Common Good

Working together for the common good in North Lexington.

Common Good Community Development Corporation is a faith-based, non-profit that focuses on programming for children, youth and families living in under-resourced neighborhoods North Lexington.

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
— Nelson Mandela

MEET OUR STAFF

 
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LAURA GALLAHER

Executive Director

Laura founded Common Good in 2011 with her husband, John. In 2014 John became the lead pastor at Embrace United Methodist Church, where Common Good is located. They have been doing Christian community development together in North Lexington since 2006 and moved into the neighborhood in 2007. Laura earned her Masters of Social Work from the University of Kentucky. Her professional experiences have included working at the Lexington Rescue Mission, Fayette County Schools and in community mental health. Laura is passionate about learning from people, reading, live music, friendships that cross barriers, seeing people achieve their potential, and living the fullest life possible with John.

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BRENDA VANEGAS

Senior Program Director

Brenda joined Common Good's staff in the fall of 2016 and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in Psychology. Brenda is from Mexico and came to the United States as a child in 2000. Education is something Brenda worked hard to pursue in her own life and sharing this passion with others is one of her life missions. Throughout college she served as support staff for the Latino Leadership and College Experience Camp at BCTC. Through these experiences, and her own educational journey, she found she had a passion for helping young people fulfill their potential. Her hope is that through working at Common Good she can help create opportunities for education and personal growth, just like she had growing up, for the next generation of students. She enjoys spending time with her two nieces and sisters, reading, bullet journaling, and watching or listening to crime shows.

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KARISSA PORTER

Development Director

Karissa has lived in the Castlewood neighborhood since 2005, and her passion is to see this neighborhood and the families in it thrive! She is married to Jeremy and they have two kids, Grant and Athena, who are active at Common Good. Karissa is thrilled to be a part of the Common Good family. Before coming to Common Good, Karissa worked with refugee families here in Lexington for 12 years. She speaks French fluently and will gladly practice anytime with anyone who wants to! She loves to read, sing karaoke, and is known to have epic dance parties with her family. She is an active parent at her children's school and is committed to see the common good of this neighborhood.

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NORANNE HENDRICKS

Elementary Program Director

Noranne joined Common Good in August of 2017. Her passion is to help youth obtain resources that can aid in their character development into adulthood. Noranne is a native of Louisville, KY, and moved to Lexington, KY in 2009. She has a bachelor’s degree in Community and Leadership Development (CLD) at the University of Kentucky. Noranne is most happy when she is spending quality time with family and friends doing fun activities such as going to the movies, restaurants, bowling, swimming, skating, horseback riding, zip-lining, hiking, and/or theme parks. While at Common Good Noranne served as an AmeriCorps member for two years. During her service she was awarded the 2018 Family Resource and Youth Service Centers Corps Exemplary Service Member, a statewide honor, for her dedication and hard work in serving children, youth, and families at Common Good.

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PHILIP MANGA

Youth Program Director

Philip joined us in January 2018. He has a degree in Sociology from the University of Kentucky, where he played Division 1 Soccer. Soccer is a lifelong passion for Philip that goes beyond recreation. For him the sport is about creating a diverse community and offers invaluable opportunities for mentorship. He serves as the JV Boys Coach at Bryan Station High School. He has actively invested in young people and our city's soccer community since 2015. Philip longs to make a difference in Lexington, the place that became home for him in 2005. He is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and experienced many of the same challenges our students have faced. His zeal to use his gifts and his journey to serve others is contagious.

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JONATHAN GOMEZ

Creative Operations Manager for the Social Enterprise

Jonathan joined Common Good’s staff in 2019 to help found the Social Enterprise. He is one of the first Common Good graduates and is excited to return as a staff member. He has lived in Kentucky for 11 years and spent his childhood in Veracruz, Mexico. He is a big brother to Adri and Izabel and he loves to spend time with his family. He graduated from Bryan Station High School in 2015 and is currently studying business at BCTC. In his free time you can find him researching creative projects, discovering new places, and drinking all of the coffee he can find.

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EDER SOSA

Elementary Program Lead Mentor

Eder recently joined Common Good in August 2019. In May 2019, he graduated from Transylvania University with a Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology and Spanish. He is currently working towards his Master's degree in Social Work at the University of Kentucky and hopes to complete his studies in 2021. Originally from California, Eder has successfully assimilated to the Kentucky culture and is aware of the potential and demand of higher education in underserved communities. As a first generation college student, he is aware of the struggles students face and wants to help others. His determination stems from the help that he received while pursuing a higher education. During his free time, Eder loves to explore the wilderness, listen to all kinds of music, ride bikes, as well as interacting with anyone he meets.

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JASON RUEGER

Social Enterprise Director

Jason joined the staff of Common Good in late summer of 2019. He and Abigail, his wife, moved to the Meadows area in North Lexington in 2017 and decided after several months that they loved it and didn't want to leave. Jason first mentored with Common Good in 2018 and is super excited to join the Common Good family as an official staff member! Jason graduated from Asbury University in 2014 with a BA in English Literature. Since then, he has been involved on the ground floor in a variety of different startups, including Fitsmallbusiness.com (ranked 37th in Inc.com's list of "Top NY Companies" in 2019). Jason has also started several of his own businesses, including Rueger Pottery and KY Investment Properties LLC. He loves new businesses, problem solving, and tackling new challenges, which is why he is pumped to be a part of launching and developing Common Good's social enterprise. Other passions include ultimate frisbee, good food, good rom com's and drama's and his two cats (Ace and Beatrix).

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DOR’CAS KAINDU

Assistant Elementary Program Director

Dor’cas joined the staff in August 2019. She is a recent graduate from Cincinnati Christian University (CCU) with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. She is currently taking prerequisites for Physicians Assistant school. During her time spent in Cincinnati, her heart was not far from children. She worked and volunteered in similar programs as Common Good, such as Prime Time and Bloc Ministries, that served children and families in urban communities. At CCU she was part of two student-led organizations, The Family Team and Solidarity; both groups aimed to bring diversity and inclusion throughout campus. Dor’cas and her family are refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and she is one of seven children. Not only is Dor’cas excited to work with students and families that are from the Congo, she is excited to work with all students and share her experiences with them and help them face challenges similar to hers. Dor’cas joined Common Good as a student when it started in 2012 when she was a sophomore in high school and she interned here in summers throughout college. She is thrilled to join the team as a full-time staff member!

 

MEET OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

KATIE GRABAU President | Attorney

TERRY FOLEY Vice President | Retired Vice Principal, Winburn Middle School

LABAN MILLER Treasurer | Forensic Consultant, Dean Dorton

TOM EBLEN | Retired United Methodist Pastor

JOHN GALLAHER | Pastor, Embrace Church

CIARA LEROY | Freelance Artist & Designer

PAIGE COMMODORE | Community Marketing & Education Representative

HANNAH JAMES | Children's Pastor, Centenary UMC

JEREMY HOBBS | Recreation Director, Centenary UMC

JOHN BLAINE | Education Specialist, University of Kentucky

VALENTIN GOMEZ | Parent Leader & Neighborhood Resident

Copyright© 2016 Common Good Community Development Corporation | Lexington, Kentucky | 859.379.9443 contact@commongoodlex.org