About the IYSA

We’re connecting youth services across the state of Indiana.



Kenneth Allen

Program Director

Kenneth has extensive experience working youth. He attended Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis and Ivy Tech State College. Kenneth previously worked as a supervisor for the Marion County Superior Courts Juvenile Division and he also served as the Director of Senior Wellness for Forest Manor Multi-Service Center. Kenneth has received numerous awards both locally and nationally for his work with youth. He currently serves as the Chair for the Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males. Kenneth is very passionate about youth and in particular giving a voice to the least of these.

Elaine Banter

Region 7 Coalition Coordinator

Elaine Banter has been an advocate in anti-trafficking efforts and youth mentorship throughout her education and professional career. She is currently serving (South) West Central Indiana as a Regional Coalition Coordinator with the Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program (ITVAP). Elaine graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a minor in Psychology. Before joining ITVAP, she served as the Volunteer Coordinator for Food Finders Food Bank where she strengthened their volunteer program by increasing recruitment and retainment efforts. She previously worked with United Way of Greater Lafayette supporting their board development training and volunteer engagement. She is a member of the Indiana Protection Against Trafficked Humans (IPATH) Taskforce serving on the Anti-Demand Working Group and Youth Working group, both housed in the Community, Action, Prevention and Education (CAPE) Committee. She is an active Mentor and Coach through the ALLIES program serving girls who have experienced exploitation or trafficking. Elaine is also a 200-hour certified yoga teacher and will pursue her 500 hour certification this fall. She plans to pursue certification and training in trauma-informed yoga to practice with survivors of exploitation and trafficking. She is a member of The 2020 Journey Fellowship for New Professionals alongside 30 other leaders in youth development across Indiana. Elaine is passionate about strengthening Indiana’s efforts to fight human trafficking and increase access to resources for youth experiencing trauma and exploitation.

Sheila Bobay

Region 10 Coalition Coordinator

Sheila is a graduate of Indiana University Southeast and holds a degree in Psychology with concentrations in research and human development. She has dedicated the previous 13 years to youth and their families through Case Management, Independent Living, Shelter Management, Substance Abuse related issues and Outreach/Prevention efforts with National Safe Place. The youth and families she supports have experienced various complex individual trauma(s) including, but not limited to consequences of: family separation, poverty, behavioral issues, mental illness, abuse, neglect, substance abuse, social marginalization and various other vulnerabilities. She began to focus ardently on Human Trafficking 2 years ago through presentations/educating communities, schools, organizations, and is aspiring to create alliances and easily accessible resources within communities to confront the broad-gauged facets of Human Trafficking and Exploitation. Additionally, due to the increasing prevalence of trafficking and exploitation within youth populations, she recently co-founded a youth advocacy program which piloted summer 2018. Sheila is currently a member of the Southern Indiana Human Trafficking Coalition, the Harrison County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and coordinating with the Louisville Metro Human Trafficking Task Force and its’ sub-group focusing on Demand Reduction.

Melinda Bowman, MS, CYC-P, COO

Director of The Journey Fellowship for Students

Chief Organization Officer and Director of The Journey Fellowship For Students Melinda is a natural at both making people feel welcome AND ensuring the important work of The Journey is organized and efficient. She is the Director of the Journey’s program for college students, where she is a natural coach and mentor to young people exploring whether youth work could really be a career for them. Melinda ensures all the Journey programs, fellowship and initiatives are well-planned and successful. Prior to her work in The Journey, she served with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, worked as a fourth-grade teacher and ministered to students at Ball State University. Melinda received her BS in Elementary Education from Ball State University and her Masters in Leadership Development with a focus on non-profit organizations from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Nancy Brown

Account Manager, Mission Management Services

Nancy joined IYSA in October 2015. She enjoys serving the non-profit community using both lobes of her brain and is very happy to be working with some of the best people she knows. Nancy studied percussion performance and jazz at Indiana University and still uses her skills with WARHEADS, the drumline for Indy Eleven. When not drumming or accounting, she enjoys knitting and relaxing with her cats.

Meagan Cunningham

Region 8 Coalition Coordinator

Meagan is a graduate from Ivy Tech Community College with a degree in Human Services. She is a certified Recovery Coach, serving five years in the field of substance abuse and mental health. She started her career as an intern at the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Indianapolis. Her love and passion for recovery and helping others was ignited after witnessing several family members battle their own addiction. She continued to grow in her career and became a certified recovery coach at Centerstone in Seymour, Indiana, making her mark through Southern Indiana. During her time at Centerstone, she had the opportunity to expand the intensive outpatient program and become a part of the Jackson County Drug Court team. She transitioned her role from outpatient treatment to advocacy when pursuing her goal as a freelance journalist focusing on the recovering individuals and the community. Her passion then switched from not only helping adults in recovery but also focusing on prevention work with youth. She is currently serving as a co-founder of a nonprofit organization, Recover Out Loud, utilizing her own experience to empower others in their own recovery journey. She uses her skills and experience for advocacy, prevention, education and raising awareness to empower individuals to recover from the traumas of substance abuse to human trafficking, and every societal issue that impacts our communities. She is a combination of personal and professional experience that brings amount of transparency and authenticity to the work field.

Surekha DiOrio

Chief Financial Officer

Surekha has in-depth capability and experience with a broad variety of not-for-profit organizations as well as extensive experience working for major corporations in financial management, investment research, operations, and strategic planning. She currently leads the financial management and bookkeeping service areas for Mission Management, overseeing 1 staff member and 20 clients. She is also the CFO for Indiana Youth Services Association and has provided contract CFO services to various not for profit organizations in the region. Surekha possesses a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of North Carolina and an MBA in Finance and International Business from Columbia Business School.

Robin Donaldson

Chief Operating Officer

Robin Donaldson is the Chief Operations Officer at Indiana Youth Services Association, a member organization that provides accreditation, training, and support for Youth Service Bureaus in Indiana. Previously, Ms. Donaldson was the Program Development and Research Director for National Safe Place from 2008 – 2013. Prior to joining National Safe Place, she was the Assistant Director at Youth Services Bureau of Monroe County in Bloomington, IN and had been at YSB of Monroe County for 12 years. She has been teaching psychology, human resource, and youth development credentialing classes at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana since August 2001. Robin has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Social Psychology, a Ph.D. candidate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Adler University, and is a candidate for Butler University’s graduate Educational Neuroscience certification. She has been a licensed Mental Health Counselor and a licensed foster parent.

Laura Donatelli-Bow

Region 6 Coalition Coordinator

Laura Donatelli is a graduate of Indiana University’s School of Global and International Studies. Ms. Donatelli concluded her thesis on the aid provision to refugees and asylum seekers fleeing war-torn Syria from 2014-2015. She dedicated her academic career on the study of human rights and their violations, provision of services to not only refugees but victim and minority groups as well as foreign languages. She worked with refugees both in the United States and abroad as a volunteer and interpreter which helped her broaden her experiences. Prior to joining the Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program, she worked for the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s Office as a translator in criminal cases, aiding in interpretation and translation for victims and families. Ms. Donatelli is passionate about human trafficking and its intricacies, empowering youth and research.

Morgan Donatelli- Bow

Region 4 Coalition Coordinator

Morgan Donatelli Bow graduated with a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a Research Focus in Human Trafficking from Eastern Kentucky University in 2015. Her background in human trafficking research and victim assistance led Morgan to Indiana Trafficking Victim’s Assistance Program (ITVAP), where she works to educate the communities she serves on understanding, identifying, and responding to human trafficking. Morgan has served on the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans Task Force’s (IPATH) Labor Trafficking Committee for three years and is the co-founder and co-chair of a new working group through IPATH that addresses the needs for education about and prevention of exploitation of LGBTQIA persons. Because of this working group Mrs. Donatelli Bow has spoken at multiple state-wide trainings and conferences throughout 2019 and 2020 to train audiences on the importance of LGBTQIA Cultural Comprehension and the vulnerabilities this community faces for exploitation and trafficking. And finally, Morgan is currently working on a chapter titled Race, Gender, Juveniles and the Sex Industry: Why decriminalization of juvenile prostitution remains unsuccessful which will be included in the text Punishing Gender Past and Present: Examining the Criminal Justice System across Gendered Experiences. Mrs. Donatelli Bow was invited to author this chapter by fellow EKU College of Justice and Safety Graduate, Lisa M. Carter, who is publishing this book with colleagues Catherine D. Marcum and Chastity Blankenship.

Jeremy Greenlee, MA

Region 3 Coalition Coordinator

Jeremy brings over a decade of experience working with youth who have experienced complex trauma. Prior to joining IYSA, Jeremy was a clinical team supervisor at Oaklawn Psychiatric Center’s child & adolescent residential program. Jeremy is a member of the steering committee of the Anti-Trafficking Network of Northeast Indiana and co-chairs the Anti-Demand Working Group for Indiana’s statewide human trafficking taskforce, IPATH. Jeremy is a certified training instructor for the Interdiction for the Protection of Children training, which was developed by the Texas Department of Public Safety and is designed to make patrol officers aware of the variety of resources available to assist them in establishing the status of a child who may be missing, exploited, or at risk of exploitation and what courses of action are immediately available. Jeremy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Anderson University and a Master’s Degree from Wheaton Graduate School.

Jessica Herzog-Hall

Director of the ACEs Indiana Coalition

Jessica Herzog-Hall is a graduate of Bellarmine University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. During her academic career Jessica dedicated herself to understanding all aspects of what a survivor of violent crime experienced. Jessica served as a Legal Advocate, assisting victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking through the court process. She then served as an intern with the Louisville Special Victim’s Unit. Assisting the police officers with victim interviews, case organization and arresting offenders. Prior to joining the Indiana Trafficking Assistance program, Jessica worked at Chaucie’s Place as a Prevention Education Coordinator. Helping to educate the community on child sexual abuse prevention and suicide prevention. Mrs. Herzog-Hall has a great passion for helping rid the world of human trafficking. She is currently working towards her Masters of Social Work and is thrilled to continue to advocate for Indiana families as the Director of the ACEs Indiana Coalition.

Ian Hurst

Region 2 Coalition Coordinator

Ian is a graduate of Ball State University. He has much experience working with youth in challenging situations. Ian has worked in case management, juvenile probation and therapeutic foster care. He has also taught fourth grade and worked at the Boys and Girls Club of St. Joseph County. Ian is very passionate about Human Trafficking because it is a rising problem that has limited resources.

JaToya Jones

Administrative Specialist

JaToya is a native of Gary, Indiana and graduated from Roosevelt High School. She holds an AAS degree in Computer Programming and Software Technology from Westwood College of Technology and has over 10 years in the administrative office and non-profit field. She joined IYSA in July of 2021. JaToya enjoys listening to music, watching movies, hosting events, and spending time with her family and friends which includes her 2 daughters and 2 sons.

Whitney Nixon, MA, CSAYC

Service Provider Support Director

Whitney is the Service Provider Support Director for the Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program through the Indiana Youth Services Association. Since earning her Master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Indianapolis, Whitney’s clinical expertise has been in the areas of assessment and treatment of high-risk youth and their parents, sexually maladaptive behaviors, crisis intervention, and trauma-informed care. Whitney also has experience with developmental disabilities, the high fidelity wraparound model and suicide prevention. Whitney’s current emphasis is on prevention and awareness of human trafficking. In Whitney’s role as Service Provider Support Director, she is responsible for building and supporting a network of service providers across the state who specialize in human trafficking. Whitney also provides clinical support to those providers as well as ITVAP staff in their work with individuals involved with trafficking.

Tom Plake, MSOD, CYC-P

Co-Creator and Chief Experience Officer

For over 30 years, Tom Plake has worked extensively as a speaker, coach, facilitator, and provocateur for: corporations, foundations, churches, universities, not-for-profits, state, local and federal government associations, community organizations, and schools. In 1992 he formed his own leadership and organization development consulting firm, Creative Resources, Inc. to help “people and organizations grow.” Tom joined Janet in 2002 to create The Journey and began to design the award-winning programs and experiences that would bring a more intense level of personal and professional development to youth workers in Indiana. Using his design and facilitation skills, Tom ensures that all Journey fellowships and programs are “wow” experiences. Tom holds a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College and a M.S. with distinction in Organizational Development from American University/AUNTL. He is also a graduate of CoachU. He has been a member of the International Association of Facilitators, The Graduate School of Coaching, The National Human Services Assembly, The OD Network and The National Staff Development and Training Association. When not on The Journey, Tom tries to keep up with his wife and two teenage sons while working in a little traveling, reading, and music playing.

Jeananne Reich, CYC-P

Director of Indiana Child & Youth Care Certification

Jeananne is a Child & Youth Care (CYC) Practitioner at the Professional Level and has a passion for professional development. With over 20 years in the field, her background includes work in residential facilities, substance abuse centers, and various after school settings. She has direct service and administrative experience. She is an instructor for the American Heart Association, Safe Sitter, and the Academy for Competent Youth Work. Now, as the Indiana CYC director, Jeananne applies her skills by overseeing CYC certification for the state. She is a graduate of Hope College in Holland, MI where she obtained a B.A. in Psychology/Sociology.

Chelsea C Unogu

Region 5 Coalition Coordinator

Chelsea has a true passion for helping others. She attended the University of Indianapolis and then Ball State University where she studied Communications/PR and Fashion Merchandising/Marketing. During that time, she built a strong reputation in sales and developed valuable interpersonal relationship skills. After having her daughter, Chelsea decided to pursue a personal endeavor by launching her #FitMom Campaign which served to inspire and support new and seasoned mothers in their journey throughout motherhood. #FitMom Campaign would coach mothers on both mental health and physical wellness post-pregnancy. This new interest prompted her to broaden her education in entrepreneurship, completing the Bank of America Women Entrepreneurship Certification with Cornell University. Following her endeavors, Chelsea began her career in city government in 2016, working as an office administrator in the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office. Soon after, she found great interest in coordinating public information to communities and assisting city officials. After her first tenure working for the City of Indianapolis, Chelsea explored her interests with the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, where she gained knowledge in fundraising, community development, and community education. By 2018, Chelsea decided to return to work with the City of Indianapolis, where she coordinated and educated minority-, women-, veteran, & disability-owned business owners on certification opportunities with the Office of Minority & Women Business Development. Chelsea continues to expand her passion and interests in assisting disadvantaged business owners. Focusing on local communities, women, and youth, as well as, educating communities about important resources available to them.

Janet Wakefield, MA, CYC-P

ounder and Chief Exploration Officer

Janet brings her heart and soul into the field of youth development and is the ultimate supporter of those who serve our young people. With over 40 years as a youth worker herself, Janet knows the importance of taking care of yourself so you can bring your best self to the field. Based upon the belief that the best way to provide quality services for youth is to have the highest quality youth workers in the field providing those services, Janet created the Journey Fellowship Programs to renew, connect and inspire Executives, New Professionals and Students in the field of youth development. Janet is an experienced facilitator, trainer, and consultant who has worked with community groups, schools, parent groups, faith-based groups and human service organizations. She has served organizations such as the Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana, Academy for Educational Development and the National Crime Prevention Council. She is also a co-author of widely used curricula such as Youth As Trustees, Youth In Governance, and Youth As Philanthropists. She is also the author of the children’s book, What If Everybody Gave? She received her M.A. in Executive Development and Adult Education from Ball State University and a B.A. in Social Work from Indiana University. She is a Child and Youth Care Professional and serves on the boards of the Association of Child and Youth Care Practice and FICE USA. When not on The Journey, Janet enjoys traveling, dancing and spending time with her two grand-daughters and husband who is a retired high school principal.

David Westenberger

Chief Executive Officer

David comes to the Association with a great deal of experience and understanding of the challenges and rewards of leading a youth serving organization having been the Executive Director of a member agency, Foundation for Youth, in Columbus, Indiana for over a decade. David has a degree in Psychology from Millsaps College and Master’s Degrees in Administration and Education from Indiana University. David is also an accomplished Instrument Rated Pilot, and lover of music, serving as the Treasurer of the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation.

Michele Whelchel

Chief Advancement Officer

Michele has been working in the youth development field for over 25 years. Recently she had been the Director of Community Affairs for Promising Futures of Central Indiana since 2000. Michele brings knowledge and experience in implementing initiatives and programs, fund development including special events, and marketing to IYSA. She is married and has three daughters and is a Mimi to five grandchildren. Michele is very involved in her community, she is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Fishers, as well as a Past Assistant Governor for Rotary District 6560. Michele has a passion for nutrition and started a community garden that serves over 28,000 servings of produce to the people that need it most. She is also an artist and loves the outdoors!

Christina Wicks

Region 9 Coalition Coordinator

Christina is a graduate of Ivy Tech State College and the University of Southern Indiana with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She is very passionate about improving the system in place for those being trafficked, getting more education to the public and creating a community that recognizes and understands the problem. Prior to joining Indiana Youth Services Association (IYSA), Christina worked as a victim advocate with domestic violent and sexual assault victims, where she advocated for victim rights, increased community awareness, worked on the community’s collaborative efforts to end violence and educated the community, organizations, youth and law enforcement on domestic and sexual violence. She currently serves as co-chair for the Southwest Indiana Regional Coalition Against Trafficking (SIRCAT) and serves on the board of directors for Willow Tree of Posey County and Prevent Child Abuse of Vanderburgh county.