YAL CHICAGO CONFERENCE 2022
The YAL Chicago Conference 2022 was a success! With over 700 tickets sold, three full days of activities, several speakers and workshops, and endless opportunities to meet other YALers from across the country, we're already looking forward to 2023.
Please take our exit survey so we can hear your thoughts and improve our event for next year! Feel free to reach out to YAL Chicago if you have more to share.
Photos from the weekend will be published below as they come out.
Friday Welcome & Red Party
Saturday Service Project & Workshops
Saturday Night Fever
Sunday Church & Workshops
Check back for the links to the workshops and panel speakers.
Follow us at @yalchicagoconference on social media to see more information from our 2022 conference.
Creating awareness of the important issues facing our Ecumenical Patriarchate is paramount because if left unchecked, could lead to the asphyxiation of our Orthodox Faith. Learn how to help protect and defend our Holy and Great Mother Church.
The Order of St. Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s mission is to defend the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is headquartered in Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul, Turkey, by promoting its well-being and advancement; advance religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; and preserve its important role in the spiritual life of Orthodox Christians, as well as all persons of faith in the world. His special concern and interest is to serve as a bulwark to protect and promote the Sacred See of St. Andrew the Apostle and its mission. He is also concerned with the human race's inalienable rights wherever and whenever they are violated - and the well-being and general welfare of the Christian Church.
Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
International orthodox christian charities
Special thanks to our Donors who helped make this all possible!
The Papadeas Family
Greek orthodox metropolis of chicago ladies philoptohos
Plateia Mediterranean Kitchen
mr. bill spell
sts. constantine & helen philoptohos
sts. constantine & helen wawatousa
st. john the baptist philoptohos
ascension of our lord greek orthodox church
& various anonymous donors!
Meet the YAL Chicago Conference Board
Demetri was born and raised in Libertyville, IL, and attended St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Demetri graduated from Loyola University in Chicago in 2016 with a degree in Finance and Information Systems. He currently works as a Senior Operational Analyst at a Financial Firm in Chicago. Demetri’s involvement throughout the Orthodox and Greek community has included participating as a GOYA Basketball Coach, Junior Olympics Coach, Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society, and of course YAL. Some of Demetri’s interests include Lord of the Rings and traveling. He’s even been to 44 states! If you see a guy with a giant afro at our Saturday Disco Party, that’s him
Evalina is from the northern suburbs of Chicago and is a steward of her parish, Holy Taxiarhai and Saint Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church of Niles, IL. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (I-L-L!) in 2020 with a degree in Economics, and currently works in the Talent Development department for IMS Integrated Merchandising Solutions. Evalina has always loved being involved in the Metropolis since she was a young age, and continues to be heavily involved. She currently serves as a GOYA advisor, TelosGamma Project board member and Jr. Olympics coach for her parish, as well as a board member for the YAL Chicago Executive Board. Some things that Evalina loves (almost) as much as her faith are jet-skiing, Tik Tok, and Chick-fil-A!
John was born and raised in Lincolnshire, IL, and attends Holy Taxiarhai and Saint Haralambos in Niles. John currently is a Metropolis of Chicago Seminarian working on Master of Divinity (MDiv) at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He already has a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Hellenic College and the Certificate in Byzantine Music from Holy Cross. John’s involvement throughout the Orthodox and Greek community for the past years has included participating as a Byzantine Music Instructor at Holy Apostles and St. John the Baptist, an Altar Boy at St. Haralambos, a Youth Director of Ascension of Our Lord, and Fanari Camp Male Staff Director. In his free time you can find him reading, biking, visiting art museums, and listening to vinyl records! A fun fact about John is that he has been to Jerusalem and visited the Holy Sepulchre!
Amelia is from the northern suburbs of Chicago and attends Holy Taxiarhai and Saint Haralambos in Niles. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2019 ,and now currently attends University of Wisconsin in Madison where she studies Veterinary Medicine and works at Large Animal Science. One day she hopes to become a veterinarian for all species of animals someplace in rural, small-town America! Amelia has been very involved within the Orthodox community in the past where she was the Midwest Student Leader for OCF, a board member of her parish’s YAL, and been a Fanari Camp counselor for 2 summers. She continues to be involved by becoming a Lighthouse counselor during the summer, which gave her an outlet to try to mentor new college students and connect them with their faith before starting the next chapter in their lives. Some things that Amelia absolutely loves are doing outdoor activities, collecting various house plants, and the show, Guy’s Grocery Games!
Joanna was born and raised in Wilmette, IL, and attends St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Joanna graduated from Loyola University in Chicago in 2017 with a degree in Secondary Education and History. Now, she is pursuing a Master’s in Social Work at University Illinois Chicago and works as a Social Work Intern at a high school in the Chicago suburbs. Her future career goals include working in a school as a social worker and basketball coach. Joanna has had multiple roles in the Orthodox Community. She previously was involved with OCF where I was a committee member of OCF College Conference Midwest 2016. Now she helps out at her home parish as a GOYA advisor, Athletic Director (coordinate Jr. Olympics and GOAL basketball), in addition to organizing events for YAL. She also is currently one of the Staff Directors of Fanari Camp and has been involved with Fanari Camp since 2017. Joanna loves spending her free time with family and friends, playing board games like “Catan”, and watching Criminal Minds. Though she spends most of her time with basketball, Joanna is a big Chicago Cubs fan. Go Cubs Go!
Caroline is from Cincinnati, Ohio and attends Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Dayton, Ohio. She graduated from the Ohio State University with a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering. During college she was involved in Orthodox Christian Fellowship and Sigma Epsilon Phi (Greek Orthodox Cultural Club at Ohio State). She hopes to work in the healthcare industry in healthcare process improvement. Caroline has taken multiple roles in the Orthodox Community. She's been a Sunday School teacher at Assumption GOC in Madison, WI, participated in GOYA throughout high school, and is on the committees for the Pittsburgh and Chicago YAL conferences. She attended and was a counselor at the Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp throughout middle school and high school and attended IV in 2014. Caroline loves spending her free time trying new recipes and watching La Casa Del Papel (Money Heist), which she can ~almost~ watch without subtitles!
Alexandra lives in Rochester, Minnesota and her parish is Saints Kosmas and Damien Orthodox Church. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in Nursing. Alexandra currently works as a Postpartum Nurse at Mayo Clinic, and in the future hopes to become a doula practicing home births! She has always been very involved within the Metropolis. During her youth, she attended Crossroad June 2013, participated in Greek Dance for 9 years, and wrote many essays for Oratorical festivals. Now she runs her local YAL chapter! You can usually find her doing outdoor activities such as gardening, traveling/hiking, or watching the sunset! Though she is a big fan of the outdoors, Alexandra also loves spending time inside cooking or drinking an afternoon cappuccino or espresso shot. A fun fact about her is that she runs an Instagram account called @minnesotazandy where she posts her day-to-day content (which her friends describe as “unfiltered” and “artsy”).
Fundraising & Budgeting Chair
Dionisi Papadatos grew up in Glenview and attends Holy Taxiarhai & St. Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church in Niles. He graduated from Miami University (OH) in 2020 with a degree in Finance. His current role as a financial advisor and college unit captain with Northwestern Mutual has allowed him to network and make lifelong connections. Throughout the years, Dionisi has always been involved in the Greek Orthodox community, including participation in GOYA, Junior Olympics, as well as serving the altar from an early age. His first language was Greek, with descent from Kefalonia, one of the Eptanisa famous for its beaches and mandoles. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, attending live music events, and feasting on chipotle.
Evan grew up in Orland Park, IL. and attends St. Constantine and Helen of Palos Hills. He graduated in 2020 from DePaul University with a double major in Accounting and Finance. Evan is currently working as an Accountant, and in the process of taking the CPA. He has always been very involved in his parish and the Metropolis where he has been a Fanari Counselor, GOYA Supervisor, and YAL as a returning board member. Some of Evan’s interests include playing in adult soccer leagues, The Sopranos, and going to Greece every summer!
Christen grew up in Hinsdale, IL. and attends Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago. She graduated from The University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign in 2019 with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing. Christen has a ~sweet~ job as a Brand Marketer for Werther's Original Caramel. Christen’s involvement throughout the Orthodox and Greek community has included being on the board of UIUC’s OCF and YAL Chicago 2020 Conference, IV Next (2019) and Heritage Greece (2016) participant, and a Fanari camper. In her free time you can find her road tripping across the country with friends and family (42 states so far!), going to live music concerts and festivals, and eating Portillos!
Georgia is from Glenview, IL and attends Ascension of our Lord in Lincolnshire, IL. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned her degree in Integrative Biology, and now currently works as the Director of Scholarships at the non-profit organization, Panhellenic Scholarship Foundation. Her job is to help beyond scholarship and also provide mentorship and career opportunities for Hellenic young professionals. Georgia loves being involved in her parish by being the Youth Director, a Sunday School teacher for 7th and 8th graders, and help run Goya and Jr. Goya. Some of Georgia’s favorite things are grilled octopus, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, That 70s Show, and traveling. She even loves to scuba dive!
Georgia was born and raised in Chicago, IL and is where she currently lives today. When she’s not in church at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, spending time with her family, on a flight, baking a dessert, or running to the nearest Starbucks, she’s teaching! Georgia has her Education degree and Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with ESL Endorsement. Georgia has been a camp counselor for years at Fanari and St. Nicholas The Ranch, and she is part of the Metropolis of Chicago’s Young Adult Advisory Board. Georgia is excited to be part of the Speaker Committee again, and can’t wait to see everyone at the YAL Conference!