Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is made up of caring, engaged leaders who are passionate about reaching the lost and hurting youth in our local community. They provide direction, oversight, and vision for our Executive Director, Mike Chaplinsky. The Board meets monthly for prayer, ministry updates, strategic planning and are active in their support of Suncoast Youth for Christ.

Meet our Board

  • Frank Brunner | Chairman

    Executive Director | Manatee Crime Stoppers  

    I grew up in Bradenton, Florida and graduated in 1985 from Manatee High School. I attended The United States Military Academy at West Point, earning a BS degree in American Political and Diplomatic History. I was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army Infantry. It was my honor to serve in Operations Desert Shield / Desert Storm, leading 30 Infantry Men / 4 Armored Vehicles into the Euphrates River Valley during the Iraq invasion.

    While serving 3 terms on the Manatee County School Board, I developed a passion for educating young people and preparing them to be successful citizens. I am passionate about imparting Biblical Truth to young people, as well as patriotism, love of country and a biblical world view.

    I am currently the Executive Director of Manatee Crime Stoppers and the President of the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers. (FACS). I serve as Chaplain for Kirby Stewart Post #24, as well as Assistant Chaplain at State College of Florida. 

    Married to Dr. Tamara Cornwell, we are blessed to have twin sons, Joshua & Luke.

    I’m involved in YFC because I’m passionate about ensuring our young people know the Truth (NOT as a concept, but rather as a Person…Jesus!) 

  • Rev. Steve Baran | Vice Chairman
     
    President, National Christian Counselors Association
     
    Since arriving in Florida in 2002, my service in full-time pastoral counseling ministry has truly allowed me to see the needs of our community. Society plays a role in the development of our Youth. That role can be positive or negative. Youth for Christ is committed to being a positive influence as we actively and passionately seek out the Youth of today. Through these efforts, we are developing Ambassadors of Christ whose foundation is built upon Jesus and cannot be shaken! I consider serving with Youth for Christ a privilege that allows me to be a part of this Great Awakening!

  • Mel Benitez 

    Director General | Revista Latina

    Professionally, I am a Web Designer, with a passion for photography and graphic design, as well as knowledge of media production. I am fluent in English and Spanish, am a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, and always enjoy helping others.

    It is my belief that the younger generations are the future and we need to invest in them.

  • Harold Caballeros

    Entrepreneur  |

    I was born in Guatemala, Central America the same year my family founded a Christian Ministry.  Growing up in this environment gave me a profound appreciation of service and Christian faith. Educated in Britain, I have a BA in Marketing and an MSc in Social Sciences. After schooling, I returned to Guatemala where I founded a company focused on marketing and logistics for the Central American market. In 2017, I sold this business and decided to pursue my wife’s career in writing so we moved to Sarasota County. In deep appreciation of how God has blessed me and my family, I embrace the privilege to be part of the YFC board and contribute my experience to the cause.

    My wife, Monique, my son, Harold Jr. and I live in Venice very close to the 180 House!

  • George Junior Finch

    Retired

    I am a graduate of Miami Carol City High, served 3 years in the Army, 19 years in Florida National Guard and was deployed 8 months in Desert storm. I have worked 25 years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a Maintenance Foreman. I've also served my community as youth minster at my local church in Miami, with Fellowship of Christian Athletes as Chaplin to the Stranahan Football team, and in the inmate recidivism program with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I was also honored to serve as a voluntary Chaplin with the Broward County Sheriff office for four years and with Manatee County Sheriff office for one year.

    I am married to Deborah Finch and the proud father of Brandie and George Michael.  We moved to the Bradenton area in 2014 for the purpose of helping our church build and grow in the community.

    My number one reason for joining the Youth for Christ Board is to see lives of young people transformed through Jesus Christ.  I fervently desire their betterment which will improve our community as a whole.  

  • Burt Kramer | Secretary

    Visionary & Entrepreneur  | Luxevo Vacations

     

    Being able to watch my three sons grow up in youth groups and Christian education, I saw first hand the importance of having a solid foundation in Christ for growing young minds and souls. Being able to serve on the Suncoast Youth for Christ board allows me to do my part to help continue His work in the lives of our area teens.

  • Scott Van Ness | Treasurer

    I earned a B.S.B.A in Finance and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Florida.  After years of practicing law, I was called to be the Director of Finance for Good News Pest Solutions.   I am a born-again Christian whose life mission is to encourage, empower and equip Believers to live life God’s way.  My gifting is as a strategist and I enjoy utilizing my skills to help steward all that God has entrusted to me and to allow God’s light to reflect in all I do.  

    My greatest roles are as a husband and father.  I am married to Kristin and we are blessed with a blended family that includes 6 grown children.  We live in Parrish, Florida with our dog Samson.

    In my spare time, I enjoy boating, swimming, officiating high school football games, and serving as Treasurer of the Suncoast Youth for Christ organization.  Serving with Youth for Christ allows me to use the gifts entrusted to me by God to further the kingdom and help a wonderful group of people share the Gospel and pour love into a new generation that so desperately needs to see it.  




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