Ariel joined the Rise Up For Youth team in August of 2017 after many years in Lawrence, KS. He was born and raised in Wichita and holds a Bachelor of Elementary Education degree. His passion for youth development came from working seven years at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence in various capacities. Ariel believes that mentoring can truly change a life forever and is very dedicated to making sure all students have an opportunity to be a part of Rise Up For Youth.
Director of Programs
Christyn joined our team in March 2019. Christyn brings exemplary experience in program development. She's served as the Education Director for the Kansas African American Museum for five years. She's also worked for the Boys & Girls Club of South Central Kansas and Wichita State University. She is a powerful Diversity Leadership trainer, Assistant Pastor at Rock Christian Fellowship, and Abstinence Lifestyle coach. Christyn is a committed youth mentor and believes strongly in the positive impact mentoring makes on the next generation. Christyn graduated from Wichita State University with a Bachelor's degree in General Studies with emphasis in Early childhood/Special needs Education, History, Religion and Dance. She's passionate about service to her community and contributes creative all-inclusive programming and long-term support strategies for empowering youth.
Parrishon comes to the Rise Up for Youth with over 20 years of administrative experience. She has served as an administrative assistant for other organizations including Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland. Parrishon has always had a passion for mentoring in her heart. She spent time volunteering with our CLASS program seeing first hand the work we do. She has worked with mentoring youth through other volunteer opportunities. This experience and understanding of mentoring will allow her to help the staff effectively to achieve the mission of our organization. Parrishon has a big heart and believes in the power of mentoring programs like ours which is why she is excited to come to work everyday!
Community Outreach VISTA
Suzannah joined the Rise Up for Youth team in March 2019. She is a current student seeking a degree in media communications. With her past experiences in graphic design and marketing, she is excited to use these tools to promote the mission of the organization. Suzannah is a strong advocate empowering young men and women to create a strong future through leadership and community engagement.
Co-Founder & Program Champion:
Lynn Gilkey knows well the pain and isolation many young people face in our community. She has dedicated herself to mentoring and helping young people not end up on a similar path as her. After years of substance abuse, Lynn Gilkey turned her life around and was given a chance to rewrite her story.
In 2008 Lynn was able to execute her vision for a program she personally created; Caring Ladies Assisting Students to Succeed (CLASS). CLASS is dedicated to helping teenage girls avoid going down the wrong road, a road Lynn knows all too well. She mentors teen girls in the Wichita Kansas public school system, motivating them to graduate high school and choose healthy lifestyle behaviors. With the support of generous sponsors and dedicated volunteers in 2014 , Lynn and David created Rise Up For Youth, Inc. to better serve the youth in the Wichita, KS community.
Co-Founder & Program Champion:
David Gilkey is a long-time advocate for adolescents in the Wichita community. He works with young males to reduce violence, prevent gang involvement and promote healthy lifestyles.
Mr. Gilkey is a member of the Wichita Gang Coalition and Real Men Real Heroes. From 2010 until 2012, he served on the State of Kansas Crime Prevention Council. Mr. Gilkey was honored with the Wichita NAACP Person of the Year award in 2008 and has been honored by the Sigma Gamma Rho Panhellenic Council for his work with Wichita’s youth. He frequently speaks to community organizations on gang prevention and reducing gang involvement.
Vanessa joined the Rise Up For Youth team in April 2018. She was born and raised in Lawrence, Kansas and is scheduled to graduate in May of 2019 with a Masters of Social Work degree. Vanessa brings great experience and skills to our team. Vanessa is the former President of the Student Organization of Social Work at WSU. Vanessa also has the passion to serve youth and formerly was Unit Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central KS Opportunity Drive site. She has a passion for advocating and empowering individuals and communities in need. She believes in the mission at Rise Up For Youth and excited to be part of the team.