PRESS RELEASE: Congratulations to the 2016 Journey Fellows for New Professionals


For Immediate Release


Contact:                     Janet Wakefield,

6744 Falcon Ridge, Indianapolis, IN 46278

Ph: 317-875-5756

Fax: 317-875-5285


Headline:  Twenty-eight new youth development professionals from across Indiana are selected for The 2016 Journey Fellowship for New Professionals


Our Executive Director and Founder, Derrin Slack, along with twenty-seven new professionals from youth serving organizations from across Indiana have been selected for the 2016 Journey Fellowship for New Professionals.  In response to a growing need to grow the pool of talented new professionals in the field of youth work, this Journey Fellowship was created in 2010 and funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc.

The Journey Fellows for New Professionals will embark on an expedition to develop themselves and their careers in youth development.  This unique opportunity is meant to support emerging leaders in their quest to get grounded, get connected and get going; making their mark in the field and making a difference in young people’s lives throughout Indiana.

“This Fellowship is about keeping these young youth workers in the field of youth development and helping them become the new leaders in the field to improve services and programs for young people.”  says Tom Plake, Journey Leader.

Each of the twenty-eight participants in the Journey Fellowship for New Professionals will attend a series of residential retreats designed to create new ways of thinking about and practicing youth work within existing systems and youth programs. Fellowship participants will be awarded career advancement scholarships, and be supported to make a difference within their local organizations or communities.


“We know that youth workers play a vital role in the lives of young people.  It has been documented in dozens of ways that youth who enjoy positive relationship with adults over time do better in life,” explains Janet Wakefield, Journey Leader. “We also know that many people enter the profession because they ‘want to make a difference’ and they enjoy building positive relationships with young people.  The Journey Fellowship for New Professionals provides Indiana’s youth workers greater opportunities to strengthen themselves as leaders and invest in their careers serving the young people of Indiana.”

Congratulations 2016 New Pro Fellows!


The Journey is pleased and honored to announce the 28 Indiana emerging leaders in the field of youth development who have been nominated and selected to be the fourth class of The Journey Fellowship for New Professionals.


Mersades Clouse

Independent Living Coach, Stepping Stones, Inc.

Jack Laskey

Crestmont Program Director, Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington



Samantha Shoemaker

Day Youth Development Supervisor, Tippecanoe Youth Services



Jeremy Brown

 Teenpower, Communications and Special Events Coordinator, Youth Resources


Fort Wayne

Donna Masterson

 Case Manager, YWCA



Domonique Wilson

 Coordinator, JAG



Jessica Fitzgerald

 Skills Development Specialist Schools Based, Adult and Child Mental Health



Tashianna Avery

Membership Development Manager, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana

Caitlin Bain

 Development Officer, Kiwanis International

Abby Bartley

Youth Development Site Director, YMCA of Greater Indianapolis

Amanda Carver

Education Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis

Mathew Davis

Community Engagement and Empowerment Coordinator, Project Libertas School for Community Learning

Jane Hurdish

AmeriCorps Service Member, Graduation Counselor, Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis

Yodit Kibrom

Youth Program Director, Felege Hiywot Center

Laura McGaughey

Associate Director for Programming, College Mentors for Kids

Corinne Patterson

Coordinator for Leadership Programs, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Derrin Slack

Executive Director, ProAct Community Partnerships, Inc.

Monica Stockton

Site Director, YMCA of Greater Indianapolis

Mary-Margaret Sweeney

Adolescent Health Educator, Social Health Association

Sarah Tegeler

Site Director and Staffing Specialist, YMCA Youth Development

Cassie Trap

Home Based Therapist, Dockside Services

Courtney Williams

Education Director, Westminster Neighborhood Services

Madeline Zielinski

Youth MOVE Indiana State Coordinator, Mental Health America of Indiana



Shelby Martin
Victim’s Advocate, Desert Rose Foundation, Inc.



Meghan Ruich
Family Development Specialist/Recruiter, Specialized Alternative for Families and Youth



Karli Davis

Program Director, Boys & Girls Club of Muncie


Notre Dame

Rochelle Upshur

LaFourtune Services Program Manager, University of Notre Dame



Rhonda Ritchison

Tobacco Prevention Coordinator and Youth Outreach, Scott County Partnership



The Journey is home to a variety of programs that seek to support the renewal and professionalization of youth workers in Indiana and around the country. To learn more, visit

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