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Jen Casselberry, Administrative Director

Jen moved to Philadelphia to serve with Mission Year in 1998 after graduating from Asbury University with a degree in English. She then joined staff and eventually relocated to Chicago. She loves living in the city because there is always something to do, especially living near a lake. She is an avid runner, artist, and coffee drinker! You can find Jen on Twitter.


Shawn Casselberry, Executive Director

Shawn felt a call to the city while at Asbury Theological Seminary. He joined Mission Year staff in 2004. He met his wife Jen on their college cross-country team and they have been joyfully married for 12 years. He is a songwriter, guitar player, and a drummer. He works with a youth drumline in his community of North Lawndale. He is an ordained minister and working on a Doctor of Ministry degree in Building Beloved Community from McCormick Theological Seminary. Connect with Shawn on Twitter. Invite Shawn to speak.



Vanesa Erroa, Development Assistant

Vanesa moved to Atlanta in 2012 to serve with Mission Year and returned as an alum intern in 2013. She is originally from Northern VA, but both parents are from El Salvador. She plans on finishing school to become a Social Worker. Vanesa enjoys fall weather, listening to music and her little dog Benji! An interesting “fact” about her is she played violin in elementary school.



Ashleigh Hill, Development Coordinator

Ashleigh moved in Chicago in 2009 to join Mission Year in East Garfield Park and has lived in the city ever since. She has a BA in Public Relations from Messiah College, an MA in Women’s and Gender Studies from DePaul University, and spends an inordinate amount of time eating pie and reading. Ashleigh is passionate about promoting holistic discussion about gender and Christianity. You can follow Ashleigh on Twitter.


Shaunie Hixson, Recruitment & Admissions Coordinator

Shaunie did Mission Year in Chicago in 2009-10 and served as Alum Intern in 2011-12. She is originally from Virginia and has a degree in Communications from Old Dominion University. She’s in love with Chicago and enjoys hanging out at coffee shops and having good conversation with friends. She has an appreciation for all forms of art but has a huge passion for theater and acting.


Chelsea Hosler, Recruiter

Chelsea moved to Chicago in 2011 to join Mission Year after graduating from Grove City College.  After a year back in Pennsylvania, Chelsea returned to Chicago to join Mission Year staff.  She is a lover of Jesus, kids, Pennsylvania, football and Shonda Rhimes television shows.



chonteChonté Hunt, Recruiter

After resigning from her job as a teacher in 2011, Chonté joined Mission Year and moved to Chicago. Within a few months, she felt called to that city. After going home to Philadelphia for the summer, Chonté moved back to Chicago even though she could not see why God wanted her there. Chonté is currently pursuing a graduate degree at Eastern University in Youth Development. Chonté received her undergraduate degree from Temple University in Elementary and Special Education. Chonté is a very laid back person who loves to laugh and learn. She is also a self-proclaimed Shondaholic. You can catch Chonté on Twitter.

Chris Lahr, Academic Director

Chris has lived in Philadelphia since 2000 and loves his life in the city. He helps to run Timoteo, a flag football league for youth mentoring. He and his wife Lara and their three daughters are active at Iglesia del Barrio and the Simple Way. Chris attended Eastern University and Asbury Theological Seminary. Chris writes, travels and speaks, and instructs the Theology of Poverty class for Mission Year Academics. Talk with Chris on Facebook or Twitter. Invite Chris to speak.


Ra Mendoza, Philadelphia City Director

Ra did Mission Year in Philadelphia (09-10), and in 2011, served in Atlanta as an Alum Intern. She completed a graduate degree at Eastern University’s Campolo College of Graduate and Professional Studies in community development in 2013. She loves to write and play music, sit at coffee shops, and finger paint (she claims to be quite good). She has a life goal to meet Brandi Carlile. You can find Ra on Twitter.


Ruth Nakai, Chicago City Director

After working as a high school math teacher in Detroit, Ruth moved to Chicago in 2009 to do Mission Year. In 2013, she found her way back to Mission Year as staff. Although born and raised in Ohio, she attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a secondary math degree. Ruth enjoys daydreaming about her favorite foods, exploring the city with her husband Kenny, and working on mini-art projects.


Zach and Kate Pollard, Houston City Directors

After graduating from the University of Georgia in 2005, Zach worked four years with teenagers at a residential care facility before joining Mission Year’s pilot arts team in 2010. Kate graduated with degrees in English and Intercultural Studies from Houghton College in 2008 where she then worked as an admission counselor until moving to Texas to join the arts team.  By the time they completed Mission Year, they had not only fallen in love with the great city of Houston but also with each other. Outside of work and graduate school, the Pollards most enjoy exploring small coffee shops and used bookstores, new passport stamps, live music, their neighbor’s front yards and really good food.

Caz Tod-Pearson, National Program Director and Atlanta City Director

Caz heard Tony Campolo speak in her home country of New Zealand and decided to leave nine years of teaching and come to the States for Mission Year. Her mum still lives in NZ, her sister is in Australia, and her brother in Wales! She enjoys living in Atlanta because of the green space, southern hospitality, and amazing autumns. One of her favorite activities is taking her dog Libby to the park. You can also find Caz on Twitter.


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