Our Staff

Adem Aluka

Executive Director / Founder

     Adem created YBF to empower the most underserved youth in our community. Adem grew up around the world with his father working with international's NGOS. Adem was fluent in 5 languages by the age of 11. His belief is that academic support, mentoring, and healthy living will create a foundation for youth to thrive.

 

  Adem is currently an international model with world renowned WILHELMINA MODELS. At YBF, Adem is responsible for establishing partnerships with foundations, corporations, and individuals who want to support our youth. His experience as an international model and actor have equipped him with flexible skills to encourage the youth and his team.

JESSE WHITE

Secretary Of State of Illinois / Honorary Member

 

   Mr. White is currently serving as the 37th Secretary of State of Illinois since 1999. He is the longest-serving and the first African American to hold this position. Jesse is also the founder of the Jesse White Tumbling Team, a 60-year-old organization serving as a positive alternative for children residing in the Chicago area. Since its inception, more than 10,700 young men and women have been mentored and performed with the team.

Kodjo AlukA

Director of Finance and Administration

   Kodjo oversees the Financial and Human Resource areas for YBF.  He is responsible for the organization's financial records, budgets, and policies. He also manages relationships within and outside YBF. Kodjo has over 15 years of international Non-Profit Management as Country director in countries such as HAITI, GUINEA, to mention a few. He's held these positions with SAVE THE CHILDREN, PLAN INTERNATIONAL, and others.

Michael Smith

Strategic Planning & Technology Program Development

   Michael is the Department Chairman and an Associate Professor of Information and Engineering Technology. Michael is also the founder of CETAT, an organization committed to bridging the digital divide and eliminating digital inequity. Michael is a key player in YBF’s strategic planning and overall organization. He provides instruction in coding, networking, data management, web development and multimedia. Michael's diverse background is a strong building block in our technological directions.

SHARAY tHOMAS

Fitness Director

 Sharay is a natural-born motivator and 6 year NAVY veteran. At YBF she helps in the development of fitness initiatives, FAM FITNESS, yoga and special events.. Her life has been dedicated to encouraging others to live healthier and fit lifestyles. Her fitness foundation was built through boxing as a young adult and developed through her naval experience. She is a certified NASM trainer and Yoga instructor. She enjoys teaching aqua aerobics, pilates, and power yoga.
 

Miriam smith

Programming & Operations Management

   Miriam's been a pivotal supporter of YBF since the beginning. She helps with everything operational, from event logistics to remote planning, staffing, and recruitment. She maintains event calendars, Social media planning, development, and most virtual duties. She is a full-time virtual assisstant and product specialist for various brands and companies.

Gabriella Spingola

Programs Director

 

   Gabriella is currently finishing up here undergraduate degree in Human Services at National Louis University. At YBF she organizes programs and ensures they run smoothly.

She is also developing a mentoring arts therapy focused program. She coordinates most of our virtual programs and also handles administrative duties.

CLINT BARNARD

Development and Organization director

 

   Clint,  with a strong focus on organization, is on board with YBF to help with organizing YBF's vison, offer programming support where needed and bring in STEAM partners. He is currently a manufacturing engineer with Tempel Steel where he works on design automation systems for electrical steel products. He is also a model at Select Model Management, an internationally know agency.

Barry A. Benson

Development/ Grant and Partnership advisor

 The tapestry of Barry's life and career includes threads from the corporate realm, entrepreneurial endeavors, writing and literary causes, the art world, and--mostly--the nonprofit sector which continues to spin the most colorful, challenging, and rewarding material of all. Barry's Greater Reach Consulting business serves nonprofit clients throughout the Americas and, in 2019, he co-launched Progressus Worldwide, a back-office cooperative for NGOs based in Latin America. He is a huge fan of YBF and is thrilled to have the opportunity to help it reach its potential.

1348 N Sedgwick St

Chicago, IL, 60610

(773)669-5007

© 2010

Youth for a Better Future