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Jessica K. Rogers, Executive Director of Connections to Independence

Jessica brings a unique combination of corporate, non profit and independent consulting experience to Connections to Independence. She has positively impacted youth and families in Minneapolis through various community programs she has led over the last 15 years. Jessica is truly passionate about the mission and work of Connections to Independence because she is a product of foster care herself. Jessica is committed to creating a unique culture and environment for C2i youth and staff to feel like this is more than a place to come to work and participate in programming.  It’s a safe place where all staff and youth are valued and considered part of a family.

Michelle May, Program Director

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, Michelle has over 10 years of experience working with youth in unique and challenging situations.  Her experiences include case management, teaching independent living skills, and program development with homeless youth and youth in foster care.  She is a true believer in the mission and purpose of non-profit work, and is dedicated to teaching youth how to live independently through a fun learning environment, and showing them their true potential.

Andrew “Drew” Lemmie, Independent Living Skills Counselor and Youth Leadership Coordinator

Drew Lemmie was born in St. Louis MO.  He moved to Minneapolis in June of 1992.  He has witnessed and lived the often harsh realities of the inner cities and has committed himself to working with young people at C2i to face those challenges.  Drew has committed himself to teaching the youth through the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens curriculum at C2i.   These principles give youth keys to a successful and fulfilling life.

Talicia Jackson: Program Manager/Operations Coordinator/ Independent Living Skills Counselor

Talicia has over 10 years experience working with youth in crisis. Talicia developed her interest for youth in foster care while working at various shelters. For the last six years, Talicia has worked part time at St. Joseph's Home for Children and Arlington House shelter while working full time at Connections to Independence. Talicia brings a unique counseling style to youth along with her passion for helping youth advocate for themselves and watching them grow. depend

Maria Ahlgren, Resource Manager/Independent Living Skills Counselor

Maria has spent the past 15 years cooking in restaurants throughout the Twin Cities.  It has always been her dream to combine her passion for food and cooking and infuse it with her passion for working with and advocating for youth.  Maria recently completed her Master’s Degree in Studies of Human Behavior.  Maria brings a new energy to the team and creative ideas to grow C2i programming and services and is a positive influence and mentor for C2i youth, she looks forward to working with them to become independent and productive individuals.

Olivia de Gruchy, Independent Living Skills Counselor

James Nelson, Independent Living Skills Counselor