Denise and her husband, Chris, founded Growing Colorado Kids in 2008 as a way to mitigate hunger among refugee families newly resettled in Denver. Denise was working as a youth case manager at the time and discovered that more often than not, refugee families were going hungry. In a very short period of time, Denis has transitioned Growing Colorado Kids from primarily a hunger abatement program into a fully functioning farm program that provides opportunities for leadership, teamwork, community building, and fun!
Chris is the current Chair for the Growing Colorado kidsAdvisory Board. Professionally Chris is Director of the Division of Small Business Opportunity for the City of Denver. He is responsible for establishing the City and County of Denver’s long-term strategies to include firms owned by racial/ethnic minorities and women as well as locally owned small businesses in all capital improvement projects issued by the City and County of Denver and Denver International Airport.
Chris has almost 40 year’s experience as a community and political activist. He has a long history of involvement with non-profit, community and civic organizations. Chris served 8 years as a Board Member for the Regional Transportation District.
Board Vice President
Brad is a Denver native who ventured to Texas Christian University to earn his undergraduate degree in Sociology and Anthropology. Returning home to Denver, he discovered his love for teaching young people and creating excitement about the beautiful natural environments of Colorado. While working for Warren Village Learning Center in Denver, he became a strong advocate for social justice and equality for all people. Brad attended University of Denver to receive a master’s degree of applied science in Environmental Policy and Management. Traveling is one of Brad’s true passions and he believes that the world is a classroom. When he is not sharing his experiences and knowledge with others teaching for the Denver non-profit Environmental Learning for Kids, he spends time in nature with his wife and two dogs, plays soccer, and reads science fiction.
Donald L Martell
Don is the treasurer and photographer for Growing Colorado Kids. As treasurer, he interprets the financial statements into an easily understand form. He flags fiscal situations that need attention. Don also works closely with the Founding Director to prepare the Growing Colorado Kids budget.
As photographer, Don has developed a photo record of a growing season at Growing Colorado Kids. These include the refugee youth, volunteers, and others who work together on Farm Days. Don’s prints were featured at the Moonrise Fund Raising Dinner in August.
Professionally, Don has a BSEE from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from Boston College. He was previously a manager at a high tech firm. He is an active volunteer and has been involved in church finances for the past 20 years.
Heather is a Colorado transplant, originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. After receiving degrees in Business Administration and Mathematics from Gonzaga University, Heather accepted a position at Charles Schwab where she is currently a communications manager for the Investment Management division of the company. Heather was introduced to Growing Colorado Kids through several members of her book club and has loved being a part of the organization as the Secretary of the Advisory Board. She is passionate about the mission and vision of Growing Colorado Kids and is incredibly excited for where the program is headed! In her free time, Heather loves skiing, flag football, and just hanging out with her husband, new son, and two dogs.
Joan and her husband Arthur had the joy of covering Growing Colorado Kids for the Greater Park Hill News. Their passion for the program led to sharing their yard for Growing Colorado Kids’ first harvests and Joan becoming part of its founding board and is its only baby boomer rapper.
Joan’s background includes a BA from the University of Pacific and a certificate in Community Development (Nonprofit Management) from Metro State University. Joan was Co-Editor of the Greater Park Hill News for 14 years and has been a lifetime activist. She is a certified Lifecycle Celebrant, business partner, and writer. Reading, cooking and loving life are her extraciricular activities.
Mary Ann Colley
Mary Ann is the Vice President of Science and Conservation at the Butterfly Pavilion.
Lauren was Growing Colorado Kids’ first volunteer. She feels lucky to have seen the organization blossom over the years from a yard share program in Park Hill to a full-fledged 1 acre garden in Brighton/Commerce City, as well as watch all youth leaders who were participants in 2008 go on to graduate from high school. She is the Manager of Experiential Learning at the Daniels College of Business and is working on her doctorate in Higher Education at the Morgridge College of Education. Having grown up in Colorado, she is a strong believer in the benefits that diverse background bring to communities and organizations and is so proud of the work GCK and its youth do.
Allison is a communications guru and is currently the Internal Communications Manager for UCHealth. Allison is originally from the great state of Minnesota but has been a proud Coloradoan for more than 10 years. She grew up in an agricultural family and has maintained a passion for horticulture through gardening and xeric landscaping.
Marielle originally moved to Colorado to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. She worked as a site manager, grant writer and marketing guru for a community garden nonprofit in Frederick, Colorado. She recently moved to Denver to pursue employment in environmental and animal rights law. She is very excited about joining Growing Colorado Kids to apply her practical gardening knowledge as well as her creative talents to the board. She hopes to explore the intersection of multiculturalism, public heath and sustainability through the power of story telling. In her spare time, she hikes, dances, writes and sings!
Tiffany is the Impact Analysis Director at Engineers Without Borders USA and is responsible for measuring EWB-USA’s program impact in the world. Tiffany holds a BS in structural engineering and an MS in International Development. She served nearly four years in the U.S. Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa, which gave her a keen appreciation for creating a new life in an unfamiliar place. an avid urban homesteader, Tiffany is committed to sustainable lifestyle choices and raising her own Colorado kid on the best food possible.
Heather is the U.S. Program Officer at The Women’s Bakery (TWB) where she leverages extensive international education experience, relationship-building skills, and an unyielding belief in the limitless capacity of women to deepen TWB’s impact throughout the world – with a particular focus in the United States. Prior to joining TWB, Heather lived and worked in Rwanda for three years – serving as a Secondary-Education Teacher with the United States Peace Corps (Kayonza District) and working as a consultant with Urwego, a Kigali-based microfinance bank held by Opportunity International. Heather was born and raised in Denver. Outside of her love for TWB, you can find her pursuing new adventures regularly: be it rugby, rollerblading, or traveling with friends. Her three most important travel items are: coffee, red wine, and a notebook for writing.