Julia ConnellisJulia Connellis

Executive Director


Julia currently serves as the Executive Director of KYEA and has been in this position since October of 2009. She first got involved with the KSYLF as a volunteer in 2002. From there, she knew that she wanted to work in the disability community and she did just that. Julia has worked for KYEA since its creation in 2005. Julia holds a Bachelors degree in Human Services with an emphasis in youth services and certifications in addictions counseling and non-profit management.  She finds her passion in assisting and empowering young adults with disabilities, which is molded by her own experience with having a visual and physical disability.  Julia has been able to pursue her passion through her current employment at KYEA. During her college career, Julia was active in the Bonner Leader/AmeriCorp Program and has been the recipient of “Who's Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges” and Outstanding Advocate for issues facing youth with disabilities, as well as several other awards for leadership. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Work. During Julia’s free time, she enjoys music, concerts, traveling and eating a variety of foods.



Carrie GreenwoodCarrie Greenwood

Program Coordinator


Carrie has been the Program Coordinator for KYEA since January of 2009. She previously served as the Outreach Coordinator and has been with KYEA since its creation in 2005. Carrie attended the first ever Kansas Youth Leadership Forum in 2001 and has stayed involved with the program ever since. She has a passion for promoting diversity, empowerment, and education amongst ALL people, especially youth and women with disabilities. She expresses her passion through her job at KYEA, as well as her volunteer activities. Carrie has had the opportunity to attend national and local conferences and speak to over 300 groups about disability awareness and youth empowerment. She held the title of Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2004 and has served as the volunteer state coordinator of this program for the past 12 years. She holds an Associate of Applied Science degree in Design Technology from Washburn University in Topeka. In her free time, Carrie enjoys listening to music, volunteering at her church, reading a good fiction book, shopping, and spending time with friends and family.



Johnna GodinezJohnna Godinez

Program Assistant


Johnna currently serves as the Program Assistant for KYEA. She previously served as a VISTA program support person and Fundraising Coordinator, and has been with KYEA since April of 2010. Johnna has a Master's Degree (2000) in Early-Child Special Education from the University of Kansas and a Bachelors of Science (1995) in Elementary Education from Baker University. She has taught first grade in Kansas City, taught Road to Success classes, and was an Independent Living Specialist at the Resource Center for Independent Living. She has passionately volunteered for 15 years at the Kansas Youth Leadership Forum, volunteers at her church, and sings first soprano in the Lawrence Civic Choir. Johnna has three nephews and two nieces who think her visual disability is really cool, and she has taught them that it is absolutely okay to be different.



Whit DowningWhit Downing

Administrative Assistant

Whit currently serves as the Administrative Assistant for KYEA. She is a 2017 Faces of Change Alumni. In October 2017, Whit started a support group for young adults with Autism called, "Celebrating Autism Together" in Topeka. She is currently a student at Washburn University and is undecided on her major. Whit is passionate about supporting others, especially young people, and helping people reach their full potential. She enjoys collecting and solving Rubiks Cubes. Whit works daily on improving her cubing skills and has a passion for getting others involved with cubing. Whit also enjoys spending time with her siblings and her extra-cute niece. Whit is a determined young adult and draws inspiration from Temple Grandin to not let her Autism get in the way of accomplishing her goals and dreams.