leadership team

Jeff Van Genderen

Executive Director

Jeff Van Genderen

I have been volunteering with the Dream Team since 2017. I love to cycle and ride the trails around central Iowa and have volunteered with other youth programs. My first year I checked out Dream Team by being a support mentor. I enjoyed being part of the team and seeing the smiles, now I volunteer as a riding mentor. What is unique about the Dream Team experience is: Using the power of the bicycle to help teach youth how to overcome life's challenges. To witness the growth in the youth's confidence, both as a person and a cyclist, from the first outdoor training ride all the way through the season, when the youth get to dip their bike tires in the Mississippi, is something I am really proud to be part of.

Jorie O'Leary

Assistant Director

Jorie O'Leary

I first joined the team in 2014 to help create a social media presence for the team during RAGBRAI®, so that family and friends of the riders could see all the fun and excitement they were experiencing throughout the week. After falling in love with the team's mission and many of the youth, I decided to join the team as a riding support member. Most recently, my role has shifted to Youth Recruitment as well, which in my opinion is the best part! We have amazing youth with touching stories, and building relationships with them is why I come back year after year. It's undeniable the impact Dream Team has on so many people, and it's an honor to be a part of that!

Scott Matter

Marketing & Outreach Coordinator

Scott Matter

As a first-year mentor in 2021, I had the opportunity to see first-hand how Dream Team changes the lives of dozens of Central Iowa youth each year. As a volunteer, I also learned how rewarding it is to be part of a time-tested program that helps youth riders build confidence and develop a positive approach to help conquer life’s challenges. Now in its 25th year, Dream Team has an amazing story to tell. Contact me if your organization would like to learn more about how they can support Dream Team or if you are with the media and are interested in learning more about Dream Team.

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Youth Coordinator

Liz Sweeney

I joined Dream Team as a mentor in 2021 because I am passionate about empowering youth to reach their goals and become confident and capable young adults. I believe that youth are capable of more than they imagine. It was amazing to see my team reach a difficult goal of completing every mile of RAGBRAI, and to see them recognize that it was only by their hours of dedication and hard work. I’m excited to work as the youth recruiter this year, as I hope to connect more youth to this amazing program!

 

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Support Coordinator

Shamin Van Genderen

I am the support director and responsible for keeping the youth fueled during  Dream Team rides. I have been with the team for eight years and am a second generation mentor! In 2014,  after listening to my dad talk about how much fun he was having with Dream Team, I joined as a riding mentor. The joy the youth bring to my life is unparalleled. I’m truly blessed to have a hand in building confidence and developing life skills with this group. 

Randy Wahl

Route & Bike Maintenance Coordinator

Randy Wahl

Since joining the Dream Team in 2020 as a riding mentor, it has been inspiring to be a part of the transformation process for these amazing Des Moines-area youth. Nothing short of a metamorphosis takes place - a major and permanent change of their character into something new. I have witnessed youth gain fitness, friendships, self-confidence, and discipline. I’m proud to be seeking the welfare of my greater Des Moines community by investing in the youth of the Dream Team. As a life-long cyclist myself, it is a joy to share my passion for cycling with others.

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Digital Media Coordinator

Christopher Higdon

Since joining the Dream Team in 2022 as a riding mentor, I was impressed by the transformation of the youth in the program.  After my first Dream Team season, I was excited to join the leadership team given this was a natural merger of my interests of cycling and serving/supporting youth in Central Iowa.

James Hart

Indoor Training & Campout Coordinator

James Hart

I am a retired Business Manager, husband, father and grandfather. I love bicycling and became acquainted with the Dream Team while riding several years of RAGBRAI and serving on it’s Ride Right safety committee.  I had the joy of joining the Dream Team in 2005 when “Greenie” was our leader and we were housed at the old Des Moines Register building.  

What I enjoy about the team is watching the youth grow throughout the season and year over year.  This growth includes building confidence, physical and emotional strength, sense of belonging, working as a team, commitment to achieving a goal and social skills.

I am a riding mentor and often provide support and occasionally drive the truck for campouts.