Denise Lines | Executive Director
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, Denise 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 service to others!
A master gardener who has worked with youth and families across the metro area for 25 years and with refugee youth and their families for 14 years. Prior to GCK she successfully designed and implemented an anti-bullying curriculum focusing on peace and leadership skills for youth in the Mercy Housing system Lines has worked for social justice and equality in welfare to work programs, affordable housing, and education.
Chris Lines | Executive Director
Chris Lines is a veteran of state and local government in Colorado and has broad experience in the non-profit sector. He has served on non-profit advisory boards. He has worked in communities across Colorado on a number of projects, and now promotes the mission and successful outcomes of Growing Colorado Kids.
Trish Krajniak | Board Chair
A lawyer by background and currently the Director of Legal and Policy Initiatives at the Colorado Charter School Institute, Trish is dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to quality public school options. Knowing that learning happens best in an environment where kids are happy and healthy, Trish was drawn to GCK because of the organization’s dedication to nutrition and community building for local refugee youth.
In her free time, Trish can be found outside – typically either hiking, biking, or skiing – or in the kitchen coming up with ways to make her favorite food more healthy and nutritious. Trish also serves on the governing board of a Denver charter school and enjoys volunteering with local community organizations whenever she can.
Paula Davis | Vice Chair
Paula Davis' connection to GCK began with the construction of an earth oven. Along with her interest in using earth ovens to make great pizza, Paula's interest in GCK stems from her commitment to education in all its forms. Paula has worked in education in Colorado for many years, first at The Logan School and then as a policy fellow at The Donnell-Kay Foundation. Paula has a masters degree in Philosophy of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and she's always looking for ways to push at the boundaries of what education can look like. She relishes living in a state with such incredible mountains, and is always trying to spend more time enjoying them.
Chris Martinez | Board Member
Chris is a Senior Advisor for Human Rights/Community Planning for the City of Denver. He also spent 4 years working in Division of Small Business for Denver. Mr. Martinez served eight years on the Regional Transportation Board. While on the RTD Board he served two terms as Chairman and four additional years on the Executive Committee. His professional career included Sales and Marketing for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Denver Branch. He received his B.S. from Regis University. Mr. Martinez has 40 years of experience as a community and political activist. He has a long history of involvement in the Montbello and Green Valley Ranch schools. He is currently a member of several community, civic and non-profit organizations. Chris Martinez and his wife Terry have two adult children and six grandchildren.
Heidi Hoffman | Board Member
Heidi Hoffman came to GCK as a farm volunteer and has recently joined the Advisory Board to assist with grant writing and support for staff and events. She is the State WIC Director at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. After serving with the Peace Corps in Gabon, Central Africa, supporting maternal and child health efforts, Heidi had a winding vocational road including municipal government management, economic development, community development, parks and recreation, and, finally, public health where her work has focused on access to healthy food and health equity. Proud to be a fifth-generation Coloradan and mom to a CSU Ram, she enjoys camping, cooking, and taking road trips in the mountains with her friends and dogs.
Jessi West Gunteski | Board Member
Jessi is the Lead Designer for a Wedding and Event Design Company. Jessi has a strong drive to create something extraordinary out of the ordinary. Jessi's love for farming/gardening, nutrition, art, and education drove her to become a board member with GCK. With a masters degree in elementary education and a bachelors degree in art, Jessi loves to find creative ways to help children access education.
In her free time, you can find Jessi hiking, running, painting, making papier mache sculptures or baking with her husband and their puppy, Luna.
Corbin Atwell | Treasurer
Corbin got involved with GCK through a school project and recently joined the Advisory Board after serving for little over a year as a volunteer on the farm. With a background in business and finance, Corbin enjoys finding ways to make businesses more efficient and has a dedicated passion to helping GCK prosper financially. He has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with and Emphasis in Finance from Regis University and served as the Vice President of the Investment Club for his senior year in school.
Corbin currently works for TIAA, a Fortune 100 financial services organization that is the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and governmental fields. He assists with the portfolio analysis of institution’s endowments and provides perspective
When not in the office, Corbin enjoys working out and playing basketball. He is a big foodie, and loves to explore all the eclectic restaurants Denver has to offer.
Hannah McMillen | Board Member
Hannah McMillen has a background in refugee studies and English language acquisition. After five years working in refugee advocacy abroad, she returned home to Colorado where she was lucky enough to encounter GCK. She loves the GCK mission because she too is passionate about helping refugees of all ages build thriving, inclusive communities. Hannah currently oversees a refugee women’s social enterprise through the African Community Center of Denver. When she’s not at work, you’ll find her learning to cook with refugee friends, and planning (or taking!) her next international adventure.