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Meet Our Team

Larry Lewis, Jr.
Executive Director


Over the past 20 years, Larry has been active in his roles, working with children and youth in the Midwest. He has successfully strengthened programs for urban youth, developed financial goals for growth and has implemented whole-child educational services.


His commitment to serving families has been a part of Larry’s professional journey since the very beginning. Larry attended Blue Valley Northwest and graduated from Kansas State University, where he completed his bachelor's degree in Family Studies and Human Services while also competing as a collegiate athlete.


His opportunity to volunteer at a local after school program piloted him into a field that would ultimately become his career. Working after school with children allowed Larry to discover his talent for connecting with youth. Years later, he has served in various roles, all with the vision of helping young people reach their full potential.


During his endeavor as a child and youth development professional, Larry has gained the experience of leading large nonprofit organizations through fundraising projects, partnering with local companies, and establishing positive connections in the community to bring awareness to the need of quality care and education for all children from all backgrounds.


When he is not busy advocating for children, Larry enjoys sports recreation activities with his family and traveling to new places.


Tanesha Thompson
Program Director

Tanesha has an extensive history working with families and students, with over 25 years of experience in education and social services settings. As a former head start participant, she values early education and recognizes the importance having a holistic approach in working with the entire family.


Tanesha started as a Family Support Advocate with Growing Futures in 2014 and has worked on both the center-based and home-based side providing weekly home visits and directly supervising the Family Educator.  She most recently served as the Family & Community Partnership Coordinator where her primary focus was bringing awareness about our program, building collaborative connections in the community for our families and supervising the Family Support Team. 


Tanesha is also a firm believer in advocacy work and is a member of several civic organizations and serves on 5 boards committed to engaging others in action! When not working as the Program Director, she enjoys spending time with her own daughter (Brennnyn) who keeps everyone around her on their toes! 

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Jessica Hoffman
Director of Development & Community Relations

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Jessica is an accomplished marketing professional with over 20 years of experience, who is passionate about supporting the people in our community. With an extensive background in marketing, digital media, fundraising, event coordination, sponsorships, donations and community development; Jessica has put her skills to use to tell the Growing Futures story and to showcase all of the positive ways children and families are being supported.

Jessica grew up on her family farm outside of Clinton, MO and moved to Kansas City after attending college at Central Missouri State University. Her passion for giving back to the community began at an early age, when she became an advocate for the American Cancer Society while in high school. What began as organizing a small, community daffodil fundraiser in her DECA group, grew to become a part of her values and mission to give back to her local community. Since then, she has organized several, large-scale events and fundraisers that have further supported her passion and the communities she serves.


Jessica and her husband have two border collies, Brody & Bailey, and enjoy camping, fishing and all things outdoors. Her favorite holiday is Halloween and the Hoffman's spend a lot of time creating an interactive and fun experience for the children in their neighborhood. Jessica also enjoys cooking and baking, meeting new people, listening to good music, walking her dogs and spending time with friends and family.


Kathleen Kane

Finance Director

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Kathleen brings nearly 30 years of nonprofit experience, with a background in both programming and fiscal management. In her various nonprofit roles, she has worked directly with children and families in communities throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Kathleen was born and raised in Midtown Kansas City, Missouri, the 7th of 8 siblings. She is a huge animal and nature lover, and enjoys daily walks with her sweet rescue Labrador, Lily. Kathleen has always enjoyed all things outdoors, like hiking, camping, gardening and landscaping. She went on her first canoeing trip with her best friend’s family when she was ten years old, and ever since has been a huge fan of floating on rivers and camping on sandbars.

Kathleen graduated from UMKC with a Masters in Accounting, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in English Literature.


She is honored and excited to be a part of Growing Futures, and to contribute to a team of people who share the goal of creating a safe, healthy and encouraging environment for children to learn and grow.

Suzanne Handlin, PHR

Human Resource Director

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Suzanne Handlin is the Human Resource Director at Growing Futures.  She has been with Growing Futures since March of 2020.  Suzanne has over 16 years of experience in the HR field and earned her PHR certification in 2016.  Her experience consists mostly of working in the medical field, but has also worked in HR for a property management firm, software, and the movie theater industry.  Most of her time spent at Growing Futures is building relationships with the staff, mentoring, recruiting, and everything in between.  Suzanne chose Growing Futures because she sees the need in the community for an organization that will wrap their arms around a family and child in need.  Her mother was a teacher in the public school system where she grew up in Newport News, VA and was able to see the impact that teachers and caregivers can have on their students.  When Suzanne is not working, she loves spending time with her family, gathering friends, traveling, and attending live concerts of her favorite bands.  LinkedIn link:

First Prize Badge

Ms. Angela
Room 7, Assistant Teacher

Ms. Aveanna
Family Support Advocate

Ms. Caylee
Room 17, Lead Teacher

Ms. Cheryl
Office Manager

Ms. Farah
Room 20, Lead Teacher

Ms. Emily
Room 3, Lead Teacher

Ms. Heather
Data Associate/ERSEA Monitor

Ms. Jess
Family Educator

Ms. Joyce
Room 3, Lead Teacher 

Ms. Jocelyn
Room 20, Assistant Teacher

Ms. Areli
Family Educator


Our Team

Ms. Kiki
Room 19, Lead Teacher

Ms. Kathy
Volunteer & Development Associate

Ms. Kerry Jo
Annual Fund Associate

Ms. Kelly
Room 4, Lead Teacher

Ms. Marisa
Family Educator

Ms. Sarah
Room 1, Lead Teacher

Ms. Trisha
Room 14, Assistant Teacher

Ms. Teresa
Office Assistant

Ms. Sara
Room 7, Lead Teacher

Ms. Shannon
Room 16, Lead Teacher

Ms. Sheila
Room 14, Lead Teacher

Ms. Sophie
Lead Family Support Advocate

Not Pictured Above

Ms. Brittnie

Family Educator

Ms. Cherra

Family Educator

Ms. Hermila

Kitchen Assistant

Ms. Hilsin

Room 16, Lead Teacher

Ms. Jenny

Room 16, Teacher

Ms. Jessi

Family Support Advocate

Ms. Megan

Room 6, Lead Teacher


Ms. Vanessa

Room 19, Lead Teacher

Gabriella Salinas
Marketing & Events Associate

Evan Rosemann
Grants Manager

Not Pictured

Bryanna Contreras

Health & Nutrition Specialist

Taylor Williams
Early Head Start Education Specialist

Vicky Flucke
Disabilities & School Readiness Services Specialist

Rachel South

Kristine Mendez
Accounting Manager

Julie Taylor, LMSW
Mental Health Specialist & Family Educator Coach

Kesha Estelle
Head Start Education Specialist


Our Board

Jake Barnes

Financial Advisory Service, Inc.

Scott Campbell

Integrit Ops

Kendall Burr

Blue Valley School District

Carol Gonzales


Anne Mills

Retired from Hallmark

Chris Davis

PGAV Architects

Antoinette Redmond

Dairy Farmers of America

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Brian Zickefoose

Husch Blackwell

Nick Ong

Ong & Company

Debra Peterson


Marc Shaffer

Searcy Financial Services

Leeanne Smith

Johnson County Young Matrons

Kate Allen

Johnson County Community College

Jessica Nollett

Enterprise Bank

The Advisory Board

Anne Blessing
Claire Ehney
David Francis
Elaine Mann
Gale Hansen
Gene Wilson
Jeanne Sosland

Jennifer Sawyer

Joseph Matovu

Jyoti Mukharji

Laura Scott

Leslie Whitaker

Lillian Hall

Sara McElhenny

Ann Kenny

Railroad Set
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Click HERE to see available career opportunities!

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Grow with us! Experience the everyday excitement our children have while they learn and grow at school. Growing Futures is proud to provide a safe, encouraging environment for the children, families and staff. We also provide a comprehensive benefit package that includes medical, dental and vision insurance; short-term and long-term disability; life insurance; 403(b); and generous paid time off, including 

winter and spring breaks.

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Watercolor Butterfly 5


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Story Time
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President- Sholabomi Popoola

Vice-President- Guadalupe Mullett

Secretary- Aubree Vetter

Treasurer- Katie Hunt & Megan Robertson


Community Representatives:

Susan Verlinde (DCF Liaison Representative)

Shannon Goebel (JOCO Library Representative)

Rachael Perez (JOCO Mental Health Representative)

Katie Schatte (SafeKids Representative)

Kelli Mather (El Centro Representative)

Sandra Reece (WIC Representative)


Maria Flores-Espinoza 
Cassie Harbert 
Aubree Vetter 
Juliana Liu 
Guadalupe Mullett 

Tri Nguyen 
Dulex Joseph 
Sholabomi Popoola 
Lidia Reyes Olvera 
Destiny Aguilar 
Meseret Chaka Jida 
Nancy Romero Vargas 
El-Hocine Hammi 
Farah Al-Dulaimi 

Miroslava Corral Vale 
Araceli Meya 
Stevche Mitanoski 
Julisa Aldana 
Katie Hunt 
Megan Robertson 
Marta Rosa 
Zahraa Alshaikhli 
Victoria Burgos Munoz 
Lya Caro 
Madison Todd 
Mary Marara 

Policy Council

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