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Meet the Staff


Chandra Gemskie

Interim Executive Director

Chandra provides the overall direction to Youth First with the guidance of the board. She manages community relationships and ensures we are continually reaching more youth who may not otherwise know about our program.  Chandra has a bachelor's in Criminal Justice, and master's degree in Organizational Leadership.

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Julia Mantey

Youth Program Coordinator

Julia is the staff serving at Anoka Middle School at both the Washington and Fred Moore campuses. She holds a bachelor's degree in History and Political Science from Augsburg University. She has spent a lot of time with various youth programs including time as a mentor for History Day Minnesota, a substitute teacher for the Anoka Hennepin School District, and coaching volleyball at Anoka High School. In her free time, she enjoys reading, art, and being outdoors.

Lorenzo Mata Gallegos

AmeriCorps Promise Fellow -

Coon Rapids Middle School

Lorenzo is serving at the Coon Rapids Middle School for 2022-2023 school year.  He just completed his undergrad degree in Social Studies at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. He has recently accepted a teaching position at an Anoka Hennepin Schools high school.  Lorenzo has been a part of the Youth First program for over 10 years, and believes that representation in your community matters. Connecting with youth and having them feel seen and heard is what Lorenzo feels leads to a successful relationship and future.


His hobbies include physical activity such as playing soccer or running, listening to music, and all things Nintendo! If not in Minnesota, you can find him in Mexico spending time with his family!


Favorite Quote: “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” - MLK Jr.

Noah Vue

AmeriCorps Promise Fellow -

Coon Rapids Middle and High Schools

Noah is serving at the Coon Rapids Middle School and Coon Rapids High School for this 2022-2023 school year. He recently graduated from Hamline University earlier this summer, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Social Justice. During his undergraduate studies at Hamline, he was a Senior Fellow in their Mcvay Youth Partnership program where he mentored Youth. Noah believes it is important to connect with Youth in order to create change, support, and leadership in the community so they can accomplish their future dreams. He is hoping to become a Social Worker in the future. During his free time he enjoys writing poetry, meditation, playing basketball, and cooking. 


Favorite Quote: “Sometimes, life is like this tunnel. You can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep moving, you will come to a better place.” – Uncle Iroh

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