Meet the Board

IMG_8561.jpg

Ben Young

General Board

Ben Young is an undergraduate at the University of Florida studying history and political science. He is Vice President of the Navigators, a student ministry on campus that focuses on small-group Bible study and one-on-one discipleship. Before being appointed to the board, Ben spent 2 years as a volunteer with Gainesville Thrives. Being the son of educators, Ben is passionate about literacy and the power that it has to transform lives. 

Linda Fuchs

Executive Board

Linda Fuchs does research and writing about third-century Christian art history. She has previously served as Chair of the Board of Chesterton House, a Christian Study Center, in Ithaca, NY. Since arriving in Gainesville, she assists in hosting activities of the University of Florida as the spouse of its president, Kent Fuchs. Her outreach interests in literacy and mentoring have led to the founding of Gainesville Thrives. 

Fuchs.jpg

Linda Fuchs

Executive Board

Linda Fuchs does research and writing about third-century Christian art history. She has previously served as Chair of the Board of Chesterton House, a Christian Study Center, in Ithaca, NY. Since arriving in Gainesville, she assists in hosting activities of the University of Florida as the spouse of its president, Kent Fuchs. Her outreach interests in literacy and mentoring have led to the founding of Gainesville Thrives. 

Judy Olenik Headshot.JPG

Judy Olenik

General Board

Judy Olenik served with her late husband Richard for 35 years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Kenya through Mission Aviation Fellowship.  In Africa, she tracked flights, worked in offices, taught English, regularly visited people in a hospital for Hansen's Disease, helped start a church, and raised four children.  She moved to Gainesville in 2019 to be near 3 of her 11 grandchildren, who attend Williams Elementary School.  In Gainesville, she volunteers with Gainesville Thrives, SIRA, Baker Interfaith Friends (visiting people detained), and Grace Marketplace Clothing Closet.

Yolanda Hagley Fluellen Head shot.jpg

Yolanda Hagley-Fluellen

General Board

Yolanda Hagley-Fluellen is a business owner, entrepreneur and community advocate for families and children. Her 30 years of early childhood experience include serving as Director of Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) (1999-2015) in Alachua County and volunteering with the Alachua County Public Schools, the Alachua County Library District, the Alachua County Children's Alliance, the Early Learning Coalition, the United Way of North Florida, the City of Gainesville, Santa Fe College East Gainesville Instruction, faith-based initiatives, the Cultural Arts Coalition, Gainesville Thrives, and Gainesville For All.  She founded the local affiliate of the Educational Pipeline to Academic Success (EPAS), a cradle-to-college academic support program.

Amanda Hodges.jpg

Amanda Hodges

General Board

Amanda Hodges is an Associate Extension Scientist and DPM (Doctor of Plant Medicine) Director in the University of Florida, Entomology and Nematology Department. Amanda received her PhD in Entomology from the University of Georgia in 2002, and her current research, extension, and teaching program focuses on invasive species, biosecurity, and pest management. Amanda enjoys mentoring graduate and undergraduate students, and her students often participate in outreach opportunities to local schools throughout Florida. She and her husband, Greg Hodges, have actively served as volunteers at local UMC (United Methodist Church) congregations since their arrival to Gainesville in 2002. Locally, Amanda has also enjoyed serving at Grace Grows, a food-security focused non-profit that collaborates and shares facilities with Grace Marketplace.

B10.jpg

Laura N. Lynch

Advisory Panel

Laura N. Lynch worked as a pediatric and labor and delivery nurse for ten years before “retiring” to take care of her growing family and devote more time to volunteer work. All four of her children attended Alachua County public schools. In 2000, Laura, along with her husband Jay, were co-founders of the Christian Study Center of Gainesville which serves the university community at large. She currently serves as the director of development on a part-time, pro bono basis and continues to promote the Center. Among other things, Laura serves her church, hosts a variety of groups and mentors young people.

greg.jpg

Rev. Steve Gregg

Executive Board

Rev. Steve Gregg is Lead Pastor at Creekside Community Church at 2640 NW 39th Ave., having served on the pastoral staff there for 23+ years. He has been instrumental in establishing a partnership of Creekside Community Church with Glen Springs Elementary School.  His wife Kim Gregg, former Chair of the Board for Gainesville Thrives, works at JJ Finley Elementary School and has founded an after-school homework help group for middle school youth in the Horizon House residential complex community room.  Kim continues to volunteer with Gainesville Thrives.

Senior-Pastor-George-Dix-400.jpg

Dr. George Dix Jr.

Executive Board

George Dix, Jr. is the Senior Pastor, Founder of PASSAGE Family Church and President of the PMI Ministerial & Leadership Development Institute based in Gainesville, Florida. Pastor George holds a Doctorate of Divinity degree from St. Thomas Christian University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida. Pastor George is a passionate educator and Kingdom builder. He is, particularly, a strong advocate for Christian-based education. He and his wife Michele officially launched PASSAGE Ministries in March of 2002. Together they also established their first church location, a second church site in Gainesville, two (2) certified pre-schools, a certified kindergarten thru 12th grade high school, a Ministerial Institute, a daily radio broadcast, and a social media internet ministry. He is an international speaker, leadership trainer, visionary, and business entrepreneur. PASSAGE Ministries' has global missions and evangelism efforts in North America, Haiti, Africa, and the Dominican Republic.

8F7913D9-EEDE-4B68-8184-B235BA7A77D2.JPG

Leah Galione

General Board

Leah Galione is the Literacy Director of the Gainesville Bridge. After graduating from UF in Psychology, Leah began serving as college outreach director for the Gainesville Vineyard church and working as a group fitness instructor for UF and Gainesville Health and Fitness. Leah is married to attorney Bill Galione. For 12 years she has homeschooled their 5 children,

some of whom have recently begun attending Alachua County Public Schools. She has served The Vineyard as a Sunday School teacher and a

member of the Leadership Team. Leah enjoys running, reading, and beach trips with her family.

Elizabeth Gadsby

Dr. Elizabeth Gadsby

General Board

Dr. Elizabeth Gadsby is a University of Florida alumna with a B.S. in microbiology, along with a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Georgia Tech and M.A. in biblical and theological studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. She and her husband, James, met at UF and moved to Atlanta after graduation and recently returned to Gainesville. They were active with the UF Alumni Association and served in their community with Desire Street Ministries, Peachtree Road Race, Girl Scouts, Passion City Church, Walk to Emmaus, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and others. Elizabeth has a demonstrated record of over 25 years of leadership experience at Fortune 500 corporations and biotech startups.

Jacob Muller Headshot

Jacob Muller

General Board, Webmaster

Jacob Muller is a 3rd year Computer Engineering student at the University of Florida. 

pastor George.jpg

Pastor Gerard Duncan

Advisory Panel

Pastor Gerard Duncan is a native of Carol City, Florida. He is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Prayers by Faith Outreach Ministries based in Gainesville, Florida. A long-time advocate for re-entry and mentoring programs for at-risk youth and their families, he organized events that targeted at-risk youth and engaged them with recreational and educational activities. He and a group of young men he mentored through his fatherhood training program, Innovative Dads, engaged local youth and their families with outreach events to bridge relationships between these youth and their families, local law enforcement, and educational and social service organizations. Pastor Duncan believes empowering families with the awareness of possible socio-economic opportunities provides measurable outcomes and sustainability.

pastor karl.png

Pastor Karl Anderson

Advisory Panel

Pastor Karl Anderson is President of the Alachua County Christian Pastor’s Association.  He is one of the Founders and Senior Pastors of Upper Room Church of God in Christ. Upper Room's Community Impact Corporation (URCIC) is a 501c3 that developed a ‘Youth Impact' program to provide mentors as role models for youth and families.  It focuses on training to reach educational goals, make decisions, connect through fellowship, and find career resources, while engaging the family so that systemic changes can take place in the home. URCIC provides activities to structure interaction between youth and their families through UR Youth Center and Performance Arts Academy, UR Fun! Summer Camp and UR Afterschool Tutorial and Mentorship Program. UR Afterschool Tutorial and Mentorship Program partners with the Village and Forest neighborhoods.

Meet the Staff

Jacob Muller Headshot

Jacob Muller

Webmaster

Computer Engineering student at the University of Florida

Transparent Logo.png

Emely Espinosa

Fundraising and Grant Writing

Family, Youth, and Community Sciences student at the University of Florida

Transparent Logo.png

Brittany Bryant

Outreach

Family, Youth, and Community Sciences student at the University of Florida

Transparent Logo.png

Caroline Emmerich

Graphic Design

Art and Advertising student at the University of Florida