Yuki Weaver (Board Chair)
Yuki Weaver has spent the last 15 years in Charlottesville’s nonprofit community and is currently with The Arc of the Piedmont. She freelances as a grant prospect researcher to help an array of organizations find the right grants. She loves to volunteer and support area nonprofits any way she can, so you’ll see her registering for runs and walks, attending galas, and buying merch.
Kara McClurken (Bennett’s mom and co-founder of Bennett’s Village)
Kara McClurken is Bennett and Ananda’s mommy and the President and co-founder of Bennett’s Village. She loves talking with folks of all ages about the importance of recreational play for every one.
Mladen Nesic (Treasurer)
Mladen Nesic is a Renewable Energy Project Finance Professional at Apex Energy. When asked about why he supports Bennett’s Village, Mladen said, “I want to help create a space in our community that brings people together. I want to live in a place that values everyone and that makes sure everyone’s needs are taken care of. I believe that strong communities play together and that good play time is inclusive playtime.”
Julie Basic is a licensed Landscape Architect with a great interest in making outdoor spaces accessible and available to everyone. In her professional life, she designs playgrounds, splash pads, trails, and other recreational amenities which makes her a great asset for Bennett’s Village. As a Board Member, Julie serves as the Design Liaison, which means she oversees design and planning efforts, project management, permitting, and coordinating with city staff and contractors. Julie has lived in Charlottesville for over 20 years and makes frequent visits to the city’s parks and trails with her family.
Bellamy Brown is an experienced, well-trained leader with strong analytical and problem-solving skills. He has served our country honorably as a U.S. Marine, in addition to having gained public, private, and non-profit experience at various organizations throughout Virginia and the D.C. Metro area. His transformational leadership style focuses on leading with love in a collaborative manner. His interests include serving his hometown of Charlottesville, fitness, hiking, cooking, golfing, and all things JMU.
Steve Gaines is the Financial Center Manager for Fulton Bank at Hollymead Town Center. His professional focus is primarily on small business banking and being engaged and involved within the community. His community-related passion is working with nonprofit organizations, especially those that serve people in need. In recent years that has included volunteer and Board work with The Salvation Army, Arc of the Piedmont, and now Bennett’s Village. When not working or volunteering he enjoys being with his wife and family, fitness, socializing, college sports, and playing Pickleball.
Emily Hillaker is a resident physician in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department at the University of Virginia. Her passion is working with and advocating for children with disabilities. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three children.
Heather Kunk has lived in Charlottesville and worked in the medical community here for almost 12 years.
In 2020, Heather’s youngest son, Asher, spent 4 months in the NICU at UVA and has required substantial medical attention since. Heather said of this time, “our only real reprieve as a family was to play outdoors. Outdoor play allowed us to put a little distance between the sterility of the hospital and the seriousness of Asher’s condition. My hope is for other families in Charlottesville enduring similar circumstances to be able to have a place where their entire family, of all abilities, ages and stages, can play together and escape the daily stressors of having a child with medical needs.”
When not working as a nurse at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, Heather enjoys spending time with her husband and three small children swimming, traveling, and exploring the outdoors.
Since moving to Charlottesville in 2014, Samantha and her family have loved becoming more a part of this community. Samantha works with University Physicians Group as the DEI Program Coordinator, and says, “I can’t wait to bring my passion in work and life to the cause of Bennett’s Village. As a local foster family, we know the need for all children and adults to have a space to be themselves and find their joy!”
In addition to our Board, Bennett’s Village also has an Advisory Committee. These individuals are invested in making our dream of creating an all-abilities, multigenerational play space a reality in our community.
Members of the Advisory Committee:
- Aimee Carter, Director of Development, Miller School of Albemarle
- Pam Edmonds, community member
- Erin Hall, community member
- Bryan Harris, Director of Development and Community Relations for The Arc of the Piedmont
- Jim Herndon, Senior Peer Advocate, Independent Resource Center
- Paige Lindblom, Preschool Teacher, Charlottesville City Schools
- Dr. Paul Matherne, UVA Children’s Hospital
- Sheila McCarthy, community member
- Rosemary Miller, VPM
- Ashely Schneider, Milliken Marketing
- Lisa Torres, Home healthcare physical therapist and Charlottesville City School Board
- Juandiego Wade, Charlottesville City Council
Advisory Committee members
- Act as resources to the Bennett’s Village Board of Directors by providing counsel, guidance, and insight on issues and questions related to their special skills or background;
- Provide feedback and advice on initiatives, practices, policies, and campaigns put forth by the Board of Directors; and,
- Provide access and introductions when appropriate to community stakeholders – including donors, grantees, volunteers, community connections, potential Board and committee members, and others – that will assist in furthering the mission of Bennett’s Village, Inc.