Maximizing young leaders' potential to impact their world through public health, education, and sports initiatives
Founder | Executive Director | Interim Board President
Dave brings a 25 year professional history to his position as Executive Director at Youth Futures International. His qualifications include serving as a certified educator and high school administrator, founder and CEO of The Safe Haven Project, Inc., and former Director of the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine in Boston.
He is often quoted as saying, "When I meet and interact with our global young leaders, I see a successful, fruitful, and vast future. I sleep well at night by knowing that our world is in great hands due to these creative, energetic, and bold young leaders."
Board of Directors - Treasurer
Brooke Mapes of Typhoon Excavation in Williston, ND joined the YFI Board of Directors in June 2019.
Board of Directors - Secretary
Eli Black of Black Investments in Williston, ND joined the YFI Board of Directors as Secretary in June 2019.
Curriculum Specialist |
Board of Directors
Kerri has been a leader in education and athletics for 18 years, teaching in Michigan, North Dakota and Colorado. She brings to YFI her extensive experience in program innovation, administrative supervision, and a dynamic leadership style. Ms. Stahly desires to empower the next generation of leaders to thrive in a global setting. She serves her community by coaching, teaching, and instilling leadership in students she teaches. Ms. Stahly has coached Odyssey of the Mind, as well as multiple sports including volleyball, softball, basketball and track. She specializes in curriculum development, athletic leadership and physical education instruction. Ms. Stahly resides in Colorado with her active family of five often hiking the Rocky Mountains and enjoys reading, horseback riding, camping and scrap-booking family adventures.
Director of UMI Programs
Jeremy entered the University of Wisconsin-Madison with the intent of being a pre-med student and ended up majoring in International Relations, Political Science, History of Science, and History of Medicine while dabbling for a few semesters in Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Psychology. He has a long history working with youth in summer and year-round camps, first as a counselor out of high school and lastly as camp director, a year-round position managing all aspects of camp operations and staffing. Mr. Yelich has traveled and lived extensively around the world and has only one continent to step foot on...Antarctica.
In-Country Program Director - Ghana
Stephen was born and raised in Accra, Ghana and moved to Dominase when he was 18. He began working with YFI during the organization's pilot Serve, Learn, & Empower program in 2010 and quickly became the in-country Assistant Program Director after discovering his love for teaching. Since joining YFI, Mr. Adjei has graduated from Cape Coast Polytechnic with a degree in Marketing and taught ICT at the Asante Akyem Agogo School in Kumasi for his National Service. He is now pursuing a second degree in Education from the University of Cape Coast.
YFI Founding Student
Allyson, from Boulder, CO is currently a fifth grade teacher in Frederick, CO. She first got involved with YFI after attending the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine at UCLA in 2009. Allyson states, "I was incredibly inspired by Dave Butler's passion for service and leadership and could not turn down the opportunity to help develop and attend the YFI's first Serve, Learn, & Empower program in Ghana in 2010. The leadership opportunities I have been provided have inspired me to return to Ghana, change my career path from medicine to elementary education, and travel internationally for other great causes. I am tremendously grateful for how this amazing organization lit a fire in me to serve, learn, and empower!" Allyson is not only YFI's founding student, but the very model of a young leader that YFI is honored to have for all future participants.
Social Media Director
Adna is a student at Simmons College majoring in Public Health and double minoring in Chemistry and Journalism. She was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and moved to the United States when she was two years old. Adna is currently pursuing a career in Medicine, specifically pediatric psychiatry. In the Summer of 2011, she met Dave Butler through the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine and her life has been forever altered since. Working with YFI these past few years has instilled a passion in her for Public Health and Human Rights. Adna has worked with YFI on creating her own program and attended the YFI Serve, Learn, & Empower program in Ghana. She feels beyond blessed to have been able to have attended these programs and is thrilled to be taking a more active role within the organization as Social Media Director.
Regional Liaison Officer - UK
Charlotte is an aspiring doctor from Shropshire, England. She was first introduced to YFI in October 2014 when Dave Butler spoke to Ellesmere College about the organization and was instantly inspired and motivated to get involved as much as she possibly could. Charlotte believes YFI to be a fantastic organization which helps young leaders have the potential to make an impact in the world.
Melanie came to YFI in 2012 after learning about the organization while attending the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. During the conference, she heard Executive Director Dave Butler present on YFI as a Keynote Speaker.
Melanie approached Mr. Butler and asked him if there was the possibility that she could participate in a program in the future and if he would be interested in traveling to Beirut, Lebanon to speak at her high school. Over the next two years Melanie worked very hard to arrange visits to both her high school, The College Notre Dame de Jamhour, and to American University of Beirut (AUB) to speak during her freshman year of college.
Sadly, Melanie passed away on February 1, 2015 due to injuries sustained in a ski accident in Lebanon. This was not only a tremendous loss for her family, but for her local community as well as the global community through her associations with organizations such as Youth Futures International, Model United Nations, and Global Young Leaders Conference. Melanie truly exhibited exemplary leadership skills and, through her efforts and passion, made a great impact in Beirut, a city for which she had great pride.
Youth Futures International is proud to memorialize Melanie by naming her as an Honorary Regional Liaison Officer from Beirut. The Melanie Freiha Memorial Scholarship has also been established by YFI in an effort to assist a student attend a YFI program of their interest. Melanie’s younger sister Adriana is already ‘taking the torch’ left behind by her sister and is arranging opportunities in Beirut for YFI to present at schools in hopes of having students from Lebanon join its programs in the future.
David R. Buchanan, DrPh
Public Health Practice & Education Consultant
David Buchanan, DrPH, is a Full Professor of Community Health Education, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Director of the Institute for Global Health. He earned both his master’s degree and his doctorate in health education from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. His primary research interests include public health ethics; broadening public health goals to look beyond physical fitness towards improving quality of life; expanding human autonomy and promoting social justice; community-based participatory research; identifying more appropriate criteria for evaluating community health education programs, such as the degree of community input and control, and degree of trust between partners; and international health. Among his many publications, he is the author of An Ethic for Health Promotion: Rethinking the Sources of Human Well-Being published by Oxford University Press.
Executive Program Director - Ghana
Zoe began her association with YFI by volunteering for the Safe Haven Project summer camps for children and youth with HIV/AIDS in 2005. Her work with HIV positive youth influenced her to obtain a Health Policy and Administration degree that completed in 2010 from The Pennsylvania State University. While a college student, Ms. Baylin studied abroad in Ghana for one semester and moved back to Ghana for 14 months after she graduated where she taught Personal and Social Health Education at the British International School in Accra for the 2010-11 academic year.