps in our lives. I hope I can help all the youth at IYG have a plan for their futures and the tools to get them where they want to be. I found my dream job (although it took a minute) and I hope I can help our youth on the path to theirs!
Director of Communications & Development
Having twenty years of experience spanning the agency, corporate and non-profit worlds of marketing, communications and development has uniquely prepared me for this position with Indiana Youth Group. From leading global marketing and development efforts for an organization with a seventy-seven country footprint to growing a campus banking division for a national financial institution, my passion to work with and for mission-based, results-oriented "world changers" ultimately brought me to Indiana Youth Group.
Growing up in a small Northern Indiana town and knowing I was "different" was both scary and confusing. I remember the lump in my stomach the day I stood at a crossroad, wondering if being gay was better or worse than being dead. Had an organization like IYG been around to educate, love and accept me as I was, I never would have had to wonder …
This isn't a job, it is a way of life here at IYG, serving LGBTQ youth for more than 25 years! I feel blessed to be a small part of its life-changing, life-saving, life-loving mission!