ABOUT US

We exist to invest in the lives of Chicago youth through Christ-centered, Life-on-Life relationships.

Our Mission

At GRIP Outreach For Youth, our mission is to invest in the lives of Chicago youth through Christ-centered, Life-on-Life relationships.

Our Vision

We have a vision for thousands upon thousands of kids to grow into solid Christian adults who will positively impact and contribute to society, their communities, their churches, and their families.

More specifically we want to see:

• Thousands of transformed lives
• Transformed cities
• Strong local churches
• Solid schools
• Future leaders for Christ
• Centers for excellence for urban ministry

We’re striving to create a network of support for our youth, not simply by serving them and their families in the home, but also by partnering with local churches in our outreach programs, and by having a presence in the public schools, where our youth spend the majority of their time.

Our History

Since its founding in 2004, GRIP has introduced a Life-on-Life relationship and the hope of Jesus Christ into the lives of hundreds of at-risk teens who desperately need someone to love them
and walk life alongside them.

09/1999

SLAM is created and launched

09/2004

GRIP officially incorporates as a 501(c)3 organization

1999-2004

SLAM impacts 800+ at-risk youth!

06/2007

GRIP begins running The Miracle Basketball League

09/2007

GRIP The School launches at Marshall High School

07/2009

The launch of Streetlights

09/2009

Wells High School opens its doors to GRIP The School

08/2011

Vision Nehemiah merges with GRIP bringing with it the Legacy Conference and the UYN

04/2013

1st Streetlights box set released: Divine DNA

07/2013

For the 1st time, Legacy Conference sells out

04/2014

GRIP programs have impacted 5,000 students since inception

MEET OUR STAFF

Bianca Acacia
Office Manager
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Bianca Acacia
As a Chicago native, Bianca joins GRIP staff with a passion to build the Kingdom of God in Chicago. After attending Columbia College Chicago, she worked for years in television and film production including talk shows, reality, and news. She brings a unique skillset to GRIP staff as the Office Manager. Bianca oversees and cares for the details of how the office is running on a daily basis. For the short amount of time that it is warm in Chicago, Bianca loves reading along the lakefront and spending time outdoors with her 14-year-old Chiweenie, and her family.  Bianca shares, “I enjoy the work culture at GRIP and being around a team of people that have a heart for Jesus and a heart for youth in our city.”
Ashley Tarnow
Women's Mentorship Manager
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Ashley Tarnow
Coming from Zeeland, Michigan (not to be confused with the country New Zealand), Ashley moved to Chicago to attend Moody Bible Institute and upon graduation she spent most of her time working with youth. Now, Ashley serves as the Women’s Mentorship Manager at GRIP where she loves pouring into mentors and celebrating growth we’re seeing in students. When she’s not enjoying all the amazing food that Chicago has to offer, she’s probably spending time with her husband, Grant, and their adorable puppy in the neighborhood of Ukrainian Village where they call home!  Ashley shares, “What I love about my role at GRIP is meeting with the mentors, and hearing how God is using them, and celebrating the small wins with them—Like actually getting a text back from a student, or hearing how a student prayed for the first time. It's really incredible to be able to serve the women that sacrifice so much each week to love on their students and point them to Christ.”
Kylie Stores
Women's Mentorship Manager
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Kylie Stores
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kylie comes to GRIP with experience as a Registered Nurse, and now serves as the Women’s Mentorship Manager on staff at GRIP where she equips mentors to invest in Chicago’s youth! When Kylie’s not pouring into mentors, you can typically find her exploring one of Chicago’s neighborhoods or spending time with friends in her home in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood.  Kylie shares, “I enjoy my role at GRIP because I’m able to connect with the mentors and students on deeper levels.”
Aric Diaz
Men's Mentorship Manager
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Aric Diaz
Aric Diaz joins GRIP staff as a Texas native, but he and his wife and two kids have endured the Chicago winters to invest in teens here in the city! As a Men’s Mentorship Manager at GRIP, Aric equips and trains our volunteer mentors to walk Life-on-Life with youth. Settling in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, he loves exploring different cultures and communities of the city, and when he’s not spending time with his wife and kids, you can find him breakdancing or creating beautiful graffiti art pieces. Aric shares, “My favorite thing about my role at GRIP is that I get to enjoy meeting students who have become new believers as well as walk with brothers through life and the call to make disciples.”
Kiel Russell
SLAM Program Coordinator
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Kiel Russell
Hailing from Washington State, and graduating from Duke University, Kiel joins GRIP staff as the SLAM Coordinator, having previously been on staff with Intervarsity and most recently Moody Bible Institute. When he’s not playing basketball, he’s probably watching it, but it’s not just his love for sports, but his passion for Chicago’s youth that makes him an outstanding person to coordinator our weekly SLAM outreach program. Kiel shares, “I enjoy my role at GRIP because I loved being a GRIP volunteer for 5 years—investing in teens and serving alongside other volunteers. I’m so grateful to be able to do that full-time now.”
Mark Banach
Finance Manager
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Mark Banach
Growing up in Elk Grove Village, Mark joins GRIP staff as a Chicagoland native after working for 30 years in the marketplace as an investment consultant and then the Director of Operations and Client Service for a benefit consulting firm. In addition to his love for his wife of 27 years, and 3 daughters, he enjoys playing the guitar and he may be one of the only people you ever meet who discusses investing and budgeting for fun. These are just some of the many reasons he’s a great fit as GRIP’s Finance Manager. Mark shares, “A few of the things I enjoy about my role at GRIP are the people we serve and the people I get to work alongside.”
Julia Butler
GRIP The School Coordinator, Al Raby High School
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Julia Butler
Hailing from Indianapolis and graduating from Wheaton College, Julia is one of the most competitive people you will ever meet. When Julia isn’t enjoying Lou Malnati’s deep-dish pizza or going to Cubs games, you’ll probably find her biking, drawing, or binge-watching SNL skits and Seinfeld. Oh, and to add to that list, she’s running the Chicago Marathon for GRIP! As residents of the North Lawndale neighborhood, Julia and her husband are passionate about investing in Chicago’s youth—which is just one of the reasons Julia joined GRIP staff as a GRIP The School Coordinator in Al Raby High School, pouring into volunteer mentors and equipping them to walk Life-on-Life with Chicago teens.   Julia shares, “I love investing in Chicago Public Schools; they are the heartbeat of our neighborhoods.” Support Julia’s quest to run the Chicago Marathon and invest in Chicago's’ youth: www.gripyouth.com/juliabutler 
Tobi Adewodu
Future Steps Director
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Tobi Adewodu
Tobi Adewodu joins staff as GRIP's Future Steps Director, responsible for equipping our students for future careers and college opportunities! Growing up in Virginia Beach, Tobi graduated from Howard University and previously worked with Goldman Sachs before he moved on to serve at Twelv2Athlete and then By The Hand Club for Kids. He enjoys playing basketball and watching sports, as well as spending time with friends and family over a good meal. He goes by Tobi, but as a Nigerian-American his full name is Oluwatobi, which means "God is great." Tobi shares, "I love the diversity of people and being a part of what God is doing in the city of Chicago!"
Isaac Arsenault
Multimedia Coordinator
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Isaac Arsenault

Isaac Arsenault grew up in Homewood, Illinois and graduated from Homewood Flossmoor High School; for college he attended Moody Bible Institute. He has previously worked as a freelance Video Editor and Music Producer, and as a Satellite Network Operator at Moody Radio. He enjoys his role at GRIP as the Multimedia Coordinator, which allows him to make creative video that tell the stories of impact in the lives of Chicago's youth. Growing up in the south suburbs of Chicago, Isaac has strong Latino roots in Peru, and he currently lives in the East Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago, where he enjoys pursuing creative passion projects!

Bill Ferrell
Community Relations & Development Director
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Bill Ferrell

Bill Ferrell grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is a graduate of Coronado High School, Arizona State University, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has lived in Chicago for 28 years and loves the culture, diversity, food, and weather (seriously). He has served as a campus pastor, local church pastor, Executive Director of a nonprofit ministry, and a marriage and family counselor. At GRIP, he serves as Community Relations and Development Director, presenting the mission and vision of GRIP to individuals, groups, and churches for the opportunity of partnership. Bill currently resides in Northbrook with his family; he enjoys biking, swimming, running, and skiing.

Sue Lee
Director of Operations
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Sue Lee

Sue Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the U.S. at the age of 6. She has lived in Chicago for 18 years, and is a graduate of Palatine High School and University of Illinois. She previously worked as a Process Management Consultant with Accenture. As the Director of Operations at GRIP, she supports and encourages staff in their roles in order to see more youth impacted by Life-on-Life.

Sue currently lives in Logan Square with her husband, son, and newly adopted daughter; she enjoys spending time with extended family and friends, playing and watching sports, playing board games with her son, and going out to dinner with friends.

Erick Correa
SLAM Program Director
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Erick Correa
Erick Correa is a Chicago native, and Gordon Technical High School alumni. He attended Southern Illinois University for college and is a certified personal trainer. He is a professional mixed martial artist and he likes to exercise. He and his family live in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood. Erick enjoys watching Cubs games, and at one point in his life, he enjoyed singing. He has a strong passion for discipleship and joins GRIP as the SLAM Program Director to invest in the lives of youth in Chicago.
"My favorite part of living in Chicago is waiting to see which happens first: Jesus coming back, or Cubbies winning the World Series," Erick shares. The Cubs won!
Karale Williams
Men's Mentorship Manager
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Karale Williams
As a Houston, Texas native, Karale joined GRIP staff  as the Men's Mentorship Manager to empower and encourage our male mentors to build Christ-centered, Life-on-Life relationships. Karale moved to Chicago to attend Moody Bible Institute and upon graduation became a youth pastor in Texas. If he's not reading Japanese Fantasy Novels, he's most likely enjoying a community activity or fixing up his house in his neighborhood of Austin in Chicago.
Scott Grzesiak
Executive Director & Co-Founder
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Scott Grzesiak
In 1999, Scott served on the launch team of SLAM. As one of the first mentors at SLAM and co-founder of GRIP, his own experience of “walking Life-on-Life” with teens reinforced the importance of Life-on- Life relationships as a foundation for true discipleship. With an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and 13-years of experience in the business world, Scott’s diverse background spans international sales, marketing, project management, and financial analysis. Scott and his wife, Jen, have five children: Kaiya, Josiah, Elia, Kianna, and Zechariah.
Josh Burns
Marketing Communications Manager
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Josh Burns
Josh manages the marketing communications for GRIP’s programs and initiatives. As a graduate of Moody Bible Institute he quickly found his passion in telling stories of impact that move people to take action. He spent 5 years on staff at Park Community Church, and a year helping run a digital marketing agency. He and his wife, Amy and their two boys live in the Hermosa neighborhood of Chicago and have a big heart to see the city reached with the Gospel.
Shawn Procter
GRIP The School Program Director
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Shawn Procter
Shawn joined the GRIP family in 2011 as the program director of the GRIP The School initiative, which trains volunteers from local churches to serve Chicago Public Schools on a practical level in order to build Christ-centered, Life-On-Life relationships with students. Originally from Florida, he worked as an actor and youth pastor prior to attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Shawn also worked as an educator and director for What's Good—a character-based abstinence, education program in Chicago schools. He lives in the northwest side of Chicago and is married to his best friend, Pamela. They have been blessed with two beautiful daughters and other spiritual sons.
Michael Spataro
Multimedia Manager
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Michael Spataro
A jack of many trades, Mike worked at a production company for 12 years as a sound engineer, video editor, graphic designer, and production manager. He has been the production manager for the Legacy Conference since 2009, and joined GRIP's staff in August 2011 with the desire to use his creative talent in full-time ministry.  Born and raised in Chicago, Mike is an avid Chicago sports fan. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Diane, and they have two handsome sons, Michael and Noah.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Mary Chapman-Deas
Director, Event Marketing & Management at Moody Bible Institute

Vicki Kim
Director of Brand & Strategy Development, Mott St.

Jonathan Lavinier
Real Estate Broker, Baird & Warner

Kent Steiner
Associate Pastor, Chicago West Bible Church

Steve Coble
Teaching Pastor, Park Community Church

Scott Grzesiak
Executive Director, GRIP Outreach For Youth

David Lew
Vice President, Marketing, Newell Brands

Craig Moore
CEO, Legacy Insurance Enterprises

Shane Summers
Owner/Trader, Summers Trading Company

Financial Highlights

We consider it an honor to partner with so many who are committed to the mission of GRIP.
Below is a snapshot of our financials for this fiscal year.
Feel free to download the entire Annual Report for more details.

Contact Us

If you have a question, would like to volunteer, or would simply like to contact us, please email or call us. We’d love to hear from you!

EMAIL or CALL US: (312) 563-5630

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