Brad Finkeldei

I am a partner with the law firm of Stevens & Brand, LLP where I focus my practice on litigation, banking, and governmental law. A 1999 graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law (Law Review, Order of Coif) and a 1996 graduate of Kansas State University, I earned a degree in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Economics. While at KSU I served two terms as the Student Body Vice President.

My wife Amy and I have two daughters, Raegan and Chaney. As might be evident from my daughters’ names, I enjoy spending some of my free time dabbling in politics, including serving on the Lawrence Douglas County Planning Commission(past chair). I am also the President of the of the Board of Directors for Ballard Community Services (Ballard Center, Penn House, Brook Creek, Emergency Services Council). Other activities include being a member of the Lawrence Jayhawk Rotary Club (past president and assistant-governor for the Rotary clubs of Northeast Kansas) and Leadership Lawrence (past chair). In the past I have also served as the chair of the City’s Alcohol Tax Fund Committee(past chair), the Douglas County American Red Cross(past chair), and on the School Consolidation Task Force. I currently serve as the Chairman of the Capital Campaign to expand St. John’s Catholic school and as the Chair of Discipleship at the First United Methodist Church.

Brent Hoffman

My name is Brent Hoffman, I am a Financial Advisor by trade and I enjoy fitness, travel, spending time outdoors, and serving my church and community in any way that I can in my free time. I became involved with FPL after I took the opportunity to volunteer at Morning Star Church. I was so blessed by the time I spent with the guests who were in the program at the time, that I decided to seek out ways that I could get more involved with the organization. I talked to Doug Stephens about it, and he recommended me for a board position. Every day that goes by I thank God that I am a part of this ministry and I am convinced that I am at least as blessed as the current and former guests that I have been fortunate to build relationships with during my time with FPL. I love everything about it!!

Katherine Dinsdale

God convinced me early on that people of faith need to be about serving those in need. I’ve also known for a long time that I’m happiest serving others. C.S. Lewis put it this way, “The way to know God’s love is to show God’s love.” That has been my experience serving the homeless community in Lawrence. The people I meet and get to know show me and teach me about Jesus. I have learned and benefitted immensely from opportunities to serve on the board of the Salvation Army of Lawrence; the Community Commission on Homelessness; Five Loaves House, a residence for formerly homeless women struggling with mental illness; and, since Joe Reitz invited me to join him in his quest to begin this affiliate in 2008, Family Promise of Lawrence. It’s been a wild ride and a delight to learn and grow with our guests and staff and I am so grateful for the privilege. I am a free-lance journalist and write for Lawrence magazine, Kansas! magazine and other publications. I have served on the board of the Lawrence Schools Foundation and I am a Leadership Lawrence alumna. Bob and I have three grown daughters, two wonderful son-in-laws and one supremely talented and gifted 20-month-old grandson.

Ashley Sandefur

I came to Lawrence to study Exercise Science at KU 19 years ago, and it has been wonderful to experience our city first as a student and now as a family of 5. I am still loving the arts, diversity and creative style of Lawrence. I instruct a rehab based Pilates – which marries well my love for movement and science. I have been fortunate to be a part of a group exploring how movement plays a crucial role in trauma recovery as well as the biology of trauma. Most days, I am also an assistant teacher at Century School.

The experience of homelessness has been close to my heart since a young age, when I encountered the homeless of Washington D.C. That encounter began a desire in me to do something but as a young girl I didn’t know how to make a tangible difference. So I started to write. I have been expressing my heart through poetry ever since. My husband and I have 3 children, 2 in public schools, and daily see children and families experiencing life without a home. Family Promise introduced me to a way to make that tangible difference. It teaches and equips and loves. It draws the families, and all of us, into an extraordinary community that inspires.

Mary Kaczor

I am so thrilled to be a part of an organization like Family Promise that makes a difference in so many people’s lives. The families that are receiving assistance are only a small portion of those affected by this program. Volunteers from all over Lawrence are touched on a daily basis as they serve others and learn more about God’s love. My involvement with Family Promise has included being lead coordinator at two churches as well as serving on the Congregational Relations Committee. My Masters in Social Welfare led me to many years working in the public school system before being interrupted by full time motherhood. The great thing about social work is that there is always somewhere to serve, even if it doesn’t fall under the category of a technical “JOB.” I have recently started back in the school setting very part time but most of my energy continues to be running our household with my husband Joel and our two boys and serving in volunteer roles in and around the Lawrence Community. I am looking forward to my work with the loyal board, the energetic staff and the many wonderful Family Promise volunteers.

Joe Reitz

I have been an artillery officer in the USMC, worked in the meat-packing business, and taught applied psychology and business ethics at Georgia Tech and the Universities of Kansas, Florida and Indiana. After retiring in 2006, I served as the CEO of The Leo Center and Heartland Medical Clinic, which provided medical care, food, financial help, counseling, and pregnancy services to uninsured and under-insured members of the Lawrence Community. It was in this role that I discovered the plight of homeless children and their families and the need to address their problems in Lawrence.

A discussion of the issue with a man in town named Byron who was assisting the homeless and aware of the lack of attention given to homeless children, led me to search for a successful model program. After visiting Family Promise affiliates in other areas, I contacted the head office in New Jersey about starting Family Promise in Lawrence. Their assessment of the community affirmed that Lawrence had a great need for such a program and the resources among the faith congregations in the area to be successful.

I left the Leo Center in the fall of 2007 to get Family Promise of Lawrence started. I was fortunate enough to enlist the support of Katherine Dinsdale, who was chair of the city’s commission on homelessness, and the interest of Valerie Miller-Coleman, who was the homeless outreach coordinator at Bert Nash and dealing with some 50 families. We contacted every congregation in town by phone and held our first public meeting in October of 2007. About 60 people representing 25 congregations attended, and I was delighted that some of them got behind our efforts almost immediately.

We set a goal of opening our doors before the first snowfall of 2008, and we did, staring with eight congregations and Valerie as our first director. Many people were responsible for getting us underway, including my wife Nancy and Katherine’s husband Bob. People like Monte and Kay Johnson, Dolph and Pam Simons, John McGrew, Doug Stevens, Sharon Stultz, and Nancy Ezell were instrumental in making FPL possible and viable.

Of all the enterprises I’ve been involved with, Family Promise is, simply, the best. It is remarkably effective and efficient, it blesses not only the homeless people we serve but also the scores of congregations and hundreds of volunteers who serve them. I have seen lives transformed, eyes opened, and love enacted countless times, both on the part of the homeless children and their parents (or grandparents) and those who serve them in so many ways. It has certainly changed my life, and I will be eternally grateful for God’s providing this opportunity to put faith into action.

Brenda Flynn

I am a graduate of the University of Kansas, with a degree in Education. After graduation, I taught in the Perry-Lecompton school district. Upon my husband’s completion of his graduate studies, we moved to various cities over the next twenty-two years. They included: Bloomington, Indiana; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Boston. I know a little about transitions! While in Chicago, I worked in a suburban school district with their English as a Second Language program. We primarily served students and their families who came straight from Mexico to Chicago. Although most were not facing homelessness, they were in poverty and crisis.

In 2003 we very intentionally moved back to Lawrence. My husband founded the cancer biotech company Deciphera. In the early years, I helped him with various office duties part time. We are very proud to call Lawrence our home.

Since coming back to Lawrence, I have facilitated the women’s Bible study ministry at Lawrence Free Methodist church. I have had the joy of seeing our two daughters become mothers and have become invested in the lives of our three grandsons.

I have also had the honor of volunteering at Family Promise. When we lived in large cities, it was not uncommon to observe homelessness. But change has come to that population. We now have homelessness in towns the size of Lawrence and they are increasingly families. Family Promise has an excellent record of helping these families get into permanent housing. Additionally, they have a great record of those families remaining in permanent housing. I am excited and humbled to be part of an organization that provides not only hope, but tangible results in our community.

Alicia Smiley

My name is Alicia Smiley. My husband and I own Cork Barrel here in Lawrence KS. It’s taken me 3 years to submit this bio. I hate talking about me. I do however, love talking about Family Promise to anyone who will listen. I grew up in a single parent household. It was financially difficult for my mother to keep basic living needs taken care of. Our family could have easily been one of the families we serve at Family Promise if it were not for the extended family support we had. We were the lucky ones in this very common situation.

Family Promise found us when the program was starting. They asked us to help support them while they started this venture. We have never looked back. The joy we find in this program is immeasurable. Seeing families come in with such hopelessness being transformed in to independent, confident problem solvers is truly amazing. I’m so blessed to be a part of Family Promise.

Nancy Reitz

I’ve been a CPA for Mize Houser and Company since 1990. A mother of five and grandmother of eleven, I built my working career around my family, not the other way around. One of the most satisfying aspects of my career has been the opportunity to provide free accounting and tax services to a number of faith-based non-profit organizations. Family Promise is one of those. What a dynamic organization. A board and executive director that continue to amaze me with their energy and creativity. From committees to the multitude of volunteers at every church involved, Family Promise simply draws people in who want to make a difference in the lives of others. The best part is that families really are being helped to get on their feet and stay there.