Our Team

We are blessed to have a dedicated team of staff passionate about serving our local youth.

  • For general inquiries, please call our main office at (209) 522-9568
  • For specific questions, please see the staff directory below

Meet our Team

  • Ken Sylvia, Executive Director
    (209) 522-9568 ext.127

    Ken Sylvia was born and raised his entire life in the Modesto, Ceres, Turlock area. After a life-changing experience through Acquire The Fire, God tugged on his heart to serve him. Ken helped lead the Modesto High Equal Access Bible Club his junior and senior year. Upon graduation in 2003 he began volunteering with Westside Modesto youth through mentoring, discipleship, and leading a ministry site. In 2008, shortly after marrying his (amazing, beautiful, awesome) wife, he took on the role of Mentoring Director serving at-risk youth of all ages. In addition to directing the Next Step Mentoring Program, Ken began leading our Point Break (and Stand Together) Workshops in 2010, conducting over 200 himself since then (which amounts to about 20,000 junior high and school students served).

    Ken’s wonderful little boy Gabriel joined the family in 2014. In that same year, Ken took over as Chief Ministry Officer helping to oversee the staff and programs of the organization, and in 2018 joined the Restorative Practices team providing coaching and training for local educators. And finally, after much prayer, wise counsel, much interviewing the Youth for Christ Board of Directors hired Ken as the new Executive Director in July of 2019. Ken’s vision is to carry on the incredible work of Youth for Christ by providing strategic ministry to our community’s most vulnerable youth. His passion is to light up the room, and help people feel healed when they are around him.

    Ken holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Human Resources from Stanislaus State, and a Master’s in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. While he strives to be maturing in the Lord every day, he will always be the “goofball” that keeps him connected with kids and young at heart. He loves soccer and basketball, working out, spending time with his wife and son, coffee (lots of it), food (literally all of it), and all sorts of reptiles. His dream one day is to race rally cars and see the Northern Lights.

    Also, he’s an INFJ on Meyers-Briggs, and a very balanced CD on the DiSC Profile.

  • Christie Berlin, Operations Director
    (209) 522-9568 ext.111

    Christie has been with Youth for Christ for 8+ years.  She is currently the Director of Operations and also serves on the YFC National NALDA (National Administrative Leadership Development Advisors) group.  Christie has over 25 years of administrative/management experience.  She moved to the Central Valley her 8th grade year, and is a graduate of Beyer High School.  Christie and her husband, Gary, have been married for over 25 years. They have two amazing boys, Matthew and Jake. Matthew graduated high school in 2016, and is pursuing a Meat Cutter / Butcher apprenticeship (and is a published author in his spare time). Jacob is in high school and developed his own outreach ministry to the homeless called Project Show God’s Love.  Christie truly loves being the "mom" of the office and having the opportunity to speak God’s truth and life into the kids that come to the office.

  • Pete Kirchhoff, Campus Life Director, Point Break Coordinator
    (209) 522-9568 ext.110
    209-250-9268 Cell

    Pete Kirchhoff joined YFC Central Valley in 2017 as the Campus Ministry Director. Building on our long time partnerships with schools and churches, he is developing new ways for more students to enter into Christ sharing relationships. His greatest passions are leading outreach with teens, building unity between churches, and flying down trails on his mountain bike! Pete came to us with 25 years’ of church and para-church youth ministry experience. He met his wife, Donna, while studying business at Colorado State, before she put him through grad school at Denver Seminary. They love spending time outdoors in the mountains and on the water, especially when it includes their two adult children or teenage son.

  • Isaiah Herrera, Next Step Mentoring Director, Campus Ministry Coordinator
    (209) 522-9568 ext.114

    Isaiah Herrera has worked with young people for over 8 years. He grew up in Modesto, CA and was challenged with many unforeseen circumstances. He was a high school dropout and now is pursuing his BA in Social Work at Liberty University. He is our Director of Next Step Mentoring & Campus Ministry. Isaiah has a wonderful wife Katrina. Isaiah enjoys being a bridge to the junior high and high school students that he works with, as well as leading such an incredible team of mentors and staff. His mentoring motto is the holistic approach that YFC uses in multiple ministries, caring and making sure every student that is mentored is healthy in every area of life. His passion for mentoring stems from the desire to see all young people experience life to the fullest, both now, and forever.

  • Kristal Struble, Juvenile Justice Ministry Director, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (#120530), Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (#8195)
    (209) 522-9568 ext.117

    Kristal joined Youth For Christ in 2019 as a Marriage and Family Therapist trainee to complete her Masters of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology at National University (set to graduate May 2020). Kristal graduated in 2006 from CSU, Stanislaus with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Criminal Justice right before she gained employment as a deputy probation officer in Merced County for ten years. Towards the end of her career she felt a strong pull by God to leave law enforcement and help the community in a different capacity. Since childhood, there was always a soft spot in Kristal’s heart for those in need, those who do not have a voice of their own, and of course, the youth. Kristal has a long history of volunteering in the community that includes Sunday children’s ministry, fundraising for causes, beautifying a neighborhood, youth sports, and simply giving time to those who need it. She finds the most joy in saying, “Where can I help”.

    Kristal is also raising two young boys with her husband, Jason, in Merced, CA, where they have also been members and volunteers of their home church. Baseball, travel, and food are her favorite things.


  • Kourtney Kauffman, Family Concern Counseling Director, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#116593)
    (209) 522-9568 ext.122

    Kourtney has been involved with YFC for over 9 years, both as a Campus Life volunteer in Shasta County, and as Tapestry volunteer staff in Modesto, before joining our team of therapists as a volunteer trainee in 2012. Kourtney has her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Simpson University, a Master’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in counseling, and spent 7 years working as a case worker for a foster family agency in Merced, CA. She has experience and training in Restorative Practices, leading circles and groups, and has a love for working with children, youth, adults and families who are stuck in problematic and destructive cycles.  Kourtney has worked with many struggling youth and children, and has a particular passion for helping people overcome histories filled with pain and trauma. 

  • Samantha Van Horn, Family Concern Counseling School Services Coordinator, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#112122)
    (209) 522-9568 ext.121

    Samanthahas served as a therapist with Youth for Christ for two and a half years under the ministry of Family Concern Counseling.  She earned her Master’s of Science Degree in Clinical Psychology in 2013 from Simpson University.  Samantha has been a Christian since she was a child and participated in her church’s youth leadership teams, her high school’s Fellowship of Christian Atheletes SALT leadership team, and has a passion for missions.  She has gone on missions and lead teams to Mexico, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic.  Samantha hopes to be a vessel for God’s healing power and light as she works with children, teens, couples, families and individuals in her time at Family Concern Counseling. She provides training for local schools, community based organizations and churches. She has also facilitated emotional health and wellness workshops at high schools and junior highs to reduce violence on campus and increase empathy among students. She is currently the on-site clinician at several local schools working with students in elementary school to high school. In her time prior to Youth for Christ, she served as a Refugee Resettlement Coordinator for World Relief, a Christian organization, working with people from a variety of cultural backgrounds and case management.

  • Courtney Wohld, Family Concern Counseling Practicum Program Coordinator, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (#106191)
    (209) 522-9568 ext.123

    Courtney joined Family Concern Counseling therapist team in the spring of 2017.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Fresno State University, and went on to graduate with a Master’s of Science degree in Counseling from California State University, Stanislaus in Fall 2017. Courtney has always had a passion for helping people, and started working with disabled youth and adults through equine assisted therapy in high school, which later became the inspiration behind her career choice as a therapist. She is currently an onsite therapist for several schools, and works with youth, families, and adults at the Family Concern office location.

  • Samantha Tallon, Family Concern Counseling Therapist Team Coordinator, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (#106429)
    (209) 522-9568 ext.128

    Samantha joined Youth for Christ in 2013 as a volunteer in the Juvenile Justice ministry working with adolescents in both group and one-on-one settings.  In 2017, she joined the Family Concern Counseling ministry as a trainee therapist, and has since graduated to Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. Samantha received her Bachelor of Science in Human Services in 2013, and went on to earn a Master of Science in Counseling in 2018 from the University of Phoenix .

    She currently serves as an onsite therapist at several school sites, and has worked with youth, adults, and families at our office location.  Samantha has a passion for partnering with individuals and families to navigate through challenging or painful life events, in an effort to foster growth and provide tools to enhance overall well-being

  • Tyesha Sullivan, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (#112232)
    (209) 522-9568 ext.125

    Tyesha has been a part of the Youth for Christ, Family Concern Counseling team since 2011. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Human Services and a Master's Degree in Counseling with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy. Prior to coming to FCC, Tyesha was a Supervisor at Children's Crisis Center, working closely with Social Workers to manage and supervise visits between foster children and their families. 

    Tyesha has a passion for working with children and adolescents, encouraging them to be the best they can be. She currently serves as the onsite therapist at several schools in the county. In addition, Tyesha also works with adult individuals, as well as couples and families to assist them in overcoming life's obstacles. 

  • Sandie Maness, Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (#7843)
    (209) 522-9568 ext.126

    Sandie has served as a therapist with Youth for Christ Family Concern Counseling for four months.  She earned her Masters of Science Degree in Clinical Counseling in 2014 from California State University Stanislaus.  Sandie has worked with teens and individuals in her time at Family Concern Counseling. She has led small group sessions for a local school addressing social skills and grief. Mrs. Maness is a member of California Association for Licensed Professional Counselors As well as her work with Youth for Christ; Sandie currently mentors new educators, provides administrative support services to staff and families for Modesto City Schools, and teaches full-time.  

  • Alexandra Cover, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (#100704)
    (209) 522-9568 ext.124

    Alexandra joined the Youth For Christ team as a therapist with Family Concern Counseling in Spring of 2016.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology from California State University, Stanislaus in 2012 and went on to earn a Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy from Western Seminary in 2017.  Alexandra stepped into youth ministry at the age of 13 where she was consistently a part of youth group, youth leadership, and mission trips.  She continued that love for working with youth in her time spent working closely with foster youth and families as a social worker for 3 years. She currently serves as an onsite therapist at several schools as well as working with youth, adults and couples in office.  Alexandra has a love for helping kids, adolescents, and adults navigate through the pains and struggles that accompany this life experience that we all share.    

  • Lorraine Webb, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (#111927)

  • Christina Soto, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (#119145)

  • Brenda Cabello, Family Concern Administrative Assistant
    (209) 522-9568 ext.118

    Brenda recently joined Youth for Christ as the Family Concern Administrative Assistant. She has 10 years of financial industry experience and management. Brenda and Oscar, her husband of 19 years, moved to Modesto in 2001. They have four children; three sons and a daughter. Oscar, their oldest, is an Eagle Scout from Troop 13 and a full-time engineering student at UC Merced. Second son Jonathon is also an Eagle Scout from Troop 13 and is currently finishing his AA work at Modesto Junior College with plans to transfer to a local university to pursue a career in education. The youngest of the boys, Christian, is a high school sophomore and active in scouting and sports. Daughter Caeley is a middle schooler and active in sports and the arts. Brenda’s passion lies in helping others and being actively involved in her community. She enjoys traveling, camping, and spending quality time her friends and family.

  • Sue Kopulos, Administrative Assistant
    (209) 522-9568 ext.119

  • Jaci Carpenter, Bookkeeper
    (209) 522-9568 ext.100

    Jaci graduated from Biola University with a degree in Business and Communication. She has been married to her husband Robert for 29 years.  They have 3 adult children and 3 grandchildren.