Chicago Run Banner - staff.png
 
 

 
Danya Polaroid 2019.png

Danya Rosen, Executive Director

Danya has over thirteen years of experience in non-profit management across both the direct service and advocacy sectors. Previously, Danya served as the Executive Director of Peer Health Exchange Chicago, a health equity non-profit that trains college student volunteers to deliver health education in under-resourced high schools. Prior to joining Peer Health Exchange in 2010, Danya held the role of Deputy Outreach Director at Peace Action, an advocacy organization promoting international diplomacy and nuclear non-proliferation. Danya graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology. She serves as Chair of the Chicago Foundation for Women’s LBTQ Giving Council, which provides grants to organizations and programs benefiting lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer women and girls in the Chicago region. She is also a member of the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Maternal, Infant, Child, and Adolescent Health Advisory Committee (MICAH), is a mentor for YNPN Chicago’s Leadership Institute and for Northwestern University's Public Interest Program, and is a 2019 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. 

Danya is an avid rock climber, and a dedicated fan of the WNBA Chicago Sky basketball team. She also enjoys discovering new vegan restaurants in Chicago, running in Palmer Square Park, and taking annual backpacking trips.


Jessica Aburto Polaroid 2019.png

Jessica Aburto, Part-Time Coach

Jessica grew up and currently resides in Chicago’s Southwest side. She is a NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer with a drive to make people feel good through exercise. She graduated from Malcolm X College with an Associates in Applied Science becoming a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant. In addition to coaching with Chicago Run, she works as a Personal Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness located in the South Loop. She enjoys working with pediatric and geriatric populations and helping them in achieving their goals through exercise and physical therapy. Jessica is the eldest sister of four and has a pitbull named Babe with whom she watches Rom Coms. Jessica enjoys lifting heavy things, yoga, rock climbing, challenges, movies, dancing, and café paired with a sweet delight.


Photo coming soon…

Angelina Calderon, Part-Time Coach

Angelina is a student at Depaul University. She currently studies Exercise Science. She has a passion for health and wellness and bringing mindfulness to the topic within the community. She is driven through exercise and healthy habits. She enjoys fitness, food, and being around others. Angelina hopes to be a supporting and driven mentor while working with Chicago Run youth and give them something to look forward to.


Mathew Champa Polaroid 2018.png

Matthew Champa, Coach and Marathon Charity Team Coordinator

Matthew is a USATF and RRCA certified running coach and holds MA, Ed.M degrees in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. He is a Certified Wellness Coach with over 15 years of counseling/advising experience. He founded Strides: Wellness and Run Coaching in early 2017 to support people with their health and wellness. When he’s not coaching clients, he can be found at Nike Running Bucktown where he works as a NRC Pacer and Community Champion. Coach Matthew is an accomplished marathon/ultramarathon runner and an active member of the running community which includes coaching, pacing, event planning and product testing.


Ryan Greguske, Manager of Evaluation and Training

Ryan grew up in Germantown, WI, a suburb to the northwest of Milwaukee. After high school he went on to attend the University of Minnesota and earn a degree in Physiology. At the U of M, Ryan developed a true love for helping various Minneapolis/St. Paul communities by participating in non-profit work, volunteering, and student organizations. In addition, Ryan enjoyed coaching youth basketball and discovered that seeing kids develop their skills on and off the court is a really amazing feeling. Ryan lives in Lincoln Park and enjoys his free time by running, playing hockey and basketball, reading, and spending quality time with family and friends.


Marshal Harper Polaroid 2019_2.png

Marshal Harper, Program Coordinator

Marshal is from East Chicago, Indiana, the northwest region of Indiana. He graduated from Indiana University of Bloomington with a bachelors degree in kinesiology, majoring in Sports Management and Marketing. Marshal spent his time in college serving as an orientation leader, member of multiple sport clubs like the Sports Marketing Alliance, volunteering, interning with Indiana University Athletics Department, and being a co-founder of GTSA (George Talieferro Sports Association) that started at Indiana University. Furthermore, Marshal enjoys interacting with people, playing basketball and running track and field, traveling, attempting new foods, and being a part of something that is bigger than himself. Marshal is passionate about family, sports, motivating the youth, and being the change he wants to see in the world. Marshal currently lives in East Chicago, Indiana again to give back to the youth and spend quality time with his family.


Colleen Hentschel, Director of Finance & Operations

Colleen grew up in Michigan and attended Indiana University. She graduated with a degree in Kinesiology with minors in Business and Music and later earned her Master of Arts in Teaching. Upon graduating, Colleen interned at NBC in corporate fitness and then worked in various corporate fitness centers presenting health seminars and developing health initiatives, personal training, and instructing spinning, kickboxing, and various group exercise classes while training for and running two half marathons. After volunteering with By the Hand, an afterschool tutoring program in Cabrini Green, Colleen felt inspired to join TFA in 2009 as a 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Healthy Lifestyles teacher on the south side of Chicago and has since then, co-coached Girls on Track and continued in the classroom as both a preschool and 2nd grade teacher. Colleen loves living in Chicago and exploring its many amazing restaurants, spending time with her family, and traveling the world.


Katelyn Kramer Polaroid 2019.png

Katelyn Kramer, Program Coordinator

Katelyn grew up in DeKalb, IL. She graduated from Northern Illinois University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Nonprofit & Nongovernmental Organization Studies and a minor in Sociology. While in school she coached for Girls on the Run where she developed a passion for working with youth and the benefits that are associated with physical activity. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, and watching movies.


Crystal Polaroid 2018.png

Crystal Lein, Program Director

Crystal grew up near St. Louis, MO. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in Sport Management and an emphasis in Business Development. Crystal has spent her career working in sport related industries with a focus on using sport as a tool for youth to develop social and emotional learning skills. She joined Chicago Run as Program Director in 2017, after spending more than three years with the Chicago Fire Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. With the Chicago Fire Foundation, Crystal played an intricate role in expanding programming by 150%, establishing a young professionals board, and assisting the Foundation in winning multiple grants and awards such as the Beyond Sport, Sport Team of the Year. Crystal has always been passionate about sports and has a strong belief that skills and lessons learned through sport translate into the classroom and real-life settings. Crystal is a Road Runners Club of America certified Distance Running Coach. She grew up a runner, participating in both cross country and track and field and has finished two Chicago marathons. In her free time, Crystal enjoys being active outdoors, volunteering, and exploring new local restaurants with her husband.


Kim Polaroid 2018.png

Kim Lutz, Grants Manager

Kim grew up in Chicago’s southern suburbs. She attended the University of Illinois where she studied political science and earned her masters degree in human services administration from the Spertus Institute in Chicago. She enjoys running, walking, yoga and cooking healthy meals. Kim lives in the Northcenter neighborhood of Chicago with her family.


Whitney Michel 2019.png

Whitney Michel, Senior Development Manager

In over ten years, Whitney Michel has worked in the non-profit sector in a variety of areas from performing arts to foundations. Most recently, Whitney served as the Communications and Development Manager at Episcopal Charities, a foundation which invests in organizations and communities seeking to bring hope and change to those living on the fringes of society. Originally from northern Michigan, Whitney attended Grand Valley State University where she graduated with a degree in Theatre and Communications. After serving with AmeriCorps at Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids, Whitney attended Southern Utah University where she earned her M.F.A. in non-profit arts administration. Whitney found running later in life joining a running group at her first job post-college to meet new people and run her first 5k. Since that first race, running has become her sport, completing the Chicago marathon, numerous half marathons, and running races in three other countries.  


James Nicklas 2019.png

James Nicklas, Program Manager

James grew up in Santa Rosa, California. He graduated from California Polytechnic State University with a degree in environmental engineering and a minor in Spanish. In school he found a passion for working with youth athletic organizations through the Special Olympics, coaching basketball, soccer, and golf. After graduating from his undergraduate program, he moved to Chicago as a corps member with Teacher for America. For two years he taught 7th and 8th grade science at Alain Locke Charter School in Garfield Park, while working towards his graduate degree in education. Here he developed a passion for working with Chicago youth. James grew up running with his mother and was a member of his middle and high school’s cross country and track and field teams. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, camping, and improv comedy throughout the city of Chicago.


Photo coming soon…

Ray Richardson, Up2Us Half-Time Coach

Ray is from Joliet, Illinois and current owns Ray Rich Personal Training LLC Gym. Ray is very passionate about helping kids reaching their optimal fitness levels. Ray joined Chicago Run, as it is a great opportunity to connect with kids all over Chicago. Raymond has a Master’s in Business, a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, and a Minor in Music. Raymond was a former D II Lake Erie College Sprints/Hurdles Coach 2011-2013. Raymond enjoys working out and spending time with his family.


Enrique Robles Polaroid 2019.png

Enrique Robles, Up2Us Half-Time Coach

Enrique Grew up in Chicago. He graduated from Steinmetz College Prep and is attending Wilbur Wright College. Enrique enjoys playing many sports including baseball, golf, and bowling. He joined Chicago Run to help youth be themselves and have a positive effect on their lives. Enrique is excited to be able to explore new neighborhoods throughout Chicago to help all communities become healthier and more active.


Jose Polaroid 2019.png

Jose Saldaña, Up2Us Half-Time Coach

Jose was born and raised in the Little Village neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. He attended Little Village High School where he was involved with Soccer, Track and Field, and Cross Country. After high school, he attended Malcolm X college where he earned his Associate in Arts degree in Business and Economics. While at Malcolm X, he ran on the Cross Country team and made it to Nationals. Now, Jose is pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science. His passion for exercise and sports led him to join the Chicago Run team where he hopes to encourage children to run and live a healthier lifestyle. Jose is especially thrilled to be able to give back to the community he grew up in through Chicago Run.


Lauren Shirk (2).png

Lauren Shirk, Director of Communications

Lauren was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from Ohio State University, she spent a year in London attaining her Master’s degree in Art Business. She moved to Chicago in 2012 to work at a fine art auction house. She realized her interest in non-profit work while volunteering for a community-based organization on the North West side of Chicago. Lauren participated in several high school sports and has continued to keep up an active lifestyle, running several races in Chicago and completing her first marathon in 2017. Lauren is passionate about Chicago Run's mission, and enjoys being able to combine her creative design and fundraising experience with her enthusiasm for fitness. She is also the marketing chair for the Urban Gateways Associate Board. Lauren lives in Bucktown and enjoys hiking, yoga, and traveling.


Veronica Polaroid 2018.png

Veronica Tovar, Program Manager

Veronica grew up in Cicero, IL where she received her Associate’s Degree in Science at Morton College. While at Morton College she was a member of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Soccer and Women’s Cross Country teams. She transferred to Chicago State University and received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. During her time at CSU she competed in the Women’s NCAA Division I Cross Country and Track & Field teams. She received All-American in Academics during her time there. Veronica has coached soccer and running in various organizations. She is passionate about working with youth, encouraging fitness and healthy lifestyle. She enjoys drinking coffee, reading, and watching movies.


David Polaroid 2018.png

David Flores, Junior Coach & LACE Up! Participant

David Flores comes from an immigrant family, who migrated to Chicago. David has been a Chicago Run participant since the organization began in 2008. David, now a Senior at Lane Tech, was a participant in both the Runners and Running Mates programs while an elementary student at CICS Bucktown. In his free time, David is very interested in visual arts & fashion design. He hopes to combat social injustices and spread peace & love through his innovative art projects. David is also very passionate about helping youth and he views coaching as a means to give back to younger runners that were in his shoes before.


Martin Polaroid 2018.png

Martin Garcia, Junior Coach & LACE Up! Participant

Martin lives in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. He has lived there his entire life and chose to go to Infinity Math, Science, and Technology high-school over some selective enrollment schools so he could stay close to home and contribute to his home community. Martin, now a Sophomore in High School, started with Chicago Run in 8th grade as a Running Mates participant. Being a self-starter, Martin was critical to bringing the Running Mates program to Infinity, the first high-school to be involved in that program. While Martin didn’t grow up as a runner, he now is very passionate about the sport & believes in the power of running to open many paths and opportunities in life. With his vast experience & knowledge, Martin is excited to help others accomplish their goals & inspire them as a Chicago Run Coach.


Derrick Polaroid 2018.png

Derrick Norman, Junior Coach & LACE Up! Participant

Derrick was born and raised in the Austin community of Chicago. He hopes to become a lawyer one day, but is an athlete at heart. Derrick, now a Junior in High School, started with Chicago Run in 6th grade as a Running Mates participant and has a strong passion for helping kids. During the summer, Derrick is excited to use this passion for athletics and helping kids as a Chicago Run Coach.


Celeste Polaroid 2018.png

Celeste Pedroza, Junior Coach & LACE Up! Participant

Celeste has been involved with the Chicago Run program for more than 5 years. Now a Sophomore at Nobel Street, Celeste began her involvement with Chicago Run at CICS Bucktown as a Running Mates participant. Running has been an important aspect in her life, as it helps her think and relieve stress. Celeste is a very social person, and enjoys dancing &  listening to music in her free time. By being a Chicago Run Coach, Celeste hopes to build strong relationships with others in order to make them better runners & encourage them to push themselves and never give up.


Christian Polaroid 2018.png

Christian Ureña, Junior Coach

Christian was born and raised in Chicago where he attended UIC College Prep. After graduating he started school at The University of Michigan where he is currently studying Movement Science in the School of Kinesiology. He hopes to eventually get his DPT and help injured athletes get back to health. He first got involved with Chicago Run back in 4th grade when he attended C.I.C.S. Bucktown Elementary. He has remained involved with the organization and is currently on the Marathon Charity Team for his second year