Cleveland Chapter

Donate to this Chapter

About Our Chapter

Our History

Our founder, licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Dave Anderson, was running a foster care agency when he discovered the need for parents to have support before getting to the point of state involvement. His “Aha!” moment happened when a mom came to him asking for help and he realized he was set up only to help after something bad happens and Safe Families was started in 2003. Then in 2014, God led three families from Chicago to bring Safe Families to the Cleveland area.


Safe Families helps build resilient families by wrapping practical support and relational community around parents to help strengthen and secure the home environment. Safe Families doesn’t try and help solve all of a family’s problems. However, by befriending and supporting families, we can help reduce isolation and equip parents to problem solve how to manage life’s challenges, so that they never face them alone. All of us can play a role in helping to build resilient families.

Our Volunteers

Our volunteers are not case managers. They aren’t perfect parents; some of them aren’t parents. They are all compassionate people who believe that partnering with us to help strengthen families is one way we can all work together to care for our communities. We have a team approach to volunteering so that no one feels alone or overwhelmed. 

Our Team

Safe families is a volunteer-driven ministry. Our volunteers do the most significant work of connecting with families. Our staff members work collaboratively to provide Family Support (conduct intake with families and provide professional support to volunteers), Community Engagement (recruit churches, community organizations and volunteers), and Parent Engagement (elevating the voice of parent participants, leading Parent Cafes)


Alana Dennis: State Director for Ohio and National Deputy Director of Field Strategy

Alana and her husband, Myrick, and their three children live in Cleveland. They were a part of the launch team for the Cleveland chapter forming in 2014, following engaging in the Safe Families movement for 5 years in Chicago prior. Alana is passionate about families in the city thriving and staying together. The Dennis family loves being engaged as a Host Family.

Alana is a Board-Certified Music Therapist and Child Life Specialist, having worked many years with children with special needs and those that experienced trauma. She holds a BM in Voice and Music Therapy from Ohio University, a MS in Child Development from Erikson Institute, a Graduate Certificate in Child/Adolescent Psychology and Traumatology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, as well as multiple certificates in Biblical Counseling through CCEF/Westminster Seminary.

Jessie Manning

Jessie Manning: Chapter Director

Jessie Manning holds a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Science in Reading Education. Her professional career began in classrooms in the DC Metro Area as an Educator teaching grades K-3. After becoming a certified Reading Specialist, she moved into the role of Instructional Support Coach supporting small groups of students and staff. Her family moved first to Texas in 2014, then to Cleveland in 2016, where she worked full-time at home with her four young children.

She and her husband, Jason, and their four children have been volunteering as a Host Family and Family Friend since 2016. Her skills in building connections with both children and families led her to join the staff of Safe Families for Children in 2020. She first served as the Family Coach Supervisor and now as the Chapter Director. The intersection of her calling to love as Christ loves and serve her community, drives the work she does with Safe Families for Children.


Kendall VanKirk: Family Coach Supervisor

Kendall and her husband Rob moved to Cleveland after both growing up in Pennsylvania and meeting at Penn State University. She received a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State and is currently working towards a Master of Social Work at Cleveland State University. In her professional experiences as a Patient Care Intern and Mental Health Caseworker, she has worked alongside many families seeking reunification with their children and long-term stability as parents. All too often she saw parents experience as an uphill battle.

Here in Cleveland Kendall enjoys running, hiking, walking her Newfie at Edgewater Park, exploring coffee shops, and finding the best taco places. After seeing the impact on families and children when separation occurred, she sees Safe Families for Children as being a part of solution.


Leadership Council Members

Tom Csora (2014 – present)

Tom and his wife, Karin, and their four children have called Cleveland home since 2014, after almost 15 years in the Chicago area. After starting his professional career as an Engineer, he felt God’s calling to ministry and attended Moody Bible Institute. This calling led to a church-planting role in Rogers Park (Chicago) then to joining the staff of Safe Families for Children as a Church Coordinator. Tom was integral in starting the chapter here in Cleveland. He served as the Chapter Director for four years. Currently, he pastors Grace Church Old Brooklyn. Tom sees community engagement as the main vehicle for transformation within families. He lives this out as a resident of Old Brooklyn, loving his neighbors in practical ways, and through his continued guidance to Safe Families.  

Ericka Karazsia (2021-present)

Ericka and her husband, Bryan, reside in the Wooster, Ohio area where they actively support their daughters in sports and theatre. Ericka has worked with numerous Home Visiting programs and Family Child Learning Centers conducting evaluations, working collaboratively with families to identify and secure services for their children, partnering with families to create Individualized Family Service Plans. Currently she volunteers as a CASA worker in Ashland, Ohio and works as a professional photographer, running her own photography business The Everyday [PIC]tory. She believes that every child has innate worth and deserves a stable, loving and supportive childhood. 

Jennifer Mesko (2016-present)

Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jenn moved to Cleveland in 2005 to attend Case Western Reserve School of Law. She has accumulated vast experience as a partner at Tucker Ellis in class actions spanning a variety of areas, including insurance, data breach, securities fraud, consumer claims, and warranty and product liability litigation. In her spare time, Jenn enjoys spending time with her husband and daughters, running with her Rhodesian Ridgeback, and competing in triathlons. She provides valuable advice and connections in the community to Safe Families. 

Petar Nenadov (2020-present) 

Petar and his family are long-time residents of the Akron-Medina area. He received his Master of Divinity from Ashland Theological Seminar and serves as a pastor at Lakeside Christian Church in Akron, Ohio since 2009. His church has partnered with Safe Families since 2019 and values the work Safe Families does in reflecting the love of our heavenly Father as described in Psalm 146 – lifting up those who are bowed down, watching over the sojourners, and upholding the widow and the fatherless. Petar has helped Safe Families grow in the Greater Cleveland area through his pastoral network connections. 

JoLyn Yasaki 

Originally from Pennsylvania, JoLyn moved to Cleveland in 2011. Her professional career began as a paralegal. In 2017, she and her husband Shaun opened Noble Beast Brewing Co. (a fantastic brewery and restaurant!) – combining their expertise and passions of brewing knowledge and financial management. JoLyn serves at the Director of Operations at Noble Beast. She brings this skill set to Safe Families in her advisement and guidance on growth and development. She and her family live in Ohio City and love exploring the city and all of its breweries! “The ruin of a nation begins in the home of its people” is an African Proverb that propels her work with Safe Families. She sees Safe Families offering a way to strengthen and support families, and therefore the community at-large.