Staff

Jennifer Yonan
Executive Director

Jennifer is a successful executive with broad-based experience in the fields of nonprofit leadership, fundraising, marketing, community/government relations, economic development and business operations. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration and a Certification in Fundraising Management from North Park University as well as a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL with a degree in Communications. Jennifer served for twelve years as Vice President of Marketing and Development with the United Way of Lake County and most recently as Executive Director with Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center in Gurnee and Skokie. Jennifer was drawn to YCC because she wanted to serve the vulnerable in the area where she was born and raised and because she recognizes the importance of education and hands-on experience in the trades.In her spare time, she enjoys cycling around the Lake County Forest Preserves. Her favorite word is Courage.

Eric Little
Program Director

Eric holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Liberty University in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Business, Life Coaching, and Social Sciences. He’s currently pursuing a graduate degree in Human Services with a focus in Executive Leadership at Liberty University. He is a combat veteran who served in the United States Army. He was previously Director of Social Development at the Joliet Job Corps in Illinois. He is also an entrepreneur and contractor for the United States Department of Defense. Eric believes in the mission of ending poverty in the Lake County area and wants to empower families from underserved communities. He enjoys seeing students grow an mature into successful and respected members of society. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and spending time with family. His favorite sports teams are the Univerisity of Alabama football team, New Orleans Saints, and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Trisha Blythe
Director of Development

Trisha earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Minor in Spanish from The University of Iowa. She completed her Master’s Degree in Secondary Education at National-Louis University, in Wheeling, IL. She then taught fifth grade for several years before starting her own private tutoring business in the north and west suburbs of Chicago. In the summer of 2018, Trisha began working as the Grants Administrator for YCC and was promoted to Director of Development shortly after. Trisha loves seeing the amazing transformations that YCC members make as they progress throughout the program. She is proud when she sees all the fantastic things they accomplish. The best piece of advice she’s ever received was to “be a hero maker, not a hero”. This means building up others, highlighting their strengths and talents and using one’s power to help others become great.

Susan Green
Education Director

Susan earned her Bachelor of Arts from Lewis University and a Master’s Degree in Education from Loyola University, Chicago. She worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago for nineteen years as a teacher and principal at St Simeon in Bellwood, IL. Susan joined YCC after raising her children. She was drawn to YCC because she wanted to maximize her impact by educating an underserved population and age group that had a substantial need for assistance. When Susan isn’t educating, she enjoys taking road trips with her family to the national parks, where they hike, camp and learn about the unique ecosystems of each park.

Bill Foltz
Program Manager

Bill received a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication from Illinois State University and has been a member of the YCC staff since 2012. He had a desire the learn the needs of young people in the Lake County area and sought out YCC, serving two terms as an AmeriCorps VISTA as the Bridge to College Specialist. He then served one year as an AmeriCorps member in the role of Program Coordinator, and has been in charge of keeping member files up to date and in compliance with government regulations. Bill was the Program Coordinator at YCC since 2015 and was promoted to Program Manager in the fall of 2019. In his spare time he loves to watch baseball and is a Chicago Cubs superfan.

Ed Roucka
Construction Manager

While previously working in construction, Ed developed a passion for education while teaching his apprentices. He welcomed the opportunity to bring this passion and his expertise to help Lake County youth develop skills that will help them succeed in the workforce. Ed says that the teaching relationship goes both ways between him as his students. He’s always learning new things from them. In his spare time, Ed enjoys spending time with his grandkids and watching all Chicago sports teams. He prefers the Cubs but will root for the Sox as well. 

Fred Williams
Case Manager

Fred received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications at the University of Iowa and a Master’s of Divinity/Pastoral Care and Counseling at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL. He is a United States Air Force Veteran. As the Case Manager, he’s had success with members by working with them directly in an effort to build a sense of self-motivation from within. In his spare time, he’s a smooth jazz and R&B aficionado. He enjoys discovering obscure tracks and plans to share them with the world as an internet radio DJ.

Kari Turco
Finance Manager

Kari attended Northeastern Illinois University. She was drawn to YCC’s mission of giving young people in Lake County the skills and experiences they need to thrive. In the summertime, she enjoys spending time in her pool and in the winter she enjoys reading and crocheting. She is also a lifelong Chicago Bears fan, despite being surrounded by Green Bay Packers fans at home!

Tyrone McGee
Construction Supervisor

Tyrone grew up in the Lake County area with a similar background as the members he serves and was even a member himself. Because of these experiences, his empathy and understanding give him a unique ability to teach and connect with members. He loves to mentor and give others the opportunities that he was afforded at YCC. The best pieces of advice he’s received are: “Hard work doesn’t go unnoticed” and “There is no such thing as growth when you’re comfortable”. 

April Decker
HVAC Supervisor

April attended Youngstown State University in Ohio where she received a Bachelor of Science in Earth Science, and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography. April previously served a term as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Youth Conservation Corps as the GED Curriculum Developer. As the HVAC Supervisor, April oversees student apprentices, offers guidance throughout their time at the College of Lake County, helps develop both relationships and partnerships with local HVAC professionals, and will serve as Case Manager for two additional years. During those years, April’s goal will be to ensure that all the HVAC apprentices will maintain some type of employment. She enjoys seeing the progression and development in students. April is a Green Bay Packers fan and a  “born and bred cheesehead.”

Tim Flynn
Construction Trainer

Tim is an artist, builder, designer and educator. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Western Illinois University. Upon graduating, he began to work full time as an artist in Chicago, where he created and displayed his artwork. He’s received many commissions from restaurants and other businesses. Over the years, he learned trades including construction and has held teaching positions to supplement his income as a working artist. He enjoys the opportunity to bring his unique skill set to the table and has big ideas for creating an enriching environment for members. He has travelled a lot throughout his lifetime and has a passion for architecture which he developed from growing up in Chicago. 

Kaylah Norris
Career Development Supervisor

Kaylah received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Human Development from DePaul University. She has previously worked as a Career Development Counselor at DePaul University and Job Corps. She was drawn to YCC because she wants to work for an organization which provides assistance to an underserved population. Her favorite word in the English language is “personality” because she believes that everyone should embrace what makes them unique.

Robette Willaims
Fund Developer / Education Services Coordinator, Americorps Vista

From an early age, Robette felt a calling to serve and advocate for those who need the most help. After working eight years as the Executive Legislative Assistant for State Representative Eddie Washington, she dedicated herself to helping students at Youth Conservation Corps. YCC gives her the opportunity to use her skills to help disenfranchised young people.

Brandon Barnhouse
IT Specialist, AmeriCorps Vista

Brandon Barnhouse graduated from DePaul University, class of 2010. He studied Game Development and received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Game Development, with a focus on Design and Production. Brandon enjoys the opportunity to use his knowledge of computers and technology to help an organization that does great things run smoothly. The best piece of advice he has ever received is: “Try new things and step out of your comfort zone. You can never progress if you stop learning.”

Alex Fillak
Marketing & Communications Specialist, AmeriCorps VISTA

Alex holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a minor in English and a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema Arts & Sciences from Columbia College in Chicago. He previously worked as a freelance video producer in Chicago. He was drawn to YCC because of their mission to help an underserved population succeed while having the opportunity to use his video and photo skills he gained in his education. He likes to spend his free time with his girlfriend and cat, watching soccer, and playing board games.  


See how our staff make a difference through our programs.