Meet The YA Staff

Leif E. Green (he/him)

 – CEO 


Phone: (951) 493-6753 Ext: 00101

In 1976, when the Young Americans came to Wheeling, West Virginia, sixteen-year-old Leif Green was eager to audition. When he was accepted a few months later, he was thrilled and eagerly prepared himself for an adventure of a lifetime, which turned out to be a lifelong adventure!

After three years of performing with The Young Americans, Green followed his childhood dream of becoming a professional actor. He became a member of the Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity and appeared in commercials, television, stage, and film. Most notably starring in Paramount Pictures Grease 2 and the Emmy Award-winning ABC Afterschool Special, The Woman Who Willed A Miracle, opposite Cloris Leachman.

After four years of acting, Green, acutely aware of the tragedy and loss caused by the raging AIDS pandemic, began volunteering, with the AIDS Walkathon movement. This led to a part-time job, which lead to a full-time job, which lead to a career spanning 25 years. He worked as a community organizer, administrator, fundraiser, producer, and creative director. During his tenure in the fight against AIDS, he raised more than $350,000,000 for AIDS charities all over the country.

Green also spent time managing the pilot program for The Library Initiative! for the Robin Hood Foundation, which built state-of-the-art libraries in ten elementary schools in New York City’s five boroughs. The pilot program was a success and resulted in over 250 libraries being built in the following ten years.

Green also had a passion for animation and has worked as a production manager at Walt Disney Feature Animation and Warner Animation Group. His credits include Hercules, Tarzan, Mulan, Brother Bear 2, Osmosis Jones, The Looney Tunes Back in Action, Space Jam 2, The Lego Movie 2, and DC League of Super Pets.

Coming full circle, Green is again thrilled to be joining The Young Americans and eager to create adventures for young performers all over the globe!

Talya Franklin (she/her)

Vice President of Accounting, Administration, & Human Resource 


Phone: (951) 493-6753

Eric Funk (he/him)

Director of Production


Phone: (951) 493-6753 Ext: 00122

Eric is originally from Clarion, Pennsylvania, but now calls Southern California home. He has always been involved in the arts, but after taking a Young Americans Workshop while in high school, he knew it was what he wanted to do forever. Eric joined The Young Americans in the New Kid class of 2016. While in the group, he traveled all over the world. From Asia, Europe, and all across the U.S., Eric has worked with tens of thousands of children and helped them find confidence and friendship through the performing arts. Eric is the current Production Manager/Producer for all of YA’s projects and is honored to be apart of such an amazing team.

Justin Bobbs (he/him)

Media & Production Coordinator


Mariah Parker (she/her)

Outreach Coordinator


Phone: (951) 493-6753 Ext: 00120

Mariah Parker, the current Outreach Coordinator for The Young Americans, began her journey with us as a New Kid in 2015. She’s traveled and taught with us in 7 countries and several states in The US. As a child, she found safety in expressing herself through the arts and performance. Now she finds passion in helping give students around the globe the same opportunity. If you or anyone you know is an educator and would like to have us in your community please let her know!

Elliot Brummond (he/him)

Production Coordinator


Willie Jones (he/him)

Programs Coordinator


Belle Hein (she/her)

– Technical Coordinator


Rumeya Balendran (she/her)

Finance Generalist 


Additional Contractors

Kendra Shaw (she/her)

Harbor Springs Camp Coordinator 


Mandi Richards (she/her)

Harbor Springs Camp Registration

Melissa Robinson, RN (she/her)

Michigan Performer Wellness Advocate

 Kristy Balthazor (she/her)

– Arkansas Dinner Theatre Manager


Phone: (479) 239-2062