WHO WE ARE
our vision, our mission, our partners, our people
Youth Ambassadors is an innovative collaboration of community partners in the Kansas City metropolitan area who, in 2010, joined forces to implement a state-of-the art, not-for-profit employment program for underserved youth.
Youth Ambassadors is also an educational program designed to empower underserved teenage youth with important life skills, soft job skills, creative expression, and adult mentors, helping them become future community leaders willing and able to work for positive change.
YA’s vision is to help youth reach their fullest potential through creative and innovative programming.
JoMarie Andrews graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and earned a Master of Science in Accounting from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She worked in public accounting for KPMG Peat Marwick and was an accounting supervisor at the corporate offices of Didde Corporation. She is the mother of two beautiful teenage children. She is passionate about building resiliency and compassion through trauma informed care and currently volunteers as an ambassador for Resilient KC.
Cass Butler, Ph.D.
Cass Butler graduated from Saint Louis University with a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and serves as the regional director of Webster University’s Kansas City campus. She has more than 10 years’ experience in a variety of roles in higher education administration and leadership, including enrollment management, corporate outreach and development and operations leadership. She earned her BA and MS from Bellevue University in Omaha, NE. Currently Cass supports PrepKC, Junior Achievement and Global and Multicultural Education (GAME) along with other groups that provide students life skills and prepare them for the workforce.
A Kansas City native and graduate of Rockhurst University, Dan is currently the CAO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. In this role he gets to pursue his passion of making Kansas City a better place to live and work. Dan is also an area coordinator for the Junior Board, a education program for middle school students designed to introduce the basics of successful philanthropy. The Junior Board focuses on the business aspects of non-profit organizations while weaving in lessons on essential life skills. Dan is married with three daughters.
Brandon Haverty has lived in Kansas City the majority of his life and currently resides in Fairway, KS. He graduated from Texas Christian University in 2004 with degrees in Accounting and Finance. After college he got into commercial real estate specializing in the leasing and acquisition of shopping centers working in Fort Worth, TX and then moved back to Kansas City working in commercial real estate at three different companies. In 2015, he started a company called ReCor Properties that develops and invests in retail properties throughout the Midwest. He has been involved with Youth Ambassadors since 2015 and looks forward to the very exciting times ahead with the growing program.
Jenni graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in English. She received her law degree from the University of Iowa School of Law. After practicing law for several years, Jenni returned to the University of Missouri, Kansas City to obtain a teaching degree. She taught English at Shawnee Mission East High School for four years. Jenni helped her husband, Spencer, launch SAFARIZ, the friends’ association at the Kansas City Zoo. She has also served on the friends’ board for Children’s Therapeutic Learning Center and co-chaired the annual Children’s TLC Crown Center Pumpkin Patch for two years. In 2004, Jenni and Spencer helped form the Ronald McDonald House Charities friends’ association, Friends of the House, at the Kansas City location. Currently, Jenni works with K9s 4 Mobility, fostering puppies for persons in need of service dogs. Jenni and Spencer have twin girls, Allie and Julie.
Lisa is a partner in Dentons’ Government Investigations and White Collar Defense practice group. She is an accomplished trial lawyer who has first-chaired dozens of complex cases in her 20 years of practice. Lisa is a former federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, DC, where she received numerous commendations and awards for the investigation and prosecution of high-profile criminal cases across the country. As a capstone to her federal government service, Lisa served as principal deputy assistant attorney general for Civil Rights, a presidentially appointed position within the DOJ leadership. She was responsible for guiding the national enforcement of federal laws by a division with more than 500 lawyers. She also coordinated DOJ’s responses to congressional inquiries and assisted in the drafting of key regulations and statutory amendments passed by Congress. Each year, Lisa teaches a week-long intensive trial advocacy class at the University of Iowa College of Law.
Peter Long is the CEO of MCH Inc. which is America’s leading compiler of institutional data. MCH is celebrating its 90th year and specializes in compiling marketing data for the education, healthcare, government and religious market places. Peter is a graduate of the University of Vermont and began his career as a management and information technology consultant for the international accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand (now known as PWC). Peter worked in the Boston and Sydney Australia offices for Coopers & Lybrand in high tech and financial services practice areas. His major engagements included Fidelity Investment, Bank of Boston, Brown Brothers Harriman, Raytheon, Digital Equipment Corporation and in Australia – ANZ Bank, AMP Bank, AIA Insurance and the Northern Territory Government. Peter has passed certifications as a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and the Professional Direct Marketer (PDM). He has been awarded the prestigious Bob Stone Direct Marketer of the Year award and is a frequent speaker at conferences on marketing and database topics. Peter is a member of over 15 professional associations. He is the Past President of the Kansas City Chapter of YPO - Young Presidents Organization and has served on numerous not-for-profit boards including the Freedom Writers Foundation, Kansas City Eye Foundation, YPO and Kansas City Youth Hockey Association board (KCYHA). Peter enjoys skiing, travel, hockey and tennis.
Susanne earned her Bachelors Degree in Sociology and teaching certification from UMKC, her Masters Degree in Education from Avila College and became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2009. Susie was a Family Teacher at Father Flanagan’s Boys Town, taught 12 years at Visitation School and is currently teaching in the Lee’s Summit School District. She is also an adjunct professor and mentor for Avila University. Susanne was appointed by the Missouri Commissioner of Education to serve on the National Department of Education’s Mid-Continent Comprehensive Center Regional Advisory Board. She serves on the education advisory boards of the International Relations Council, Avila University and Phoenix University. Since 2011 she has served on the Supreme Court of Missouri’s Civic Education Committee and chairs the sub-committee on the creation of school presentation for judges. She served on committees to develop model curriculum at the district and state level and is currently serving on her district’s committee to develop a teacher evaluation system. In 2009 Susanne was chosen as the Lee’s Summit Teacher of the Year and in 2010 the Missouri Teacher of the Year. She has been a teacher in the Youth Ambassador program since 2011.
David Muhammad was born and raised in greater Kansas City. He graduated from Emporia State University in 2008, with a Bachelors degree in Secondary Education. In 2012 he received his Masters Degree in Education from Baker University. He currently works as a high school social studies teacher in the Shawnee Mission School District and runs a martial arts school (Integrity Martial Arts Academy) with his father. A musician, he recently co-founded a non-profit music program (The Depot Academy) that offers recording scholarships to area youth. In 2017, he received the Crescent Peace Society’s education award for his diverse efforts in the teaching field. He is married to Aisha Sharif and they have two daughters.
Paige has a Bachelors Degree in English from the University of California Berkeley. She worked in the computer software industry before moving to Kansas City with her husband Rory in 1989. She is the mother of four young adults. For 13 years she worked as the adult founder and supervisor of Kids Helping Kids, a youth community service organization dedicated to helping children in need. Currently, she privately mentors youth that want to take an active role in their communities and is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Youth Ambassadors.
Vincente Perez is an educator, college adviser, and artist. He is a former youth ambassador turned educator and has been with the program since 2011. In the past few years, he has taught classes at YA ranging from spoken word poetry to Civics and Speech. When not working with youth, Vincente is a published poet and has travelled throughout the US conducting writing workshops and professional development on curriculum, spoken word poetry, and more. Vincente graduated with a Bachelors degree in Anthropology and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies with honors from the University of Chicago. Vincente lives with his wife Kayla Perez, who also happens to be a former ambassador turned teacher, and their twin sons.
Tiffany has a Bachelors Degree from Bowdoin College and a Masters Degree in Teaching from Boston University. She taught and coached for ten years in the Boston area before moving to Kansas City with her husband Greg in 1999. Tiffany has represented Forest Foundation; a Boston based family foundation, for the past 20 years. Since moving to Kansas City she has served as a board member of Children’s Mercy Hospital’s Friends, Front Porch Alliance and Horizon Academy. She is the President and Co-Founder of Youth Ambassadors. Tiffany is a passionate philanthropist, educator, and mother to four teenagers.
Irv Robinson was the Co-founder and CEO of Robbie Manufacturing, a leading flexible packaging supplier to the supermarket, food processing and consumer goods companies. He sold the company on June, 2016 to Transcontinental. He currently serves as a Consultant to the company. He was also Co-founder of Lenexa National Bank. He previously served as President of the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce and served on the boards of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Industrial Council, Johnson County Industrial Council, KU Hillel and The Flexible Packaging Association. He has served on numerous Jewish Federation committees. He currently serves on the Board of The Mussar Institute and Faith Always Wins Foundation. Irv is a Past President of The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah in Overland Park, Kansas. The Temple, a reform Jewish congregation, is the largest congregation in the Kansas City area with 1,100 members. He chaired the Temple’s Learning Center Building and Capital Campaign from 1994-1999, an effort that gained over $12 million in member gifts. Irv’s passion for Israel has led to numerous visits and the establishment of business relationships with Kibutz Saad and other Israeli citizens. He supports efforts to grow progressive Judaism in Israel and is a member of Birkat Shalom in Gezer, Israel. Irv is also active in American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He recently initiated Leadership Tomorrow; a nine-week paid summer intern program for college students to work at non-profits in the Kansas City area. The college students all receive leadership, grant writing and presentation skill training supported by a group of mentors. Raised in Kansas City, Irv holds a BA degree from the University of Kansas. He has two adult children and 3 grandchildren who all live in Kansas City and bring special joy to his life.
Angel Tucker has a bachelor’s degree in Language, Literature, and Creative Writing form the University of Kansas and a masters’ degree in Library Science from Emporia State University. She has worked with young adults, parents, and educators within Youth Services at Johnson County Library for the past 13 years. She is the founder and former editor of Johnson County Library’s award winning literary and visual arts magazine for young adults – elementia. Angel’s current role at Johnson County Library is to oversee programming and outreach offered to youth, families, and the community at large (educators, caregivers, etc) that serve youth.
Atwood & Palmer, Inc.
The Curry Family Foundation, Vice President
Grand Construction, LLC
The Forest Foundation, Board President
Takeda Oncology, Health Systems Manager, RN,BSN
Angela Andresen Smart
Hall Family Foundation, Program Officer
The Forest Foundation, Executive Director
The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Non-Profit Specialist
David Von Drehle
The Washington Post, Columnist