Meet The YA Team

Leif E. Green (he/him)

 – CEO 

Email: lgreen@youngamericans.org

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!

Eric Funk (he/him)

Production Manager & Producer

Email: efunk@youngamericans.org

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.

Mariah Parker (she/her)

Outreach Coordinator

Email: mparker@youngamericans.org

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!

Justin Bobbs (he/him)

Media & Production Coordinator

Email: jbobbs@youngamericans.org

Phone: (951) 493-6753 Ext:

Bob Marino (he/him)

Operations Manager

Email: bmarino@youngamericans.org

Phone: (951) 493-6753 Ext: 00104

Bob Marino recently returned from London conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for a series of Broadway recording sessions at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios and has just confirmed a booking to return this December for another project with the London Symphony.  Broadway credits include Kiss of The Spider Woman, starring Vanessa Williams, Sunset Blvd., starring Glenn Close, Into The Woods, starring Bernadette Peters, and Hello Dolly, starring Nell Carter, and Joanne Worley.  Tours include Jerry Lewis – “Unlimited”, Ben Vereen and Leslie Uggams – “On Broadway”, Harry Blackstone (5years), Don Rickles and Joan Rivers – “In Concert”, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Three Tenors (Rome), Andrea Boccelli, The New York Tenors, Peter Cetera,  Bob has had the pleasure of accompanying some of the greatest entertainers in the industry including Mel Torme, Andy Williams, Henry Mancini, Peter Cetera, Steve Allen, Lionel Ritchie, Savion Glover, Quincy Jones, Jackie Evancho, John Raitt, Peggy Lee, John Denver, George Burns, Jerry Herman, Carol Channing, Shirley Jones, Toni Tennille, and many others.  Bob was the associate producer and drummer for the Legends of Swing which received 3 Grammy nominations.  Bob has conducted, musical directed, played drums and percussion, technically designed, lighting designed, and produced over 400 full-scale musical productions.

Talya Franklin (she/her)

Finance Manager

Email: tfranklin@youngamericans.org

Phone: (951) 493-6753 Ext:

Additional Contractors

Kendra Shaw (she/her)

Harbor Springs Camp Coordinator 

Email: kshaw@harborps.org

Mandi Richards (she/her)

Harbor Springs Camp Registration

Melissa Robinson, RN (she/her)

Performer Wellness Advocate

I recently joined the Young Americans as the YA team Registered Nurse coach. In one way or another, I’ve been focused on prevention & helping people honor their inner knowing to promote optimal health.
Before joining the YA’s, I worked at MNM and created “Zen Dens” — relaxation rooms for healthcare colleagues. My ultimate goal is to create retreats for Healthcare workers to teach them to perform self-care.
When not promoting health & wellness, I’m soaking up northern Michigan with my husband Mike Robbins and our two wonderful boys & daughter-in-law. You may see me walking, forest bathing boating, taking photos, socializing with friends or shopping locally for fresh ingredients to make healthy plant-based meals.

 Kristy Balthazor (she/her)

– Arkansas Dinner Theatre Manager

Email: Centerstageeureka@gmail.com

Phone: (479) 239-2062

Website: https://centerstageeureka.com