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Indiana Youth Group Staff

Each staff member was asked how their background influences their present position and why they work at IYG.

Graham Brinklow

Manager of TrainingGraham Brinklow

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

Executive Director

Mary A. ByrneBeing 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.

Miranda Marsico

Volunteer Coordinator and Administrative Assistant to Executive Director

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!

Erica Pahud

Administrative Assistant

In February 2014, as I was searching for a job through IUPUI's Work Study program, I was delighted to find Indiana Youth Group was hiring. I was studying non-profit management with the goal to impact society and never thought I'd be so lucky to find a cause as worthy as IYG's. I worked as Miranda's assistant for two semesters until I was asked to become a regular staff member upon graduation. Since then, I've taken on extra responsibilities such as social media management, updating the website, creating weekly volunteer newsletters and many other projects. Though my contact with the youth is limited due to working behind-the-scenes in the admin office, I always find any interaction rewarding. I couldn't be more pleased to assist such an incredible organization and work with such amazing people. I can genuinely say coming into work is like coming to my second home.

Jamie Roberts

Manager of SBCM and Family Support

 

 

 

 

 

Mandi Fears

Sexual Health Facilitator

I'm the resident sexual health expert at IYG. I facilitate a comprehensive LGBTQ-inclusive sex education program, make sure that youth have access to plenty of information & resources, and am always available to answer any questions that youth may have. I recognize that talking about sex can be embarrassing for some individuals, and I strive to provide an environment where youth feel comfortable asking difficult questions without fear of shame or reproach.

I graduated from IUPUI with a Bachelor's degree in Art Education and a minor in Psychology. While working in traditional school settings, I saw how desperately teens needed access to accurate information about sexual health - as well as a safe space to explore their gender & sexual identities. My passion for empowering people through comprehensive & inclusive sex ed was born!

Working at IYG is a dream come true for me. I am part of an amazing team in an organization whose values are close to my heart, and I get to spend time with some of the most inspiring young individuals in the world!

Jasmine Clark

Case Manager

 

Kristopher Posthuma

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.

Kent Smith

Kent Smith

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.

 

Don SherfickDon Sherfick and Bea Melnarowicz

Bookkeepers

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.

Nate Nash

Activity Center Manager

Hi! I'm Nate and I am all things center wise. I arrange the programming schedule, supervise staff and volunteers, and facilitate programming. One of my favorite things I do is provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth to receive confidential and free HIV/STD testing. I believe in IYG's mission and am passionate about enacting the core principles.

Working alongside these youth is an honor and any or everything I can do to amplify their voices I will. I strive to always provide youth with a safe space to exist and IYG only further allows this space to be created.

Lane Banister

Education Program Coordinator

The youth at IYG are my favorite people in the world. This work is my passion and I am so happy to be doing it. I am the teacher in the house, here to help youth with anything school related. I can help you with homework in my homework hours, prepare for the HSE test (new GED), find alternative school programs and job training, or apply to college and fill out the fafsa. I can also help you advocate for yourself in your school, if you are struggling to have your rights respected. In addition to serving the youth at IYG, I am the coordinator for the Indiana GSA Network, our statewide network connecting youth in schools throughout Indiana. I love being connected to youth all over the state!

Personally, I am a queer kid from Indiana myself. I grew up on the Northside, and returned after leaving for college and grad school and teaching some high school in Philly. Its great to be back in the hometown, learning to love it in whole new ways. I have been a high school teacher, a college TA, a camp counselor, a mentor and a tutor for many years. I went to school !or a long time for a variety of things, got a couple degrees, and am still actively learning all the time. I love working with youth, and couldn't imagine a better situation than working with youth in my own community. Feel free to reach out if there is anything I can do to support you!

Buffy Adams

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!

Maria Cheeseman

Public Ally - Strengths-Based Case Manager

I graduated from IUPUI with a degree in Public Affairs Management in December 2015. I was excited to find the AmeriCorps Public Allies program because I knew I wanted to work in Nonprofits focusing on community development or social justice. After my interview at IYG, I knew that I wanted to be paired here and was thrilled that they felt the same!

I am looking forward to working with the youth in Case Management and working with community leaders to bring strategic partnerships to IYG. It's amazing to be part of a life-changing organization.

 

Nora Mutlaq 

Thrive Facilitator

I am a Youth Development Specialist who focuses on facilitating Thrive: Dare to be Powerful! I am excited to have the opportunity to bring my knowledge and passion of mental health to assist the youth at IYG! Although I don't have years of experience in my field, that should not be overshadowed by that fact that I am eager and enthusiastic to aid in the development of IYG. Above all, I am committed to serving the youth and working alongside of them to help grow and thrive.

I graduated from IUPUI with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. During my last year in university, I began a semester-long internship with IYG and continued as a youth worker. Upon graduation, I was offered a position at IYG, so I have been here ever since! I am also continuing my education in order to further develop myself as a professional.

When I am not at IYG, I can be found hanging from silks or hanging out with my dog. I am also a huge foodie and coffee queen!

 

Group Facilitator List  - To see a list of groups/programs and the people that facilitate/lead them click HERE