Staff & Board
Executive Director — Carl Geissinger accepted the part time position of YPM Executive Director effective July 1, 2018. Carl is one of a long line of committed and passionate leaders since YPM’s inception.
Carl pastored Manbeck Mennonite Church for twenty years, served as interim pastor at Boyer Mennonite Church, and as a pastor at Barrville Mennonite Church. Carl also served as chaplain at Snyder County Prison for six years. Carl has been involved with Yokefellows for 35 years serving as the SUN Council Director for 10 of those years and as a Yokefellow volunteer in the Snyder County Jail for 25 years. In addition to shepherding people, Carl has also been a sheep shearer since 1976.
Regional Director of SC Region — Mike Knott accepted the part-time position in Oct 2018.
Mike Knott came to Yokefellowship in a rather indirect manner. After a 27 year career in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections he semi-retired; working part-time for the PA Prison Society and then in the community mental health field. In 2014 he decided to truely retire and devote his time to his grand-children, gardening and golf. A chance meeting with a chaplain (David Bowen) he had worked with when assigned to SCI-Smithfield changed his plans. The two talked and got together on a frequent basis. Mike was brought to Jesus Christ and Yokefellows and before long he was “back in the jug,” not as a counselor or administrator but in a much more important role, he was a Yokefellows volunteer. It was what he needed spiritually and fed his long held belief that people can and do change. In addition to serving as SE Region Regional Director Mike volunteers at SCI Rockview and is very active at 15th Street Methodist Church in Huntingdon, Pa.
Regional Director of SE Region — John Rush accepted the part-time position in May 2018, replacing Alma Maldonado Colon who served since Sept 2011.
John previously served as YPM Executive Director from January 2001 through June 2011, traveling the state to support and grow the Area Councils. YPM was just one of many hats John wore in his professional commitment to help returning citizens successfully transition into society. John’s prison ministry began in 1966 in Richmond, VA working with juvenile delinquents. He served as Chaplain at the Berks County Youth Detention Center from 1971-1985. In 1976 he founded Freedom Gate Ministries, a halfway-house in Reading, and served as their Executive Director for 20 years followed by 8 years as Chaplain of the Berks County Prison. John has also served as Executive of Justice and Mercy and New Person Ministries in Reading PA. John is currently semi-retired.
Regional Director NE Region — Danesta G. Whaley accepted the newly created part-time position in Sept 2011.
“Nessie” has seven years experience with Prison Fellowship Ministries and has served as Minister of Prayer and Associate Pastor at Citychurch. Nessie is a volunteer assistant chaplain at Lycoming County Prison conducting Bible Studies, preaching, and providing one-on-one spiritual counseling with male and female inmates and also works with women in the Women’s Pre-release Program. Nessie is currently the Council Director for YPM’s Upper Susquehanna Valley Area Council, overseeing multiple in-prison ministries, overseeing and training 60 plus volunteers, and working with chaplains, prison officials, and pastors.