MEET OUR TEAM
Becca is the second Executive Director of Community Choices, taking over for the founder, Jennifer Knapp, in the summer of 2016. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization, works with the Board to develop strategic vision, manages the finances, and develops collaborations with other organizations. She also works to influence state and local policy in developmental disabilities.
Becca is long-time member of the Champaign-Urbana Community. She has experience working with and advocating for individuals with disabilities of all ages. Having been part of both the adult services fields and K-12 education, she understands the need to apply fresh perspectives and innovative ideas towards supporting and empowering participants to live the lives they want. Becca holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Illinois.
Hannah joined the Community Choices team in July 2015 as a Connect Coordinator, then became the Associate Director in July 2019. Hannah's focus within Community Choices is on building inclusive community relationships and promoting opportunities for people to have leadership roles and influence in their community. Hannah also enjoys supporting people in building healthy relationships, friendships and support systems.
Hannah has a M.A. in Leisure Studies with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from The University of Iowa. Prior to working at Community Choices, she worked at a special recreation associating, coordinating athletic programs and inclusion services. In her free time, Hannah volunteers on two community organization boards, and is an active member of Champaign Ladies Amateur Wrestling (CLAW).
Community Life Coordinator
As the Community Life Coordinator, Ryan runs the Community Transitional Support program. He assists individuals with moving out, developing skills to succeed on their own, and developing long-term connections within their communities. He also co-facilitates the Men's Group. Ryan joined the Community Choices team in 2012.
Ryan graduated from the University of Illinois in 2006 with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. In the fall after graduation, Ryan began working in the human services field, focusing on Developmental Disabilities for the past 7 years.
Community Support Specialist
Karli is a native of central Indiana, where she attended Earlham College and got degrees in Psychology and Spanish. Urbana-Champaign is a second home to Karli. After graduating from college, Karli then spent 3 years working in research, and aims to integrate that knowledge into her role in the Community Choices team. In her free time, Karli enjoys roller skating and caring for her indoor plant family.
Lead Employment Specialist
Ashley Withers has worked for Community Choices as an Employment Specialist since March 2014. Her role is to discover job interests of people with disabilities, help them find a job, and provide on-the-job support. She recently passed her CESP exam and is now a Certified Employment Service Professional.
Ashley has a Bachelor's Degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in Hospitality and Tourism Management with a Minor in Psychology. Prior to working for Community Choices, she worked for 3 years as a Human Resources/Vocational Rehab Counselor for an organization that hired individuals with disabilities for jobs at Federal and State contracts all over Illinois and Wisconsin.
Jon joined the Community Choices team in February as an Employment Specialist. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2005 with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. He has spent the past 10 years working with individuals with disabilities as a QIDP and employment specialist. In his free time, Jon enjoys traveling to visit friends and spending time with his dogs, Daizee and Pepita.
Jenny joined Community Choices in October of 2018. She is a graduate of Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in biology and chemistry. Jenny has been working with individuals with disabilities for over fifteen years. She began her involvement with special needs individuals when she worked in a special needs vocational program at the Black Hawk Area Education Center in Moline, Illinois. Jenny continued her involvement with special needs individuals when she moved to Urbana and worked in the ASSIST Program at Prairie Elementary School. Over the last four years, Jenny has been involved with the Life Skills Program at Urbana High School, specializing in job coaching in their special needs vocational program. In her free time, Jenny likes to spend time with friends and family, travel, and read.
She also loves spending time with her two dogs.
Tanja was excited to join Community Choices in February of 2020. She brings to the cooperative over a decade of experience in vocational training and employment services work. Having attended all three campuses of the University of Illinois, Tanja holds a liberal arts B.A., an M.A. in Educational Technology, and a Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) in Human Resource Development. A strong advocate for community integration for people with disabilities in all stages of their lives, Tanja has successfully created multiple activities and spaces where all are welcome. In her spare time Tanja loves music- singing in two groups, teaching ballroom dance, and playing the saxophone in a pick-up wind band. Her other interests include reading, cooking, and floral design.
Kaitland joined the Community Choices team in April as the Membership Coordinator. She graduated from Northwestern University and has experience supporting people with developmental disabilities from working in the Functional Life Skills program at Centennial High School. Born and raised in Chicago, she is a recent transplant to Champaign. In her free time she enjoys going for walks at local parks, hiking, and spending time with family. She is excited to plan and implement new events with the input from Community Choices members.