Program Director / Recruitment Director / Licensed Child Care Administrator
Ben came to work with Heartlight in 2003. He attended George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon and earned a degree in Christian Ministries and Theatre. While attending college, Ben worked at Eagle Lake Camp (Navigators) in Colorado for three summers and was a member of both the program and counseling staff. In addition to this experience with young people, he volunteered at several churches helping out with the youth group programs, and spent two years as a House Staff and House Director before moving into the Residential Director and Program role. Ben’s creativity and energy are evident to all who meet him.
Residential Director / Licensed Child Care Administrator
Ryan has brought much reliability, enthusiasm and laughter to the Heartlight community since his arrival. Ryan is a graduate from Abilene Christian University, at which he received his degree in Business Administration. Although home is nearby Tyler, Texas, Ryan brings experience working with teens all the way from Africa. While Ryan lived in Africa, he spent his time coaching soccer and experiencing life with teenagers. He also worked as a mountain guide in another teen program in Colorado. Ryan relates well with others through his fun-loving and engaging personality. In his spare time, Ryan also enjoys guitar, sports, laughing and being outdoors.
Home is Atlanta, Georgia for Dane. His most recent job prior to Heartlight was as a turf manager and Fan Experience Technician for the Atlanta Hawks. He also spent three years as a Young Life leader, and six years involved in children’s ministries. His loves are sports, cross-fit, and just to enjoy life. Dane is a big man, with a soft heart for the residents that he oversees.
Sarah joins us from Georgia, where she attended Berry College and graduated with a degree in psychology, with a minor in biology. She’s been on our staff for the past year as an in-house residential staff, and has recently moved to oversee the care and riding of all of Heartlight’s 24 horses. Her adventurous spirit and endless energy help her keep up with all of the day-to-day interactions with teens. She loves working with horses and was previously employed as an assistant trainer and cared for equestrian needs. In addition to this experience, she also spent time interning with a youth group where she gained invaluable experience working with teens. Sarah is a great listener and longs to see the Lord change people’s heart while she loves them through the process.
One of the most active and energetic staff members we have comes to us from Texas A&M University. Hannah is a proud Aggie and graduated with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology and plans to continue her education with the ultimate goal of becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor. She loves all kinds of sports and has an infectious competitive spirit. Hannah spent time teaching at United Methodist Weekday School while attending College, and was highly involved in a student run organization called Sport For Kids which allowed her to share her love of sports with children in the community. Hannah brings an optimistic personality to the house she lives in and constantly strives to love others the way Christ loves her.
Zachary is a country boy from a small town in South Carolina and brings a strong work ethic, contagious smile, and humble spirit with him to the Heartlight team. He attended Florence/Darlington Technical College for HVAC and worked as a carpenter for a local contractor before coming to East Texas. Through working with his Church’s youth group and being a role model for his younger nieces and nephews, Zachary felt the calling to minister to struggling teens full time. He has a strong desire to help stop the downward spiral that many teenagers fall into and be a good example and role model to the young men he serves. He also loves hunting, fishing, football, archery and the great outdoors.
Kody brings a lot of youth ministry experience with him to Heartlight. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Kody attended Arlington Baptist University and earned a degree in Youth Ministry. After interning at several churches and using his love of basketball to connect with teens, he took on a bible teaching and coaching position at a Christian School in the Dallas area before finally joining our staff. His life-on-life style of ministry and ability to “love kids through the mess” make him a great addition to our Residential Staff.
Before coming to Heartlight Brooke taught at a private Christian school, volunteered with her church’s youth group, and spent the summers sharing her love of Basketball at youth Sport camps. She attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University before finishing her Psychology degree through Texas A&M-Commerce. Her East Texas accent and southern charm make you instantly feel comfortable talking to her and she has a natural ability to make people feel right at home. She loves, Basketball, volleyball, fishing, and mudding with friends any chance she gets.
Brittany graduated from Campbellsville University in Kentucky, earning a degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. While attending her university, Brittany worked with several churches organizing VBS programs and volunteered at an after school program for kids. In her down time she enjoys ATV riding, playing softball, riding horses, and a plethora of outdoor sports. Brittany’s ability to listen to and empathize with our residents, combined with her contagious laughter and love for life, make her a natural encourager and joy to have in the houses.
After majoring in Bible at North Mississippi Baptist Bible Institute, Andrew joined the staff at Dyresdale Baptist Church and Camp as the Director of Youth Activities. He also spent three summers on staff at Southland Christian Camps in Louisiana before accepting the position here at Heartlight. He enjoys being active with the kids, spending time outdoors, and has an easy-going personality that teens love. Andrew holds a deep desire to help others and approaches every relationship with a gentle, graceful approach which serves him well as a residential staff member.
Weston grew up right around the corner from Heartlight in Hallsville, Texas and brings a lot of youth work experience with him to the Heartlight team. After graduating from East Texas Baptist University with a degree in biology and kinesiology, he went on to coach youth gymnastics at a local gym for 4 years. He has worked with his local youth group, mentored teens one-on-one, and led numerous groups through high element ropes course initiatives. He enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle and loves running, hiking, and playing tennis. It doesn’t take long for our residents to connect with his energetic personality and contagious enthusiasm for life.
Ryan is a native Texan and graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Psychology. He loves boating, biking, playing video games, and spending quality time with friends and family. His outgoing personality and active lifestyle help him build relationships with the boys through group activities, but he also cherishes heartfelt one-on-one conversations. Ryan will tell you that he connects well with the teens because of his own life experiences and through conquering his past hurts and fears he developed the motto that “life is worth living, not just surviving.”
Michael has always been passionate about helping others who are struggling and previously volunteered at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta where he enjoyed bringing smiles to the faces of children who were sick and sometimes terminally ill. Years ago, he first came to Heartlight as a resident himself, and successfully completed the program. After graduating from Heartlight, Michael attended Auburn University and earned a degree in marketing. Michael loves camping, fishing, basketball, and playing guitar. He uses all of his talents to connect with kids, build trusting relationships, and provide them with hope amidst the chaos of life.
Another native Texan, Joshua grew up in Hurst, before attending college at Hardin-Simmons University. Though his bachelor’s degree is in economics, Joshua hopes to one day pursue a masters degree in counseling. He has a passion for serving others and meeting the needs of those who are hurting and has the ability to make difficult situations less tense through his sense of humor and gentle spirit. He previously volunteered with his church youth group as a mentor, and loves connecting with teens through games and activities. His contagious laughter and outgoing personality make him easy to connect with and a joy to be around.
Jonah attended Dakota Wesleyan University in South Dakota and completed a degree in chemistry with a coaching minor. His love of sports and the outdoors is a great fit for our active residents. Growing up on a farm in Minnesota, Jonah is no stranger to hard work. He also coached high school baseball for four years and volunteered at Lake Beauty Bible Camp prior to working with teens at Heartlight. Jonah is a great listener, offers wise counsel, and connects well with the struggling teens in our care.
Paige grew up in South Carolina in a big family with big personalities. She loves being active and plays volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, and water polo. Although you can often find her being active outdoors, she also enjoys reading, painting, playing piano, and singing. Paige is always down for an adventure and loves to travel. She graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice and a degree in Accounting. After spending two years in the corporate accounting world, Paige decided she was being called to minister full time to teenagers. She spent seven summers with Wild’s Christian Camp and Conference Center and eventually applied to Heartlight when she realized she loved working with teens that were struggling through life’s hurts.
As a former resident of Heartlight, Haley brings a unique perspective to our team of staff members. After leaving the Heartlight program, Haley went on to study video and Film Production at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida before taking a couple years to tour the world. From Dubai, to Japan, to Fiji, to backpacking along the coast of Australia, Haley’s love of travel and adventure are evident to all she meets. She also enjoys photography, videography, working out, and rock climbing. Haley will tell you, “Ever since I left Heartlight as a teen, I’ve wanted to return and help young girls the way I was.”
Libby loves getting outside of the four walls and spending time in nature. Whether it’s drawing, photography, biking, or just being outside, she enjoys using her talents and passions to connect with others. She grew up in Gillette, Wyoming but decided to move to Oklahoma to attend Oklahoma Wesleyan University where she graduated with a degree in psychology. While attending college, Libby volunteered with after school programs and developed a love for working with teens. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching a good movie, and is passionate about helping others find their gifts and talents.
Anna discovered her love for youth ministry while working with the Royal Family Kids Camp during her college years. Her heart went out to the kids she served and God ignited a passion within her for ministering to struggling teens. She is a fiercely loyal friend and loves developing deep relationships that stand the test of time. Though she graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Communications and a minor in Recreational Parks and Tourism Science, she also studied overseas at the American International University in London and the University of Granada in Spain. She loves traveling, reading, and hiking with her dog, Rilee on her time off, and spends quality time with family and friends as often as she can.
Taylor comes to us from Flower Mound, Texas and brings abundant energy and enthusiasm to the Heartlight team. While attending Oral Roberts University, she studied Business Administration with a minor in Humanities and worked in the athletic department doing Sports Marketing and Development. She is passionate about sports and a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. Taylor has also spent time working with the Boys and Girls Club as a youth mentor and eventually wants to work with foster care children. She enjoys hiking and camping and describes herself as a “God-fearing, boot wearing, sports watching, dog loving Texas girl!”
From right here in Hallsville, Texas, Luke received his B.S. in Communication from the University of Arkansas and grew up knowing about Heartlight all his life. A movie and sports nut who likes to read, Luke has a strong desire to use all of himself to help the kids at Heartlight in any way. He longs to make a difference in the lives of all he knows, and is excited to be a part of the Heartlight team.