YES PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Katrina has been the YES Program Director since May of 2009, following her graduation from St. Vladimir’s Seminary. She has been involved in youth ministry for almost 20 years. She served as a full-time parish youth director for 6 years, St. Nicholas Camping Program Director from 2003-Present, OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) College Conference Advisor for 5 years, and has been involved with the YES Program since 2004. Katrina feels incredibly blessed to be part of a program that changed her own perspective on homelessness, poverty, and youth ministry. She is grateful to be able to create opportunities for YES participants and the poor to be known and filled through encounters with each other.
YES TRIP LEADERS
Caroline Ashkar is an artist, musician, and activist. She began working in youth ministry as a program director for the St. Nicholas Camping Program for 6 years. Her experience in youth ministry further developed with the YES program, leading trips since 2009 in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, St. Louis, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh. In addition, Caroline has worked extensively in the non-profit sector, with social enterprises and organizations that do both international and domestic work. Not only has working with the YES program instilled in Caroline a way of life in serving others, but it has paved the way for her career path, inspiring her to continue working towards social change and empowerment of others. Caroline is currently pursuing a Master’s in Social Work, with a concentration in community based practice. Additionally, much of her focus is arts related, using art and documentary storytelling as a tool for social justice.
Sarah is a law student at the University of Pittsburgh and has been involved with the YES program since 2011. She has attended many trips as a participant and led the Boston trip in spring 2014. Sarah has been a counselor at Camp St. Nicholas in California for the past four years, a Sunday school teacher, and an assistant advisor for her church’s Teen SOYO group. Sarah did her internship at National Coalition for the Homeless, and that combined with YES trips has truly changed the way she interacts with people daily. Sarah says that being on YES trips has truly shown her that Christ is in all people and all places, and has given her the opportunities every day to serve Him. She is very excited to continue to lead trips and be a part of the program!
Originally from the rural Pocono Mountains of PA, Larissa now resides in Washington, D.C. After her 4 year tenure with FOCUS, she moved to the nation’s capital to continue her career in the nonprofit sector, serving the marginalized community of DC. Larissa graduated with a degree in Nonprofit Management in 2011. She has led trips both domestically and abroad for over 9 years. YES has become an integral part of Larissa’s daily life, teaching her to always meet every person with kindness, compassion and understanding. Larissa shares, “witnessing people from all walks of life come together is like getting a glance at The Kingdom all the time! Nothing is more inspiring than experiencing the Lord and His endless, unconditional love on YES trips and far beyond.”
Rob has been in involved with YES Trips since 2012. He has played an integral part in planning and executing three Detroit, MI trips and the 2014 Grand Rapids, MI trip. He also has youth ministry experience as a Sunday School teacher since 2010, Camp St. Mary’s Community Service Director/Counselor from 2009-2013, and Rocky Road Youth Ministry from 2010-2012.
He has extensive Non-Profit experience in the following areas: Wayne State University Alternative Spring Break Detroit, Site Leader/coordinator (2010-2014), Preventive Medicine & Physiotherapy Association, President/Nicaragua trip coordinator (2014-current), Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2015 student organization, Community Service Chair (2013-2015), SAY Detroit PT clinic, leadership committee (2013-2015), Diabetes Education Wellness clinic, leadership committee (2014-2015), and Righteous Benevolence, President (2009-2012).
Witnessing fellowship and service spark up compassion and desire for social justice in the youth is incredible. YES trips are a refreshing reminder of our calling to serve one another.
Halie is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan but made a huge move to New York City after business school to pursue her true love of acting, singing and dancing, which she says is the best decision I ever made. For two summers, she worked as a counselor at the Antiochian Village, where she met the most amazing kids and went through the most beautiful life changing experiences. Besides working with youth ministry, volunteering at local children’s hospitals in Michigan and in NYC is something she loves to do. Being able to hang out with kids, sing songs, paint and laugh with them is one of her favorite things. From 2009-2014, she was heavily involved in the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure and Relay for Life, raising pledges and performing at these events. YES has played a huge role in her life, opening her eyes to one of neglected parts of our world. Meeting people on the streets with the most incredible stories, biggest smiles, and love for Jesus, is so fulfilling.
Peter has been involved in teaching kids since he was very young himself. He started staffing Vacation Church School Programs at 11, and was involved in church camps till about 18. At 16, he attended his first YES trip and has co-led 4 trips since then. Peter is very energetic and fun to be around, yet also knows how to keep youth channeled and lead by being part of the group.
Peter completed his Eagle Scout project at FOCUS Gateway City in 2010. Since then, he tries to volunteer anytime they need a hand at the Center. He has been involved in volunteering from a young age, thanks to his parents. After spending years in the For-Profit food service industry he understands the practical and operational needs of charities as well.
Peter says that his second YES trip taught him the value in EVERYTHING. In his own words, “YES showed me that there is poverty in the seemingly happy, rich, and successful. And there are happiness and riches of a different kind in the poor and needy. A need for something will always be in each person… and sometimes all you can do is fill the void with another person.”
Sandra is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English and Philosophy. She has been a YES leader for 5 years and on staff at Camp St. Nicholas for 2 years. Sandra is an aspiring lawyer with hopes of spreading YES’s mission (Jesus’s mission) to people who are most often ignored and mistreated. She feels blessed to be a part of this community that constantly shows her the extraordinary power of a simple act of love, and she hopes to live every day with this in mind.
Pano has been a YES participant since 2011 attending trips in 9 different cities. Being actively a part of the YES program since the age of 16 helped shape frame the lens through which he perceives the world. He is a 2016 graduate with a degree in Sociology and a lifelong passion for income inequality and social injustice. While living most of his life in Ohio, Pano now resides in Washington DC.
Jacob Corbin has been a participant and YES Leader since 2010 when he first discovered his love for Jesus Christ and His people during his first visit to Skid Row in Los Angeles. His formative experience at Camp St. Nicholas as a camper, Head Counselor, and Evening Program Director influenced his decision to pursue Youth Ministry. He received his Bachelors in Human Development at UC San Diego where he conducted research at San Diego Youth Services emergency homeless teen shelter in fulfillment for his degree. Jacob’s passion for humanity is currently being served as the Youth Director at St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City. YES continues to defy his notion of Jesus Christ and opens his eyes to a God that is always trying to unify Himself to humanity.