322 Walnut Street  |  PO Box 406

Yankton, South Dakota 57078

605.689.1600

info@keepyanktonbeautiful.org

©2019 Keep Yankton Beautiful

Our Crew In Depth

IMG_20190507_142845967.jpg

Joseph was born and raised in Yankton and currently holds the title of Program Director at Pathways Shelter for the Homeless. Joseph’s steady belief in the KYB mission has kept him engaged and inspired him to take his involvement to the next level. 

Like many of us, Joseph can’t see himself living anywhere but Yankton, and his participation with KYB stems from his desire to make Yankton the best place to live, raise a family, or visit. Joseph knows it’s important for the vitality of a community to put its best foot forward, and he's is eager to do just that by taking an active role in upcoming KYB beautification projects. From our iconic Meridian Bridge brimming with townies and tourists alike, to the splash pad and Walnut Street Reconstruction, Joseph eagerly promotes the importance of well-maintained public places and the attitude that protects these resources. Throughout his daily life and his involvement with Keep Yankton Beautiful, Joseph hopes to continuously impart on the next generation a sense of pride that ensures the lasting value of Yankton’s appealing features.

When he’s not busy Keeping Yankton Beautiful, Joseph and his wife Christine enjoy biking, hiking, gardening and being indecisive about what to watch on Netflix. 

Executive Director Since 2019

Sarah Gehm

67594435_10156732914882400_7271790939671

Keep Yankton Beautiful has thrived for so many years with the help of our longest-standing member, Tom Nelson! Tom has been involved with KYB since 2003; he held the office of vice president from 2005-2006, then president from 2007-2012, and he currently serves as our Treasurer.

Originally from Omaha, Tom made Yankton his home after graduating college. He’s been an entrepreneur here for the past 25 years. He and his wife, Theresa, are the proud parents of Hannah, a high school honor roll student and competitive swimmer. Tom loves cheering on Hannah in swim meets around South Dakota and Paralympic swim meets outside the area.  In addition to KYB, Tom had a 9-year stint on the Parks Advisory Board, has served on the Yankton Swim Team from 2012-present, and the Joint Powers Advisory Board from 2011-present.

 

Some of the most memorable projects Tom has been involved in are the three green space improvement projects which beautify our community’s most traveled highway, HWY 81.  Found at Fourth and Broadway, Tripp Park on Broadway, and the 21st and Broadway green space trail head, these community projects came to fruition with KYB board members taking the lead in managing financial and in-kind donations, while working in conjunction with City Staff and Commissioners.

 

Working towards a litter-free community with ample green spaces and a community-backed recycling program is important to Tom, and he strives for a clean and green future. Tom’s vision comes to life in his hobbies of yard and garden work: in 2015, he got rid of all his gas operating lawn tools and now uses a modern battery charged electric mower, electric trimmer and blower. No more poisonous gas cans taking up space and smelling up the garage! Going with modern battery charged yard tools has been a perfect fit toward sustainability around the house and Tom HIGHLY recommends it!

 

When he’s not cheering on his daughter or out and about beautifying our community, Tom enjoys walking his two Brittney rescue dogs or eating popcorn while watching Marvel and DC Cinematic Universe come to life in theaters.

Board Member Since 2003

Tom Nelson

69304357_10156765285632400_4814406808351

Cindy is proud to be the oldest member of our dedicated and energetic KYB Board. For over 20 years, we’ve been the only Keep America Beautiful affiliate in South Dakota, and Cindy is always quick to recognize our incredible donors and volunteers who allow us to continue doing what we do!

 

Cindy’s involvement with Keep Yankton Beautiful began in April of 2009 when she first donated to our organization; two years later, she joined the board. Cindy enjoys taking part in the various cleanup efforts and beautification projects throughout the year, especially collaborative events with other non-profits. Her favorite is the annual Missouri River Cleanup which Cindy says has given her an immense appreciation for the beauty of the river, as well as its ecology, cultural history, and marine and wildlife.

 

While it’s important to properly discard ALL trash, Cindy is especially passionate about the appropriate disposal of cigarette butts. Per count, they are the most common litter in our parks, sidewalks, and streets and contain cadmium, arsenic, and lead. Each cigarette butt takes 18 months to 10 years to decompose. When not properly disposed of, they pose a menace to our wildlife and aquatic*systems. Courteous disposal of your cigarettes will Keep Yankton Beautiful (and Cindy happy)!

Cindy and her husband, Jim, have two sons and a nineteen-year-old granddaughter in Omaha, NE; in addition to making frequent trips down to visit them, the Filips are especially fond of traveling to Grand Prix Formula I races. Whether experiencing the beauty of the US or cultures of other countries, Cindy is always thankful to get back to Yankton.

 

Both Cindy and Jim believe that volunteering is important: both dedicate many hours to KYB and Habitat for Humanity; they help out at the Center whenever they can, and last year, they served as co-presidents of the Yankton Community Forum. Cindy is a member of the General Federated Women’s Club, is involved with the Dakota Territory Questers Group, and is on the Yankton College Alumni Advisory Board and the Delmont (SD) Reunion Committee (Go Wildcats!). We can’t imagine our Board without our hard-working, baby-snuggling, ever-cheerful Cindy.

Board Member Since 2011

Cindy Filips

45725988_10212943913661880_5206255340693

As the City Forester and Horticulturist, Lisa serves on the KYB board as our Parks and Recreation Department liaison, and is incredibly hard-working and highly knowledgeable.

 

Lisa loves seeing the City and KYB collaborate to create beautiful features throughout our community, and it’s Lisa and the Parks team we can thank for the continued maintenance of these projects. From the Dakota Spirit Fountain to the Westside Park Fountain; The Tripp Park Landscaping and the dog fountains throughout the parks; downtown planters and the new Walnut Street Fire Feature, KYB is grateful for the helping hand insuring the longevity of our projects!

 

While Lisa has represented KYB at many events like the Great American Cleanup, the Riverboat Days Parade Trash Collection, and many landscaping and beautification projects, her favorite project is the annual Arbor Day Tree Planting. This has been a joint project for many years, and this year a crowd gathered in the Sertoma Playground for the planting of a new Coffee Tree. Lisa’s favorite thing about KYB is the passion that everyone shares in making and keeping Yankton a Beautiful place to live or visit…because who doesn’t a clean community with beautiful landscapes?

 

Lisa has worked for the City of Yankton for almost nine years as the City Forester and Horticulturist. She and her husband Gary are the proud parents of Chase, Bailey, and Jaden. When Lisa isn’t watering trees and flowers throughout the City, she enjoys time with Champ, their 11-year-old Golden Retriever. Lisa loves to spend time outdoors, whether that’s walking, golfing, or cheering on family at sporting events.  Lisa believes that to make a community great you need great people that want to make a difference and that's what KYB is!

Board Member Since 2011

Lisa Kortan

Amy made Yankton home after she attended Mount Marty College and saw the opportunity here for growth, both personally and professionally. She and her husband Jesse have fallen in love with the beauty of the city, the amenities it has to offer their growing family, and the welcoming personalities they’ve met in the community.

 

Amy has been a board member since 2012, and currently serves as KYB’s board president. She finds fulfillment in contributing to the already high quality of life in Yankton through KYB’s beautification projects, litter cleanup events, and recycling advocacy. She is most proud of the fountain in West Side park, (even though she was just joining the board when that project was being completed and can’t take any credit for it). She is also very proud of the small beautification projects sprinkled around town, like the landscaping at Pathways Shelter along 4th Street and the human/dog fountains found in our gorgeous parks.

 

Amy is the mother of two amazing little boys, and works as a freelance graphic designer to create print and digital visual communications like websites, annual reports, billboards, posters, brochures, etc. She is also the Digital Media Specialist for the Yankton Area Chamber of Commerce where she enjoys promoting Chamber members and the local business community. 

President  |  Board Member Since 2012

Amy Bailey

70896937_10215561124090158_5379552473608

Kate first learned about Keep Yankton Beautiful when she saw board members Amy and Jesse at Riverboat Days, cruising around on golf carts, collecting garbage. Kate wasted no time getting involved: by the following year, she was organizing golf carts; with her husband by her side, she tackled garbage duty on the parade route. With trash coming to them by the handfuls, it was easy for Kate to see the immediate impact they were making. 

Kate is dedicated in her involvement with KYB because she believes we have a responsibility to care for our surroundings and preserve the earth for upcoming generations. Kate envisions a future where the idea of keeping Yankton beautiful is alive in all our residents; where it’s a way of life for each and every one of us! 

Kate is proud to call Yankton her home: having grown up here, she and her husband moved back to be closer to family, and to start a family of their own—starting with Paxton. As a young family, the Schramms value Yankton’s many amenities, like the excellent outdoor play spaces, the plethora of family activities, an unbeatable educational system, the convenience of medical facilities and grocery stores close by, and the charm of small town life just bursting with high school athletics and local festivals. In addition to their involvement with KYB, Kate and Mason spend many hours volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Clay and Yankton Counties, Pathways Shelter for the Homeless events, the Yankton Transit board, United Way & Volunteer Services of Greater Yankton programs, and City of Yankton committees. Their passion and participation in our community helps to keep Yankton the town we love! 

Vice President  |  Board member since 2018

Katelyn Schramm

Heartland Marketing.jpg

During her time with KYB, Nikki’s favorite part of being involved is the people she’s met and the work it’s encouraged her to do. So far, Nikki’s most memorable experience with KYB was the annual Great American Cleanup—together with her tribe, Nikki braved the inclement April morning and completed a route with the maternal motivation of her mother and mother-in-law. Throughout her continued involvement with KYB, Nikki believes she’s learned to be more selfless; as she continues to thrive both professionally and personally, Nikki hopes she can show others what volunteering can do not just for the good of the community, but also for the person involved.

Since moving back to Yankton, Nikki has enjoyed making new friends, reconnecting with old friends, watching her niece and nephew grow, and flourishing in her new career as a real estate agent with Vision Real Estate. In addition to her involvement with Keep Yankton Beautiful, Nikki is a board member of the Yankton Food for Thought Program and a very photogenic volunteer at the Heartland Humane Society.

When Nikki isn’t enjoying a craft beverage or posing with a puppy in need of a forever home, she loves to cook and spend time with her husband, Kyle LaCroix. After years away, Nikki believes moving back was the best choice she could have made, and we agree! 

Board Member Since 2019

Nikki Pravecek - LaCroix

67423480_10156717907737400_7918355737317

Jess has wasted no time getting involved since joining our board! Her first duty with Keep Yankton Beautiful was keeping runners hydrated during the MD Art Project's inaugural Color Run 5K.

 

Having lived in Yankton her entire life, Jessica sees her involvement with KYB as an opportunity to help educate community members on what they can do to keep our river city beautiful for generations to come. Preserving and perpetuating the character and charisma of Yankton is a personal goal for Jessica, because it’s where she has chosen to raise her three children. Jessica believes Yankton is a great place to live and especially enjoys the City Rec Sports Leagues and the Lewis & Clark Recreation Area, where she and her family enjoy camping, swimming, hiking, and biking.

Jess channels her passion into her community involvement: she serves as a coach for Yankton South Dakota Special Olympics, Girls on the Run International, and Yankton Youth Soccer Association. When she isn’t running, she’s walking dogs as a volunteer at the Heartland Humane Society. In addition to helping all our furry friends get their steps in, Jessica further contributes her time and talent to the organization by helping with the annual Wine and Whiskers event. Jess is a cheerful employee of Vision Real Estate Services, and the proud mother of Elijah, Frances, and Abel.

Enjoying the outdoors, running, reading, and photography are Jessica’s favorite past-times, and we’re grateful to have her passionate personality on board.

Board Member Since 2019

Jessica Anderson

66257093_10156679392202400_3365876014864

Joseph was born and raised in Yankton and currently holds the title of Program Director at Pathways Shelter for the Homeless. Joseph’s steady belief in the KYB mission has kept him engaged and inspired him to take his involvement to the next level. 

Like many of us, Joseph can’t see himself living anywhere but Yankton, and his participation with KYB stems from his desire to make Yankton the best place to live, raise a family, or visit. Joseph knows it’s important for the vitality of a community to put its best foot forward, and he's is eager to do just that by taking an active role in upcoming KYB beautification projects. From our iconic Meridian Bridge brimming with townies and tourists alike, to the splash pad and Walnut Street Reconstruction, Joseph eagerly promotes the importance of well-maintained public places and the attitude that protects these resources. Throughout his daily life and his involvement with Keep Yankton Beautiful, Joseph hopes to continuously impart on the next generation a sense of pride that ensures the lasting value of Yankton’s appealing features.

When he’s not busy Keeping Yankton Beautiful, Joseph and his wife Christine enjoy biking, hiking, gardening and being indecisive about what to watch on Netflix. 

Board Member Since 2019

Joseph Tielke

65007467_10156650587182400_3510586755990

Al is especially passionate about Keep Yankton Beautiful’s focus on litter prevention and removal. With the help of our many volunteers annually, litter has decreased in Yankton, and Al firmly believes our city is a cleaner place! He would know…he and his trusty red Trek put on 3-4,000 miles every year right here in our community. While he loves to be on two wheels, Al also greatly enjoys his annual golf cart litter crusade during the Riverboat Days Parade in August, and he’s an eager KYB representative at the Missouri River Clean-up and the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Event.

Al first moved to town to attend Yankton College in 1969, and he’s been here ever since! He worked at the Press and Dakota until 1990, then Gurney’s till 2000 when he started his own business: The Plant—Horticultural Search Service, operating until 2018 when he retired. Al and his wife Kay raised three children: Amy, Kevin, and Kasey, and greatly enjoy the time they have with their grandchildren: Cyan, Maya, Elijah, and Clara.

In the midst of family and career, Al has remained invested in the community, delivering meals bi-weekly for the Banquet for many years, volunteering hundreds of hours as a patient escort at the hospital, and serving as a member of TEAM since 2002. From giving horseback rides through the H.O.R.S.E program to organizing entertainment for Riverboat Days, Al has always been a dedicated community volunteer, and in 2014 was honored as a United Way Volunteer of the Month.

Al loves living in Yankton because it’s beautiful, peaceful, and uncomplicated. In his spare time, he is the commissioner of the Yankton Draft Baseball League and an attentive caretaker of his yard and Koi ponds. 

Board Member Since 2015

Al Koliner