Our Mission

Staff & Board Members

2019 Sponsors

Our Mission & Vision

Youth Connections enhances the quality of life for youth and their families in our communities. 

Youth Connections strives to be the premier agency advocating for youth and their families in Johnson, Morgan, and Brown counties. We provide dynamic programs and services that promote family support and positive youth development. We achieve our goals through a highly knowledgeable talented staff, a visionary board and outstanding community partnerships. We want the community to believe in Youth Connections and invest in our future.

Our Core Roles

Youth Connections believes that every young person deserves: A healthy start, caring mentors and parents, marketable skills and to have the opportunity to serve. We help youth and families meet their emotional, physical and psychological needs. Youth Connections is a youth service bureau and as such YSB programming is defined in Indiana state statute and includes four core roles: Juvenile delinquency prevention, information and referral services, community education and advocacy for youth

Our Diversity Statement

Youth Connections recognizes the importance of respecting people, valuing differences, and managing diversity. It is our responsibility to enable (individually and collectively) the potential of all employees by creating a work environment supportive of the unique talents, skills, and abilities each has to offer in meeting the needs of the individuals, customers and donors we serve in the community.

Recruitment and advertising for staff positions shall include a public notification process that encourages applications from a diverse population. Applicants will complete an employment application form that is supplemented by interviews, references and other information. All interviewed applicants will be notified of employment decisions.

Meet Our Staff & Board Members

Shana Gilbert

Executive Director
Phone: 317-738-3273 ext. 103

Judith Olds

Director of Community Relations
Phone: 317-738-3273 ext.101

Jamie Perry

Director of Court- Ordered Services
Phone: 317-738-3273 ext.101

Dawn Laplante

 Director of Program Services
Phone: 317-738-3273 ext. 104

Executive Committee

President: Kim Shell – Educator retired

Vice President Finance: Jerry Sparks- Self-employed

Vice President of Marketing – Keith Fechtman- Books & Brews

Secretary/VP of Board Development-


Christina Callard- Mass Mutual Midwest

Iddo Porat- CMIT Solutions

Amanda Robbins- 

Lucas Hill- Modern Woodmen

Shana Gilbert – Youth Connections – (non-voting member)


Lifetime Trustees

Billy Bemis, Bemis Group

Bev Hart, Retired City/County official

John Reames, Attorney-at-Law

Pat Van Valer, Retired attorney


Youth Connections History

Formerly Johnson County Youth Services Bureau

October 1976

Johnson County Youth Services Bureau was founded

November 1976

Youth Home on Hurricane Street in Franklin Indiana opens

August 1983

W.A.T.C.H. program begins
(What About The Children?): first divorce education program
for parents

September 1988

Safe Place/Host Home program
begins in Johnson County

April 1993

Info-line program begins

October 1994

Group Home closes

February 1995

W.H.A.M. program begins
(What About Me?) Family
divorce education program for children

September 1995

John Shafer joins
W.A.T.C.H. program
Longest tenured staff member. (currently F.I.T. class)

May 1996

United Way of Johnson County takes over info-line program.


Positive Teen Parenting

August 1997

Custody Evaluation Program Begins

September 1997

W.A.T.C.H. and W.H.A.M.
become Families in
Transition (F.I.T.)


Children’s Visitation Center
begins taking referrals from
Johnson county courts

May 1998

F.I.T. mandated by courts.

April 2000

Safe Place and Host Homes expand into
Morgan County


JCYSB, in partnership with United Way of Johnson County,

Johnson County Community Foundation
and Johnson County 4-H, with help from
Leadership Johnson County, launches the
Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Johnson County (YPIJC)


Name changes from
Johnson County Youth Services Bureau to
Youth Connections


Jumpstart Mentoring Program Begins

March 2009

1st Annual Breakfast of Champions


Jumpstart Programming was expanded into Morgan County.




Safe Place and Host Homes expands into Brown County. 


Jumpstart Mentoring is renamed Youth Mentoring


Family Mentoring program is started 

Our 2019 Corporate & Non-profit Sponsors