Meet our Fellows

Cohort 2016-2018 | Cohort 2015-2017 | Cohort 2014-2016 | Cohort 2013-2015

Bekah Ciccarello

Bekah is a farmer’s daughter, born and raised in sunny, Southern California. Some of her fondest memories as a young girl are picking strawberries by the bowl-full and upselling watermelons to the neighbors out of her red wagon.

After high school, Bekah chose to leave her paradise in California to attend Cedarville University in Ohio. She graduated there in 2014, but not before having her world rocked by Dr. Cook’s Urban Ministry class. This led her to attending an inner-city church where she was met by the needs of the inner-city poor - and met by her future husband.

Once married, Bekah and her husband, Anthony, chose to live in the church’s neighborhood where they felt God was calling them to live among those they were serving at church. After two years of inner-city life, they realized their need for more training on how to help their neighbors who were experiencing so much crippling poverty. This desire to learn is what led them to CrossPurpose.

If you need to know anything about Bekah, it is that she loves Jesus more than anything and that she is an avid dog-lover. She also loves eating ice cream, playing music and sports, being outdoors with her dog, baking delicious desserts, and is passionate about justice.

Shaun Frazier

A Though he will often reply “Chicago”, Shaun proudly hails from Bolingbrook, Illinois. From an early age he accepted Christ’s love into his life, but it was not until he attended college in Dayton, Ohio that he began to develop a deep relationship between the Creator and himself. This is also when he discovered his passion for helping others find their unique giftings and to become leaders.

After graduating college, he relocated to Southern California where he worked simultaneously with teens at the Boys and Girls Club and homeless adults at the Friendship Shelter. Facing 2 successful years of creating lasting relationships and excellent professional development, Shaun moved back to Dayton to help restructure and lead a startup nonprofit called Generation Pulse Ministries. He also had the honor of joining the Daybreak Inc. team through helping teens and young adults find housing and develop healthy daily living skills, rendering them self-sufficient.

Shaun joins the Fellowship excited to learn about leadership among non-profit management and grow in the deeper in his passion and relationship with God.

Brittany Jones

It’s not every day where you can find someone who can walk into a room for the first time and light it up or walk the streets of downtown Denver for the first time, hold a “FREE HUGS” sign, and hug complete strangers as if she has known them forever. If you see a person like that it’s probably Brittany.

Brittany was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio and is the youngest of nine children. Being a “church baby”, she has a huge servant’s heart for the church and her community. Because she was raised in the inner-city and her cultural awakening in high school, she believes God has placed her on this earth to be an advocate and resource to voices that are being overlooked and misconstrued. While studying sociology at Cedarville University, Brittany involved herself with student government, admissions, and assisting the director of Intercultural Leadership; positions that allowed her to push her agenda of making the minority student voice be heard. She also interned in federal and local judicial systems in Ohio, summer camps, and studied abroad in Ghana. While in Ghana, she volunteered at a non-profit that helps finance the education of children who are from low-income households.

As a CrossPurpose fellow, Brittany looks forward to getting the necessary tools to tend to the needs of the “Samaritans” in our society. She is a big neo-soul, R&B and hip hop connoisseur, watcher of cooking shows and crime drama television, and fan of the Carolina Panthers. Because of her big heart, Brittany shows her love through cooking and giving the “world’s best hugs”.

Jenna Parker

Jenna was born and raised in Rochester, New York. Her best days include large cups of coffee, escalators, shopping trips to Target, and fresh avocados.

Jenna recently graduated from Cedarville University with a Bachelor of Science degree in social work. Through various educational and ministry experiences during her college years, God grabbed both her attention and her heart for people suffering on the margins of society. It was during this time that she began to develop an eagerness to empower others to identify their strengths, to dream of what could be, and to utilize their unique abilities to achieve their goals.

While in the Fellowship, Jenna hopes to continue to press into and activate her passion for mobilizing individuals and communities to pursue the dreams God has imprinted on their hearts. As a visionary and an idealist, it is her deepest desire to continuously connect, learn, and innovate alongside of her neighbors in the city of Denver.

Kara Schumann

Kara Schumann was born and raised in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. She spent her childhood in the charming town of Taylors Falls, MN before landing in Minneapolis. Kara has a deep love for music, mango’s, and all things creative.

She graduated from the University of Northwestern – St. Paul in 2012 with a degree in Urban Studies. Upon graduating, Kara worked for a local non-profit and lived in the Phillips Neighborhood of South Minneapolis. While there, she discovered the beauty of front porch sitting, graffiti and Somali Tea. She also came to realize the importance of being a listener and intentionally seeking to learn from her neighbors.

While in the fellowship, Kara is excited to learn more about the unique ways she was created to love, serve, and lead. She is eager to be pushed, challenged and equipped. She is also excited to learn from and grow with others in the Fellowship as they dive into non-profit development work within the community.

Cohort 2016-2018 | Cohort 2015-2017 | Cohort 2014-2016 | Cohort 2013-2015

Rachel Dance

A southerner by birth, Rachel spent her childhood in a small town in South Carolina before settling in the Chattanooga Valley of Tennessee. In high school, the Lord focused her attention outside of her small corner of the world and onto the reality of people living in poverty around the globe. Following this passion, she went on to study international community development at Covenant College, with the intention of heading overseas following graduation. Her paths were redirected after learning about Providence Bible Church and the CrossPurpose Fellowship. As a Fellow, she is now looking forward to being planted in a space for two years where she can learn more about God's heartbeat and be engaged in his work in the city of Denver.

Following in the tradition of strong, hospitable family members, Rachel loves welcoming people into a crowded kitchen to eat, seeing lives transformed by believing the love of God, and wading with people into brokenness to uncover healing through the power of Christ. In her free time, Rachel can be found seeking unexpected beauty: in mountains, skies, rivers, and people.

Cynthia Lopez

Cynthia was born and raised in the heart of the Dominican Republic where she ate some variation of rice and beans Every. Every. Single. Day. She loves string cheese, making people laugh, reading, and toaster ovens.

Growing up in the DR gave her both an awareness of poverty and a sense of powerlessness when it came to addressing it. A desire to just do something about it led her to get involved in a couple of different church ministries including evangelistic clowning and youth work.

Through a series of fortunate events that only God could have orchestrated, her family moved to Miami, FL just two weeks before she started her junior year of high school. While life in Miami was an overall positive experience, she was disappointed by the surprising lack of clown evangelism.

In May 2015, she graduated with her B.A. in community development from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Studying community development ignited a passion and calling in Cynthia, replacing her sense of powerlessness around poverty with a sense of hope for those experiencing it. As a CrossPurpose Fellow, she is excited to learn from the kinds of people she wants to be like when she grows up, to be part of a community that loves their neighbors, and to eat more than just rice and beans.

Joel Friesen

Joel was born in Columbia, South Carolina but grew up in the capital of the Philippines as a son of missionaries. He loves playing soccer, reading, and poorly timed sarcasm. While being raised in Manila, a city that is home to hundreds of thousands of people who make less than a dollar a day, Joel was first introduced (from a distance) to stark economic poverty.

Joel graduated from Covenant College in May 2015 with a degree in community development. The summer before his senior year, Joel worked for a small nonprofit in Delaware. It was during this time that he began to feel a deep desire to be in the city again, but this time making its people’s dreams and hurts his own.

And so he found himself moving to Denver to be a neighbor, to do community development work, to be developed as a leader, and to follow Jesus with other believers.

Kristi Graydon

Kristi was born and raised in the land of thee Ohio State Buckeyes (Findlay, Ohio). She has always loved sports, hiking, nature photography, music, reading, cooking/baking, and good conversation.

In recent years her heart has been deeply captivated by and imprinted with the heart of God towards the hurting, marginalized, and forgotten. She has long yearned to be part of a multi-ethnic and multi-class church that is spreading the good news of Jesus in both word and in deed and is eager to learn from others who are engaging some of the city’s greatest challenges.

It is the love of Christ that compels her to spend her life fighting for the good of others. Getting to draw out the potential in others and empower them to accomplish their goals brings Kristi great joy. She is looking forward to developing mutually impactful relationships with diverse groups of people whom she ultimately aspires to influence in such a way that they too desire to give of their lives in commitment to Jesus.

Kristi is determined to be a lifelong learner who seeks opportunities outside of her comfort zone…and she audaciously intends on climbing every 14er in Colorado.

Taylor Schultz

Taylor was born and raised near Kalamazoo, Michigan where curiosity and tomfoolery defined his childhood. After Taylor’s pimple-filled adolescence he graduated from Gull Lake High School and went on to study Cultural Anthropology at Wheaton College (’14). Not knowing what to do with his life, he decided to work at a therapeutic boarding school for teenage guys where he experienced daily reminders of awkward teen-hood and God’s grace.

While studying anthropology at Wheaton, Taylor found he had a knack for relating to people who were seemingly different than him. However, he found that humans experience joy, pain, humor, injustice, hope and triumph in every context of the world. During college, Taylor studied abroad in Tanzania; worked at a transitional housing facility in Denver; and worked for a refugee resettlement agency outside Chicago. These experiences in different contexts taught him how to drink curdled milk and that connecting with people was actually a God-given passion and gift.

Through the Fellowship, Taylor hopes to experience the joys and challenges of joining a diverse community that has a long-term commitment to the flourishing of people’s physical and spiritual lives. Above all, he desires to dig his metaphorical roots into a community that is humble and determined, intent on implementing God’s truth both personally and corporately, and purposefully fosters a healing atmosphere for ALL of God’s broken children.

Johnell Moody

Johnell was born and raised in Denver, Colorado in the Five Points neighborhood. He is married with two children, both boys, that he cherishes and for whom he is most thankful to God. Johnell earned a Bachelor of Arts in human services from Columbia College-Denver and plans to further his education by obtaining a master's in organizational leadership. In his spare time he enjoys singing, playing basketball, and volunteering as Youth Sports Coordinator in basketball and football. More than these, however, he loves spending time with his family.

Johnell accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior and was baptized at the age of 7 at Zion Baptist Church, where he served graciously in multiple ministries. While Johnell has always had a deep connection with the Five Points community, it wasn’t until 2009 that Johnell felt called to the ministry to serve at-risk youth in northeast Denver. Growing up as a troubled youth himself who suffered in poverty, Johnell knows all too well the struggle of poverty and how that affects youth who grow up in northeast Denver. Johnell’s mother was a single parent of two children--himself and his younger brother.

He watched his mother struggle for many years, while himself falling victim to some of the negative influences of his neighborhood. Johnell firmly believes that his life was saved through an intervention youth program called Full Circle Inter-Generational Project. It provided both a male role model and academic mentorship, which helped Johnell navigate through his life’s struggles. It was through Full Circle Inter-Generational Project that Johnell found his passion, which is to give back to at-risk youth in the same fashion that was given to him: LIFE.

Hannah Leitch

"God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible--what a pity that we plan only the things we can do ourselves." A.W. Tozer

Hannah came to CrossPurpose in order to start living a life where she lets God reign instead of her fears. Hannah was born an Air Force brat in Grand Forks, North Dakota. A couple of years later her family moved to the Cleveland area. Hannah graduated from Cedarville University in 2010 and served as a social worker in northeast Ohio. During those years, she developed and facilitated a community-based teen program, worked as a counselor at a group home, and recently was a school-based therapist in the Lorain and Cleveland public schools.

Hannah is inspired by the resiliency and passion of young people and desires to become a more effective minister to youth in the city. She is motivated by a yearning to see young people realize their God-given gifts and come to an understanding of the love, hope, and healing found in a relationship with God as they become leaders of their generation.

Hannah also appreciates chocolate, peanut butter, traveling, the color pink, jamming out in her car, worship, and spending time with friends and family.

Cassandra Pugh

Cassandra hails from Dallas, Texas where she spent seven years in full-time ministry at a multi-site church. While there, she was a children’s Pastor and the trainer for the children’s ministry curriculum that is developed by the church. Before that, Cassandra spent four years in retail and restaurant management.

Cassandra is passionate about making sure all God’s people are seen and treated with the love, hope, & care He intended. She strives to challenge views that would present any people group as inferior.

Some of Cassandra’s many loves are Spanish music, high heels, ethnic food, and seeing the church stand united in Christ. She is a proud Aunt of three amazing nieces and a nephew but still has plenty of room in her heart to love her three awesome godkids!

Cohort 2016-2018 | Cohort 2015-2017 | Cohort 2014-2016 | Cohort 2013-2015

Kayla Berndt

Kayla Berndt was born and raised in Brooklyn Park, MN. She is a lover of sunflowers, biographies of inspirational people, diners, coffee, adventures, and building deep relationships. Kayla is a creative, passionate, learning individual who aims to use this combination to become an urban leader who builds and empowers individuals.

Kayla recently graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a Bachelor of Arts in urban Ministry. While in college, she was exposed to a variety of different community development organizations and has developed a deeper understanding and appreciation of the complex issues of the urban context.

While in the fellowship, Kayla hopes to excel and grow deeper into her passions. Specifically, she is looking forward to nurturing a deep relationship within the community, building further understanding of best practices to empower and build communities, as well as discovering what the Lord has planned for her.

Fedline David

My name is Fedline. I grew up in Haiti. I moved to Colorado when I was fifteen years old. My parents sent me to America to have a better life and to find treatment for my cleft palate that could not be performed in Haiti. Through high school, I struggled to live in a foreign country and adapt to a different culture and language. I lived in a halfway house for two years with my beautiful daughter, where I started a relationship with God. He has transformed my life and I've learned so much about him and his character. Most of all, I learned of who I am in him, his unconditional love for me and his desire to have a deep-rooted relationship with me.

I like to read and write, and I also like spending time with people I love. I love to laugh and be around funny, godly, and positive people. I have a heart for teenage mothers who struggle to accept and embrace themselves as they are, not what society says they are, based on their past unhealthy choices.

Curtis Minter, Jr.

Curtis was born and raised in the great city of Akron, Ohio, home of NBA Superstar LeBron James! He is a preacher’s kid who sincerely loves the church and has always been involved in some facet. He would like to think of himself as a music connoisseur, professional athlete and food critic. Just sort of, but not really.

Curtis is nearly finished with his formal education at The University of Akron; however, he’s thrilled about the active training he’ll receive thru the CrossPurpose Center.

Life experiences have taught him three things: adversity unveils true character, service precedes leadership and Christian love is a network that never fails. These core values have led Curtis in becoming a Fellow, and he's excited to see the Gospel flushed out in ordinary lives in an extraordinary way!

Grant Pestka

Grant was born and raised in central Illinois. He grew up in church and graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a BA in pastoral ministry. Grant enjoys playing music with others, eating deep-dish pizza, thinking deeply about and discussing most topics, and making awesome or useful things.

Grant is passionate about seeing the Church healthily living out being the body of Christ. He is a gifted listener and able to understand all the vantage points in conflict. He hopes to develop this gift to be able to use it to help defuse conflicts and restore relationships. Grant desires to be an agent of reconciliation both in personal relationships and in terms of broader systemic, social and political issues. He is excited to spent the next two years on the font lines of ministry with CPCUL and Providence Bible Church.

Cohort 2016-2018 | Cohort 2015-2017 | Cohort 2014-2016 | Cohort 2013-2015

Allyson Coan

Allyson was born and raised in the suburbs just outside the city of Denver. She loves hiking, black coffee, and conversations with people who are learning the English language.

After spending time at a university in Southern California for a degree in international studies, she moved back to Denver to ask questions, climb mountains, and do a whole lot of belly laughing. One year into the Fellowship, and she's been able to do all of those with a group of people who dream big dreams in the Nine Neighborhoods.

While in the Fellowship, Allyson will continue to explore what it means to be rooted in community, learn how to live authentically in the city, and explore her strengths as a leader. She's combining her love for refugees and passion as an ESL teacher to build relationships in Denver. She is also leading the girls’ discipleship group at Providence Bible Church, and is so excited to know and be known by girls in the neighborhood.

Carolyn Reiley

Carolyn was born and raised in New Jersey. She delights in teaching and caring for small children. Carolyn enjoys digging deep in friendships and making food for people.

Carolyn graduated from Cedarville University with a Bachelor of Arts in early childhood education. After graduating, Carolyn moved to China and taught kindergarten for six years in an international school before joining the Fellowship.

Carolyn’s focus in the Fellowship is refugee ministry. She is passionate about building relationships with and serving refugees in the community. After the fellowship, she hopes to combine her passion for educating young children and loving refugees by teaching refugee children in an elementary school setting.

Christy Schmidt

Christy was born in Milwaukee and spent most of her childhood in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. Christy loves building deep relationships, writing poetry, doing crafts, sipping coffee, laughing, living in the city, learning about new cultures and crossing items off her bucket list. She is thankful for her deep relationships with God, her family, and her friends.

Christy graduated from Moody Bible Institute with her BA in urban ministry.

During the first year of her fellowship experience, Christy learned how essential it is to stay connected with the Vine in order to live an abundant life and be able to pour into others in a Spirit-filled way. Christy also experienced the beauty of authentic community and learned that difficult conversations are needed and not something to avoid. She also learned more about her personality and how she can thrive in everyday life.

Christy is passionate about mentoring girls and giving them hope through Jesus Christ. She co-leads a girl's Bible study with girls from Manuel High School, alongside Cru High School ministry, and mentors two of the girls. She enjoys using her love for soccer and art to inspire and encourage youth to be who God created them to be. God has also placed a deep compassion in her heart for girls in the justice system. She is currently seeking God to find out where he wants to use her gifts in this area and is excited to see where God leads her on this journey.

Antonio Johnson

Antonio was born in Lansing, Michigan and spent the first half of his life moving all over by way of his stepfather being in the United States Army before finally settling down in Colorado in middle school. He has been on his own since the age of 17 after losing his parents to a murder-suicide. He then went on to finish high school and graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with a Bachelors of Science in business and a double major in Marketing and Service Management. Even with the surface accomplishments, Antonio was neither impervious to nor well equipped to handle the pressures one would encounter in the face of such adversity, especially without a relationship with God. This resulted in several years of straddling the fence and ultimately his going to prison shortly after graduating from college. Prison is what saved Antonio’s life, taking him from what he wasn’t strong enough to do himself.

It has been a long and arduous journey thus far, and he’s expeexperienced more at this point in his life than many in a lifetime, all of which he feels was for a purpose greater than himself. Antonio desires to work with at-risk youth and adults and has the vision to start his own nonprofits as well as community centers down the line.

Jenny Medrano

Jenny was born and raised in South Elgin, Illinois. The city of Elgin is where Jenny first experienced cultural diversity and she has been craving this type of environment ever since. Jenny is insanely passionate about education and fighting all types of injustice in the city. She hopes to become an urban leader who empowers the next generation of minority leaders, advocates for the systemically oppressed,and acts as a bridge-builder in the area of racial reconciliation.

Jenny graduated from Wheaton College with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a concentration in language Arts.

Currently, Jenny is in her second year of the Fellowship. This year is focused on a passion area that is a mixture of youth development, high school education, and multicultural development. Jenny has joined the Young Life organization where she will be serving on staff for the next two years. This job is focused on holistically developing youth and discipling youth who show an interest in Christ. Jenny has also accepted a part-time teaching position at Cole DSST high school in Denver. She is teaching an elective called Media Studies- a class focused on teaching students how to analyze the media from a sociological perspective. This Media Studies class is the connecting factor between her work on Young Life and CPCUL staff, as it serves as an outlet to both develop youth and grow as an urban leader. Jenny is also leading the Multicultural Development Team- a team made-up of fellows who are focused on developing CPCUL in the area of race and culture through exploration, discussion and celebration.

Jenny hopes that her CPCUL experience will transform her into a selfless leader who unites people to work towards altruistic goals that further the kingdom of Jesus Christ.