Transforming our Nation One Child at a Time.

+618 874 6505

564  Veronica Ave

East St. Louis, IL 62205

Meet the Board of Directors for Uni-Pres Kindercottage!


Barb Jutting, President

I have been an active member of Evangelical United Church of Christ in Godfrey for 42 years.  I have had leadership positions, and have participated in volunteer work which includes chairing our “Adopt a Spot” Landscaping program, being a member of our Hearts in Service ministry, and being coordinator of our Scrip program, which generates money for capital improvement.  I also enjoy singing in the chancel choir and playing in the handbell choir.


 I attended Southern University of Illinois at Edwardsville where I was conferred a Master’s of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology and a Certificate of Clinical Competency from the American Speech and Hearing Association.  I also obtained certification in Educational Administration from SIUE.


I spent 14 years in the public schools as a speech therapist for 3-12 year olds in regular and special education classes.  I most recently retired from my position as Director of Evangelical School For The Young Years, and Principal of Evangelical Elementary and Middle School after 12 years.  


As one of the largest non-Catholic schools in our area, our enrollment for elementary and middle school has averaged around 300 students with approximately 90-100 in our preschool, with only 10% of the enrollment coming from our own church membership. We employ 34 teachers, 2 office staff and 2 custodians.  As a ministry of Evangelical United Church of Christ, I was privileged to be a part of this ministry to the children and families of our community.


Now in my second year of retirement, I continue with the church volunteer work, and have joined the Alton Community Service League, and P.E.O.  Oh yes, and I still substitute teach in preschool on occasion.

I have visited Kindercottage a few times now, and have met the hard working teachers, where Brenda and her staff make everyone feel welcome. Playing with the babies, and reading to the 3-5 year olds has certainly been a joy!  The Center definitely has a family atmosphere, one that needs to be continually cultivated.  I am interested in helping the Center move forward to meet the needs of children and their families in East St. Louis. 

Rev. Andrew Wilson, Vice President

My name is Rev. Andrew (Andy) Wilson. I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. I began my ministry as a licensed pastor at St. Peter UCC in Granite City. I served at St. Peter UCC until I completed my MDiv at Eden Theological Seminary in 2018. After graduation from Eden, I was called to St. John’s UCC in Smithton IL, where I currently serve as senior pastor. I have lived in Southwestern Illinois almost my entire life (since 1985), so I consider the Metro East my home. My wife Kristan and I live in Smithton with our two (very spoiled) rescue dogs.


Dr. Phil Wilhem, Treasurer.

Dr. Phil Wilhelm has been lifelong member of the United Church of Christ.  He currently serves as Director of Music at O’Fallon UCC and has been in that role for nearly 20 years.  Phil has served on both the board of the Illinois South Conference and the former Executive Council of the National Setting.  He attended the LIFE program Eden in its early years. Phil has a lifelong service in education.  He taught in the public school system before going to McKendree University, where he trained future teachers.  Phil retired early to pursue other interests, but continues to adjunct for Illinois State University.   Phil has a Bachelors and Masters degree in music and a PhD in education.  He has been a supporter of Kindercottage for many years and is honored to be serving on the board of directors.

Rev. Paul Thompson

Paul H. Thompson, Jr. was born in 1948 in Sharon, Pennsylvania. He attended and graduated from McPherson College in 1971 with a B.A. in English. In August 1971, he married Marilyn Dyson at Waterloo, Iowa. On January 31, 1978 their first daughter Susannah was born at Omaha, Nebraska. From February 1978 until August 1984, he served Brentford United Church of Christ, Mellette United Methodist Church, and Mansfield Presbyterian Church in South Dakota. During their time there, their second daughter Rebekah was born on August 21 1982 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. In August 1984, they moved to Wakarusa, Indiana where Paul served Zion United Church of Christ, Wakarusa and St. John United Church of Christ, Woodland. He served St. John United Church of Christ in Maeystown, Illinois from August 1990 until September 2003 when he moved to St. John United Church of Christ, Minier, Illinois from where he retired June, 2014. In retirement, he lives in Red Bud and belongs to Zion United Church of Christ in Waterloo.

Dr. Brinton McKenzie

My name is Brinton McKenzie and I migrated to the United State in 2005. In 2008 I joined the United States Army and served with distinction for 8 years, 9 months, and 24 days. I deployed to Afghanistan twice, in 2009, and 2012. In November of 2016 I ETS the military and started pursuing my true passion for ministry. I currently serve as the pastor of New Jerusalem Seventh-day Adventist church in East St. Louis, and Bible Chapel in Springfield IL.
I have been married to Carleta for the past 12 years. We have two boys: Brinton Jr, and Brayden. I have a BA in Theology, MA in Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Addiction Psychology. In addition to my responsibilities as pastor of New Jerusalem and Bible Chapel SDA church in IL; I am also an adjunct professor of psychology at Harris-Stowe State University. I like to read, play soccer, go to the gym, and provoke my wife LOL.
Our church is trying to play a more active role in the community of East St. Louis. We have a very effective children and youth department that is eager to engage the community. The youth department currently conduct a Pathfinder’s club (for youth between the age of 10 – 18), and Adventurers club (for youth between the age of 4 – 10). The purpose of the program is to support parents and caregivers in leading and encouraging their children to grow spiritually, cognitively, and physically. It would be a privilege for me to serve on a board or effort that is geared toward uplifting the children and youth of East St. Louis.

Donna Crider

Donna was born and raised in Charlestown, Indiana. She graduated from Indiana State University in Terre Haute with a B.A. in elementary education.  Donna married Mike Crider in June 1970.  While Mike was working on his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Kentucky in Lexington (Go Cats!), Donna taught 5th grade and earned an MA in elementary education at UK.  Mike’s work as a college professor has led them to Purdue, the University of Toledo, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and now SIUE. In 1983, Donna and Mike adopted their son Jeremy.  He is a family practice physician working with the underserved population in Birmingham, Alabama.  His wife is a veterinarian, and they have two adopted boys, Jacob (6) and Jesse (4). Donna was raised in the Methodist Church, but her family moved to the Presbyterian Church when she was 12.  She is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and has been involved with Presbyterian Women on the local, presbytery and synod levels.  Mission has beena special interest for her.  Donna also is a member of P.E.O., DAR, and Bread for the World.


Johann Ellerbrake

Johann Ellerbrake attended high school in the Washington DC area. After graduating from high school, she attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs Ohio. She earned an undergraduate degree in Physical Therapy from Washington University and an MA in Management from Webster University. Johann is married to Richard Ellerbrake and they live in Lebanon IL. They have two adult sons, Chris and Steve, four grandchildren, and two great grand children. She has worked as a Physical Therapist at Barnes Jewish, Deaconess, and Christian Welfare Hospitals, as well as Mamie O Stookey School. In addition, Johann has served as Executive Director for both Rankin Jordan Pediatrics Bridge Hospital and Mamie O Stookey School. She also is a consultant at Southwest Regional Special Education Association, President of Illinois South Conference Board of Directors, former President of UPKC Board of Directors, board member of Puentes De Esperanza, President Greater St. Louis Lead Poisoning Council, member of UCC Board for Homeland Ministries, Chair of Evangelism & Church Growth Committees, board member United Congregations of the Metro East (UCM). 


Rev. Joy Myers

I have spent a lot of time volunteering in my life. Married for 48 years, my spouse, Ron, retired from the Illinois Toll Hiway Authority in 2007 when I received a call to be Associate Pastor in Edwardsville, IL.  A late bloomer, I graduated from college (Northern Illinois University) in 1989 with a teaching degree (BS Ed and again in 1996 with a Master’s degree in Education (MS Ed – Instructional Technology/Instructional Design).  Going to Seminary in 1997 and graduating from McCormick Theological Seminary in 2000 then beginning work as Associate Pastor at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church in Geneva, IL.  I was actually ordained before graduation!  I became Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church Edwardsville in the fall of 2006 retiring from that position Dec 2015.  Currently I serve as part-time Stated Clerk for the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy. I’ve spent time as a timer and record keeper for my children’s swim team breathing in chlorine!  I’ve served on boards of directors for several organizations and currently serve on the board at Uni-Pres Kindercottage in East St Louis.  Ron and I served as Foster parents through the Dept of Children and Family Services in Illinois and adopted two children.  Our daughter lives in Southern Missouri after losing her husband of 20 years in 2015.  Our son died in 1995.

Dr. Jackie Aregood

Dr. Jackie Aregood grew up active in the social service community of the United Church of Christ. She first worked in East St. Louis volunteering as a teenager rehabilitating Habitat for Humanity houses. She later worked summers and volunteered with the Neighborhood Houses where her father Rev. Jack Aregood was the director. Other volunteer and work experience with nonprofit organizations include ICASA, Call For Help, Coalition Against Domestic Violence, UVA resuscitation committee, Free Peoples Clinic Chicago, Family Focus, and Charlottesville Free Clinic. 


Upon completing college, she attended medical school in Chicago and completed her medical training in internal medicine and psychiatry at the University of Virginia.  Dr. Aregood is a practicing psychiatrist employed by SIHF, a federally qualified healthcare center headquartered in Sauget, Illinois. 


She is married to Mark Russo, retired Lieutenant Colonel US Air Force. They have three teenage children and are active members of O’Fallon United Church of Christ.


Aimee Hart

Aimee Hart was born and was a longtime resident in Chicago, IL.  She is now a resident of Fairview Heights, IL, as of June 2016.  She attended Shiloh Academy, now Chicago SDA academy High School, in Chicago, IL.  She received a Bachelor’s Degree from Chicago State University, and a Master of Science Degree in: Non For Profit Management & Leadership from Spertus College in  Chicago, IL.  She has been recognized for her work in Early Childhood Development, training, and community collaboration by Illinois Action for Children, After School Matters, Urban League South Cook Committee, EverThrive Illinois, Chicago Park Districts Advisory Council, Children Home and Aid, CAC, AOK, and Lighthouse Child Care Centers.  She is also an active member of the St. Louis Unified School Committee, Family United organization (of St. Louis, MO), and several church committees.  She is a member of North Side SDA Church in St. Louis where Rev. Trevor Barn is the Pastor.  She is the wife of retired Master Sergeant Nathan Hart, Jr. 

Flo Jeffreys

Retired after 50 years of nursing, the last 19 of which were spent as cardiology nurse practitioner at St Louis University.  My 50 years took me to all kinds of nursing opportunities: medical/surgical, emergency, intensive care, electrophysiology, pediatrics, industrial nursing, childbirth instructor, practical nursing instructor with clinicals in acute care and nursing homes, home health nursing.  I have been blessed to be a part of the life journey of so many of my patients and their families in both urban and rural areas in the Midwest and Gulf Coast.  


Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing, formerly part of the United Church of Christ missions, gave me a sound nursing base.  Living with the Deaconess sisters showed me how service to others is being God's hands and feet.  Their ministry is still alive in the  Deaconess Community Faith Nurse Ministry today.  My BSN was obtained at McKendree College, MSN and Nurse Practitioner completion at St Louis University.


I have participated in mission trips with the United Church of Christ at the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation and Biloxi Back Bay Mission following Hurricane Katrina.  


I am currently a member of St Paul's UCC in Lebanon, Illinois where Pastor Don Wagner leads his flock. St Paul's is committed to supporting UPK. Our church also supports the ecumenical Lebanon Matthew's Ministries, where I am currently in training as a client advocate. 


My previous experience on Board of Directors includes Christian Home Care Services, two terms for UniPres KinderCottage, and two terms for Southern Illinois Health and Wellness Center in Washington Park.  My interest in East St Louis was peaked when Brenda Crisp, UPK director, assisted me with community health assessment of services/resources for ESL children while obtaining my MSN.  I also became very familiar with East St Louis while completing a year of home health nursing there in return for a grant from Illinois Public Health for college tuition.