Sarah Loffman is a passionate advocate for youth development and empowerment, currently serving as the Director of Youth Engagement at Catholic Charities. With a decade of dedicated service, she joined the organization in 2011 and has been instrumental in driving positive change for young individuals impacted by violence.
Sarah holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, showcasing her commitment to advancing her skills and knowledge to better serve the youth community. Her career path has been marked by a series of impactful roles, including spearheading community arts programming, championing youth employment initiatives, leading the charge for full-service community schools, and driving meaningful change through parent organizing efforts.
Sarah’s unwavering dedication to empowering and nurturing the potential of young individuals sets her apart as a dynamic leader in the field of youth development. Under her guidance, Catholic Charities’ mentoring, youth employment, and case management programs have flourished, making a lasting difference in the lives of countless young people.
Daisy Alvarado currently serves as the Program Coordinator at the Peace Corner Youth Center in the vibrant heart of Chicago. Her journey at Catholic Charities began in early 2021 when she made the move from Pasco, Washington, driven by her unwavering commitment to empower and nurture the potential of young minds.
Daisy’s mission is to create a safe and inspiring haven for the youth, equipping them with the tools and guidance they need to flourish. With a diverse background that spans providing refuge to the unhoused, and education, she brings a unique blend of experiences to her role. Not only well-versed in the complexities of youth development, but she also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development with a specialized focus on Family Studies from Washington State University. More than a Program Coordinator, Daisy is a dedicated catalyst for the growth, resilience, and success of the next generation.
Jonathan McDonald serves as a dedicated Youth Mentor at the Peace Corner Youth Center. Jonathan embarked on his journey with our organization in November 2021, and since then, he has been fervently fostering the growth and development of our youth.
In his role as the head coach of the triumphant Chicago Westside Sports Varsity Team, Jonathan led them to their inaugural championship victory at PCYC, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to shaping the future of our youth. His voluntary involvement with CWS since 2020 exemplifies his steadfast dedication to nurturing young talents.
Beyond the realm of sports, Jonathan is a skilled drummer, frequently showcasing his musical talents at his church and actively engaging with the faith-based community. With his passion for mentorship and a steadfast dedication to youth development, Jonathan stands as a beacon of inspiration and a testament to the transformative power of positive guidance.
Andrew Williams is the Director of Operations for the Peace Corner Youth Center. With an unwavering commitment to youth empowerment, Andrew has been a driving force at Catholic Charities for an impressive span of over 25 years.
Throughout his remarkable journey, Andrew has left an indelible mark on the lives of countless young individuals. He has fearlessly served in the trenches, providing shelter and hope to the unhoused, showcasing his deep empathy and compassion. As a state liaison with the Illinois Department of Human Services, he bridged the gap between government agencies and communities in need, forging essential connections for the betterment of all. In his role as the Director of Community Affairs for the WIC Food and Nutrition Program, he further demonstrated his leadership by ensuring that vital resources reached those who needed them most.
Within the Peace Corner Youth Center, Andrew is affectionately known as “Mr. Andy.” Not just a Director of Operations; he is a beacon of inspiration, a driving force of change, and a true champion for the youth, making a lasting impact that resonates far beyond the walls of the Peace Corner Youth Center.
Johnita Lindsey is the Manager of Youth Leadership for the Peace Corner Youth Center. Johnita is a native Chicagoan with more than 20 years’ experience in Project Management, Workforce Development, and Data Management. Her career began with Catholic Charities in 2015. She has experience working with the Best Kids program, One Summer Chicago Youth Employment Programs and Chicago Youth Service Corps. She has a strong working knowledge of employment-based programs, service-learning programs and community engagement.
Johnita enjoys watching American and British crime drama television series, such as Murder She Wrote, Colombo and Father Brown. She has earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois. Her favorite quote: “Know yourself. Never forget where you came from, and reach back to help someone else come forward too.” - Alpha Alexander
Eric Hersey is a Youth Mentor + STEM Instructor at the Peace Corner Youth Center with a focus on developing STEM initiatives and aiding program outreach to students. Eric obtained his master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan in April of 2023. He has previously worked for various STEM outreach programs across the city of Chicago including the James R. Jordan Foundation, which services students from elementary schools on the south and west sides.
Eric enjoys cooking, watching sports, and traveling in his free time. His favorite quote: “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
AC Mateen is a Clinician at the Peace Corner Youth Center. AC hails from the city of Seattle, WA. They are a Licensed Mental Health Therapist in the state of Washington serving youth and young adults in need. Receiving their master’s in counseling psychology from Colorado Christian University in 2018, they began active planning programs for youth through their summers, while also using their clinical interventions to help in both group and individual therapy sessions for those who couldn’t always access treatment otherwise.
Being a person of color, AC has actively worked on advocating for those in their care, and working to create programs, opportunities, and spaces for marginalized persons. AC is a massive nerd who enjoys all things Marvel and DC related, so you can catch them cosplaying, playing video games, reading comic books, and enjoying the newest shows.
Jake Theriot is a Youth Engagement Special Projects Intern, supporting programs at the Peace Corner Youth Center. He helps facilitate the Amani Leadership Program and a storytelling project with the non-profit Once Upon Our Time Capsule. Currently, Jake is working towards his Master of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago, and he is a participant in the Magis Program. Jake graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2022, and before coming to Catholic Charities, he served as the Assistant Catholic Chaplain at California State Prison-Sacramento through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
Jake enjoys reading, running, swimming, and trying new coffee shops with friends.
Arranda Gardner is a Youth Mentoring Program Manager for Catholic. Arranda supervises youth mentoring programs in Lake County and Back of the Yards, IL. She joined Catholic Charities in 2020 as an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer and journeyed to her current position with a passion for supporting youth and their families. She has a master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University in Human Services. Her experience working with youth of all ages comes from mentoring and leading summer camps and after-school programs, assistant teaching in a daycare center, and directing mission-centered trips for teens.
In her free time, she loves to cook, binge-watch crime TV shows on Netflix, laugh and joke with family and friends, and volunteer at her church with the children’s ministry. Her motivation for working with youth and being a mentor is: “Be the kind of person you needed when you were younger.”