Youth Programs Staff Update: New and Continuing Friends

Children, Friends Who Care For Youth, Middle School Friends, PYM, Young Adult Friends, Young Friends

Dear Friends,

We are delighted to introduce to you the wonderful team of staff who will be working with PYM Youth Programs. Some Friends are familiar faces shifting into a new role, others are new to the Yearly Meeting community. Each of them brings significant gifts to the program they will serve, and their energy and dedication to youth work are inspiring.

Questions about the youth program gatherings can be directed to both the Facilitators and to me. Please reach out to about registration and other administrative questions, and to the Facilitators with questions related to one of the weekend or retreat programs. The Facilitators can be reached at their program emails:

In addition to the collaboration among Youth Programs staff, my hope is for us to create bridges between the Yearly Meeting programs offered by the Friends below, and the ministry of Friends supporting their local meeting children and youth programs. You’ll find a list of upcoming PYM programs at the end of this email. Also watch for news about upcoming “Conversation Circles.” These are places to share joys and challenges in First Day programs. Friends gather virtually using online tools to share ideas that work and to exchange new resources within the spiritual formation of children and youth.

I look forward to the many conversations ahead, and the journey of learning together.

Melinda Wenner Bradley, Youth Engagement Coordinator


 WELCOME! (and Huzzah!)

Kimani Keaton
Children and Families Program Facilitator 
A woman of many talents, Kimani is a retired West Philly nanny. Since graduating from Dickinson College with a degree in Sociology & Religion, she has also been an Assistant Teacher for First Grade Math and Science classes at the Kindezi School in Atlanta, and served children’s programs for Atlanta Friends Meeting and PhYM. Kimani is passionate about plants, cooking, dancing, music, art, storytelling, singing, and self-care. She brings enthusiasm, excellent communication skills, an appreciation and love for Quakerism, and thorough and varied experience with kids to her new PYM role. She feels called to lend her gifts to spiritual spaces and to nurture a more spirit-led and self-aware generation of young Friends.

Amy Connelly
Children and Families Program Assistant
Amy is new to PYM and thrilled to accept the Children and Families Program Assistant position. Amy has more than 10 years’ experience in planning meetings and events that she will apply in the new role.  As a mother of two young toddlers, she is motivated both to learn and share ideas for the spiritual development of young families. Amy hopes to join Buckingham Meeting in 2018.

Elizabeth Croce
Middle School Friends Program Facilitator
Elizabeth is thrilled to assume the Middle School Friends Program Facilitator position for PYM to create a spiritually grounded, exciting, and fun program for the MSFers. Elizabeth graduated from Guilford College in 2015 with a double major in Religious Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as a minor in Quaker Studies. She has worked as a Quaker Voluntary Service fellow in Germantown Friends School’s Community Involvement Office where she taught 7th grade Quakerism and coordinated service opportunities. She has also held positions as an assistant teacher in both 4th grade as well as kindergarten classrooms at GFS and in John B. Kelly public school. Since April 2016, Elizabeth served PYM as the Middle School Friends Assistant. Currently, Elizabeth is the First Day School Teacher/Coordinator for Haverford Friends Meeting and is enrolled in Chestnut Hill College’s Master’s of Education (PreK-4) program. Elizabeth is a member of Orlando Monthly Meeting in SEYM.

Colleen Hayes
Middle School Friends Program Assistant
Colleen spent many weekends growing up out in the woods of New Jersey with her family and as an eleven year Girl Scout. She studied English Literature and German at Guilford College, where she discovered and connected with the Society of Friends, Greensboro’s rich history of community-organizing, and the student run café’s consensus-model decision making process. An avid traveler, she taught English as a second language for two years in Austrian middle and high schools in conjunction with the Austria Fulbright Commission. She moved to West Philadelphia in 2016 and has been a Friendly Adult Presence at MSF gatherings since and an occasional attendee of West Philly Friends Meeting. In her free time she sings from the Sacred Harp, cooks big family meals with her house, and explores Philly.

Kody Gabriel Hersh
Young Friends Program Co-Facilitator
Kody has been working with Philadelphia Yearly Meeting youth programs since 2011. He is passionate about supporting young people to build communities that are creative, respectful, youth-led, spiritually deep, and anti-oppressive. Outside of youth work, he is a writer, musician, and LGBTQ advocate, serves with Christian Peacemaker Teams providing accompaniment to communities impacted by violence and oppression, is involved with PYM’s Undoing Racism Group, and loves to cook. Kody is a member of Miami Monthly Meeting, Southeastern Yearly Meeting. He may or may not be an actual unicorn.

Hannah Mayer
Young Friends Program Co-Facilitator
Hannah has been enjoying work with the PYM Young Friends program since 2010 when she first moved to Philadelphia. She is a member of Maury River Friends Meeting in Baltimore Yearly Meeting and was very active as a young person in BYM, engaging in the Young Friends community and working at BYM’s Quaker camps. A graduate of Earlham College, she now lives in West Philadelphia and works at Pendle Hill as the Assistant to the Executive Director. When she isn’t working at Pendle Hill or with Young Friends, Hannah can be found atop a trapeze practicing circus arts, troubleshooting an issue with her house, or experimenting with a new grain-free recipe.
Upcoming Youth Programs: 
  • Young Friends Winter Gathering, Feb. 9-11 at West Chester Meeting
  • MSF Winter Gathering, Feb. 16-18 at Solebury Meeting
  • Spring Continuing Sessions, March 24 in Caln Quarter — Programs for all ages, including Sat-Sun overnight for Middle School Friends
  • Young Friends and Middle School Friends at Camp Swatara, May 4-6
  • Spring Family Overnight, May 26-27 at Camp Dark Waters
  • Annual Sessions! July 25-29 at the College of New Jersey