Tim Gay, Founder & Executive Director
Tim left a successful career as a business executive in 2014 in order to pursue his desire to become a social entrepreneur focused on helping youth make a successful transition out of foster care and into adulthood. His thirty plus years of business experience includes leadership positions in banking, business development, strategic planning, and customer experience. He has an accounting degree from Oklahoma State University and an MBA from the University of Virginia.
Tim and his wife, Suzanne live in Overland Park and have six biological children. They began fostering older teens in 2013, and in 2014 they adopted a 17-year old girl who was in the foster care system. Tim was a co-founder of Spero House, a church ministry providing transitional living support for young women aging out of foster care. He and his wife served as a Support Family for two of the young women living in Spero House.
Jackie Hodson, Transition Advocate – KC Area
Jackie began her career in child welfare in 2010 as an investigator for child abuse and neglect as well as a family support coordinator for foster families. As a result of this experience she decided to join Youthrive in 2015 and dedicate her career to helping equip and empower young adults who are aging out of the foster care system. Jackie holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Education and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Missouri. Jackie places an emphasis on her work being trauma-informed and has completed certification for Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Trauma Systems Therapy.
Jackie and her husband, Benjamin, have three biological children and have been a foster family since 2013. Fostering teenagers has provided Jackie with first-hand exposure to the challenges these young adults experience as they transition to adulthood. Jackie also served on the board of Spero House, a transitional living program for young women.
Emily Bullington, Transition Advocate – KC Area
Emily has dedicated the last six years to working with youth in various capacities. She has been a mentor in the Big Brother’s Big Sister’s program, a coach for youth in Special Olympics, and a foster youth advocate for CASA. Inspired by these experiences, Emily has decided to pursue her passion of empowering youth to reach their fullest potential as they transition out of foster care. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Kansas State University and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Kansas. Emily was born and raised in Kansas City and is committed to serving the community that she loves.
Jordan Lewis, Transition Advocate – KC Area
Jordan has dedicated his life to pursuing his passion for connecting and building relationships with those in need, especially youth. Spending the majority of his professional, educational, and athletic career working alongside young individuals, he is deeply fueled by seeing others grow and achieve a greater quality of life.
Jordan graduated with his Bachelors in Psychology from William Jewell College. There, he played basketball for four years and used his athletic network to train young basketball players in his community. After completing his undergraduate degree, Jordan attended UMKC where he is currently pursuing his Masters in Counseling. Prior to joining Youthrive, Jordan spent three years in inpatient mental health settings working with youth who suffered from various traumas.
Outside of work, Jordan enjoys staying active through fitness training, spending time with his son, Easton, and growing in his meditation practice.
Megan Crabtree, Transition Advocate – Wichita Area
Megan has spent the last nine years working in the child welfare system in various capacities. She was a reintegration and adoption social worker and eventually an adoption supervisor in the Wichita community. Also during that time she trained, licensed and supported foster families. Megan recently left her position to dedicate her time working with young adults and empowering them to be successful as they age out of the foster care system. Megan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Fort Hays State University. She was recently married to her husband, Tim, in the summer of 2017 and they are expecting their first child in late spring of 2018.
Cara Mattson, Transition Advocate – Wichita Area
Cara has a passion for advocating and empowering our young people. Cara was introduced to the child welfare system as a practicum student in her undergraduate program. She started working as a Court Services Officer in the Child in Need of Care department in 2015. Upon leaving her position with the court she joined Youthrive’s team in 2018. Cara graduated with her Bachelors of Social Work from Wichita State University. Cara seeks adventure and loves to travel. She spends her time outside of work with her family. Her son and fur-baby keep her on her toes!
Margi Nisly, Transition Advocate – Hutchinson Area
Margi is passionate about serving and empowering the youth in her community. She has been working in the helping field since her graduation from Kansas State University in 2014. Margi spent four years working at the mental health center in Hutchinson, working with youth and children who have experienced various trauma.
Margi and her husband both have deep roots in the Reno County area and are happily raising their two little ones close to family.
Pam Zicker, Transition Advocate – Lawrence Area
Pam lives in Lawrence, KS where has lived for the past 22 years. She joined Youthrive in June of 2018. She completed her BSW from Oklahoma University in 1990 and her MSW from Denver University in 1992. She is a clinical social worker who has worked the past 26 years in various roles with families, couples and children including military child welfare, adoption, community and international development, and private clinical practice with children who’ve experienced trauma.
Pam and her husband have five children, two of whom were adopted from Ethiopia at ages 4 and 9. She and her husband also founded a non-profit serving at-risk youth in Ethiopia and Pam serves as the Volunteer Executive Director of the non-profit on a part-time basis.
Sarah Neher, Program Manager
For the last eight years Sarah has worked with a variety of youth programs across the country. Sarah graduated with her Bachelors in Biology Education from McPherson College and her Masters of Divinity degree with a focus in Youth and Young Adults from Bethany Theological Seminary. Sarah comes to Youthrive after two years as the Coordinator of Student Success at McPherson College. In this position she helped to develop and implement the first-year program assisting at-risk youth and other freshmen in their transition to college life. Sarah has always had a heart for advocating for the marginalized and is ecstatic to be working with the Youthrive youth, support families, and their communities. In her free time Sarah enjoys traveling the world, reading, a good cup of coffee, and an engaging conversation!
Dawn Pittman, Development Manager
Dawn is passionate about empowering teens and young adults to pursue the unique purpose they were created to achieve. She and her husband, Dustin, are parents of seven, including three sons adopted from Uganda at the ages of 16, 7, and 7. It is through adoption that Dawn learned about the challenges facing youth who have experienced trauma and neglect and the need for safe and caring relationships as a source of healing and growth.
Dawn graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelors in Business Management. She is excited to support the Youthrive Team in their work with the young people of our community.
The Pittman family lives in rural Johnson County where they appreciate the quiet and beauty surrounding them, but not the 30 minute drive to the nearest coffee shop. They enjoy traveling, especially to Uganda, where they are involved with youth empowerment organizations in their sons’ hometown.