our current staff
Rob Castañeda, Executive Director
Rob and Amy Castañeda founded Beyond the Ball, and with a small, but dedicated staff, Rob wears many hats. He plays a large role in coordinating each of our programs and has become an internationally-recognized expert in the area of sports-based youth development. He regularly speaks to how sport and play can build community as evidenced by Beyond the Ball's creative and original programming.
He, and his wife Amy, still live in the house that was set on fire and set Beyond the Ball into motion. Rob remains very involved in their neighborhood not only as part of Beyond the Ball, but by participating in basketball and softball leagues throughout the year strictly as a player.
Brent Michel, Director of Marketing & Development
After eight years as a dedicated Beyond the Ball volunteer, Brent left his previous job to dedicate his full attention to Beyond the Ball. His deep media and marketing background includes international experience in the for-profit world Accenture as well as non-profit work at a local health center. In addition to assisting with programs, Brent is primarily responsible for getting the word out about the great work Beyond the Ball is doing, raising funds, and figuring out ways to creatively and effectively partner with others to positively impact the culture of our neighborhood.
Brent lives in North Lawndale with his wife, Laura, and children: Donovan, 8; Sophia, 6; and Emmitt, 2. His kids love participating in Project Play, and Donovan is a current Bitty Baller. His children attend a fabulous school in the neighborhood: Chicago West Side Christian School. He has served on the board of other neighborhood organizations including Neighborhood Housing Services and Strategic Human Services. Brent remains active in the neighborhood, playing in basketball leagues and often can be seen running through the streets of North Lawndale and Little Village for exercise, running being a habit he developed as a member of the Long Green Line at York Community High School and continued through his education at Wheaton College.
Zach Massey. Director of Operations
Zach became involved with Beyond the Ball during his year of service in Chicago at La Villita Community Church. After recognizing the value Beyond the Ball brings to the community, Zach decided to raise funds to work directly with Beyond the Ball, helping empower youth to change their community.
Cris Martinez, Communications Coordinator
Cris is a Beyond the Ball alum who returned to Little Village after obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Roosevelt University. In addition to the time he spends getting the word out about Beyond the Ball, Cris covers the Chicago Bulls for Extra Newspaper. Cris credits Beyond the Ball, which he became involved with starting in sixth grade, with connecting him to his closest friends and making him a community stakeholder.
Hassan Chaudhry, Program Supervisor
Hassan was exposed to Beyond the Ball during his stint as a Mission Year volunteer in Little Village. He was convicted to stay in Little Village and become an employee as part of his AmeriCorps term after seeing the impact of Beyond the Ball on the community.